Location: 1039 E Valley Blvd. Ste B102. San Gabriel, CA 91776. (626) 572-3885
Date: February 28, 2015
Rating: Great Duck!
Tasty Duck is a regular spot with my Hedonist food and wine club.
The interior is jammed and the turnover is high. There isn’t even a space inch to stand while waiting for a table as the serves need what little space there is to reach the tables. Although tonight being Sunday, the crowds died down by 8pm.
NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 92. Pale orange. High-pitched red berry, orange zest and jasmine aromas, with suave mineral and smoky lees notes adding complexity. Spicy and precise on the palate, showing very good punch to its strawberry and bitter cherry flavors. Opens up smoothly with air and picks up a bitter rhubarb quality that lingers onto the long, tightly focused finish. This bottling showed more brawny character than many past renditions of this cuvée, but with no lack of vivacity.
Here are the traditional accompaniments, starting with excellent pancakes. One mystery question I must ask: why do Chinese restaurants insist on putting far too few pancakes and too little hoisin sauce on the table?
From my cellar: 2011 Coche-Dury Bourgogne Blanc. VM 88. The 2011 Bourgogne is an excellent introduction to the domaine. Tension, energy and focus are the signatures in a wine that announces the Coche-Dury house style beautifully. Citrus and white flowers abound on the finish.
2006 Sine Qua Non The Hoodoo Man. VM 94. Sine Qua Non’s 2006 White Wine The Hoodoo Man is insanely beautiful. Remarkably fresh for a nine year old white, the 2006 The Hoodoo Man will change readers’ perceptions about what California white wines are and can be. A rich mélange of apricot, peach, honey and exotic white flowers graces the palate as this voluptuous, intense, yet remarkably vibrant wine shows off its utterly compelling personality. Slightly reductive, the 2006 needs a good bit of air. Today, the 2006 shows no signs whatsoever of fading. It should continue to drink well for another 5-10 years. The Hoodoo Man can only be called an absolute triumph in viticulture and winemaking. Time and again, I thought I had mixed up my glasses and that this was 2013 White Wine Résisté. The Hoodoo Man is 39% Roussanne, 31% Viognier and 30% Chardonnay; 75% from John Alban’s vineyard and 25% from Eleven Confessions. The wine was aged in 58% new oak, the rest 1-2 year-old barrels and a dollop of stainless steel.
Their interesting take on “walnut shrimp.” The fried shrimp, sweet mayo sauce, and walnuts is supplemented with pineapple! Not my favorite rendition of this dish. Still good, but I can live without the pineapple. We’ve gotten spoiled.
2012 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett. Vinous 87. Nectarine, pine nuts and lemon oil on the nose. Delicate tropical fruit flavors are brightened by a salty twang. Refreshing acidity gives a feminine character to the finish. Nicely balanced.
2010 Cherry Pie (Hundred Acre) Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch Vineyard. VM 90. The appropriately named 2010 Cherry Pie offers up juicy red cherries, mint, cinnamon and cloves. In this vintage, the Cherry Pie has tons of energy and minerality to support the racy, sleek fruit. Sweet floral notes add lift on the finish. The 2010 is a gorgeous, exuberant Cherry Pie with great balance and overall harmony.
agavin: a very contentious wine at the table. Ron and I thought it tasted like cherry cough syrup. Way too high alcohol for pinot noir to my Burgundy pallet. Those who like more of a sledgehammer to the face loved it.
2012 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin. Burghound 89-91. A ripe yet markedly cool and restrained nose offers up notes of cassis, spice, earth, underbrush and menthol. There is a lovely mineral streak to the rich and relatively large-scaled flavors that possess excellent mid-palate concentration and plenty of verve on the complex and impressively persistent finish. This is a fine Gevrey villages and worth your attention plus it is sufficiently pliant to enjoy young but should reward longer term cellaring as well.
2009 Château Branaire-Ducru. VM 92+. Red with a pale rim. The fruity nose hints at macerated red cherries, bitter chocolate and dried herbs. Then big, fat and soft on the palate, with fresh, harmonious acidity providing adequate lift to the black cherry, chocolate and sweet spice flavors. The long, plush finish offers a concentrated coffee and red fruit cocktail quality. Still very young and likely to develop more complexity. As good as this is, Branaire-Ducru is one estate where the 2010 will likely turn out to better than the 2009.
2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 92. Deep red. Potent cherry, redcurrant and floral scents are given a musky, earthy touch by a hint of rhubarb. Sappy, sweet and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering bitter cherry and raspberry preserve flavors and a touch of licorice. The clinging finish is shaped by silky, even tannins and given bite by a hint of cracked pepper.
1994 Bodegas Muga Rioja Torre Muga. VM 94+. Bright, deep red. Expressive aromas of red- and blackcurrant, plum, tar, tobacco, and nutty, spicy oak. Sweet entry, then very concentrated and silky; really expands in the mouth. Strong acidity gives the flavors a penetrating, lively quality. Very long, subtle finishing flavors supported by firm but not harsh tannins. As suave as this extremely impressive wine is right now, it will be better for several years of additional bottle aging.
2006 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine Niagara Peninsula VQA. GV94+. #1; COLOR-medium to dark golden; NOSE-pineapple jam exploding; apricot; mango; exotic; this is seductive; gorgeous nose; canned peaches; PALATE-huge viscosity; almost like cream; completely coats your palate; gorgeous pineapple; peach and apricot; the delicious factor is simply off the charts; virtually almost impossible not to like this; the fruit is fantastic; I would like a little more acidity, but this is delicious
Overall, another fantastic meal. Tasty Duck isn’t the most adventurous SGV place, but they do an excellent job. They were super friendly and willing to serve us the dishes one at a time over a long period. Tonight was better than on some of the overcrowded Saturday’s when they don’t have as much bandwidth for us.
The duck was first rate, as good as Peking duck gets — more or less. Although I was disappointed in the hoisin tonight. Some other dishes, like the pork hock, and the XLB were amazing too. A few others just so so, like the shrimp. Tasty Duck is all about the duck.
Also, as usual for Chinese, the order of the food is so crazy from a wine perspective nothing really matches up right.