Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Colonia Las Liebres 2005, Altos Las Hormigas

Produced by Altos Las Hormigas, an Argentinean estate conceived in 1995 by 4 Italian partners, Colonia Las Liebres 2005 is made of Bonarda (originally an Italian varietal) and had a production of 15,000 cases. Parker himself has remarked "Wow! Readers may be sure I will be buying these wines for my own cellar".

T-notes > Impressive nose of horse saddle, leather, game and root, introducing palate staining black fruits, smoke and tobacco. Finish is smooth and persistent. Wonderful food wine. This is really fantastic juice at this price (under S$30).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Budget" Burgundy

It's Vosne dude, not Gevrey!
Us boyz were at it again Saturday night, doing what we do best - imbibe! Andy decided that we should experience some "good value" burgundy - i.e. burg under S$70 equiv to approx US$40.
I counted 13 bottles of burgundy for 10 persons......ahhh, life is good.
Reds and whites flowed fast and furious >
Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc 2004
Heritiers des Comtes Lafon Macon-Chardonnay Clos de la Crochette 2003
Coche-Dury Bourgogne Blanc 2002
Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc 2002
Claude Dugat Bourgogne Rouge 2001
Meo-Camuzet Frere et Soeur Fixin 2002
Roty Marsannay "Champs Saint Etienne" 2002
Hubert Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin 2001
Cecile Tremblay Vosne-Romanee VV 2003
Maurice Ecard Savigny Les Beaune "Les Narbantons" 1999 & 2002
Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Cent Vignes
Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 1976
Sensory perceptions on the wines that made an impression:
> Guy Roulot Bourgogne Blanc 2004 - Fairly straightforward wine displaying flavors of fresh, green apples and lemon. What I really enjoyed was the scalpel-like precision of its acid profile, even if the finish was a little lacking. No complaints at this price though. Available @ Auric Pacific Fine Wines.
> Coche-Dury Bourgogne Blanc 2002 - No other descriptor came to mind other than the aroma of "Seng Buay" (chinese cracked seed) on the nose. The palate was voluptuous, with sweet, creamy fruit flavors, framed by a genteel acidity. Liked this best amongst the whites.
> Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc 2002 - More restrained than the Coche-Dury though it did begin to open up a little as the night went on. White peaches, flowers and minerals. Finishes a little bitter for me. Structurally very sound. May improve with a touch of bottle age?
> Maurice Ecard Savigny Les Beaune "Les Narbantons" 1999 - Olfactorily - wet earth, brush, spices. Fresh pinot fruit with a touch of caramel and sap. Our resident "Burghead" opined that the 99s are beginning to open up. If this one bottle is anything to go by, that may well be the case.
> Maurice Ecard Savigny Les Beaune "Les Narbantons" 2002 - Must say there is something quite distinctive about this bottling of Ecard's. Overall more reserved than the 99, with the fruit profile decidedly more candied. Flush with all the ingredients to be a great wine. A revisit in a couple of years maybe?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Tale of 2 Chardonnays

The boyz were together again Friday night at Crystal Jade Golden Palace Restaurant, Paragon for the always convivial atmosphere and needless to say - great vino.

Currently one of my favorite restaurants, Golden Palace serves refined Teochew and Cantonese cuisine.
The excellant food served in a warm, understated space, and the impeccable service, makes for a wonderful dining experience. Highly recommended.

The two whites poured were both chardonnays, from the same 03 vintage, but produced on 2 vastly different continents by different vignerons. Notes were as follows:

> Chateau de Puligny Montrachet, Mersault 1er Les Perrieres 03 - Not overbearingly ripe citrus fruit profile, with notes of grilled nuts and vanillin that transitioned nicely into a lengthy, polished finish. The winemaker is Etienne de Montille from the famed Domaine Hubert de Montille estate in Volnay. Jason's supermarket currently has this wine on offer. Domaine de Montille wines are represented by Auric Pacific Fine Wines.

> Peter Michael Ma Belle-Fille 03 - This is the second vintage for this bottling, which was named after Sir Peter Michael's daughter in law. Nutmeg, pistachio and orange peel on the nose. On the palate, ripe tropical fruits of pineapple and pomelo, with quite a hefty slab of butter. Would have preferred a lighter hand with the wood and a little more brightness with the acid, but otherwise, very good juice.

My drinking buddies know that I have always loved the white wines produced at Peter Michael Winery. In my opinion, they are one of the top tier producers of Chardonnay in California. I fondly remember drinking great bottles of Cuvee Indigene, Clos du Ciel and Mon Plaisir from the early 90s that were in a word - breathtaking. I loved the creamy textures, intense minerality, slate-like quality, and multidimensional fruit profiles. They always seemed to have just the right amount of french oak and acid lift, producing wines that were harmonious and finely balanced.

Recent vintages have displayed a somewhat worrisome stylistic change from the days when Helen Turley and Mark Aubert were the winemakers. Subtlety has given way to a rather more in your face, overipe, blowsy style, with an oak treatment that is a little heavy handed for my personal taste.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Australian Labradoodle

I've been wanting to write about this wonderful new breed - The Australian Labradoodle, which is a cross between the Poodle and a Labrador Retriever. The best examples of these are multigenerational, and originate from Australia, where they were first bred as guide dogs in the late 1980s. Rutland Manor and Tegan Park Labradooodles were the first to carefully select and document genotypes and infuse them in producing what is today, the much loved Labradoodle. The best qualities of the Labrador and Poodle are clearly evident - they are intelligent, smart, loyal, playful, and have a great sense of humor. Additionally, their fleece-wool coats are virtually fuss free, and hypoallergenic-ally non-shedding.

Samson, pictured above, is the newest addition to our family, and is a standard sized, chocolate brown, fleece-wool coat, male doodle. He was 12 weeks of age in that pic, but is now a rather rambunctious 5 month old, who is trying to assert himself in the "pack".

Angel, who is pictured with my darling girl, Summer, was the first doodle that we purchased from Tasmanian Labradoodles. He is a standard, fleece-wool, cafe boy, whom we truly believe to be an "angel in dood clothing", bringing much love and joy to our family.

My wife, T and I researched the breed extensively before deciding on the Labradoodle, and we can truly say that these are the best dogs that we've ever owned. As a proviso, we would advise that your dog be purchased only from a reputable breeder, and that one avoid the pitfall of buying a dog from a puppy mill just based on price alone. You really do get what you pay for. The Labradoodle Association of Australia would be a good starting point for references to responsible breeders.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Segue-ing to Que Pasa & Ornellaia '95

As it turns out, the rather rude push-off at PS Cafe (see previous post) was to be a blessing in disguise. The boyz and I decided we wanted some real man's food, and swung round to Que Pasa (QP), where a warm welcome awaited us.

The grub has always been top notch at QP and is highly recommended. Chicken wings and a QP pizza washed down with a round of ultra cold beers was just about perfect. But wait, things were about to get even better. There was a bottle of Ornellaia '95 catching a breath in a decanter next to us. Ah... one of life's greater pleasures - the sharing of a great bottle of wine with the best of friends.

> Ornellaia 1995 - Ruby red, with a fragrant nose of red fruits, tree bark, ferns and tobacco. Lovely layers of lush, soft fruit in the mouth, entwined with minerals and a touch of animal. The exit was exemplary - elegant and very persistent. 4 thumbs way up!


Saturday, January 07, 2006

PS Cafe - Come And Forget Eating

P.S. Come And Forget Eating
-The PS CAFE Experience

The rains had come, and the late night air was soft, inviting. A pathway of candles coaxed us toward Singapore's new enigmatic dining experience- PS Cafe, Harding Road. The promise of an evening ensconced in lush, tropical gardens, vino, good food, and the best of friends lurked from behind the looming figure of the maitre d'.

Ah, the maitre d'.

Close up, he refused to acknowledge our presence. A make-shift sign declared that the restaurant was already full for the night. At 10:30pm however, we could see that there were a few empty tables, and that as it was Friday night, drinks were still being served until one.

One of us had to ask him politely- hello, do you work here.

Alas, we should have attempted a more direct and pointed approach.

When the maitre d' finally looked up, we were only greeted with rude, unacceptable service. As if to justify his stance in refusing us any service, he told us that 'shorts and sandals were not allowed'.

Side note- Only one of us was dressed in the above, offensive outfit.

PS- The 2006 January issue of Vogue featured resort and spring wear.

PPS- Singapore is a tropical rainforest of concrete and unflinching humidity. Most men live in the ubiquitous uniform of shorts and t-shirt, when not dressed for work.

PS Cafe- PS Can't Ask For Everything?

Some decisions in life come swiftly (never coming back again). Turning around, we Promptly Strode Convincingly Away From Evil, and spent the night at good ol' Que Pasa instead.