May 28, 2018

Austria vs. France

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The Prince of Napa pinged me a few weeks ago to see if I'd be up for a blind tasting dinner tonight.  He is showing an Austrian winery which makes pinot noir (or is it spätburgunder?), and wanted us to bring some red Burgs to face off with the Austrians.

I wasn't the least bit surprised to see Hong Kong Cuisine 1983 (壹玖捌參) as the chosen venue, and it was a pretty good place to take the Stiegelmars from Juris.  A menu was pre-arranged by our resident regulars.

Chilled burdock with cordyceps sinensis and Japanese seaweed salad (涼拌牛篣蟲草花) - not a fan, as somehow the vinegar didn't really work well with the combination of burdock, cordyceps mushrooms, and seaweed.

Marinated duck tongues (滷水鴨舌) - a treat for our Austrian visitors.  These were pretty good, and the spices in the master stock (滷水) marinade were pretty evident.

Cuttlefish in spicy sauce (麻辣墨魚頭) - this was pretty damn spicy, at least to me.  And came with slices of raw garlic on top of spring onions, coriander, and of course chili.  Not exactly wine friendly...

Double boiled porcini soup with conch and pork (牛肝菌螺頭燉豬腱湯) - pretty decent.

Wok fried Boston lobster with salty egg yolk (金沙波士頓龍蝦) - having had a similar dish here in the past made with prawns, I was ever so glad that there wasn't an excessive amount of salted egg yolk sauce.  As a result, this was just right.

Scrambled egg with crab meat and shredded fish maw (桂花蟹肉炒花膠絲) - I am grateful that many restaurants no longer use shark's fin, and here they do it slightly more upscale by using shredded fish maw instead of glass vermicelli.  This was done at pretty high heat, but to be honest I didn't care for the texture of the fish maw in the mix... especially when the strips were so thick.

Upon learning that there was fish maw on the plate, our visiting wine makers told us that they actually use the bladder from a certain type of fish as a fining agent. 

Crispy golden boat with fried sole fillet in black bean sauce (原條龍船豉汁方利球) - this was a winner.  The little chunks of sole fillet were very succulent and tender, and came covered in black bean sauce that was pretty damn tasty.  The best part of the dish, of course, came in the deep-fried bones and wings of the sole that doubled as a serving vessel.  We took these apart piece by piece and just enjoyed the crunch as we bit into them...

Golden crispy chicken with preserved bean curd sauce (南乳脆皮雞) - the chicken was surprisingly good.  The skin was crispy as expected, but there was also good depth of flavors.  Everything seemed just right.  In fact, I'd pick this over many, many crispy chickens around town.

Fried rice with conpoy and egg white (瑤柱蛋白炒飯) - this was alright.

Sweetened soup with peach resin, snow fungus and red dates (桃膠銀耳雪棗糖水) - this was very refreshing, as the chilled peach resin and snow fungus helped cool down the temperatures in the body as well as in the mouth. 

Fried sesame purple sweet potato balls stuffed with mashed salted egg yolk (紫薯金沙球) - this was surprisingly good.  The exterior was deliciously crispy and packed with fragrant sesame seeds, while the purple sweet potato mash was elevated by just a little big of salted egg yolk.

But enough about the food.  Tonight was all about the wines.  We started with a white from our Austrian friends:

2016 Juris Sauvignon Blanc - pretty fruity and tropical, stone fruits, flint.  Ripe on the nose as well as on the palate, with a bit of acidity to balance.  Nose was fairly big but a a teeny bit pungent.

Then the reds were served at random in flights, and we had to guess whether the wine was Austrian or French.

2009 Lucien Le Moine Corton Renardes - served 1½ hours after opening.  Pretty sweet and ripe on the nose, with coconut and almost bubblegum notes.  Around 2 hours after opening there was almost a hint of coffee.  Tannins still here.

2013 Juris Pinot Noir Setzluss - ripe and fruity, also a hint of coconut.  About an hour after opening showed some smokiness, and almost toasty and coffee.

2011 Juris Pinot Noir Hochreit - served about an hour after opening.  Very sweet on the nose and especially on the palate, almost a little jammy.  A bit more animal and leather notes here.  2011 saw an extended growing season. My favorite from Juris.

2008 Dominique Gallois Charmes-Chambertin - served 1½ hours after opening.  Ripe and stewed fruit, a little savory, with slightly higher acidity.

1999 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays - served 1½ hours after opening.  Good fruit here, and softer on the palate.

2014 Dubreuil-Fontaine Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Vercots - very cool fruit, a little eucalyptus, maybe a little stemmy.  Perhaps needed a little more aeration.

2009 Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Cœur du Roy - served 2 hours after opening.  A hint of toast, a hint of leather at first, pretty smooth on the palate.  Showing a little more smoke and heavier toast, as well as fragrant wood notes.  Leaner on palate.

2002 Michel Magnien Clos de la Roche - served 2½ hours after opening.  Minty, maybe a bit sulfur.  Pungent and not well-integrated nose, with huge toasty notes.  Later on the nose opened up a little more and showed some fruit.

2012 Juris Pinot Noir Haide - served 2½ hours after opening.  Very young and fresh, lovely, with lots of dried herbs and pretty sweet.  Not quite integrated, and almost showing Chinese medicinal herbs like ginseng.  From Dijon clone 114 planted in 1980s.

2004 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays - served 3 hours after opening.  Nice and ripe.  Pretty open.

2006 Prieuré-Roch Vosne-Romanée Les Hautes-Maizières - toasty and ripe nose.  Fragrant with a hint of stewed fruit.

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