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. Tonight is not only duck night, but “high” (or at least higher) end wine night.
NV Charles Mignon Champagne Cuvée Comte de Marne Millésime Grand Cru. 90 points. Medium(-) lemon, fine sub-mm bubbles enamanating from numerous point sources. Medium(-) aromas of lemon, cooked green apple and biscuit. Dry, medium(+) tart acidity, medium(-) body and alcohol (@12.5% abv). Medium flavors of green apple, lemon, mineral, and touch honey/biscuit. Focused finish, medium length with cutting finish. Soft delicate mousse. Great as aperitif.
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: 2000 Domaine Ramonet Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 93. Surprisingly open and expressive with wonderfully complex and nuanced aromas that reveal a dazzling array of floral and fruit elements followed by rich, ripe and somewhat more full-bodied flavors than usual but the additional weight is more than buffered by the racy finishing acidity and almost painfully intense back end. This is presently a good deal more forward than the ’00 Bâtard though there is clearly enough material to suggest that this will benefit from another 3 to perhaps 5 years in the cellar.
agavin: our bottle was round, open, with caramel notes. Mature and delicious.
1976 Hugel et Fils Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive SGN Sélectionneé par Jean Hugel. 92 points. Metallic nose like wet pennies with some candied nuts. Earthy funk initially this really started gaining weight in the glass coming up with some ripe red apple notes later on. Still good and interesting to drink.
agavin: this one was pretty good, if fully mature.
From my cellar: 1990 Georges Noellat Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Boudots. agavin 89. At first this was lean with a bit of a funky/cork vibe. After about 30 minutes this blew off and I found it rather nice and enjoyable, if fully mature.
2007 Forey Père et Fils Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Perrières. Burghound 90. Here the aromas run more toward cassis flowers along with pretty and wild red berry fruits that are followed by rich, full and quite minerally middle weight flavors that are beautifully detailed, textured and solidly persistent, all wrapped in a subtle oak influenced finish. I like the intensity here and the balance is impeccable and if not a wine of great depth, there is enough here to be more than just interesting.
2006 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley. Burghound 87. A high-toned raspberry and cranberry fruit nose that also displays subtle spice and menthol hints introduces round, supple and easy to like flavors up until the finish that is overtly warm if attractively sappy. Be sure to keep this cool because the warmth really comes up if the temperature rises even slightly.
2011 Charles Krug Winery (Peter Mondavi Family) Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville. 86 points. The heavy tastes were present: some cocoa, some tobacco, some rose hip. But none of the lighter stuff needed to even it out. The nose was quite nice and lighter than the palate. Mouthfeel was a bit too sharp.
2005 Canon la Gaffeliere. Parker 94. For opulence, decadence, and sexiness, this 2005 is hard to resist. One of the vintage’s most flamboyant efforts, it is a gorgeous blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. With a stunningly exotic nose of espresso roast, a juicy meat and herb concoction, spice box, chocolate, incense, and copious quantities of sweet, ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit, this full-throttle St.-Emilion exhibits good structure (because of the vintage’s sound acid levels) and high, but velvety tannin. It is a brilliant effort from proprietor Stephan von Neipperg. I would not discount its aging potential as the 1990, which I thought would have a short aging curve, is still going strong at age 18. The 2005 should easily last 20-25 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030.
2008 Alban Vineyards Grenache. Parker 93-95. The 2008 Grenache is just plain beautiful at this stage. A striking bouquet redolent of dark red fruit, flowers and spices melds into a core of textured fruit. This is all purity and finesse. I can hardly wait to taste the finished wine. This is very fresh for a wine that has been in barrel for nearly three years. The 2008 Grenache is 98% Grenache and 2% Syrah. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2018.
2004 Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore. Parker 93. Sweet, open aromatics lead to hints of dark blueberries, blackberries, spices and minerals as the 2004 Valpolicella Superiore gradually opens in the glass. Today the wine comes across as shut down, but the imposing tannins are also rather fine, suggesting that with time the wine’s inner sweetness will gradually emerge. Readers who want to try their luck with this wine earlier should open the bottle a good eight hours or so prior to drinking it. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.
agavin: even having been open and decanted for hours, it was still massive.
1989 Raymond-Lafon. Parker 91-92. The 1989 exhibits aromas of honeyed pineapple/tropical fruit and toasty new oak, as well as an exotic, flashy perfume that is not as pronounced in either the 1990 or 1988. The 1989 exhibits less botrytis than the other two vintages. The wine possesses an opulent, full-bodied, exotic, lavishly rich personality, moderate sweetness, and huge quantity of extract, glycerin, and alcohol in its finish. The wine is also extremely young and unevolved. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2025.
agavin: Nice, although a little unbalanced.
Overall, another fantastic meal. The total damage, including tax and a whopping 30% tip was $42 a person! “Inflated” because of our multiple ducks. They were very friendly and willing to serve us the dishes one at a time over a long period, but the restaurant was a bit over busy and the duck came the microsecond we sat down. It was frustrating to be dealing with opening the wine, pictures, and the like and to be launched into the feeding frenzy. In previous trips we’ve had the cold appetizers. Then they got going a little too fast with the food. We had to tell them to slow down (which they did). Plus as we were jammed into the back corner and there was only one narrow entrance point the overworked servers had trouble handling the “basics” like water, plate changes and the like. As the place emptied out they caught up a bit. They certainly try hard and are extremely nice. It was just too crowded and too little space.
The duck was first rate, as good as Peking duck gets — more or less. Some other dishes, like the pork hock, and the XLB were amazing too. A few others just so so, like the shrimp. The eel was interesting, and a nice addition. Tasty Duck is all about the duck.
Instead of the mild Chinese desserts we headed over to Salju for some shave ice: