White Truffle Dinner

Chez Patrick Sun Street, Hong Kong
Tasted Thursday, November 6, 2008 by Goldstone with 281 views

Introduction

The band of five of us from last year at Toscana - Runny, Jason, Greg, Daniel and me - couldn't keep a good thing to ourselves so we were able to get Harold, Roy and Frenchy to join us this year. We thought we had achieved an impossibly high standard of wine last year and weren't particularly trying to match it but somehow we did. With Toscana being closed for relocation, we asked Patrick to step into the breach and he sourced us the most beautiful fresh and ripe white truffle from Italy which he matched with a light but stunning menu which blew everyone away and took our admiration of his cooking to new heights. Patrick may be French but Chef Bombana at Toscana now has serious competition when it come to white truffle!

On the wine, if we made one error it was not to organize earlier decanting: the maximum any wine had been decanted was 3 hours.

Thanks to everyone for digging so unselfishly into their cellars.

Flight 1 (1 Note)

  • NV Gosset Champagne Brut Grande Réserve 89 Points

    France, Champagne

    Nice light straw colour with good mousse and attractively small and persistent bubbles. Nicely toasty nose and good balance of fresh acidity, warm toast and hints of nuttiness on the palate. Good clean and dry finish.

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Flight 2 (1 Note)

Moving on to the first red wine, this was the oldest and lightest wine of the night. I would class it as an intellectual rather than hedonistic wine..... most others didn't mark it as highly as I did and thought I was talking crap.

  • 1975 Château L'Evangile 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Still a very dark red and relatively youthful looking colour. On the nose it is initially dry wood and burnt rubber with very pleasant elements of fresh mint and roasted herbs emerging. On the palate it is a bit thin and all dry powdery tannins but enormously elegant and with lovely multi-dimensional depth of slightly whisp-ish flavours. Like a woman wearing talcum powder rather than perfume. Quite ethereal, with some "in your head" resonances amid huge length. This could have done with much longer decanting and was also rather unfairly overshadowed by the fruit-driven and brawny 1982 Lynch Bages that followed hard on its heels. It rather passed most people by. I liked it but was biased by the fact that I had brought it.

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Flight 3 (3 Notes)

Next was a great 3-way comparison of wines at their full force. This flight was the hardest to choose in terms of the order to serve it. I think we chose right in putting the Ch. L'Evangile ahead of these but I think it would have shown a lot better if we had placed the Pichon '79 next and not the very forceful Lynch Bages '82.

  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Deep purple colour, translucent with no bricking. A "wow!" nose of warm cedar forests, graphite, a bit of cigar box and hints of newly sharpened pencils. Extremely rich and deep, purity of fruit, some black liquorice, pronounced sweetness, and incredibly round and integrated oak and acidity. Very impressive indeed. Good length. Noticeably higher acidity than the 1982 Pichon.

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  • 1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Deep red, nearly transparent colour but with no bricking. A fantastic elegant and poised nose of multi-layered and changing elements of cassis, ripe plums and smoke from an old temple: a class or two above the impressive Lynch Bages 1982....elegance being the separator. Huuuge depth on the palate, which has loads of coffee, caramel, sweetness and intensity, with a touch of Turkish Delight and incense. Extremely well integrated and balanced. An incredible length and very big "in your head" sensations which roll on and on. This is a wine of kings.

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  • 1979 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Transparent reddish colour and noticeably bricking. A lovely nose of classic old Pauillac, rich in tertiary character best described as old compost heap. Mouthfilling on the palate with great cassis fruit, cedar woods vanilla which opened up a lot as the evening went on, although it had less depth and more prominent acidity than its 1982 sibling. Good length with distinct "in your head" sensations. An intellectual rather than hedonistic wine, whereas the 1982 is both.

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Flight 4 (2 Notes)

What followed was an intriguing comparison of almost indisputably "Best of '86 Old World" vs "Best of '86 New World".

  • 1986 Château Haut-Brion 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Translucent lightening red colour. Slight funk on the nose initially which blew off to reveal lovely old polished saddle leather, graphite and compost heap of an intensity which created " in the head" sensations of length even before the wine reached my mouth. The nose went unbelievably multi-layered after a few hours in the glass. Initially a slightly disappointing front palate but with lots of liquorice, red and black fruits and distinctive smoke on the back end. It just kept unfurling into something intensely hedonistic, very deep and complex. Huuuge length.....quite mid-expandingly so. This is transcendental and ethereal stuff.

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  • 1986 Penfolds Grange 96 Points

    Australia, South Australia

    Black inpenetrable colour. Bang! - the nose is an explosion of pure cassis, syrupy blackberries and glycerin. Lovely! An unctious, mouthfilling, sweet rooling thunder of complexity on the palate........tar, pine forests, burned caramel and tons of sweet black and red fruits balanced by oak and acidity. Enormous length that took you to a place somewhere far off.

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Flight 5 (3 Notes)

Next could be sunmmarised as, basically, a text-book case of keep any of these wines for many more years.

  • 1993 Penfolds Grange 93 Points

    Australia, South Australia

    Black, black inpenetrable colour. Nose of new black bicycle tyres and warming tar roads in spring, with just a touch of hard black fruits starting to show through. Likewise, it is all very primary on the palate but very, very deep and pure indeed. It will be incredible when it grows up but it needs at least 10 years, I think.

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  • 1990 Dominus Estate 92 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Very dark but translucent red colour suggesting still considerable youth. A to die for nose which is hugely complex. The palate is rich and multi-dimensional in fruit and with attractive hints of pine needles and earth. Oaked but not too so. Elegant and poised. Good length with some "in the head" sensations. Clearly has years ahead of it to unfold and show its full qualities.

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  • 1996 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor Grown 89 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Very deep and dark but translucent red. it has an "in your face" saddle leather nose with red light fruits but needs lots of swirling to fail to get anything else and is disappointingly one-dimensional. One the palate it is pure, balanced and very fruity and big with lots of toasty new oak still evident Rich and heavy. Too much "glycerine". Some length and "in the head" sensations on the long finish but again all in a rather one-dimensional way. It was definitely outclassed tonight.

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Flight 6 (2 Notes)

What followed was a lovely way to end an evening.

  • 1994 Château d'Yquem 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Deep golden colour. Lovely nose of lychees, ripe pineapple and star anise. A nicely balanced, medium weight palate of grapefruit and pomelo with a touch of creme brulee. Quite rich. We had two bottles and there was considerable variation in intensity between the two, which we largely concurred was cork taint which never quite left the affected bottle. The score is an average of the two bottles and judging the poorer bottle on how it finally showed.

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  • 1996 Château d'Yquem 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Light gold colour. Restrained nose of warm hazelnuts, creme brulee and vanilla with emergent hints of honey and burnt orange marmalade. Gorgeous on the palate- it is incredibly well made and promises a lot for the future. I have never drank a reticent D'Yquem before.............but I'd love to try this again in a few more years.

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Closing

Interestingly, the compromise of spreading each bottle across 8 people was out-balanced by the fun of so many pairings achievable on one night ( '82 Lynch Bages vs '82 Pichon, '82 Pichon vs '79 Pichon, '86 Haut Brion vs '86 Grange, "86 Grange vs '93 Grange, '90 Dominus vs '96 Bryant Family and two ''94 D'Yquem vs each other vs D'Yquem '96).

Erm, what to do next year............

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