Hirotake Ooka Saint Peray 2008

Hirotake Ooka St. Peray 2008went down really well with the excellent tempura at Tenshin. The pickled vegetables and the japanese curry salt (for you to sprinkle on the deep fried goodies) were particularly good with the pairing. I love the wine, and I guess that also earns me the title of a non-mainstream kinda guy. This Marsanne is an acquired taste and one also needs to know how to handle and serve the wine properly. But I have faith that his wines have great potential in the Asian market once discovered by connoisseurs who are still true to themselves, and not mere big-label drinkers.

Tiara for lunch

goat's cheese saladTiara 2010 NiepoortempadasThis bottle of Tiara is expensive by local Portuguese standards, as far as table wine is concerned. At almost EUR22 a pop in a cafe, I was actually expecting a little bit more. Bright pale yellow with a greenish tinge; fresh, green starfruit, lime peel and grassy; tart lemon, citrus, sour cream, a little vanilla; a tinge of phenolic tones in its aftertaste; medium to medium-plus acid; medium finish. What I did notice is that with the right temperature, and a little help from aeration in the glass, aromas of white flowers, fresh nectarines and fresh (not-so-ripe) peaches began to emerge gradually and the wine also gained a little more weight and intensity. The goat’s cheese salad was nothing to shout about but paired well with the vinho. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of those cute little pies called Empadas to supplement my somewhat healthy lunch too.

more reds

Clos des Lambrays 2001Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 2000 Ghislaine BarthodVosne-Romanee Les Beau Monts 2001 Leroy
The last flight of reds to go with our mains, and I struggled (big time) to identify the wines.

1. Clos des Lambrays 2001 Domaines des Lambrays
Rose petals, violet, indian incense; dark ripe cherries, elegant, smooth, tasty, good tannin structure; medium to medium-plus acid; medium-plus to long finish.

2. Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 2000 Ghislaine Barthod
Bretty (which faded eventually), somewhat muted fruit nose; mocha, bright bing cherries; medium to medium-plus acid; long finish.

3. Vosne-Romanee Les Beaumonts 2001 Maison Leroy
Ripe cherries, dried rose petals, dried hawthorn, rosella; ripe dark cherries, spices, cedar, brooding, tannic grip; medium to medium-plus acid + finish. Concentrated wine.

My initial impression was that the first and the third glass were from the same appellation and the second glass was a different beast altogether. As it turned out, they were different appellations but produced in the same vintage. I thought #1 was a Vosne but I was dead wrong. Hahahaa. I should have picked up that dark, brooding profile on Leroy’s Les Beaumonts (since I tasted this just 2-3 months ago!) and made a more educated guess, but I suppose that’s the fun part about tasting something blind – you just gotto be prepared to make a complete fool of yourself. The 2001 Lambrays was dancing, light and dainty on its steps, elegant and graceful. After the first flight of reds which had 2 Clos de Tart, I didn’t think the first glass (the Lambrays, CdT’s neighbour) was anywhere near Morey-St-Denis given the performance last night. But again, I was wrong.

The biggest surprise was Barthod’s Les Cras, one of my favourite producers and most loved wines in Burgundy. I’m ashamed to say that I did not recognize it at all. *MT bumping his head on the wall* I found the wine to be tight and closed, and quite ordinary, unlike its usual deadly seductive self.

I wolfed down the mains of iberico pork below after sampling all the wines. The ones on my plate were tender, moist and succulent but I’m afraid there was no consistency here as some other fellow diners were complaining about the chewy, dry and overcooked pork meat. I guess better stick to seafood next time? đŸ™‚

Iberico pork

the reds

Romanee St Vivant 2000 Nicolas PotelClos de Tart 2000Clos de Tart 2001One bad thing about dining at Absinthe is the somewhat dim lighting (and hence the quality of the pictures – well, they were taken using my iPhone and no flash too). But I guess if it’s too bright, the ambiance of the whole place would be completely different as well. I didn’t even bother checking the colour of the wines as it was an impossible task. So I relied heavily on my nose and olfactory senses on the brief tasting notes that I managed to jot down as quickly as I could.

1. Romanee St. Vivant 2000 Nicolas Potel
A little brett which dissipated pretty quickly, fresh dark cherries, indian spices; ripe juicy red cherries with a streak of silky tannin structure; medium to medium-plus acid and finish.

2. Clos de Tart 2000 Mommessin
Bretty (also vanished quickly), dried rosella flowers, slight reduction; concentrated briar fruits, strong ripe tannins, mocha, oak flavours; medium-plus acid and finish. Prominent tannic grip and an interesting spicy aftertaste.

3. Clos de Tart 2001 Mommmessin
Herbaceous tones, rose hips, fresh red flowers, slightly medicinal, incense; young, bright dark fruit flavours, a touch of greenness; medium-plus acid and finish.

I have tasted the same RSV (out from the same case) twice before this dinner. The first time I had it, it was really beautiful; the second encounter was a real flop – I wouldn’t hesitate to toss it down the drain. Yesterday night – a flower day, the wine performed really well. Could my last bad experience with the wine had any correlation to the fact that it was a root day (not advisable to drink wines)? I’m not sure. But it was definitely a consistent observation I have on various wines thus far.

I must thank SW for bringing both of the Clos de Tart. If you noticed, one of the CdT labels actually had its alcohol content written in Malay (he got quite a number of them at Penang Airport ages ago). Interestingly, they were only RM90+/ bottle in those days – such a stark difference to their current market prices don’t you think? Unbelievable. Personally I prefer the 2000 as it’s a lot more approachable at this point in time, and a lot less masculine and green compared to the 2001 vintage. The first word that came to mind when I tasted the 2001 was “Beaune?”. I am glad I didn’t blurt that out as it would be a big slap on SW’s face. Hahaha. (If you’re reading this SW, I’m truly sorry!) Anyway, we had the lobster with angle hair pasta and caviar for this flight of reds and it remained the most popular and perhaps, the most likeable dish for the night.

Damn, I should have asked for a second helping of this instead of trying the mains. And for the record, the lobster was delish with the reds. A wine-food pairing faux pas? Far from it.

Lobster with angel hair pasta and caviar