January 12, 2024

Say, riesliiiiing!

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I was told about tonight's dinner in mid-October, as I was trying to arrange my trip to France in November. When I found out that Jean Trimbach and Egon Müller IV were both coming to Hong Kong for a dinner organized by Caprice, I immediately put my hand up and asked for a table. I figured there were bound to be a couple of people I could round up for this. After all, it's not often that those of us in Asia get to see these two gentlemen together.

Monsieur Trimbach and Herr Müller have known each other for 40 years, and this dinner is meant to be a celebration of their friendship. They worked together with Victor and his team to come up with a list of wines to showcase what each family winery could do, and this resulted in a lineup of 19 wines for tonight. We were told that the original plan was to feature a total of 25 wines, but eventually the gentlemen were persuaded to settle for something a little shorter...

Well, with 19 wines on offer, the menu from the kitchen naturally had to grow, too. Tonight Hairy Legs and his team gave us 9 courses, not counting the canapés and the mignardises. That's a lot of food!

We start with the canapés:

Mushroom waffle - with shaved Comté on top.

Obsiblue prawn tart

Pita with curry chicken mousse

2017 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile, en magnum - nice nose of petrol, or as Jean Trimbach insisted, "white truffle". Wow! The high aciity was very unexpected and kinda gave me a shock. But this was really nice.

Poisson mariné à la pomme verte, crème d'anguille fumée - on top of a bed of crustacean gelée sat slices of raw Japanese young yellowtail (ハマチ) marinated in salt and vinegar arranged in a ring around yellowtail tartare in the center. We've got very slices of green apple with an arrangement of mandarin orange gel, fennel purée, vanilla and smoked eel cream on top. At the center there was some "white fish roe", and I wondered if it were vendace.

The creaminess on top with a touch of smokiness worked very nicely with the marinated fish. Of course, that umami from the crustacean gelée was always gonna be something special - a standout among all the different flavors yet managing not to overwhelm the others. A refreshingly cold dish with a pinch of fruity acidity, this turned out to be a great way to kick off the meal.

2015 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Kabinett - really nice nose of petrol. Good acidity on the palate but also got plenty of fruity sweetness.

2015 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Kabinett Alte Reben - this was a much bigger wine compared to its sibling, with more acidity which made it much more lively on the palate.

Crabe royal d'Alaska, gelée de crustacés, huître Gillardeau et caviar osciètre prestige de ⟪La Maison Kaviari⟫ - a dish I'm ver familiar with, but it has been a while since I've had it with caviar... and that big quenelle of salted fish eggs tipped the balance and made this much more salty than I remembered.

2012 Trimbach Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg - very fragrant nose with honey, apricot, and almost orange blossom water. There was also a hint of acetone.

2012 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile - lighter in color compared to Geisberg, it was also leaner on the palate, not as fruity, with good acidity. Beautiful nose of white flowers put a smile on my face.

Le laksa au homard et citron sudachi - since we already had Alaskan king crab for our last dish, the laksa tonight came with homard bleu for the first time in my experience. We've still got the diced leeks at the bottom, and the crunchy and fragrant hazelnuts, so the flavors were definitely familiar. This was, however, probably the richest version I've tasted in quite some time.

2022 Le Gallais Riesling Wiltinger Braune Kupp Kabinett - a little effervescent and tickled the tongue. Very obvious orange notes, as if I were drinking Apero or Martini Rosso without the bitterness. Very fruity.

2022 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Kabinett - nice nose of white flowers and petrol. Got some fruity flavors here but they were much more tame compared to Le Gallais.

2022 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Kabinett Alte Reben - nose was much more pungent with plenty of sulfur. But also strangely fragrant at the same time. Ripe and funky on the palate, with a little bit of fruity acidity.

Rouget, consommé de fruits de mer, poivre timut - I was shocked when I saw the dish. What happened to the fish? Why did we only get half a piece compared to what we normally get? Apparently the fish has been cut down to size due to the longer menu tonight. Oh well...

The red mullet from the south of France came topped with fennel flowers, timut pepper, and some shredded ginger. The obsiblue prawn bouillon was pretty salty, to be honest, and lacking Hairy Legs' usual delicate touch.

The fish was damn silky soft, and that shellfish stuffing at the bottom always makes the dish.

2016 Trimbach Riesling Clos Sainte Hune, en double-magnum, bouteille N° 122/300 - floral notes showed after the wine wrmed up a little. Good balance here between the ripeness and the acidity. As I was told at the domaine in November, double-magnums are only bottled in years where a new member of the Trimbach family is born. So privileged to have tasted this out of double-magnum.

2009 Trimbach Riesling Clos Sainte Hune, en magnum - this wine was showing very nicely, and much bigger on the palate than its younger sibling. It's got good acidity but there's almost a little bitterness, too.

Langoustine Dubarry et sauce vanille - the Scottish langoustine came with an excellent sauce from "the king of sauce" featuring Tahitian vanilla and calamansi vinegar, along with some cauliflower purée and slices of raw cauliflower.

2009 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Spätlese - this was such a fragrant and alluring wine, so ripe and fruity.

2007 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Spätlese - really fragrant and floral, almost like jasmine. So, so beautiful.

Here comes the duck... again. Not that I'm complaining!

Canard ⟪Lur Saluces⟫ - we're back to thin slices again, and two slices for a smaller portion. Still really delicious. The carrots and orange were wonderful, too.

2016 Trimbach Pinot Gris Réserve Personnelle, en magnum - the nose was fairly muted, and slightly bitter mid-palate. Tasted a little better with the duck.

2015 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre - very beautiful notes of lychee. So ripe and sweet, so floral and sexy. This reminded me why, before I started learning about wine, my first love was gewurztraminer.

Royale de foie gras aux épices - this was pretty damn rich as one would expect, but somehow not so rich that it becomes the knock-out punch. Loved the spices like cinnamon here.

1989 Trimbach Riesling Clos Sainte Hune Vendages Tardives Hors Choix - pretty ripe and sweet, with honey, marmalade, apricot, pollen notes. Not too sweet but just sweet enough thanks to the late harvest. Still got a bit of acidity, along with some bitterness on the finish.

1989 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile Sélection des Grains Nobles - this was much richer, with lots of honey and floral notes, almost like very ripe honeydew melon, with a bit of plastic on the nose.

Fromage bleu et banane - almost exactly like what I had at Château d'Yquem 2 months ago. The Fourme d'Ambert really does work nicely, especially with sweet wines. The gingerbread provided the added spices to the mix.

1999 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Auslese - nose was a little funky, with the classic petrol notes. Not too ripe but there was some ripeness here.

1997 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Auslese - very nice nose of petrol. A little riper than I expected, with a beautiful nose of white flowers. Still got the acidity.

Travail autour de la poire - a new version with pear instead of apple, and the tuille on top reminded me of the dessert from Jean Sulpice. Almond biscuit, chocolate ganache, caramelized pear, and vanilla ice cream. Of course, some fresh pear on the side.

2018 Egon Müller Riesling Scharzhofberger Trockenbeerenauslese - what a treat! You can smell the viscosity of the wine. Ripe honeydew melon and acetone on full blast. So, so beautiful. So viscous on the palate that it's fun to swirl the wine around in the mouth. Tons of sugar here but it's still got the acidity. What a fucking beautiful wine!

Finally we have the mignardises:

Raspberry tart

Coconut creamy

Mandarin gelée and mint marshmallow roll

In lieu of the vanilla flan which the restaurant has been giving to diners to take home, tonight we have kouglof as a tribute to the Alsatian roots of Maison Trimbach.

This was some night! There was so much wine that I had to give up and ask for some of the glasses to be taken away before they were empty, so as to make room on the table for new ones coming in. Perhaps that's why I wasn't completely feeling like slush at the end of the evening. All the wines drank very, very well, and this was a real revelatory experience. I'm so grateful for Jean and Egon for coming and sharing their wines with us, and of course none of this would have happened without Victor and Hairy Legs. For a lover of riesling like myself, this is certainly an evening I would remember for a long time to come.

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