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A simple dinner

November 24, 2009

As I was faced with a most unpleasant week ahead, I decided the only solution was to make sure I ate and drank well. Happily, the usual suspects happened to be in the same boat, and so we adjourned right after a bad Monday to Imperial Treasure T3 for dinner. What was supposed to be a simple affair, predictably, turned out to be somewhat more elaborate, but no one’s complaining.

We started off nicely with a 2004 Jean-Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet “Blanchot-Dessus” 1er Cru (courtesy K). Light clear golden, it was immediately deep and complex on the nose, dominated by chalky, flinty minerals rather than outright citrus notes. It gave the impression of a very “clean” wine, complete with a strong scent of “Dettol”, which added, rather than detract, to its aristocratic aura. A rich, buttery, creamy note took over after some time, the wine continuing to show good intensity with great concentration and excellent focus right till the end. Quite superb, and obviously a great match with the buttered lobster, oysters and the obligatory century egg (nicely rich and runny).

The 2004 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, decanted for an hour, proved to be the perfect red to follow on. The initial nose that emerged from the beautiful deep ruby red seemed rather restrained to me, but it quickly opened up to reveal loads of red cherries and raspberries, deeply-layered with the right degree of fullness and intensity. It developed further complexity with time, taking on a “san-cha-like” coating with a trace of liqourice, developing even deeper fragrance, giving off intense notes of sweet cherries and strawberries with a persistent finish, yet remaining refined and elegant throughout with effortless grace. An excellent burgundy, and would be quite sublime, I’d imagine, if given several more years in bottle.

Unfortunately, the same couldn’t really be said of the final red, courtesy of David, a 2005 Kay Brothers Block 6 shiraz. A very deep, impenetrable red, revealing a highly-extracted wine of unctuous quality with a whacking dose of alcoholic heat, monster raisins, and liquorice in a disjointed heap, ending in a medicinal finish. Sure, it was smooth and svelte in places, but it proved difficult to drink, delivering a massive knock-out to the palate with the first sip. It reminded me of my visit to its cellar door at McLaren Vale in 2004, where I remembered the 2001 Amery Hillside shiraz tasted similarly bold and bruising. I was informed by K that the 2002 vintage of the Block 6 is altogether different, but I think I’ll still leave my 4 bottles of that alone for a few more years, at least.

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