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Lunch with Pablo Alvarez at Garibaldi

March 8, 2018

It is always a big thing for us whenever Pablo Alvarez of Bodegas Vega Sicilia steps into Singapore. The big man hardly says much during meals, even with friends and close acquaintances, but it is clear that this is a man with a big heart. Who else would go to the extent of arranging lunch for you at Etxebarri (normally impossible to obtain), supply all the wines to go with your lunch (including a 2005 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru) and paying for lunch as well without himself being there?? Therefore, whenever Pablo arrives on our shores, Dr Ngoi makes it a point to push the boat out and spend time with a dear friend. Fresh off the plane from London on 25 Feb 2018, Pablo was ushered to Garibaldi for lunch, where Roberto had specially customised a menu loaded with caviar to go with all the wine brought by Dr Ngoi, including a pair of 1996 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru generously contributed by Simon Cheong. For once, we did not drink any Vega Sicilia in the presence of Pablo. Sometimes, the man himself needs a break. What a lovely way to spend a glorious long Sunday afternoon.


2004 Dom Perignon. Gentle creamy textures, lime and green melons dominate on the full palate, excellent in concentration, weight and intensity with superb detail and fine bubbles, delicious with understated acidity. One could go on sipping flute after flute.

2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Saint-Aubin Les Murgers des Dent de Chien 1er. Shut initially on the nose though the palate is suffused with mild salinity from the dominant minerally  tone amidst sophisticated creamy textures, quite excellent in concentration, eventually developing a cool glowing icy tone with good linearity all the way to its lengthy finish. Huge uncoiled potential.

2009 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’enfant Jesus 1er. Compared with a previous tasting last year, this wine appears slightly heavier in tint with a darker tone of dark roses and currants though its aromas are still undeniably lovely with a feminine attractiveness, displaying good concentration and purity on the palate with an even tone.

2009 Domaine Francois Larmande La Grand Rue Grand Cru. One of nine monopole grand cru of all Burgundy, this wine displayed a darker pinot tint, imbued with a weighty tone of fresh red fruits and dark cherries that exudes a great floral fragrance, layered with gorgeous acidity and early nuances with a mild earthy tone, its excellent concentration of fruit framed by supple tannins. Almost sublime.


2001 Domaine d’Auvenay (Lalou Bize Leroy) Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers, courtesy of Ellen Wu. Rather deep in colour and tone, displaying some emerging complexity at this stage with exotic tonal flavours and notes of nutmeg, rich in layering supported by stony minerals but lacking in structure. Very fine, nonetheless.

2011 Domaine Prieure-Roch Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots PURE 1er, poured from magnum that had been aired in bottle overnight. Showing an opague dusty red, this wine displays good complexity of dark plums and dark rose petals amidst earthy tones and gentle saline minerals that is almost rustic in its unadulterated reflection of terroir, seamlessly integrated between its excellent tonal presence and understated acidity, just a tad short. A true connoisseur’s wine, Prieure-Roch may be off-putting to those who are new to Yannick Champ’s uncompromising approach. Excellent.

1996 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru, courtesy of Simon Cheong, poured from a pair. Well evolved in colour, this wine exudes a powerful glow of aged red fruits, plums and currants with a deep core of tangerines amidst a great swathe of classic saline minerality with excellent concentration of fruit on the palate, brimming with gentle exuberance while its seamless acidity imparted great suppleness and freshness to its understated structure, finishing with minty overtones. Wonderful, and will hold for many more years. Thanks, Simon!!

2010 Ch Rieussec. Quiet tones of nectarine and apricot on the nose, quite placid on the palate with lovely glow and excellent presence, highly subtle in its nuances, finishing with an attractive afterglow that lingered. Excellent.



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