Weekend Treat…Lunar New Year

It’s the Year of the Goat.
That is the reason why I have been missing from here. Between work (there is always quite a few last-minute rush and office will close for 4 days), and preparation at home to welcome the new lunar year, I could not even put my plans and thoughts for the blog in order. Although my preparation was not elaborated or too traditional, there are several routine (for Feng Shui purposes) that I need to follow in order to meet this Goat proper.

Like any other festivities and celebration, wine is never too far away.

CNY 2015

One of the most important meals during the celebration is the Reunion Dinner. A meal that reunites all family members, observes on the eve of the new year, regardless the distance. In my family, almost every meals (95%) are accompanied by wines, and I don’t think this routine will ever stop.

So here is wishing one and all, Happy Year of the Goat.

Savored…Still and Sweet

Priorat of Catalonia is a wine region in Spain, I have heard of it but unfortunately not too familiar. Rioja, Cava, Ribera del Duero and Sherry are a little more familiar to me, although I am still exploring and have not had too much opportunity to taste them. It is a case of too much wine, too little time, one precious liver and the companies I keep tend to prefer more French, California and occasionally Italian.

When a group of wine friends suggested the wine theme for our next wine dinner gathering to be wines from Priorat, I thought….cool, I so gonna learn something if not everything. If you have been following me, you probably realised that I love older wine. And so my hunt began for older and  interesting Priorat that I would be proud to share. It was not a difficult task considering that I know quite a few Spanish wine distributors, but confusing to me because I was not too sure about the selection available. But nonetheless, I made the decision.

There were several wines that night that drank well. Particularly impressive for me that Garnacha from this region were full-bodied, and showed candy-like sweet, red cherry notes, tart-like mineral and mocha-like flavours considering that the vines are grown on poor quality ground. For most the age of the vine (which I learnt are mostly pretty old) made the difference. But there were a couple of wines (young ones) that evening were quite new world in style with very forward primary fruit and one dimensional structure. May be due to the blending of old vine Granacha with new world varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

But the evening didn’t disappoint because the last two stood out. They behaved and showed completely opposite to the few we had prior, not quite what we were expecting.

Priorat

Both revealed deep amber hue with brick-like tint. They were matured and complex in structure, constantly evolving and changing. Cims De Porrera 1999 showed aromas of fat, burnt rubber, sun-baked straw and a drop of mint (my eyebrow raised when I noted it). Amadis 1996 Rotllan Torra had almost similar characters with added notes of wet cement (what?) and cherry liquorice. On the palate, the surprise was the slightly oxidised, old cigar, dried fruits and savoury finish that reminded me of sherry. Cims de Porrera was slightly more pronounced with notes of earth, autumn leaves, sour plum and olive. Both made a lasting impression in flavours and kept us intrigued.

Thank goodness we opened both bottles three hours earlier, they so needed it.

Savored…A Corton Charlemagne

Despite having the opportunities to taste and drink Burgundy quite often, it is still a wine that confuses the hell out of me. Just when I thought I am getting it, I will be tricked, and find myself wondering if I really got it.

This Corton got me good. Tasted blind and I kept insisting that was an aged Pommard. It showed itself to be rather full-bodied, but really gentle around the edge, balanced and elegant without losing structure.
Louis Latour CC

This is so much I can remember about the wine, and how I was absolutely fooled. It was an evening of dinner meeting, and I forgot to take notes. This year, I will try harder. But I know this will not be the last time I will be blind sided by Burgundy.

Weekend Treat…Black and Gold

Weekend Treat_Papaya

Love papaya, but I am not too crazy about cutting them. When they are fully ripen, it can getting pretty messy. But one weekend, I decided to give it a go, keeping the plan to Eat healthier, better and happier.  Although it was quite messy, but the colours of a fully ripened papaya and jet black seeds are simply irresistible. Just had to whip out the camera.

10Questions…Anonymous Mr. Lee

A quick and fun session of 10 Questions, answered within 10 minutes, most time, with some of the most interesting personalities related to wine around me. It is more than what they have and wish for, but a snap-shot glimpse of who they are.

When I told Mr. Lee that I would like to ask him 10 quick questions about wine for my blog, he said he will answer them, but humbly requested not to have his name published. Interestingly I was not surprised by his request. Mr. Lee  and his wife have always been a generous man, never hesitated on their friendship, advises, and of course their brilliant wine collection. Down to earth and humble, and absolutely adventurous.
Here are Mr. Lee’s answers:

Anonymous Mr. Lee1Q: What was the very first wine you can remember you drank?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Domaine Leflaive 1961 Puligny Montrachet Grand Echezeaux

2Q: How old were you or when?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: It was in 1975

3Q: Prior to today, when did you last drank wine?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: 2 days ago

4Q: What wine was it?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Vieux Telegraphe 1998 Chateauneuf du pape

5Q: Fabulous wine alone or fabulous company with average wine?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Fabulous company alway.

6Q: Average wine in a proper wine glass or favourite wine in a tea-cup?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Average wine in a proper wine glass

7Q: What is the first wine you can remember that is in your wine fridge now?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Haut Brion 1996

8Q: What three wines you will buy today if budget is not an issue.
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, Chateau Margaux 1983 and Chateau La Conseillante 1989

9Q: If you can take only three wines with you to space, what would it be?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Palmer 1989, Joh. Jos Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr 1996 Riesling Kabinett, and Duval Leroy 1996 Femme de Champagne

10Q: What would you like to drink on your 80th Birthday?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000

Bonus question: Have you done anything naughty/illegal as a result of wine?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Yes and I am not telling the details (laughters).

Savored…99 points and not the same

Two wines, from the same vintage, same country, same regions, received the same rating from the same reviewers, can be completely not the same wine on so many levels. Most collectors will buy and taste base on the reviewers’ palate and the assumption of their personal preference. I do too sometime, but I will take my pinch of salt along with the reviews I read. I may not have the best palate but it has never really let me down.

At a dinner late last year, I tasted two well-known Bordeaux at a dinner.  While we were thrilled, and very appreciative of the opportunity to taste these wine from the same country, region (Bordeaux), vintage and both receiving the same upgraded scores last year, but we quickly noted that’s where the similarity came to a screeching halt.

Chateau Pavie 2003, Saint-Emilion. 99pts
Dark ruby hue with aromas of fleshy red fruits, earth laced with truffle, toasted chestnut, and smoked tar. Quite steely, restrained and not letting. The steel-like character and restraint carried forward to the palate with flavours of black and blue fruits, leather and wet herbaceous notes. It showed firm griping acidity and pronounced tannins. The heat of the alcohol came forward on the mid length finish. I was thinking it is either still young or simply stubborn.  (I had a 1978 last night and the wine behave quite the same, with the exception that it is slight rounder and alcohol heat not pronounced. I will blog about it another day)
99pts and not the same

Chateau Montrose 2003, Saint-Estephe. 99pts
Also dark ruby in hue, but a complete opposite of the Chateau Pavie’s character. This bottle was vibrant and lively in style with aromas of rich red fruit, smoked cherry cream, vanilla sweet spice and the naughtiness of game. The palate followed throughout with the sweetness of red ripened fruit, elegant minerals and tannins, with a slight savoury finish. Love the vibrancy of its character and style , it made its presence known and very memorable.

And so I wonder, what is the basis that these 2 wines received the same scores. But then again, there are so many what if and maybe about the wine to consider, such as handling and storage at every points from Bordeaux to our small little island north of the Equator. So don’t let scores cloud your purchasing process. Reviewers are human too, they may not be all right, their palate will age or over used or not quite there, or the wine might just decide to trick us completely. At the end of the day, take time to get to know your palate and trust it.