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Hokkaido Supper at Kat and Yuwen's

Kat and Yuwen's

Tasted December 23, 2014 by Paul S with 458 views

Introduction

Kat and family just got back from Hokkaido with a ton of Japanese food in two - uni, ikura, tako, kani, cheesecake, whisky, chocolates (Royce chocs made with Yamazaki 18 sherry cask, the "best whisky in the world" at that) - and she invited us over to have "supper". It was more like a feast! Great stuff, all washed down with a nice flight of blind wines, including two lovely old reds. A great way to start the festive season.

Flight 1 - WHITES (4 notes)

White - Sparkling
2006 Marguet Champagne Grand Cru Brut Millésimé France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
90 points
An interesting Champagne. Disgorged in the Autumn of 2011, so still very young, but already quite forward and pleasant. The nose was very expressive, with yeast and white fruit and a sweet and sour tang of apple cider. The palate was clearly dominated by Pinot Noir (no surprise given the Ambonnay Grand Cru sites), with a round, powerful depth and red fruited cherry and red apple flavours nestling alongside notes of white meat and mineral. This is certainly a Champagne built along fleshier, more powerful lines and richer tones built through an extended time on the lees. It was still decently balanced though, with a nice mousse and decent acidity keeping it honest. Oberall, pretty nice and with quite a bit of character on it, but you must like the style to fully enjoy this.
White - Fortified
N.V. Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota de Fino "Macharnudo Alto" Nº 18 Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
92 points
A bit simpler than what I am used to with these Equipo Navazos bottlings. Indeed, a bit less exciting than even the last bottle of No.18 I had a few years ago. Still though, this was a very nice wine that went beautiful with Uni (sea urchin) and Ikura (salmon roe). The nose was pure Fino, with saline notes of seashell and salty seabreeze, along with fig peels, lime zest and a whiff of sweet lemons, all traced by a hint of some stony mineral - lovely seaside smells I thought. The palate seems to have mellowed somewhat in the intervening years since the last bottle. It had a lovely round attack, with lemons shading into appley flavours, and then a lovely spicy midpalate laced with that saline, saltiness first picked up on the nose. There was decent complexity along with a nice sense of strength and effortless depth as the wine moved into a long, freshly balanced finish. Still very good, but about time to start drinking these up I think.
White
2002 Rene Rostaing Condrieu La Bonnette France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu
92 points
Somehow much better than the last bottle we had just a few weeks ago - this was very enjoyable indeed. It had that same richly expressive nose, with a complex melange of sweet cream and white peaches and pear, alongside chalk and lentils and spice, with floating notes jasmine flowers and something a little citrus running alongside. Lots going on here. Like the less bottle, the palate showed a good weight and richness, with its creamy texture and fleshy notes of white fruit laced with a floral sweetness. What set this apart for me though was a much more pronounced sense of freshness, which really helped to bring a balance and poise to the wine and made it a far better drink. It had nice complexity to it too, with tons of chalky mineral past the midpalate, and then a little saline note with limestone and chalk and just that drizzle of beeswax right at the finish. Very nice, and drinking quite well.
White
2005 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Bourgogne Blanc Clos du Château France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Blanc
90 points
I had quite forgotten having had this some two-and-a-half years ago. Served blind again, I was once again knocked over by this wine - it is a superb little Bourgogne, punching way above its class. It had a lovely nose of ripe apples and white peach, some chalky aromas, and nicely lifted spice and floral accents. Very nice and quite complex - certainly not a bouquet one would expect from a wine at this level. The palate was a lovely drink too. It had a nice white fruited depth edged by sweeter stone-fruit shades, an nice chalky mineral counterpoint and good, fresh finish with a blush of spice at the end, all held together with a nice freshness that was very surprising for a 2005 white. This was not super complex, but it was certainly not a simple, facile wine either. It has lost some of its sunny fruit that I liked so much in the last bottle, but there is still a lot to like here. Given the balance and feel of the wine, I do not think it is at any risk of going downhill soon either. A great Bourgogne Blanc, drinking nicely at the moment.

Flight 2 - REDS (2 notes)

Red
1969 Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
94 points
Beautiful. This is a testament to just how well a Rioja can age, even at non-reserve or gran reserve levels. It had a dropdead gorgeous nose, with those glowingly sweet, mellow tones that only beautifully matured wines have - red cherries and raspberries, flowers and earth, a layer of and chalk and spice - all fragrant and perfumed and seductive. Beautiful stuff. The palate was every bit as entrancing. It caressed the mouth in soft, melting tones, with absolutely silky tannins and a gentle freshness woven around beautiful mellow notes of red cherries and berries, orange peel and brambly herb, and just a little flush of warm spice as the wine moved into lovely finish with a gentle length to it. There was a just a tiniest bit of drying grip at that back-end perhaps suggesting that it is time to drink up. But this was just lovely - elegant, pure and perfectly integrated. It is a wine that I could drink bottle after bottle of.
Red
1971 Château Montrose France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
91 points
This had not gotten great reviews in the past, but served blind, I actually thought it was quite good. It had a lovely nose, with dried flowers and fragrant spice, sweet berries and cassis, all ringed with smoky tobacco and a kiss of green herbs. Very attractive. We must have gotten a well-kept bottle, because the palate was still super youthful, with fresh acidity and fine, powdery tannins still asserting a prickly presence amidst yummy flavours of cassis and blueberries resting on a bed of earth with just a touch of meatiness at the edges. It is certainly not the most complex of wines at this age, and I would probably describe as mid-weight rather than powerful, but there was still a nice depth and energy showing as the wine glided across the palate in a gentle yet insistent fashion. There was decent length on the finish as well, with shades of spice and bramble trailing of into just slightly drying territory. This would probably have been better 10 years ago, but our bottle was still holding up well and quite pleasurable indeed.
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