Brian's Birthday Surprise (Extra Space Boon Keng, Singapore): This was a big bruiser of a Champagne - not for the fainthearted. The nose had a savoury, oxidative twang to it, with rancio notes of preserved fruit peel and brown pears drizzled with a little honeyed accent. Quite nice if you like the style. In spite of having no dosage, the palate gave an appearance of sweetness on the attack, with a fleshy, fruity, almost caramelised apple tone on the attack, and a little sherry vinegar moreishness on the midpalate. Past that though, and the acid spine of the wine really comes out, pummelling its way into a super-dry finish. A quirky Champagne for sure. Not quite my thing, and tt probably needs a lot more time in the bottle too, but I must say that it was quite decent overall. It might have been better with some oily seafood as well - maybe a cod or salmon dish.
That is great zero dosage Pinot. Very brisky on the palate. Three years on lees, 20% reserve wine. Fairly round on the palate, maybe some odd pent up gas on the palate from the poor stopper. Not bad at $70 or so.
Farewell Dinner for Margaret & Kevin (Chez Patrick Restaurant, 2/F, Garden East, 222 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong): Lively white mousse. Light lemon gold colour. Nose is lemon curd and very dry white chalk with nuances of honeyed brioche in the background. Palate is bone dry, like Fino sherry, with hints of dried star anise on the mid palate and a bone dry finish like Tio Pepe sherry. Overall, austere and steely but but very elegant in a lean-boned way. The "no-dosage" dryness is probably too much to be appealing as an aperitif for most people: it needed the oiliness of the Salmon Rilette starter to really bring it out.
Four bottles consumed as an aperitif. Austere. Sharp and steely. Slightly oxidised. Less impressive than when drank previously (except for prior flawed bottles). This is a Ch. Musar of Champagne........ fanatically made but subject to huge bottle variation and to considerable volatility within each bottle.
Dinner with Greg and Sayo (Chez Patrick, Sun Street, Hong Kong): Yeasty nose of fresh-baked brown bread and crisp green apples. Palate of zesty lemon rind and sherbert lemons with a lovely minerally middle and a distinctly dry toasted white bread finish. Great length and a touch of resonance in the head.......beautifully attractive on the finish. Improved even more over food and as it warmed up a little. Excellent and very distinctive.
This house of Champagne and this Grande Reserve in particular converted me to zero dozage. So crisp and fresh, as some say, this is seeing the champagne naked as it was made without added sugar (zero-dosage) and what a beautiful body. Tiniest bubbles and very pleasant. Great as an aperitif, what else can I say, I would like this to be my new default Champagne.
Blind White Burgundy Dinner (Chez Patrick, Sun Street, Hong Kong): Steel-coloured. Masses of leisurely tiny pinprick bubbles. Tasting notes consistent with previously. This is seriously excellent zero-dosage Champagne and I enjoyed its crispness, freshness and precision better as an aperitif than the more expensive special Diane Claire cuvee, which needs food.
Drank with the owner, Alexandre Penet, to consider adding it to the wine list at Chez Patrick. Blended with 8 year old wines and only produced during great vintages. Attractive light straw colour. Nice precise and fresh doughy bread nose. The palate is complex and full bodied with an overtone of green apples in the mouth and a long minerally aftertone. Very good indeed and a wine to convert anyone to zero dosage Champagne.