Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Champers, Dinners, Ukrainian Sweets, and Typhoons

Last week I got together with some of my diploma mates for an afternoon of sparkling wines.  I believe this is how every sunny summer afternoon should be spent.  Bubbles.  Bubbles.  Bubbles. 

Kat and Thomas
Simone was generous enough to offer up her amazing American-style flat for the tasting.  We were joined by Massimo who briefly introduced his Lambruscos, then by Kat, Thomas, Angel and Andy. 
Lambrusco 1, 2, and Shiraz
We began with a flight of sparkling reds; 2 Lambruscos and a sparkling Shiraz from Oz.  One of the Lambruscos was really interesting.  When I think Lambrusco, I think semi-chilled, red, fizzy, fruity and easy.  This, however, was a salmony pink color.  This was a "Premium" Sorbara, which means it is made from Sorbara which is a very high quality Lambrusco grape, but super difficult to grow which means there is a constant shortage.  The other Lambrusco grapes are: Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Montericco, and Lambrusco Salamino.
Angel, Andy, and Simone

Did you know?

In the 1960s and 70s Lambrusco was the #1 selling imported wine in the US.  Who'd a thought?
For our next flight we moved into wines that we suspected were made in the 'tank' method; same way Prosecco is made.  1. Sparkling Pinot Grigio from Italy.  2. Trapick Extra Brut which was an interesting blend of Chardonnay, Semillon, and Malbec. 
Flight 3- 2 Cavas
Flight 4- Cremant and Champagnes! 

The Cremant was made from a blend of Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, and 1% Chardonnay
Champagne #1- Mailly Brut Reserve Grand Cru- 100% Pinot Noir.  Very Good
Champagne #2- Gaston Chiquet- Grower Champagne, 45% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir
Champagne #3- RC Lemaire (HOFWs!)- Grower Champagne, 100% Pinot Meunier

and finally a LOVELY vintage Champer
12 bottles, 6 people
Victory Henri Mandois 1996 which was full of burnt toast, guava, golden delicious apples, hints of cinnamon, baked apple core, walnut, marzipan.  It was a lovely finish to a really wonderful tasting. 

Post bubbles I had to run out and over to TST for more bubbles at the Pacific Club (members only nbd).  'The Wine Guy,' my friend Dean, had invited us along on what turned out to be a really spectacular night of food, friends, and of course, wine. 

Duck breast risotto
Blue cheese tart, salmon, crayfish, and salad starter, saffron seafood soup, duck breast risotto which is one of the best things I've eaten in a long time first course, followed by a snapper main for me and lamb for paul, with a cheese course, and all wrapped up with a lovely fruit parfait.  And wines to match each course.  Well done, Dean, well done indeed. 


We also decided after hanging out with Dean's Aussie friends that we need to build a boat.  HK people without kids who don't want to spend ridiculous amounts of money for a tiny island space, build boats.  No joke!  After said boat is built, you dock it up in DB, and despite the 'baby and dog' location, the boat people just hang out on their decks, grill, drink wine, and hang.  Sounds good to us!

Hat party for Daria
Saturday we went to baby Daria's 1 year birthday party where Prosecco and Pimm's cups were served, and Sunday we grilled at Kina's under the blazing hot, finally sunny sun.  Ribs, salads, burgers, sausages, SUN, pool, friends.  Perfect. 
New BBQ patio at Casa Bella.  Nina, Josh's back, Kenny, Jeff
Last night Paul and I met Julia and Simone and Ali at a tasting of all Ukrainian wines from Modern Wine Cellar.  I didn't have many expectations, specifically because I didn't realize the Ukraine made wine, but I guess who doesn't make wines these day?  New Jersey does.  Hell, Hong Kong does.  I digress.  The wines were all very interesting and palatable.  We started with a dry red made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Saperavi & Morastel.
Ukrainian wines
Then a sweet pink muscat and a white muscat, both of which were fortified, followed by a 13%abv muscat that wasn't fortified.  This was clearly the best of the bunch as it was the most balanced between sugar and acidity.  We finished off with a sweet blend of Magaratch Bastardo and Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was alright, but a bit too sweet for the amount of acidity present. 

Modern Wine Cellar did a stellar job presenting the wines and had a cheese and meat plate, which I think is always a nice touch.  It was a nice way to end a rainy Tuesday. 

Rain turned into typhoon, and Wednesday morning a T8 was declared.  Typhoon day!  I've only been working 2 days at Ginsberg + Chan, which have been wonderful, and I already have a day off.  Strange/I could get used to this schedule.  Paul and I have spent the day catching up on Skype, emails, blog (finally), and baking pumpkin cookies in our bathroom.  True story.

Bathroom baking at its finest













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