Nope, I was not drunk when this happened.
I blamed the tables and the table clothes. This was one of those situation where 2 tables were “lined” up together to form a bigger table to accommodate the number of guests. As usual, the 2 tables, exactly the same in make and model, seems to not be exactly the same height. Just a couple of millimetres off. Then 1 large table clothe was used to cover the tables, other than it is required to dress the tables, but maybe in hope that it might cover the millimetres height difference. Unfortunately, that just made it worst because now, we could not see the height difference. The inevitable happened, and I had to be the one. So while trying to move the bottles of wines around to take a better picture, one of them was place on this spot and the bottle toppled. And spilled onto G’s wine notes.
And hence, it was the fault of the tables. (LOL)
Wedding wine can be quite questionable.
Believe it or not, I still get enquiries for $12 (about USD9, inclusive of local tax and duty of USD8). That means the cost of the wine is cheaper than water? I do not sell them, but I know these wines can be bought and are being served somewhere, and weddings are such places.
At this wedding, not only we (wine collectors and connoisseurs friends) were told that we can bring our own wine, the host has also prepared a separate selection of wines (from his own collection) for a group of us to celebrate his daughter’s wedding. There were about 70 to 80 of us (those who brought wines), so you can imagine the amount of wines that floated around, and of course there was dancing. Despite of that, this stood out.
As expected, wine of this age required gentle handling. But we were impatient and just want to get the party going. So we simply pushed the cork in.
The wine was a perfect match with Chinese cuisine. Soft but not lifeless, gentle but not a pushover. There are notes of fruits, just notes but still classy. She followed through with grace.
I am not saying all wedding wines should be this, but I can only hope. This is a new benchmark.
Oktoberfest came early for the Swiss, at least at the Swiss Club here.
We attended the festive drinking on the last day of the festival. I knew there will be quite a bit of chugging, eating and definitely singing. The beer was brilliant and the food, particularly sausages were delicious. The singing….really loud and joyous. So joyous that i heard someone tried to pull the pretzels off the pretzel chandelier.
But one thing I didn’t expect to meet were these cute, attractive devilish gnomes: Wurzel Peter.
A type of herbal liquor that is lethally delicious. As mysterious and magical a Gnome is, it affected different people differently. One was knocked out by it quite quickly and had to sleep in the car followed by rather severe reactions, another lost his sense of direction, one came home and crashed out for 5 hours on the couch, and I spent the rest of the evening with a low humming headache. I liked it but I will be careful of its magic spell the next time I see it.
Between sneezing, coughing, losing my voice to Barry White’s tone and a weekend of wine events that I am managing, I thought I better put down some words.
So with all the chaos (controlled) and manic madness (well-managed), I thought of an interesting story my good friend G shared with me a few weeks back. It is quite an amazing one.
When the wine market in China became a force that simply cannot be underestimated, a force like a black hole that attracted all sorts wine producers, merchants and traders, both good and bad. Stories of fake wine were heard frequently. My dad tried to order a bottle of Bordeaux in a 5-Stars hotel in Shanghai and asked jokingly if the bottle was real. He was told by the Bar Manager (with a straight face) that he would check in the back (a slap on the forehead moment). Dad quickly stopped the Bar Manager and ordered a bottle of beer instead. Nice save and no damaged done in the wallet.
But G was not so lucky. Take a look at the picture (credit to G) and see if you can spot it.
What is a cork from a Burgundy bottle doing in a Bordeaux bottle? Initially when G tasted the wine, he was wondering on it’s really youthful notes, forward upfront fruit and spiciness for a Merlot that was more than 20 years old. Not quite the style of Chateau L’Evangile or even the vintage 1990 which he is very familiar with. He took a look at the cork and was ghastly surprised. Ironically, he is also familiar with the Burgundy that the cork came from.
This picture was taken as proof because he was returning the wine to the wine merchant (a reputable one from the US) he bought the wine from. Over the years, I learnt that fake wines are only produced in China. There are many stories about where and how fakes are produced, but the most interesting one is that there are bottling facilities on ships in international water? Amazing right? It really pays to know what you are drinking. One never knows when the next fake will show up.
Not all desserts, in any forms, are created equal.
But my one non-wine weakness is chocolate. When it comes to wine, I melt at a sip of anything that is patiently and carefully aged. So on this evening following the main course of duck confit, I chose Hot Chocolate Cake with a side of vanilla ice cream for dessert. Then came this pair of dessert wine and I completely forgot about it, managing only to eat 1/3 of it before the service staff cleared it.
Mr Stanley who shared the Chateau d’Yquem revealed an interesting note about this vintage with us. One of the reasons that he bought this vintage was because that was the year that Mr. Pierre Lurton took over Chateau d’ Yquem. The other key reason I suspected was that Mrs Stanley loves Chateau d’Yquem passionately. Initially, I thought it might be a little too young. Boy was I proved wrong. It didn’t overwhelm but embraced us with memorable sweetness of apricot and citrus note, gentle cedar aromas doted with almond notes. Very enjoyable because I could not stop sipping.
Considering that it being 20 years old, this Taylor 1994 Vintage Port was quite subdued. It revealed gentle elegance, graceful sweetness and simply delicious. I felt that it might still a youth, a well cellared youngster that was not playful but cool and fun. A strong and silent type. And memory served me well when I shared that it was ranked second best wine in 1997. Another one that I could not stop sipping.
No offence to the Hot Chocolate Cake, but these pair were indeed the better desserts.
A recent email from The Wandering Gourmand tickled me with a challenge to match wine or beer with Soft Shell Crab. Some of the best Soft Shell Crab I have had were either deep-fried and/or roll into a maki or steamed (usually with crabs that are moulting) with Chinese wine. Young fruity red wine has been known to compliment, and Champagne or Sparkling seems to fit in quite nicely as well. With a recent Japanese dinner event with a group of friends still fresh in my mind, a good Sake with deep-fried soft shell crab because that was exactly what we had.
A red wine will be a very tricky match, and not all white will work. My past experiences reminded me that a fishy aftertaste can linger rather disturbingly. I am not sure the reasons, but it could the element that makes soft shell crab so deliciously savoury but not agreeable with wine. On the other hand, the gentle firm character of Sake seems to stand up to crab brilliantly. It seems to enhance each other’s unique sweetness. The notable subtle fruit sweetness, and stylishly sleek dryness and clean structure lingers softly.
It will stand up to the robustness of deep-fried and grilled flavours, and also lovingly gentle to raw seafood. おいしい (delicious)
It was not a case of insufficient wine for a dinner. With replacement and backup bottles in place and standing by just in case any of them decide to go rogue for good, the sum worked out to the quantity of 1 bottle per person for a 7-course dinner. But still we, well actually JL (my very adventurous and curious wine buddy), could not help but wondered why 2 opened and corked-back bottles were sitting by themselves on a different table. As it turned out, these 2 bottles of Montrachet that were unsuitable to serve for dinner because one was slight corked and the other was slightly oxidised.
But JL was drinking faster than services could keep up decided that we should give one of them a try. The decision was to taste the corked wine over the oxidised. The logic was if the wine was just slightly corked, the constantly swirling and some patience might dissipate the corked aroma and the wine might come back to life. Personally, I have not encountered one that did. But I hope I have the experience to tasted beyond the corkiness. And I am still trying.
Here is a glimpse (with my handwriting) of the wines we had that evening. It seemed none of the good Olivier Leflaive Puligny Montrachet was available for dinner. Our replacement was the Louis Jadot 1999 Mersault Goutte-D’or.