Now that the Lunar New Year of 2015 festivities are done. I have started to settle down and CATCH UP.
You see, Lunar New Year celebration is observed for 15 days. Traditionally, Chinese businesses are supposed to close for that duration of time, but realistically speaking, these day it is impossible to do so. If I didn’t resume business on the fifth day, my clients will have me for a feast!! Nonetheless the feasting didn’t stop and never will. On the 3rd day, my brother got the family and a close friend together to eat drink, and to give this close friend a hard time about his growing belly…the whole night.
On this day, there was a request for me to roast some pork belly, and so I did. Sio Bak (roasted pork belly)”mark 4″ was done just right and I nailed the crackling. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know what I mean. Although this batch was a little salty, but my young nephews gave me a perfect 10. Dad was requested to whip up a batch of wok-fried mustard beef, one of his famous signature dishes. And my two nephews made (with help of course) pizza from scratch. So what did we drink you wonder? Well, not too shabby.
The interpretations of Semillon and/or Sauvignon Blanc from these two labels couldn’t be more different. The Silex was a 2006 showed lots of mineral, floral, nut and flint. There was crispiness that was lips smacking, and elegant wood was cashmere-like. Love the depth and evolving characters of the tropical fruits notes that kept me sipping. Still youthful. On the other side of the Atlantic and continent, the SETA 2008 was silky, broad, spice-ridden, with fruity notes of melon and peaches. Notable vanilla creaminess lingered fleetingly on finish. No faults but not sure if it will age further.
The reds matched my Dad’s mustard beef brilliantly. I was amazed that RSV Los Carneros Pinot Noir held up nicely. Definitely not a power house by now, but it didn’t give way. It was definitely that the later stage of its lifespan, but lets see because I have a couple more bottles. Sawyer (this winery doesn’t exist anymore) was exactly what California Cabernet Blend should be. Fruit driven but not overwhelming and balanced, quite elegant with supple tannins and held its structure brilliantly. It will age gracefully and I am more than happy to wait. The surprised bottle of the night was La Chapelle 1988. An absolute pleasure to drink and drink and drink. It was not powerhouse but not shabby. The flavours were of dark fruits with just hints of dried cherry, notes of baking spice and rusty minerals. Not too sure if it will age gracefully further.
Going through the folder “wines I drank” in my hard disk, I realized that this folder is getting pretty heavy.
I have so many photographs of wines that I have drunk in the past 10 years or so. I may not remember exactly how the wines tasted, but I do remember with whom and where I savored it.
A good one is this. This is my first, and I am hoping not my last Israeli wine. I had this at one of the oldest country clubs in Singapore during lunch with several wine collector friends. M, our Iranian friend brought it and initially we were a little skeptical. There are good Lebanese wines, but Israeli? Hmmm….
Well, I remember we were dumbfolded because it was really good. I remember that I would have never thought it was an Israeli wine. There were good fruits notes and good effort in structure and balance. There was a sense of brilliance to it.
I think my sis-in-law is visiting Israel next month.
I went to Guangzhou for the first time this week and was welcomed by their muggy, stuffy and sauna-like summer heat. It was at least 4C higher than where I am from, and I live right above the Equater. It really felt like a pressure cooker. But I was there for work so I refused to let it bother me. During the trip, I got to share this very special find from my recent California trip with my client. Sawyer 2005 Bradford Meritage, Sawyer 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and Sawyer 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, all from Napa Valley. Sawyer has been purchased by Foley Family Wines and with my brother, we managed to secure a small allocation as they are selling the current inventory at a very special price.
Sawyer 2005 Bradford Meritage: The color was deep red. The aromas reveals notes of milk chocolate, red plump fruits. The flavor further echoed the cocoa notes, but deepened the fruit flavors to be firmer in texture. Really like the roundness and velvety texture. It has aged quite well.
Sawyer 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: The color seems a little lighter compared to 2005. But it show similar notes of creamy chocolate, younger fruit notes with hints of dark fruit tannins. It feels leaner with firmer tannins.
Sawyer 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: This maybe Sawyer’s last vintage under its own label before the sale of the property. The color reveals its age brilliantly with slight purplish tint. Youth reveal prominently in its aromas of just ripened fruits and courageous forwardness. The palate is not shy of its age and the consistency of creamy cocoa really impressed. This is indeed the signature of their terroir and vine. I hope they will not try any re-planting because these Cabernet vines has been very well taken care. Not forgetting the precision of the winemaking process. The tannins are much bigger without getting in the way of the velvety silky texture. I have added this wine to a small group of California wines that I am compiling that have somewhat defy the unsavory reviews of the California 2008 vintage.
A little bird told me that Dean & Deluca may be the place to find Sawyer if you are keen to check it out.
A call from a good friend whom I have not talked to for several weeks due to my travel schedule led me to find this picture of him. We first met over conversations about the beauty of older California Cabernet Sauvignon. Both of us share the same belief that California Cabernet Sauvignon can age just as good as the French and will not cost as much. But over the years, it is not just wines and food that kept our friendship. KS is a really good friend who is caring, sincere, gracious and generous. He is the only person who can call me at midnight, and I will answer without questions and dramas.
I love his cool casual style, exactly who he is. Of course, never too far from a glass of good wine..
As promised, I will share with you the three red wines that I savored with a small group of friends during our early July 4th dinner last Saturday. As our tomahawk and porterhouse steaks, roasted pork loin were being served, we quickly asked the service staff to serve the first red. It was Signorello 2001 Padrone, Napa Valley. It was decanted for about an hour. This wine is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Not just for the sake of filtering out the sediments, decanting the wine helped the wine to be more revealing and approachable. Indeed this wine needed the interaction with oxygen. It was lush, balanced, and elegant in its texture and flavros. The 10 years of cellaring helped to even out the intensity of the flavor to be more stylishly settled. It was drinking beautifully and will age a few more years.
The next red wine that followed was Freemark Abbey 1997 Bosche Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. This wine has been quietly resting for 15 years, and I believe it found its peak and drinkability all within 45 minutes. During the first 20mins to 25mins, it was gorgeous, moving around the palate like a grand Madame of the house. The notes of red fruits were still there laced with slight spiciness and mellow roundness. The finish was shorter than I expected, considering it being 1997, with notes of slightly dry herb and bitterness. That was when the wine seems to loose its structure. Nonetheless, I appreciated how it made an entrance and I would have loved to taste it when it was just released.
We thought we were done in terms of wine for the night. But a few of us stayed a little longer and felt that we can still open another bottle and make it home by 11pm. Usually when we meet, we will always have extra bottles to back up any bottles that may have faults. So a friend took out the bottle of Silver Oak 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexandar Valley. This is the youngest wine for the night and it was a good one to round off the night. The wine had more fruits flavors than power. For a vintage of 2007, it is much softer than I expected. It may not be bad because it just means that one has good wine to drink earlier without having to wait too long.
I wish I drink Italian wines as often I as do for California and French. But maybe that is a good thing. Because when something fabulous comes along, I appreciate and savor it more. This Tuscany wine intrigued me because it set itself apart by having “Cabernet Sauvignon” on the label. At first whif tonight, I thought it was still quite closed although it was already opened and had its moment with oxygen. The acid was quite pronounced that one might thought it was a Sangiovese. It gave way in the glass revealing a more luscious style with balanced fruit sweetness and silky texture. The acidity was still prominent but very nice. I commented to my friend who brought the bottle that I hoped it was not his last bottle. But he indicated that it was. This bottle was made more special when he said he handcarried the bottle back with his wife (who is an Italian wine fanatic and speaks fluent Italian) from their trip to Tuscany.
It is past midnight, I may be slightly intoxicated with a smile on my face but I am grateful.
April 18 2012….@ Morton’s of Chicago Singapore
One is an iconic symbol that can only be found in any of the Morton’s of Chicago restaurants in the world. The other, in my opinion, is iconic for the brilliance of California wine, and the strength and tenacity of a woman who is owner and winemaker.