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Lunch with Pablo Alvarez

June 1, 2017
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Pablo knows how to slice a piggy too

One of the lasting memories of our trip to Spain last September was that outstanding lunch we had at Etxebarri that was so generously organised, and paid for, by Pablo Alvarez of Bodegas Vega Sicilia. So when we heard that Pablo would be dropping by Singapore again on a whistle stop, we took the opportunity to reciprocate with a luncheon at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, on 31 May 2017 that Dr Ngoi was only too happy to organise and sponsor. Naturally, with Pablo around, Vega Sicilia must be drunk. The wines were all generously supplied by Dr Ngoi, unless otherwise stated.

​Verve Cliquot Brut NV. Refreshingly full-bodied with aromas of white flowers, green fruits, lime and yellow citrus, displaying great body and presence with subtle acidity, not at all dry, finishing with sweet gentle intensity.

2014 Ch Chamirey Mercurey La Mission 1er monopole. Lifted floral fragrance, very full on the nose though distinctly medium-bodied on the palate with good concentration of fruit with well-defined creamy tones and chalky minerals. Yet to develop.

20170531_1310572014 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane (courtesy of CW), made from 100% viognier that produced its signature recessed tone of grassy elements and barley with a hint of paraffin, distinctly feminine and graceful, fleshing out with rounded acidity, great clarity and detail. Excellent.

1987 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva. Displaying quite a fair bit of evolution, this wine appears to have turned the corner compared with a previous tasting two years ago (also in Pablo’s presence at Nicolas), now much more attractive with a lovely bouquet of red fruits, dark berries, redcurrants and lifted camphor with very good presence and acidity on the palate, structured with sweet gentle tannins, though it receded somewhat into a shell of high-toned red plums after some time. Still very fine, but ought to be drunk.

2004 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva. Imbued with an abundance of dark cherries, blackberries and dark currants, fleshy on the palate, slightly tarry with lovely understated concentration, remarkably seamless, glowing with fine gentle intensity and finishing with further notes of dark chocolates. Still youthful, of course, and already superb but will be even better.

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1981 Ch Petit Village. My first experience with a claret of this vintage. Contrary to expectations, this “minnow” exuded a great lovely earthy pungency, medium-bodied and naturally mellow but still retaining good concentration of predominant red fruits and dark wild berries without any hint of dryness with further notes of mocha. Incredible as it may seem, but I think this wine is likely to hold for another few more years though it is just nice to drink up now.

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2004 Domaine Francois Lamarde La Grande Rue Grand Cru monopole. Good color with distinct aromas of menthol, icing, red fruits and dark plums, highly seamless and fleshy with understated concentration, displaying very fine acidity with lovely tension across the palate amidst traces of green and earthiness.

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Thank you Pablo, and thank you, Dr Ngoi.

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