This is still a work in progress as I upload tasting notes and wine labels from as far as 1999... Check back once in a while to get the updates.

April 27, 2008

1999 Torbreck Descendent

Dinner at Duke's Burger.

1999 Torbreck Descendent - a bit disappointing. I actually opened this at home, and even with extended aeration, the wine never showed its power. I had fully expected that this wine, having aged for 9 years since harvest, to fulfill its potential. Maybe the vines were simply too young when the wine was made, even though it was made from cuttings of old vines. To be honest, the bottle of 2003 Torbreck Juveniles I had in Taipei a week ago blew this bottle away, and Descendent is meant to be a better wine.

April 18, 2008

2003 Torbreck Juveniles

2003 Torbreck Juveniles - drunk at La Petite Cuisine in Taipei.  A really nice bottle to drink. It's a bit young, but already drinking a very well, with nose of strawberries, tropical fruits such as lychee, grilled meat, some floral notes. The wine was incredibly sweet, both in terms of nose and palate. Finish was also reasonably long, possibly due to the high alcohol content. It's a big, powerful wine in Parker-style and quite reasonable in terms of pricing. Yummy.

Full post on the dinner is here.

April 16, 2008

Montrachet and other nice wines

Dinner at Cuisine Cuisine (國金軒).

1985 Rayas Blanc - a really nice, mature Rhone with a little chalky, moldy nose that reminded me of a Sauternes. There was also a slight hint of acetone. Delicious, full-bodied wine but the finish was a little short.

1995 Olivier Leflaive Montrachet - decanted to speed up the aeration process. It's not everyday that one breaks open a bottle of Montrachet, so expectations were high. When we first started tasting the wine, it was still a bit tight, but already the sweet, grassy nose was showing along with sweet corn. There were also the classic flinty, mineral notes. As the evening progressed, the wine opened up further and was drinking very nicely when we finished the last drops at the end of the dinner.

1990 Hubert de Montille Volnay 1er Cru Les Taillepieds - quite a surprise. The first whiff produced a nose of stewed prunes and I was a bit skeptical. But as time went on, I began to really love this wine, with nose of sweet red fruits and classic smoke. The wine was smooth on the palate and a medium finish. Not bad at all for a Volnay.

2002 Chave Hermitage Rouge - Now it's very, very early days to be drinking a wine from this vintage. The powerful nose with an explosion of minerals, particularly iron which reminds me of blood, was a bit too sharp at first. This wine really needs time to age in the bottle to mellow out. As time went on, floral notes emerged in the nose. Now this was a real surprise, since this is normally what we expect of Côte-Rôties with Viognier blended in, but we are talking about Hermitage! This is 100% Syrah so where did the floral nose come from? It remains a mystery to us, but what I do know is that I love this wine. It needs another 5 years of bottle age, but I am going to go out and buy a case of this baby and lay it down.

April 14, 2008

MNSC Dinner - Yung Kee 4th Floor

MNSC dinner at Yung Kee's 4th Floor (蘭亭閣), hosted by Pineapple.  The theme for the evening was 1978 horizontal.

1988 Pol Roger - very sharp, acidic finish. I did not care much for this wine.

First flight:
1978 Robert Groffier Bonnes Mares - classic Burgundy nose, a little thin on the body which indicated that there was considerable age in this wine. Rim was a little orange.

1978 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 1 - tasted like a classic Bordeaux in blind tasting, with typical smoky nose. None of us except the nose had heard of Conn Creek, since the winery is no longer in existence. But a little research showed that Conn Creek actually produced wine from the famed Eisele Vineyard for the 1974 vintage.

I was pretty drunk by the time the second flight came around, and really couldn't taste much of anything...So no tasting notes for the following wines.

1978 Camille Giroud Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens
1978 Vieux Telegraphe Le Crau
1978 Paul Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert

As a number of us guessed that the wines were from Burgundy when they were in fact from Rhone, it demonstrated to us once again that old wines from the two regions tend to converge in character.

April 11, 2008

A mixed bag and way too much

Dinner at Legend Concept.

Fuji Takasago Daiginjo (富士高砂大吟醸) - nice and smooth but a little sharper than my normal tastes.

1997 Verget Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanée - minerally nose but a bit acidic on the palate for my taste. Not much ripe fruit here. I think I'm too used to New World whites these days...

1997 Sine Qua Non Twisted and Bent - brought this for a friend as she loves all these funky wines from SQN (this one is a blend of 60% Roussanne and 40% Chardonnay). Nose was a bit harsh at first, didn't show well when the wine was too cold. With a bit of warming up and breathing, the wonderful nose of flinty minerals combined with an explosion of rich, buttery taste on the palate. A full-bodied wine with a long finish.

1989 Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Heimbourg Selection de Grains Nobles - I initially brought along this half bottle of dessert wine to finish off dinner, but a suggestion was made to break it open for the foie gras. It was pure nectar, an explosion of lychee, pear and floral notes like rose. Everyone seemed to enjoy this wine and I regret having brought only a half bottle.

2000 Mount Mary Quinet - pretty disappointing. The wine was flat and there was no fruit left. This wine was famously panned by Robert Parker, who gave only 1 vintage a score higher than 80 points. I can see why. I don't remember liking the last vintage I tasted (1996) either...

L'Interdit de Badon Thunevin - here was a wine with an interesting story. During the 2000 vintage, Jean-Luc Thunevin laid plastic on part of the vineyard to prevent the vines from being soaked in rain. This was deemed an illegal practice by the authorities, and consequently wine from this part of the vineyard had to be declassified. Thunevin called it L'Interdit, and was not allowed to vintage date or to label the appellation. It comes with an interesting label. I bought the wine during the en primeur campaign out of pure curiosity, and drank it for the first time. I had low expectations, but I think most of us were surprised on the upside. The nose was simply classic Bordeaux. The finish was a little short at first, but after the wine opened fully there was loads of smoke, grilled meats, leather and earth. A nice wine to drink considering how little I paid for it, which was 150 pounds for the case.

1997 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto - this was a generous contribution, as James Suckling rated this very highly. I didn't like the wine much at first, as I felt the nose showed stewed prunes and generally a hint of having been subject to heat. With more aeration, the nose improved significantly and it was quite enjoyable at the end.

2000 BOND Matriarch - this one was a crowd pleaser, a wine that drank well after sitting in decanter for 2 1/2 hours. Classic Californian with nose of sweet cotton candy and vanilla. Sourced from the winery directly, I was not disappointed by this effort from Bill Harlan.

April 10, 2008

Investor dinner in HK

Treated my investors to dinner at Caprice.

1998 Kistler Chardonnay Cuvée Cathleen - a bit tight when it was first opened. After some time it became fully open, full of toasty oak and minerals. Yummy.

1995 Clinet - smooth on the palate, but the finish was a bit short after having been in the decanter for a couple of hours.

1995 Philip Togni - still full-bodied with tannins smoothed from years of aging, and was clearly the preferred wine over the Clinet.

Château Chalon - an oxidized wine (hence a nose that is so similar to that of dry Fino Sherry) from the region of Jura, the source of Comté.  Matched the cheese perfectly!

April 9, 2008

Rihaku Daiginjo Tobin Gakoi

Dinner at Sushi Qube.

Rihaku Daiginjo Tobin Gakoi (李白大吟釀斗瓶囲い) - a limited production sake that I really enjoy. This bottle was produced in June of 2004, so it's about time that I drank it up. It was pretty smooth, but a little bit more spicy on the after palate than I remember.

Full post on the dinner is here.

April 4, 2008

Getting food poisoning

Dinner at Agura Creative Dining.  Left early because I had food poisoning.

NV Perrier Jouet Grand Brut - didn't work with raw oysters.

1990 Jayer-Gilles Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Hauts Poirets - worked well with the Worcestershire sauce on the steak tartare.

Cloudy Bay, unknown vintage, unknown varietal - paired well with lobster linguine.

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