A recent evening in Hong Kong wasn’t planned, but it was one for the history books, thanks to The Historian, of course. It is always difficult to catch The Historian when I am in HK, as duty often calls him away. History is becoming more and more global with each passing day, but luck struck and The Historian invited me to a very special occasion at one of Hong Kong’s three star restaurants on a night where the wine was even more starry.
A magnum of 1990 Dom Perignon welcomed one and all in big and brawny fashion. The Scholar found it ‘dense,’ and also wanted ‘something more refreshing.’ Indeed, the ’90 DP was more of a meal than an aperitif, but it opened more with time. This was a Champagne that would have benefitted from decanting. It had a big, bready nose that was toasty and ‘almost overwhelming, it needs food,’ one commented. Lime flavors emerged on its finish. This was zippy and long, and still in its youth (95+M).
We sampled a 2009 Leroy Bourgogne Aligote next. It was a curiosity killed the cat – and potentially the night – kind of wine. It was extremely pungent with cat’s piss, tail and fur all rolled into one. The Historian noticed, ‘armpit.’ This was an average and simple wine, not one that I would want to drink again. I guess there is a reason that Aligote isn’t bottled on its own that often (80).
Now THAT’S a Cheese Tray
We quickly jumped right into the reds with a 1990 Roumier Ruchottes Chambertin. This is bottled under ‘C.’ Roumier for Christophe, son of Georges who also owns and runs the traditional ‘G.’ Roumier Domaine. The ’90 had a tight nose with reticent aromas of citrus, stem, meat and nut. This was a complicated wine, chock full of minerals and a bit of natural gas. Some bamboo and forest crept in the nose, but the palate was softer than I expected. There were similar flavors of bamboo, red citrus and leather. Most preferred the 1990 to what would follow, as it was an open and charming wine, ‘elegant’ as Harrison put it. It also gained in the glass (93).
The 1993 Roumier Bonnes Mares had a much tighter nose, and while shy, it was still deep. There was intense power to its nose, with aromas of mint, spice and some rubber tire. The palate was also wound with more spice, along with minerals, earth and a canine complexity to its flavors.
Roumier Pocket Pair
This was a rugged wine that had the whips, chains and leather pants all in one. There was also some charcoal in between its toes. ‘Both are true to their commune,’ one of our wise guests added, while The Scholar commented how Bonnes Mares ‘is the most Bordeaux of the Burgundies.’ The Bonnes Mares had great power, spine and spice, but it seemed squarer than usual (95+).
We then went from the most Bordeaux of Burgundies to Bordeaux itself, and it was a grand entrance, thanks to a 1945 Leoville Las Cases. The LLC had a perfect nose; this was mature claret at its finest. Aromas of cream, mature cassis, old book, fresh fruit and a touch of cedar seeped out of its nose like wine pheromones. This was an old wine, but it was still quick. Flavors of spice, citrus twist and game were all present in this super intense red. This was strength without weight, and it had power in its acidity. Great flavors and a long finish rounded out this wow wine. ‘1945 rules again,’ summed it up in my notes (97).
A 1949 Gruaud Larose was unfortunately corked, and a 1961 Latour two wines later was more unfortunately oxidized. Consider this a station identification break, and a reminder that there are no great wines, only great bottles…
Another Great ’45
There were actually three 1961s, and the 1961 Margaux batted leadoff. This was another great nose, which was incredibly hazelnutty and chocolaty. This was Nutella meets Toblerone in a consenting adult way. Its palate was mature, long and sexy, easy yet classic. There was still light spice and soft fireplace to this older goodie. A touch of sushi goodness rounded out this Milfy Margaux. Oh, behave (94).
The 1961 Cheval Blanc was complicated like a good murder mystery. Olives, oil and ocean oozed out of its nose. Touches of coconut and date provided kinky complexity. The palate was rich, saucy and lush, and it had great smack to its finish. It was exotic in a black way, a foxy lady, indeed (95).
The 1966 Cheval Blanc was a nice follow up to the ’61. It was classic with solid spice and a red velvet cake-like complexity. This was long and sturdy like a polished rock, better than I expected. Its spine still tingled (93).
The 1986 Margaux that followed seemed out of place at first, but curled up affectionately in time. A few good drinks can do that lol. This was dark and so young, but so good. Its mouthfeel was concentrated and dense. This was thick like a brick and/or a trick, still ‘very balanced’ despite all that structure (94+).
On the Sixes
Sometimes, the unexpected nights can be the best of them all. I can only hope that history will continue to repeat itself, and that The Historian will always be there to follow in its footsteps.
The Full Monty
In Vino Veritas,