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Dinner with Li-Wei

September 16, 2009

This was a highly-anticipated dinner, planned several weeks ahead, with Vic and Ed at Imperial Treasure Great World City, to welcome LW to Singapore. The wines, an unlikely line-up, exceeded all expectations.

Great company!We began with a 2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, which I retrieved from my cellar early this morning, after having run out of options. I needn’t have worried. Pale straw colored, its bouquet leapt out of the glass from the word go. Lovely scents of perfume and white flowers in full bloom, broad and expansive on the palate, great depth, quite complex, not too much of the ubiquitous minerality one finds in most whites, eventually developing a nutty, buttery texture. Rich, full, and long. Simply excellent. By far the best chardonnay I’ve had from Leeuwin. Better than the bottle I had over dinner at Leeuwin Estate itself last June. In fact, it’s one of the best chardonnays I’ve had anytime. Superb. 

The 1996 Ch Calon Segur that followed was equally outstanding. A dark but evolved red, with the slightly dank nose of a mature claret. Wonderful entry, soft, very mellow, very harmonious, very open. Great body, the cool ripe fruit tickling the palate with complex tertiary flavours, finishing very gently with non-existent tannins. Has the feel of an aged mid-80s Bordeaux, rather than a 1996. Excellent depth, but less powerful than a comparable ’96 from, perhaps, Pauillac or St Julien. Totally different from a previous bottle tasted 4 years ago, also at Imperial Treasure, where it was still showing its tough and gravelly St Estephe character. However, the bottle this evening had evolved so far that there was no way of telling that this is a St Estephe, only that it is a wonderful wine, drinking beautifully. Having had the 1995 and now the 1996, I have developed a new-found respect for Ch Calon Segur. It’s a St Estephe that develops quicker than, say, Montrose or Cos D’Estournel, yet imbued with its own personality. Really wonderful stuff. Two bottles left.

The next two dessert wines were really interesting. LW had brought back a 2006 Ch Haut Garrigue Premier Or, from the region of Saussignac, made by a South African couple Sean and Caroline Feely who’d moved to Bordeaux, whom LW had spent some time with at their vineyard. Light golden in color. The initial impression was a lighter-styled Sauternes, full of finesse and notes of barley, with just the right touch of sweetness. It rapidly gained weight in the glass, becoming very full, with the fresh acidity bursting through, turning even sweeter, yet never coying, developing notes of glue, and emulsion (from Ed, I agree!). Throughout, the note of new oak was quite prominent, but never obtrusive. Very unique. I liked it.

Next to it, the 2007 Krebs-Grode Eimsheimer Sonnenhang Riesling Einswein (Vic), showing a heavy shade of orange, exhibited intense notes of apricot, nectar and honey, with loads of fresh acidity. Quite the perfect way to end the night. At only 18 Euros, I’d better look out for it at Frankfurt duty-free when I’m there next week!!

 Lovely wines


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