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.

July 31, 2008

2006 Sigalas Santorini

2006 Sigalas Santorini - drank over dinner at Mandarin Grill + Bar. I had a chance to try this wine last year on a visit to Pierre, and I was sufficiently impressed. The nose packed quite a punch, full of toasty oak and minerals. The wine was full bodied, ripe and sweet on the palate, but there was also enough acidity on the finish - and it was a pretty long finish.

July 28, 2008

A mostly French evening

Dinner at Kiangsu and Chekiang Residents Association (蘇浙同鄉會).

2003 Barratt Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay - ripe and oaky, very New World but not so interesting. No refills on this one...

1996 Billecart-Salmon Grande Cuvée - which had a very yeasty nose and reminded me of - would you believe - Kellogg's cornflakes... The wine was sweet on the palate but had a decidedly sharp finish. I normally go for either the NV or the NV Rose, so having the Grande Cuvée was certainly a treat.

2005 Vincent Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot - this really showed its colors about 1 1/2 hours after popping the cork. While others finished their glasses early, I left my glass untouched until theeastern star garoupa steamed in soy sauce was served. The wine tasted a little "hot" on the palate at first, with nose of toasted oak, minerals, buttery corn. There was good balance of acidity and sweetness, and the wine was so round and smooth on the tongue, with a very long finish. Yummy! I don't think you can go wrong with any 2005 white Burgundies right now.

2003 Haut-Brisson - despite having heard so much about the wine in the Greater China wine world, I had never had this wine before. The proprietor is Elaine Kwok, daughter of Peter Kwok. Peter is a senior figure in the Greater China finance world, having made the rounds at my old shop Bankers Trust and later at CITIC Ka Wah Bank as well as CITIC Resources. The wine has a large following in the region thanks to Peter. The wine was pleasant to drink, with lots of minerals - almost reminding me of blood - and a good amount of sweet fruit.

1990 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru les Saint Georges - as the domaine is relatively new, this bottling is actually a negociant wine. I was a little worried since my last experience with this wine, the 1999 vintage, was quite disappointing. At first I was unable to detect much from the nose, but as the wine opened up I noted mint and sweet fruit, and eventually a hint of wet chalk. There was good balance between the tannins and acidity. Quite enjoyable and better than my initial expectations.

To finish off the evening, a very old bottle of Hennessey Cognac XO emerged. This bottle is reputed to be more than 30 years old, judging by the import label on the back of the bottle. While I do not normally drink Cognac, I was blown away by the brown liquid sitting in my glass. There was lots of salty preserved plums (話梅), salty preserved orange rind (陳皮), and caramel. There was no more burning of the throat than a single malt whisky would have delivered, and the spirit had aged and oxidized beautifully. Now if only I could find a case of this stuff...

July 19, 2008

Huadiao and Chateau Musar

Dinner at Tien Heung Lau (天香樓).

We started with a pitcher of their aged Shaoxing wine (紹興酒) - actually Huadiao (花雕) - but this time at room temperature without heating it up. In retrospect perhaps we should have drunk it warm, as heating would help hide the defects and impurities of the wine. Served cold, there was a distinct vegetal nose, and a bit moldy. I can imagine that the wine sat in ceramic jars for years, aging and the top of the wine acquiring its layer of mold (the Spaniards would call it flor).

1999 Chateau Musar - We drank 2 bottles of this. It's so curious that I would have friends bring bottles of this wine twice over the last 3 weeks, since I probably haven't had the Musar red in about 3 years! The wine was wonderful, with a big nose of minerals, sweet red fruit and even a hint of caramel towards the end. I was so happy to have the opportunity to drink this.

July 10, 2008

More wines for Bresse chicken

Dinner at San San Trois.

2003 Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Kitterle - the half-bottle was drunk with the sashimi. While I normally expect the Alsatians to ferment their Gewurz with some residual sugar, this wine was much sweeter than I expected. Perhaps I should have remembered that 2003 was a very ripe year for French wines...and brought something drier for the food. Anyway, the typical Gewurz characteristics were all there - lychee, minerals... But I must admit that I still find something in Schlumberger wines not quite to my liking.

2001 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - we had another bottle of this in the office just last Friday afternoon, but I thought it would go well with both the kama as well as the roast chicken. Indeed the wine opened up very well after 1 1/2 hours, and the usual grilled meats, minerals and very sweet red fruits were all present in the nose. Gave it a little more time, and even caramel started showing up. Full-bodied but not overpowering. Despite this being Kistler's cheapest offering, I still found it very enjoyable.

1997 Beringer Merlot Private Reserve Bancroft Ranch - I still have a few cases of this wine because I enjoyed it so much, but this bottle was definitely off. The fruit in the nose was masked by the unpleasant smell of wet chalk and other aromas, and I think it even suffered from a bit of heat damage. Not great and we did not finish the wine.

July 8, 2008

1994 La Mission Haut-Brion

1994 La Mission Haut-Brion en demi-bouteille - drank at Shi Yang Shan Fang (食養山房) out of tea cups.  The wine never had a chance to show.

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