October 28, 2020

Sine Qua Non toast, part 5

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I received an email from a wine merchant who was organizing a dinner to taste the fantastic wines from Sine Qua Non.  This piqued my interest, and the venue is a restaurant I have been wanting to visit.  I found the wines a little on the young side, but figured I would pass the details to my group of SQN fans to see if anyone is interested.  When you're in a group that includes one of the largest collectors of SQN in town, it's not surprising that someone proposes that we do our own tasting with better wines...

Since BC was unable to make our last gathering at Nikushou, we decided to come back so he could try the food.  And also meet RAW Meat Bro Yeah.  I let the boss know what kinds of wine we were bringing, and gave him free rein on the menu.

Chilled Japanese snow crab, vinegar jelly - I always love this dish with Japanese snow crab (松葉蟹), as it works so well with the vinegar jelly. Tonight the jelly seemed to deliver deeper flavors than usual.  The crab tonight was from Hokkaido.  The perilla flowers on top brought beautiful aromatics.  

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - not great.  The iodine flavors were pretty strong.

Grilled eel with sansho sauce - execution was very good, as these were crunchy on the outside and moist, almost mushy inside.  But the eel was more muddy than usual, and the marinated sansho (山椒) just couldn't hope to overcome the unpleasant flavors.

Saba bouzushi (鯖棒鮨) - so, so happy to have this again.  Mackerel is always good.

Grilled Pacific saury with liver sauce - this was very, very good.  It's the season when Pacific saury (秋刀魚) fatten up, and these fillets have been rolled up and grilled.  The liver sauce on top, together with the chrysanthemum petals marinated in sugar and vinegar, was simply beautiful.

Simmered yellowtail and turnip - I totally didn't expect yellowtail (鰤) to come simmered in a bowl.  Tonight it came with a lovely turnip along with some yuzu (柚子) zest for that citrus fragrance.  The dashi (出汁) was a little more salty than I expected.

Winter is the season for yellowtail to fatten up, so this was really, really tender and tasty.  Slurp!

Deep-fried shrimp taro (海老芋唐揚げ) - it's been a while since I last had shrimp taro, and I totally miss how silky smooth the texture is.

Stuffed chicken wing with matsutake - now RAW Yeah has done it... I've got that earworm looping through my head! 

Once you bite into it, you realize that it's been stuffed with shredded matsutake (松茸) inside.  What a surprise!

Deep-fried chateaubriand cutlet with matsutake and ginkgo nuts (飛騨牛シャトーブリアンカツ  松茸  銀杏) - I can never complain about the deep-fried cutlet here, and tonight the chateaubriand was certainly tender with some marbling.  The deep-fried matsutake was pretty nice, too.

Local beef chateaubriand - then we had grilled chateaubriand from a "local" cattle which, apparently, means they come from Shandong Province (山東省) but are slaughtered here in the city.  This was from a 6-year old steer.  Very, very nice.  Lean but tender and flavorful.

Tongue (タン元) - from Australia.  Tongue is always good, although I'd be happier if the cut was thicker.

Hida chuck tender (飛騨牛トウガラシ) - tender, indeed.

Hida top shoulder blade (飛騨牛ミスジ) - I looooove misuji (ミスジ)!  So smoky.

Hida chuck flap (飛騨牛ザブトン) - slightly thicker cut, but the texture was very, very tender.  A little salty.

Kumamoto sirloin (熊本県産サーロイン) - the signature cut, served over some steam rice and egg sauce.  So, so good.

But tonight it's all about the wines, and we had a fantastic line up.  Amazingly, the thirsty people wanted to start with some bubbly... but I chose not to partake in that bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée.

Flight one:  opened just prior to serving.

2000 Sine Qua Non The Boot - 52% chardonnay, 24% roussanne, and 24% viognier. 14.9% alcohol.  The nose was the ripest of the three whites, with caramelized sweetness like sugar cane.  This improved a lot later, but still rather short on the palate.

2001 Sine Qua Non Rien Ne Va Plus - 100% roussanne.  15.5% alcohol.  Nice toasty nose and really ripe.  Mature on the palate now.

2002 Sine Qua Non Whisperin' E - 50% roussanne, 31% viognier, and 19% chardonnay. 14.9% alcohol.  Really explosive nose with huge amount of toast, really beautiful with a little flint.  Really ripe on the palate, soft and kinda short on the finish.  Still going strong some 4 hours later.
Flight two:

1999 Sine Qua Non The Ox - 100% pinot noir. 14% alcohol. Really fragrant nose.  Served an hour after decanting.  A little meaty with leather notes.

2005 Sine Qua Non The Naked Truth - 90% grenache and 10% syrah. 15.8% alcohol.  Wow!  Really fragrant.  Definitely notes of black pepper, lot of dried herbs, a little green pepper.  Fucking good!
Flight three:

1996 Sine Qua Non Against the Wall - 92% syrah and 8% grenache.  14.5% alcohol.  Served 6½ hours after opening.  Smoky, sweet fruit, with coffee notes.  Very smooth.  So nice.  

2000 Sine Qua Non In Flagrante - 88% syrah, 10% grenach, 2% viognier.  14.9% alcohol.  Served 3 hours after opening.  Unfortunately corked, but showing some toasty notes.

2001 Sine Qua Non Midnight Oil - 96% syrah, 2.5% grenache, and 1.5% viognier. 14.9% alcohol.  A little ripe fruit and a little smoke on the nose.  Pretty nice.

2005 Sine Qua Non The 17th Nail in My Cranium - 97% syrah and 3% viognier.  15.8% alcohol.  Served 4½ hours after opening.   Really ripe and jammy, with metallic notes.  A really big wine.
2006 Sine Qua Non The Raven N° 5 - 93% syrah, 5% grenache, and 2% viognier. 15.5% alcohol.  Served 3½ hours after opening. Very minty, metallic, with ripe fruit.  Drinking really well now.

A fantastic evening, with great food as always and a great selection of wines. We really need to do this more often than once a year...

1 comment:

fainhk said...

with all these SQNs you lucky B


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