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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have never described a Burgundy or Pinot Noir as sexy, you have not had one that is.
I had three Nuits St Georges tonight that the word I said was “very sexy”. Although Burgundy has always been made reference to a woman, for two of them, I was thinking, 6-packs, broad shoulder, toned, gently tanned and so witty. The other I thought of a woman with just the right curves, everything in the right size and teasingly smart. But I have to let you down here because I can only process the pictures and share them here next week.
Nonetheless, when I got home and turned on my laptop, I remembered another sexy Pinot Noir I had this year. Normally, I would have thought it is too young. But I just could not wait.
It was simply feminie with a sense of mystery. No thought it is young, patience in the glass revealed a graceful soul with spunk and wit. Kind of like a 20 years old who listens to Al Jarreau and Marvin Gaye.
Day #2 of catching up with old friends was also a day of making new ones. It was over a sumptous dinner of teochew cuisine organized by A. Not considering the champagne, we started the dinner brilliantly with a cool, crisp, floral scent and elegantly weighted Corton Charlemagne. Perfect with boiled cold crabs. It was followed by a Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (which I will post later). But the first red was another well-chosen Nuit Saint Georges to pair with braised duck. Youthful (despite being 9 years old), fruity, velvety round and lip smuckingly delicious. Could-not-stop-sipping type of delicious. It was then followed by a Bordeaux and a young California Bourdeaux inspired blend (which I will post later).
Burgundies will always have a special place in my heart, palate and wallet.