Friday, September 27, 2013


Usagi blew in and out without much of anyone noticing.  The T8 signal was called off right before 10am which means this kid had to go into work.  Paul, however, lucked out with a day off! 
Post work Paul and Vanessa came and joined Simone and I for a private Japanese wine tasting. I met this guy James at a beer event a few weeks back where he told me he imported Japanese wines and sake.  I'd emailed back and forth and he invited me in for a tasting with his partner Kevin.  I invited Simone who incidentally knew Kevin and had been sourcing wines from him. Georgian wines.  It's a small little Hong Kong world we live in.
These guys import wines from let's say less conventional places.  The Japanese wines were all quite lovely.  Koshu is the local white variety.  Simple, light, and really perfect for sushi.  Then we tried Muscat Baily A, a hybrid, three ways.  1. Rose 2. Red wine 3. Fortified wine.  Super interesting to see how multifarious this grape can be.  Especially because it's a hybrid.
Then we went to Brickhouse, the cool taco place in town, for some tasty yet stupidly expensive tacos.   I miss big cheap Mexican.  Then back to real life on Tuesday.  Vanessa managed to get a flight, and also a cold.  Sorry, we hope you're feeling better!!! xo
Tuesday at work and Mandy and I went out to meet this chef and owner of Umami Concepts, this really hip "culinary management firm."  They are definitley not a private kitchen.  They will cook you dinner.  But it's definitely not a private kitchen....we're arranging some dinners over the next few months for some of our VIP customers.  The chef, Nolan, is clearly super passionate and talented.  This guy must be 30 and had already been the head chef for the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, which is a big deal. 
Anyway, back to the office and Jay and Jerry had opened some samples.  These (above) were some pretty run of the mill Tuscans.  We had a Chardonnay that was painful, read over ripe, over oaked, and over after one sip.  Then a Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva x 2, and a Vin Santo.  It's funny how much my palate has changed in just the few months with Gingberg + Chan.  I definitley tend toward the more restrained and complex. Fruit bombs, or even just simple wines seem like waste of time.  Perhaps this is why I like fortified wine so much.  You know it'll be good and at least a little complex with any kind of age on it.  
We all had a good laugh at these commercial wines, and then opened something interesting to wash our mouths out...ha ha what snobs we are.
This was a super interesting Pinot Nero from Alto Adige, Northern Italy.  In the glass it looked orange/brown, and on the nose smelled totally oxidised.  But on the palate it was wonderful.  Really interesting with layers of nuttiness.  What else can look old, smell old, and then taste totally unexpected?  Wine is so cool. 
Wednesday after work I hit up Wine Luxe's panel tasting.  Each issue this free local wine magazine has a professional and public tasting review of a set of wines.  October's theme is fortified wines.
Thomas debating which jug to try next.
I was invited to come taste as one of the 'public.'  You go down the line blind tasting the wines, then give them a score.  In reality it was super windy, people are busy chatting, and you're not too concerned with the wines because none of them were very good. 
There was a 10 year tawny port that was clearly the best of the bunch, but what really intrigued me was this guy above.  Ginger wine!  It was straight up like drinking ginger candy.  Strange indeed, and I was told this is a very Chinese kind of thing.  I was one of like 4 guillos there, and definitley one of like 2 people that was actually scoring the wines.  I now have zero faith in the panel tasting scores...
The noodles are underneath and cook in the sauce
Then I went home and made skillet lasagana.  Much faster than reg lasagna, and twas pretty tasty too. 
Wednesday night was Sherry night!  Mandy, Jay and I went to WSET's Sherry tasting led by Mr. Selena of the Consejo Regulador.  This master class was amazing and I so wish that I had it before my fortified wine test last June.  Selena was super knowledgable about all facets of Sherry, conveyed it in a really clear concise manner, and then we got to try 3 dry and 3 sweet Sherries.  Fino, Amontillo (my fav), Olorroso for the dry.  And then a Medium Cream, a Cream (Harvey's Bristol which is making a comeback), and a super luscious and delicious PX from Valdespino. 
I LOVE Sherry.  There seriously is no better drink anywhere in the world.  If you don't love Sherry, go out and buy a bottle of dry Olorroso, or better yet Palo Cortado, and sit and marinate with it for several hours.  Then tell me this isn't the most interesting and dynamic wine out there.  My god it's good. 
 Thursday was wine fair day.  First I hit up the Alsace Fair where 20 or so importers showed off their Alsatian best.  Sino Vantage definitely had the best selection that I tried, and I especially enjoyed their Pinot Gris. 

I could drink Cremant d'Alsace and Pinot Gris all day long.  It was good to see so many wine buddies in one place, and I am continually meeting people who are super impressed by my new wine list.  Thank you G+C.
Then over to the Spanish fair with Jon and Bill where we met Simone.  It was weird, the Spanish fair was dead during the trade portion. We were like 3 of 5 people there.  It's weird because it was fantastic.  There was sIberco ham, Manchengo, Sherry, paella (which was really a mushroom risotto- good nonetheless), Rioja/other Spanish wines, and even some Brandy.  Twas lovely indeed.

My buddy Gary

It was nice as we had total free reign of the place.  Some snacks and some wine later and twas time to call it a night.
Cheese and ham
And the party continued Friday.  I'm telling you, wine season is upon us.  

Friday afternoon was Ms. Julia's (previously of HOFWs) event with Telford.  It was a tasting of their wines and also a Master Class and luncheon with James Halliday, who is the most famous wine critic in Australia.  The tasting was great, my personal favorites hailing from Chile and Italy, and the networking even better.

Couldn't stay too late as I had a wine dinner to attend....more on that next time.

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