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Slow Lunch with Dr Ngoi

January 2, 2019

These are notes from a slow lunch hosted by Dr S S Ngoi at his residence on 17 Nov 2018 to celebrate the completion of renovation works done to his wine cellar. We were invited on condition that we were forbidden to bring any of our own wines. Instead, each of us present was supposed to delve into his cellar and bring out a bottle that we fancy with the guarantee that it would be popped. Knowing the great man, I don’t have to spell out the treasures that abound within the cold walls. Nevertheless, we thought that we’d better still behave ourselves; there is no room for greed even within the bonds of great friendship. Javier Low of Il Den, who is fast becoming a home-grown celebrity chef in his own right, was called upon to mastermind the slow lunch which surpassed all expectations. We began at 1230h and did not end till after 2030h, by which time we’d all been properly hammered. Thank you very much, Dr Ngoi, for your kind generosity and friendship.

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1983 Dom Perignon. Deeply coloured, proffering a highly complex bouquet of pineapples dried apricot, honeyed toast and roasted almonds that led to a lovely depth and expanse of citrus fruit on the palate that, in spite of its distinctly mature signature, is still wonderfully fresh and vibrant with fine acidity, imparting a lovely firm steely minerally shine. Superb.

Krug Rosé Brut. Grapefruit and orangey citrus dominate amid dryish textures. Medium-full. Rounded and plump, displaying lovely intensity and linearity throughout its length.

2009 Domaine Roulot Meursault-Charmes. Shut on the nose. The palate is softly rounded, very gently layered with white floral tones and recessed chalky minerals and fruit. Took a long time to develop more of the limestone minerality of Meursault along with some floral aromas but still shy. Distinctly feminine.

2014 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Closed on the nose while white fruits dominate on the palate with white floral tones amidst a minerally shine, taking it’s time to develop further detail and intensity of wild flowers with mild chalky elements. Highly promising but going through an awkward phase now.

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1962 Vega Sicilia Unico. Still alive, exuding a gentle rosy fragrance amid overtones of paraffin and camphor with a predominance of red fruits and cherries on the palate, still so fresh and lively, finishing with lovely biting intensity. Excellent. What a privilege!

2011 Domaine Louis Jadot Saint-Aubin Les Murgers Dent des Chien 1er. Shy on the nose whilst the medium-bodied palate is imbued with cool ripe fruit with a hint of nutmeg and wild flowers, finishing with traces of white pepper and paraffin. Rather cautious and introverted.

2008 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Vosne-Romanee 1er Cuvee Duvault-Blochet. Evolved colour, exuding an effusive easy charm of red cherries and tangerines on both nose and palate, enhanced by smooth silky tannins and sublime acidity with lovely depth and feminine suppleness, gaining further weight and gentle intensity as it took on a subtle gunmetal minerality over time. Not the usual brooding dark intensity of Vosne-Romanee. Excellent.

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2007 Domaine Prieure-Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Dusky opague brownish red with an enticing fragrance of red fruits. Medium-bodied, softly rounded with a gentle fullness, displaying excellent presence with a deeper intensity of dark fruits over time.

1989 Ch Palmer. Evolved in colour with a vermillion rim, exuding a great earthy pungency. The palate is still rather fullish, open and fleshy with superb transparent textures amidst sublime acidity and intensity on a finely-grained dryish earthy floor. Still has an age ahead. Outstanding.

2016 Yamhill Pinot Noir. Deep purple. Closed on the nose though the palate is saturated with excellent concentration of ripe dark cherries with overtones of enamel and vanilla, very well-balanced.

2010 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Impenetrably dark, exuding smoky incense on a well-extracted palate rich in glorious ripe raspberries and dark currants on a cedary floor but neither jammy nor pruny.

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2006 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny. Fabulous bouquet of intense red fruits and red currants, highly aromatic. Medium-full. Rounded with earthy tones and evolved dark currants on the palate, displaying good linearity throughout its length.

2004 Ch Lascombes, poured from magnum. Dark with excellent concentration and dryish textures, fresh but somewhat reticent with subdued acidity although there is certainly some early development.

2015 Littorai Cerise Vineyard. Shut, with a darkish palatal tone of ripe raspberries and dark bitter cherries, showing good presence with understated acidity.

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2012 Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Beze Les Ouvrees Rodin Grand Cru. Forward balance of red and dark fruits, displaying an unusual complexity of toffee, mocha, bitter dark chocolate and black cherries on the nose and palate, imbued with brooding deep intense fullness cushioned by sophisticated silky velvety tannins, mellowing a little as it sat in the glass but this is far from ready.

2009 Domaine d’Arlot Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru. Lovely deep colour. Great attack of delicious dark fruits and currants with razor-sharp definition on the medium-full palate, appropriately darkish in tone with open intensity underscored by a deep ferrous streak. Still fresh and youthful. Very fine.

2011 The Mascot. Dark smooth sheen of dark currants, black fruits, cedar and cinnamon, superb in concentration and intensity yet open with excellent transparency and detail, structured with highly supple tannins. Great potential here. Made from the younger vines of BOND, Promontory and Harlan Estate, all of which are holdings belonging to Will Harlan, its inaugural vintage being the 2008.

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