From an overdose of five shots of Johnny Walker Black as part of a cure for my cold the other night, I elevated my taste level last night to about six TASTING glasses (okay maybe 8-10 including champagne) of Chateau Margaux in various vintages from 2006-1985.
Margaux held their first wine dinner in Hong Kong at the Mandarin Oriental Grill. I estimated there were about a hundred people in the room. I expected the wines to be between good and great, which they were because the hotel ran through the vintages as the dinner's unique selling point. However, I had no expectations about the food. Food is hardly ever good at wine tastings.
But our menu last night did not disappoint. In fact, it seemed like the chef made a great effort to have the food truly complement the wines and not just have the wines stand out which everyone was expecting based on the vintages.
I never knew Margaux was in business since the 16th century and they owe their top quality to---wait for it---the British (followed by "of course" and uttered by a Frenchman) and to a lesser extent the Germans.
Who knew? I always thought with the Limeys and the Krauts, all you had to do was plunk down in front of them any plonk that could kill germs and they'd drink it.
On last night's menu:
RAW: salmon, hamachi,tuna, sake and cucumber with an ultra yummy jelly sauce and gourmet salt washed down with Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux 2006...I never knew they did whites. They had been doing it for 3 centuries and today they produce only 33,000 bottles a year, about 10% of their total production.
SOUP: Onion consomme with a floral tea bag while other unenlightened meat eaters had langoustine soup accompanied by Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux 2004 (what I think is their 'diffusion' or 'secondary' line, the Kors to Michael Kors but still at over 100 USD a bottle from the dealers)
Now for the main event--the sellers chose the series of wines that follow to show all the facets of Margaux vintages where every one should be a treat (or trick if you paid too much for a fake or if like the Philippine president, ysed 'government funds' but that was for gallons of Petrus which many Margaux aficionados say is 'overrated').
RISOTTO: mushroom, truffle, asiago (cheese) and egg yolk was divine with CM 2001 which is considered young but drinkable because is not yet 10 yrs old. As the French guy said, "Why refuse it now? But you could also save it for more depth in 10 years."
CHICKEN: breasts very nicely presented in a green nest accompanied by CM 1999. NOW you're talkin' ---what a difference two years makes!
SEABASS for me and STEAK for the unevolved. This time, I will have to admit that the CM 1995 didn't come out as well with the fish than it did with the steak. My husband said it was stellar. 1996 would also be a great choice. They served the food with edible clay and I got a kick out of that.
CHEESE: Comte, Beaufort, Mimolette with super yummy DRIED GRAPES (NOT raisins!!) and quince was served with the star of the evening, CM 1985. At 24 years, it was a great privilege but by this time you are so stuffed that you want to go home.
BUT NOT BEFORE the white cotton candy TREE the size of a huge bonsai plant with chocolate truffles!!!
I had to stay home all week nursing a cold just to get well for this dinner. It would have been a disgrace to miss it. One of the diners told us that she flew back from Korea just to make this dinner.