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02/12/2014

Eastern Dining 2 - Thursday Night Truffling

by Doug Rumsam (MD of BI Asia Pacific)

On Lot 10 is rapidly turning into one of my favourite wine venues in HK. Friendly staff, bloody good food and a laid back yet professional attitude to dealing with fine wine.

Last Thursday 4 of us got together for a catch-up and to enjoy some of the season’s truffles and the glorious paella on offer from chef David.

Onto the wines:

2001 Chevalier Montrachet, Niellon

Took time to coax out of its shell, but after putting aside for 45 minutes, really gained richness in the glass. Still the signature tight structure of Niellon, with lovely driving acidity which complemented the sweet Spanish prawns from the Paella perfectly. Honeyed, buttery and with a long mineral-laced finish…classy stuff.

We then stepped back in history with the next flight and paired two old Italians with our white truffle dishes. It is easy to over-complicate food and wine pairing, but if in doubt stick to the basics. What do the locals eat to extract the best from their wine? Simple homemade pasta with butter and white truffles combined perfectly in this instance, a heavenly combination that brought out the best in both the food and the wine.

1958 Barbaresco, Gaja

A cloudy lovely bright light cherry–red colour. Fresh aromatics followed in the glass with dense, lively fruit, belying its age. These wines were truly made for the long haul and this was just delicious. Round and generous, with just a touch of madeiraization on the finish lending a light nutty tone. A real treat and I love the toy-box-style label on the bottle; very cool.

1971 Barolo Granbussia, A Conterno

The first glug was bracing, the piercing acidity makes you sit back, wide-eyed. I put this aside for a while to let it settle down…and it duly came out to play. The acidity remained, but this backbone was fleshed out and by the end of play it had us all captivated. The aromatics were soaring, with floral, delicate fruit, and a little whiff of truffles (or was that the eggy-truffly little number to my left?). Real purity of fruit on the palate and old-school Barolo structure. Not for the faint-hearted, this needs to be courted before it unveils the goodies.

1990 La Chapelle, Jaboulet

Incredible how La Chapelle changes vintage to vintage. The wines from the 80s, such as 83, 85 and 88 are soft, complex and so easy going. You move to the 1990 and you are onto something very serious, yet still so primal. This is in line with the ‘78 and we all hope will develop into a future 1961; that’s the plan anyway. Right now the fruit is just so pure. Really fresh, unctuous and rich. This is well-endowed La Chapelle that is a pleasure to get at currently, but we all want to see how it will fare in 10-15 years, as the fruit softens slightly and adds another layer of complexity. A glorious wine!

1990 Crozes Hermitage Thalabert, Jaboulet

Smoky, bacon fat and dark fruits off the bat. You can taste the sunshine of the vintage, with rich, warm fruit. Generous and soft, this is a delightful wine to enjoy if you decide to tuck your La Chapelle away. The smokiness and touch of spice lent themselves beautifully to the sweet slow-cooked lamb shoulder to round-off the evening. This slipped down dangerously quickly...