I was in Hong Kong when N texted me that the Stockbroker was inviting me to a special dinner at Sala. He would take care of all the wine and he was quite excited because it was a blind tasting. After thinking of several themes/regions etc..he finally decided on this one.
As we go to Sala, Jojo and JayL were already there. As I sat down, I had in front of me 6 empty glasses. 4 red wine glasses with color coded stickers and a white wine glass and a Champagne flute. As I went to greet Chef Carlo, he immediately said: "no looking, no looking" since they were pouring the wines in the Decanters...so, as soon as The Doc arrived, they proceeded in serving is the bubbly: 1996 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame. Excellent bubbly that is available locally in PWX. With this we had the Amuse Bouche: Quail, Bacon and Sage Tortelloni on Mushroom Fricassè with Truffle Foam. It was a great dish and I remember Jay mentioning that this , if you added 2 more pieces, could perfectly be a first course already.
Next, we had the Trio of Corn and Sweet Shrimp Bisque, Sweet Shrimp Beignette with Corn Purée and Sweet Shrimp and Corn Salad. My favorite being the Beignette with the corn Puree. Chef Carlo explained to us how he did this (put the whole Corn in a juice blender and then added some vanilla and slowly thickened it)...perfect. With this dish, we had: 2003 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Folatières. A White Burgundy, I found it sweetish but I liked how it paired with our shrimp dish..
Then the reds were poured...this was a blind tasting so all the wine were in decanters with color coded stickers in the glass and in the decanter.
I'm really not an expert as all the others in the table, so based on what I could smell and taste, initially I liked the first wine the best... after a few minutes I started to like better the wine #2...Wine #3 was very full bodied and even the color stood out from the rest. Aroma was very potent with a very oaky smell. I decide that the order of the wines I liked were: 2,1,3,4. Below is the list of wines we had (after they had been revealed to us):
1.1996 JL Chave Hermitage
2.1996 Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon
3.1996 Penfolds Grange
4.1996 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Mouline
With the wine, our main course was: Sous-Vide Squab with Seared Foie Gras, Horseradish Potato Purée and Port Wine Jus and Roast Lamb Shortloin with Confit Shortrib, Baked Provençal Vegetables and Thyme Jus. Both being excellent dishes, my preferred one was the Confit Shortrib...so tender with a little crunchiness...delicious and a perfect pairing for the Northern Rhone wines we had.
For dessert, we had a cheese platter with a half bottle of: 2001 Chateau Rieussec. After D'Yquiem, Rieussec is probably the second largest, best known producer of Sauternes. For those who don't know, Sauternes is a French dessert wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence, due to its climate. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage. Wines from Sauternes, especially the Premier Cru Supérieur estate Château d'Yquem, can be very expensive, due largely to the very high cost of production (Taken from Wikepedia).
Again I'd like to thank Jojo for organizing the dinner and for the wonderful wines that he brought. It has given me the chance to broaden my wine horizon and try older wines which other wise I would have never been able to try. Thank you also to Chef Carlo for preparing the special menu for us, food was superb.