Showing posts from January, 2010

1998 vs 2007 - greatest Chateauneuf-du-Pape face-off ever?

One of the most reputable wine writers of our time Eric Asimov aptly noted in New York Times in 2007: A good Châteauneuf-du-Pape is first and foremost a wine-lover's wine. Other wines can give you gloss and symmetry, the sort of good looks that are obvious even if you aren't much of a wine drinker. But Châteauneuf does not lend itself to smoothness and polish. It is earthy and sometimes fierce, the proverbial "brooding" wine. Yet as difficult as it can initially be to embrace, the ornery character of Châteauneuf makes it all the more rewarding when the lights finally go on. That aha! moment is like suddenly recognizing the beauty in one of Picasso's women, and realizing that conventional notions can take you only so far. A classic Châteauneuf can offer the fruit flavors that most wine drinkers love so well, ranging from cherry and blueberry to deep, rich raspberry. It can also have intense aromas of violets and other flowers, woven through with whiffs of earth an

Spontaneous goodfellowship at Donato Enoteca

Author Dianne Hales writes : "Italians say that a good meal requires two arts: the art of cooking and the art of eating. I would add a third: the ever-so-scrumptious art of talking about what you have eaten, are eating or are thinking about eating. In Italy food and language meld together as smoothly as cacio sui maccheroni (cheese on macaroni). Both boast a rollicking history dating back to ancient times. Both vary greatly from region to region, even from village to village. Both reflect centuries of invasion, assimilation and conquest. And both can transform daily necessities into joyful celebrations." Last night while having a business dinner at Donato Enoteca , I saw the proof of Dianne Hales' insight right before my eyes. The 4 of us told the server: "Just bring whatever Chef Donato decides!" (5 mouth-watering dishes followed, plus a dessert platter! - for such an insanely low price that if I tell you, they will have to shoot me!) Somewhere around 10:30pm,

1984 Chateau Margaux

Ross Bott was conducting the 4th in the 5-part retrospective series on 1984 Cabernets. The only one I zero'ed in on due to the French representation, specifically Chateau Margaux. My lukewarmness toward new world cabs is rather publicly stated. An inspiring example now and then keeps the faith alive, but serve me a Bordeaux 1st growth, and now we are talking! Hundreds of $$ a bottle a rare treat, but more than that - it's a Margaux, the most feminine of the Cabernet-based left-bank appellations in Bordeaux, and feminine is my kinda wine! The tasting started at 7:30. I came late, very late, 9. I was glad to be late. Ross accommodated, more than enough left in the bottle waiting for me - I love the "Bott crowd" - quirky always, grumpy sometimes, but always a caring bunch of geeks. I didn't want to do the blind tasting and ranking like the usual. I was there to take my time with Miss Margaux 1984, to give her my respects. For all the truthfulness and fairness of bl

Shaoxing rice wine - lunching at Ming's

This is part 3 of the Shaoxing rice wine series. Click here for Part 2. While the in-laws are staying with us, our neighbors Vicky and Wu-Chung invited us for lunch to their famous restaurant Ming's - one of the oldest in Palo Alto, named after a powerful 14-17th-century Chinese dynasty. Originally from Taiwan, which according to Vicky is a melting pot of a variety of Chinese and other Asian cuisines, she comprises her menu mainly of Cantonese recipes, but with creative touches that extend beyond, and with the modern sensibilities of organic and more health-oriented diet. With a few dishes from the menu and some "owner-only" specials, they graciously presented me with an opportunity to continue my Shaoxing wine research against a variety of flavors. I brought the 20-year aged wine by Kuaijishan company - the best one I was able to find in the Bay Area so far. It's been mellowing out open for a few days now, and we decided to serve it warm - the traditional way. Tast