R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia Blanco 1996

Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco  Reserva 1996Not quite as intense, intoxicating or as breathtakingly beautiful as their Gran Reserva, and perhaps lacking a little freshness too (for the two bottles that I bought and consumed within a few days), the 1996 Tondonia Blanco Reserva showed aromas of citrus-oil, lemon peel, and ripe yellow peaches with a distinctive nutty flavour and a slightly bitter, medium finish. A friend suggested some oxidative notes but that seemed to dissipate after a little while. I do think that a wine like this needs some time to open up and the serving temperature is of paramount importance to showcase its texture and complexity (yes, even for just a Reserva). And for just SGD50+ a pop, I really shouldn’t be nitpicking. Paired wonderfully well with the succulent and flavourful hand-shredded chicken (手撕鸡) I got from a local chain at Wan Chai. Unfortunately, I TOTALLY forgot about the optional tame chili oil in my haste.

興記避風塘

Heng Kee 1 Heng Kee 2Chinese food (the real McCoy), in my opinion, is quite a versatile cuisine (for the wine bugs), provided you know what to order and understand how each dish is prepared. Case in point: the seafood dinner I had in a local Hong Kong restaurant showed that even a relatively young Barolo is not an insurmountable task, in fact, I thought the black beans used for the crab was a tad too overwhelming for the tannic beast. Here’s the menu for the evening anyway:

Poached garlic chives, steamed baby geoduck clams and steamed live coral trout (HK style) with a bottle of 2009 Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay; deep fried mantis prawns (buried in a mountain of deep fried garlic and shallots), stir fried live crabs in black bean sauce and a bowl of shredded roast duck meat hor fun soup with the 1998 Barolo Bric del Fiasc by Paolo Scavino. The stars were really the food, and the wines did what they were suppose to do – an accompaniment to a good meal with some of my best buddies.