December 25, 2018

Down to the wire

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It's Christmas, and that means Pineapple is hosting his MNSC tasting as per the tradition from the last few years.  We were once again back at the I Hate the Handover Hong Kong Club, but thankfully in a private room so that phones and cameras are allowed.  Seeing that it's the holiday season, the kids have been invited to dinner for the first time along with the better halves.

As has been the case in the past, the fight for last place in the rankings went all the way till the end.  And this year, it didn't come down to just two people... There were actually four of us this year within contention, and any one of us could slip up and end up with the dog bowl...

Our host kept things simple, and the menu looked pretty much like it had been during the last few iterations.

Lobster bisque, Brandy, basil - the basil was a surprise.

Whole poached ocean trout, ginger, shiitake, spring onions - our host always orders up a big fucking ocean trout, and it's always done like a Cantonese steamed fish...  I didn't ask how big the fish was tonight, but as always we've put a dinner fork next to it for scale.

As usual, this was served with soy sauce and white rice.  Always very tasty.

Whole roasted American prime beef rib - aaaaaand we've got a nice big hunk of beef here.  Looked pretty beautiful.

Served with roast potatoes, grilled zucchini, sautéed baby spinach.  This was as good as I remembered.

Birthday surprise - the black forest cake was very nice.  The kids got to sing Happy Birthday and help blow out the candle.

Once again, our host was being extra generous with the wines... and it turned out to be a fantastic lineup with a number of gems.

1985 Pol Roger Brut - very toasty, like sourdough, with salty plum and preserved lemon notes.

First pair: opened more than 1 hour prior to serving.
1968 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva - sweet fruit with a hint of sweet grass.  Clearly an old vintage with acidity on the palate.  A bit of leather, a little stinky and barnyard, but turned into a perfumed nose without much fruit.  92 points.

1968 Beaulieu Vineyards George de Latour Private Reserve - a bit of rubber in the nose, minty, black fruits, much more concentrated.  A hint of sweetness on the attack but turns more acidic.  Pretty sweet and exotic nose, and showed some sweet grass later.  97 points.

Second pair:
1988 Henri Jayer Echezeaux - opened 2 hours prior to serving.  Sweet and floral, elegant, with a bit of leather. 95 points.

1988 Mouton-Rothschild - double decanted 2 hours prior to serving.  Sooooo toasty, espresso toast, almost burnt rubber.  The rubber dissipated to show a love nose of cedar and lots of green capsicum.  96 points.

Third pair: opened 2½ hours prior to serving.
1978 Pichon-Lalande - green capsicum, woodsy, cedar, and fragrant with smoky notes.  95 points.

1978 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle - smoky, minty, eucalyptus, some sweet fruit.  Later showed savory and black olive notes.  97 points.

Fourth pair:
1998 Beaucastel - double-decanted 3 hours prior to serving.  Sharp alcoholic nose, smells like paint thinner and cherry-flavored cough syrup.

1998 Henri Jayer for Georges Jayer Echezeaux - opened 3 hours prior to serving.  Sharp alcohol, coconut notes, and a bit medicinal.  92 points.

Ardbeg 24 Years Sherry Butt, bottled in 2000 - very peaty as expected from Ardbeg.

At the end of the evening, it was still pretty close... but I was happy not to take up the post of convenor for next year.

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