Friday, February 21, 2014

Another Week Revolving Around Wine

Dear Diary,

Sunday evening Paul and I met Csilla and Ian and Simone and Mark for a wonderful dinner at 121BC, a natural wine bar.  I went in a few weeks ago to meet the Somm and have been looking for an excuse to go back ever since.  It had great (although small) Italian bites and amazing wines. 

Simone and I shared a carafe of an orange wine (white wine made in the same way as red wine- on the skins- so it has tannin and really cool texture) and then we had an incredible bottle of Etna Rosso above, and a third bottle of Amarone.  All of the wines they do are natural, meaning the only ingredients in the wine are grapes and a touch of SO2.  Most wine contain anything from enzymes to egg to fish guts (hey, the blog name!), so less hangover and must fresher taste.  If you haven't been, go in for a glass of the Zabibo- the orange wine.  It's cool.
Tuesday I met Alison, Kim, and Ferorsa for natural French wines.  La Cabane a Vin hosted- well Alison hosted- a Mediterranean tasting of some Corsican and S. France wines, and there was cheese and ham and gluten free brownies. Above.

The wines were all really great, and again, no hangover.  You've gotta get on this natural wine bandwagon.  It's a beautiful thing.

 Wednesday was Volnay (an appellation in the Cote de Beaune, Burgundy) dinner at La Parole.  This was the fourth and final installment of Burgundy dinners hosted by Michael, and it was absolutely divine.
Pan fried foie gras with chestnuts.  This is why I run- heaven!
 I remember the first dinner Ian, my WSET 3 teacher, invited me along to.  One, it was the first time I met Simone who is now a dear dear friend, but two, I remember sitting there like what the hell are these people talking.  I had no idea about Burgundy, had very limited experience even tasting wine, and was sitting at a table surrounded by some of Hong Kong's most respected wine authorities. 
 But now, a year later, I can totally hack it!  Not only do I know what everyone's talking about, but I have an opinion and experience with the wines, regions, producers, and vintages.   I had tried a couple of the whites from Henri Boillot, above, at a G+C tasting and wasn't hugely impressed, but I really enjoyed both of the reds we had at dinner. 
Simone, waiter, James of Altaya, and Roland who is studying for his MW
Volnay is a lovely appellation with light, floral, yet concentrated reds.  Great stuff, and not as expensive as their Cote de Nuits counterparts, Chambolle Musigny namely.
Cod with purple mashed sweet potatoes
 And the food at La Parole is awesome.  Solid French food for a great price and no corkage.  Get better.
 We spend hours going through two flights of 5 wines, dissecting each to determine the vintage and level- village or 1er cru.  I got the vintages right for a lot of them.  2009 was a super ripe vintage, as such is approachable now (top Burgundy usually needs 10+ years cellaring to open up), and is full fruit and would have lower acid.  2011 was a good vintage but would be pretty tight right now. 
 The 03s and older were everyone's favorites.  2003 was also a great, sunny, ripe vintage, and second only to 2005.  The naughties were a good run in Burgundy...and everywhere really.
 And oh my god the bread pudding.  The fruit sorbet in the middle was confusing and necessary, but that doughy delicious bread and chocolate was the thing of dreams.  Of dreams!
 Thursday was wine class with JC.  This is the first installment post holiday and it was awesome to get back at it.  Theme: Natural Italian Wines.  We tasted 4 whites as presented by Giogio, co-owner of 121BC.  They were a bit funky, but the Campania Fiano was awesome
 . Then Olek came and presented four of his wines; Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo DOC, and Barbaresco DOCG.  We then compare them to a traditionally made Barbaresco.  Smelling them side by side was enlightening.  You could actually smell the chemicals and lack of freshness in the other wine, but will still a great wine..  The natural wines were all so fresh and rip and absolutely delicious. 
 Giogio doing a little QC.  And the cool thing is that I found out JC nominated me to be eligible for the trip to VinItaly!  AND JC, Olek, and Giorgio will all be there too!  I cannnnnnot wait!
Nerd alert.   Where's Paul been all week?  I don't know I haven't seen him...

 Friday I met with Alison and Tom and Caroline Raggatt for an Italian (Tuscany) tasting at Schmidt Vinotek.  My man Kevin was there who made me a VIP member- yey!- and also Patrick and my girl Sherry.  We tasted a Chard/Viognier blend which I bought.  A Sangiovese rose which is really unique.  A light Chianti, and a tasty Syrah.  I hope they keep these events going.
And then I finally met Paul with Alison and we had some tasty, albeit small, cocktails at a new bar up the street, Lab Made.  Inventive cocktails with local ingredients, but shitty booze.   Bacardi is the best you can do guys??

Saturday!  Paul went to school.  I went for a long run.  We're meeting at a market for lunch.  And then no plans!  Wooh.

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