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From the New World

April 5, 2012

These are just some random tasting notes when I visited New York and Boston last week…

2008 Domaine Serene Yamhill Williamette Pinot Noir, off the restaurant list (courtesy Kieron) of the Loeb Boathouse within Central Park, 28 March 2012. Popped and poured. Darker and heavier than usual for pinot, as expected from this Oregon source, dominated by notes of raspberry and red cherries, powerful and a touch too assertive and sharp without settling down, way too straightforward, not developing any further. Needs more bottle time, probably.

2010 Cobblestone, a chardonnay from Monterey County, at Carnegie Hall, 28 March 2012. Flinty with a fair bit of green notes, slightly steely at the finish with a touch of smoke, unable to hide the fact that it’s a straightforward wine.

2006 Robert Mondavi cabernet sauvignon, a half bottle at USD32 off the restaurant list of the world famous Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn, 29 March 2012. It’s basically nothing more than an old-styled German beer hall with wooden tables and chairs. Yes, the steak is truly excellent, as is the gigantic steamed broccoli, but I suspect what prevented it from getting more than one Michelin star is the curt and perfunctory service from career waiters, the miserable stemware, the brash American way of wine service, and the presence of salt and pepper dispensers on each table. Fine dining it certainly isn’t and oh…bring plenty of cash because plastic ain’t accepted at all. How about the wine? Surprisingly, it turned out to be quite excellent. Deep in color with attractive notes of red and black currants, cedar, violets, fleshy and medium-full, framed by supple tannins with eventual notes of dark chocolate appearing. A great accompaniment to my only meal for the day. Highly satisfying.

Louis Roderer Premier Brut NV, ridiculously expensive at USD19 and served in a plastic flute (which I deem as an unacceptable practice) at the Metropolitan Opera, 29 March 2012. At this price, you’d expect it to perform, but it was one-dimensional with an overload of lime and cutting citrus, far too dry for my taste, lacking in depth and character. Disappointing.

2007 Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne-Romanee, a 250ml carafe at db Bistro Moderne, 30 March 2012. Rose-scented, highly fragrant with notes of red cherries and ripe strawberries, very good concentration without the heaviness, slightly salty in the middle. Lovely balance. Drinking well, a wine that defies the negativity surrounding this vintage. Perfect lunch accompaniment with the db Original Classic burger, which tastes a lot better (fresher and juicier) than its reincarnation in Singapore.

Robert Dumont Solera Reserve Brut NV, 30 March 2012, at The Lincoln Ristorante, a classy new establishment at Lincoln Center. Pricey at USD24 a glass, but it’s worth every dime. Made in a solera fashion comprising 20 vintages, this champagne has great body and depth, wonderfully complex, yet open and transparent, capturing one’s attention with its complex citrus, pomelo, toast and a dash of smoke supported by fine crystalline minerality, tapering to a tangy gripping finish that lasts and lasts. A most astute recommendation by the sommelier, Bryan Burnett.

1999 Roagna la Rocca e la Pira, a half bottle at USD100 at The Lincoln Ristorante, 30 March 2012. Decanted on site, displaying a rose-tinted red. This single vineyard Barolo from Piedmonte is already incredibly complex at the first pour, rose-scented with an utterly seamless blend of red fruits, dash of plum, earth, leather and cinnamon, medium-bodied with lovely depth, concentration and purity of fruit, ensuring superb definition with just a slight spicy accentuation at the close. Very very lovely. The perfect prelude to an evening with the New York Philharmonic.

2010 Canyon Road cabernet sauvignon, as an aperitif at Union Oyster House, Boston, 01 April 2012. Dominated by undergrowth and other green notes amidst musty tannins. Forgettable.

2011 Whitehaven sauvignon blanc, over fresh oysters, scallops and pan-seared haddock whilst seated at President John F Kennedy’s favorite booth at Union Oyster House, 01 April 2012. As expected, quite an abundance of limey citrus and stony minerality laced with cutting acidity, fresh and vibrant, taking on a creamy coat after some time, tapering towards an austere finish. Most reasonable at USD34 off the wine list. Good stuff.

The above is, by no means, a complete representation of my time in the Big Apple…watch out for my experiences at Per Se, Picholine, Marea and Eleven Madison Park, all within a space of less than 48 hours.

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