December 9, 2018

A very American evening

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I've been back from my eating trip to Japan for less than 24 hours, and I'm already on my second wine tasting.  Tonight Lord Rayas was hosting his MNSC dinner for the gang, and we convened in the Grill Room of the Hong Kong Country Club for a relatively casual meal.

Smoked mackerel with seaweed - the mackerel was diced and marinated, and came with cubes of diced pickles.  This did not work well with our Champagne...

Pan-fried organic free range eggs with Alba white truffles - simplicity is best.  Yum.

Classic French onion soup, gratinée with Gruyère - not bad at all.

USDA certified prime beef striploin, antibiotic-free, no added hormones - I wanted a smaller piece of beef, and seeing that this was free of antibiotics or hormones, it seemed to be the logical choice.

I asked for rare, and this was somewhere between rare and medium-rare.  Good enough for me.

Lord Rayas surprised us tonight by pulling out wines that are atypical for MNSC tastings - meaning that they were mostly not French, and some of these wines haven't been seen in our tastings for more than a decade... or ever.

1973 Charles Heidsieck Brut - nose of mushrooms, marmalade, a little savory and salty plum.

First flight: opened for 45 minutes before decanting for 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to serving.
1997 Dalla Valle Maya - pretty concentrated, sweet on the nose, minty, pencil lead, with almost a hint of vanilla.  97 points.

1993 Dalla Valle Maya - more closed than the '97.  A little more dry on the palate at first, but later on showed a little ripeness, and more woodsy notes.  Half an hour after serving this turned very smoky.  94 points.

Second flight: popped and poured.
1994 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - pretty ripe fruit, a hint of burnt rubber.  Dry on the palate with some acidity and some tannins.  94 points.

1994 Le Pin - alcoholic.  Exotic spices, almost pine needle and dried herbs, smoky, a hint of chalk, and pretty sweet on the nose.  Still tannic.  93 points.

1994 Joseph Phelps Insignia - sharp nose with leather and coconut notes, and really sweet on the nose.  Turned a little smoky 30 minutes after serving, with more leather and grilled meat notes.  Still ripe and sweet.  96 points.

Third flight: decanted 3½ hours prior to serving.
2003 Harlan Estate - color was really black.  Metallic, minty, exotic herbs.  Ripe and very sweet on the palate, with a little sharp alcohol.  Still going strong 1 hour after serving, and showing a little medicinal nose.  93 points.

2004 Harlan Estate - metallic, ripe and sweet nose.  Really opulent and jammy.  93 points.

What an amazing selection of wines! I love me some Napa cabs, and these were definitely some of the best from the Valley.  Many, many thanks to Lord Rayas for his generosity.

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