Sunday, November 24, 2013

Race one down

This week was particularly full of fine wines, which is the kind of week I like having.  Yes, I think all weeks should be fine wine heavy.  Let's start with Monday, shall we?
I saw a giant snail on my Monday run.  I've never seen a snail in Hong Kong before, muchless on a sidewalk on the side of the Chai Wan highway. 
Tuesday I had wine tasting class with JC.  But before I got there I stopped by my friend's wineshop, Key Wines, for a quick warm up tasting.   Adrienne was showing off a range of Cali wines; all of which were easy drinking and full of fruit.  I particularly enjoyed the Chardonnay (left) and PX she snuck me at the end.  Thanks, A!
At JCs we focused on red wines.  We began with 2 Pinot Noirs; one from Marlborough, NZ, and the other a 1er Xru from Domaine de Coural on the Cote d'Or.  Quite different with the latter much much more interesting.  Then we went on to a Chilean Carmenere, identifiable by its herbaceousness, Stag's Leap from Napa, a Penedes Tempranillo, and finally with my favorite; Dal Forna (uber famous in Veneto) Valpolicella DOC Ripasso 2006.  Amaazing, long, and full of dried fruit, chocolate, and deliciouness. 

Last weekend after I left Laura's they all went out.  Apparently Laura had an undiagnosed stress fracture that just got worse and worse as she danced in her heels all night.  It resulted in the above for the next 6 weeks!   Hong Kong is not a place you want to be in crutches, but more importantly Bali isn't.  Get better Laura!
This is THE apt.  Doesn't look like much in this pic, but it's amazing!!
 Wednesday was full of apartment hunting.  Paul and I have decided that we'd like to move before our wedding, hopefully so we'll have room for guests, so that means the hunt is on.  Wednesday wasn't promising, but we found 2 that we love.  One of which is lower than what we're paying now, but in Happy Valley which Paul isn't thrilled about.  The other we both totally love.  It's big with a big bedroom and great storage.  It's in the mid-levels close to all of our friends and where we always hang out.  It's furnished.  It has huge windows.  It has a HUGE private roofdeck with grill.  And it's a 4 floor walk up.  It's also $5,000 more per month than we're currently paying.  We put in an offer, much lower than their asking, and are hoping we can work something out.  Ohhhhh and it has an oven!
Thursday I went out for a lovely lunch with a new friend.  We had been email introduced over a year ago, and finally got around to getting a bite this week.  Catherine is lovely, super passionate about wine and travel, and just an overall cool lady.  I look forward to seeing her more!
Lunch was followed by Bonham's Auction.  Great auction of some really incredible wines and one day soon I will start building my collection.  From auctions, from collectors, from Ginsberg + Chan. 

And then it was time for Beaujolais Nouveau!  Every 3rd Thursday in November the winemaker of Beaujolais release their "Nouveau" wines to the masses.  These wines are made using carbonic maceration (google it) and are fruity, light, way too easy to drink, and not for keeping.  They have a bad rap these days as a bunch of crap infiltrated the markets after it's popularity.  But Court, Julia, Kass, and new friend Sarah and I went to La Cabane a Vin for their stock.
I've mentioned my love of La Cabane before, but it really is an incredible natural wine bar.  Alison and Alban were there to hook us up with some really tasty natural BN.  The above was the resounding favorite.  Way too easy to drink, and would be a perfect mate for Thanksgiving dinner.
Friday in the office Jay opened up some really interesting wines.  He'd been hearing a lot about David Leclapart recently, so we popped 2 to see what the fuss was about.  David is of the "natural" camp, using very limited sulphites, farming under biodynamic principals, foot stomping grapes, and aging the wines in old Burgundy (Leflaive) barrels.  Oh and he's based in Champagne. 
First up was L'Alchimiste.  I had written an offer for this last week and was surprised and intrigued when I found a review describing the Champer as full of "Sherry and iron."  And not in a good way.  I actually quite liked this, but I think I was the only one...for me it certainly expressed a lot of oxidative character-apple core, but heavier on cranberry, stawberry and yeast with a popcorn jelly belly finish.  Strange but oh so interesting.
Next was a still red (100% Pinot Noir).  This was definitely a cool climate pinot.  Earthy with some dried fruit flavors, the texture is what weirded me out here.  It was definitely "natural" and as such had a bit of a chalky texture.  I hated this when I first had it, but when I went back to it hours later at Quinn's it was quite good.  Laura even approved!
Finally to wash their mouths out, Jerry and Jay opened up a Francois Gerber Vosnee Romanee 09.  Ahh nothing like some Burgundy to refresh the palate!  Then twas off to see an apartment and go to Quinn's for Kristin's going away.
They're dropping like flies these days.  Emily left.  Steve left.  Charlie left.  Court and Patrick keep threatening to leave (they won't).  And now Kristen's going.  Boo. 
Saturday was my bi-weekly G+C tasting.  In honor of Thanksgiving we broke out some American beauties, all of which I hadn't tried before (likely because they're all $100usd+).   1. Robert Mondavi Cab Sauv 1986.  Still some fruit left- amazing!- but it faded pretty quickly.  2. Diamond Creek Rock Terrace 1995- my 2nd favorite of the bunch.  Great fruit, smooth, almost Barolo like on the nose.  3.  Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 1995. Interesting and full of fruit and tannin-this will keep going for a while.  4. Phelps Insignia 1997- my favorite.  This was big and chocolatey and what you expect from Napa. 5. Dominus 1996- also great with smoky cedar aromas, and some tea and alcohol on the palate.  Yum.
We had a good turn out, and at the very end Bernard showed up.  Bernard consigns some wines with us (which I finally learned that Bernard was that Bernard- he's so young!), and is a good friend of G+C.  He decided to open up a 1983 bottle of Dom.  Wow.  This was kind of leaking, so it was more of an experiment than anything, but WOW.  This was tending toward brown, totally funky on the nose.  "Oxidated apple core that's been sitting in the sun for a week" was my note. But on the palate it actually had some life left.  It was like drinking an Amontillado Sherry, and the funniest part was how much Paul loved it.  Paul's not a big bubbles fan (I think it's more in his head than based on actual experience) but he couldn't get enough of this.  I think he was as impressed as its age as by its taste.
As we were opening the 83 I expressed my excitement as I'd never tried Dom before.  Bernard didn't want me to be let down by my first Dom experience, so we opened a 1993, which is THE vintage to drink right now.  And oh.  Ohhhh ohhh ohhh how great it was.  Toasted almonds, vanilla custard filled brioche, walnut, baked apples.  This was crisp, refreshing, ablanced and totally creamy.  "Not so acid like other Chapmagne," says Paul.  And it is, it's just totally in balance so the acid doesn't stick out.  Thank you thank you, Bernard.  Cannot wait to we go out for a hotpot night!
Wine expert, Paul, assessed the color of the 83.  Brown.
Then we went and checked out our future apartment (please, please, please), and hit up Mr. Bing for a kimchi pancak.  Mr. Bing is awesome.  Bejing style pancakes (crepes) that you can get filled with kimchi, pork, duck...or just yummy delicious sauce.  So good and so cheap.
Then we head up to Sham Shui Po (aka nowhere Kowloon) for the Ovolo hotel.  We booked a night at this hotel in preparation for my 10k at Disney.  Disney is roughly 2 hours from Quarry Bay, and I'm pretty sure the race wouldn't have happened had I had to get up at 4:30am to get there.  The Ovolo was only a 20 minute cab, and more importantly was an awesome escape from HK.  Sham Shui Po is pretty industrial, so come nighttime there's not a soul in sight.  We walked into that hotel at 7pm not to exit til the morning. 
We showed up at 7 just in time for the last hour of happy hour.  An open bar of wine, beer, and liquor and then bar snacks like peanuts and chips until 8pm. Fantastic.  The room itself was very modern and nice with some decent movie channels in English- a rarity in Asia. 
post race sparkling water a la Ovolo
We got up at 6am, cabbed it to Disney and arrived right at 6:45 at which time I noticed I was in group 2 of the 10k race, not set to start til 7:50.  I didn't feel like waiting so I jumped into the "Challenge 10k" race which started at 7.  I'm telling you, this race was tough.  I had a coffee before running, and I think that was a poor choice.  By 5k I was in pain searching for a toilet, and by K8 I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it.  But I did, and I did alright too.  My goal was to come in less than 50 minutes, and I came in right at 50 minutes.  As much I was hating running during the race, I felt really fantastic afterward and proud of myself for not stopping.  And the best part was as I was coming down the final corridor I could see Paul on the left waving and cheering me on.  Every race I've ever done, I have done alone, and it was really encouraging to see a familiar face when I was pretty sure I was about to lose it all over the course.  Too much?
When I run alone I tend to stop and walk, or slow way down (generally 5:30 average pace), so I stepped it up here.  Ha- probably out of dire necessity.  Regardless, I have a bit of a break before my next 10k in February.  I may bandit run the 1/2...meh..probably not. 

We asked for a late check out, so went back to the hotel, hit up the breakfast bar and then went right back to bed.  Then lazed around watching BBC cooking shows.  Hotel getways are so necessary sometimes.  Nothing to distract me from TV...ahhh. Who has time for TV!?
It was so nice to get away for a night and just have some quiet time.  And I really can't speak more highly about the Ovolo hotel.  They really care about your experience there which is apparent throughout your entire stay.  Next time we're inviting friends and we're going to Aberdeen. 
We finally mini-bused it down to TST for a Japanese lunch where Paul discovered frozen beer.  Kirin utlized "Japanese technology" to create a beer with frozen head.  Changed Paul's life.  We hit the Island East Market for my girl Jomb's amazing cheesecake brownies and cookies and have popped some Argentinian bubbles (again- not Paul's choice) for a night of catching up on Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, and Homeland.  Sunday funday. 
Happy Thanksgiving week!





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