Location: 500 West Main Street Suite A, Alhambra, CA 91801. (626) 308-3222
Date: August 14, 2015
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Fine Cantonese
About once a year the Sauvages lunch group heads down to some wine friendly SGV Chinese restaurant for some fun filled Cantonese.
Flight 0: Les Amuses
2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé. VM 90. Pale orange. Fresh tangerine, strawberry and white flowers on the fragrant, mineral-accented nose. Silky and precise, offering tangy red fruit flavors that are lifted and sharpened by a white pepper nuance. Finishes clean, nervy and long, with excellent clarity and lingering minerality. This suave wine has the power to work with rich foods and the energy to give pleasure by itself.
agavin: a decent provencal rose. The big claim to fame is the Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie connection.
Typical sauce: mustard, chili, and XO (fermented shellfish with a bit of chili).
Flight 1: Radical Riesling
2011 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Muenchberg. VM 92. Pale straw. Sweet chamomile, anise and licorice notes complicate very ripe pear jelly and Golden Delicious apple on the nose and palate. Dense and suave in the mouth, with smooth flavors of ripe citrus, chamomile and minerals carrying through on the very long finish. Like many of Ostertag’s wines, this one comes across as unctuous yet very fresh, thanks to firm acidity and chewy buffering extract. Ostertag owns two parcels in this grand cru, mostly in the central part of the cru, which is exposed full south. The average age of the vines is almost 50 years, and you can tell from the wine’s rich texture and depth of flavor that this is a true vieilles vignes bottling.
From my cellar: 2011 Prager Riesling Smaragd Klaus. VM 91. Rich aromas of vineyard peach, passion fruit and acacia honey. Tautly strung on the palate, with juicy apricot fruit wound around a vibrant backbone. The wine’s discreet residual sugar is disguised by abundant minerals and a lemony nuance. With a long finish featuring yellow plum and wet rocks, this riesling shows good balance in spite of its 14% alcohol.
2002 Schloss Vollrads Riesling Kabinett. 89 points. Deep Golden Yellow, Crisp and fruity
Jumbo shrimp har gow. As good a version as I’ve had.
Jumbo pork siu mai. Perhaps more succulent and tender than many.
Spring roll. Perfectly fine. I forgot to photo one at the beginning and had to make due with this unappetizing “after the fact” image.
Flight 2: Alsace Alpha
2012 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg. VM 92. Luminous straw-green. Delicate aromas of nectarine, lemon verbena and jasmine are complicated by racy minerality. Deep, dense, clean flavors of white stone fruits and aromatic herbs are penetrating and very long, with the finish showing an obvious saline edge. Made from vines grown on the higher slopes of the Schlossberg hill, this wine is always characterized by ripe, floral acidity and rarely expresses fusel aromas, especially when young.
2005 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvée Ste. Catherine. VM 91+. Pale green. Complex aromas of citrus skin, ripe peach and spices, with a tangy whiff of botrytis. Spicy, dense and rich but quite backward and wound-up. This, too, is classically dry in style, with nearly exotic mace and nutmeg notes perking up the palate. Finishes very dry and very long, with flavors of pineapple and dusty stone. Penetrating and rather austere-in need of aging. This is mostly from the bottom of the Schlossberg, but 20% of the wine comes from outside the grand cru border.
In the back, Turnip roll. A light flakey pastry stuffed with turnip and onion. Quiet nice actually, if a little heavy.
Front and center, BBQ pork. My favorite type, sweet and flavorful.
To the right, BBQ roast duck. Great except for all the bones (which are usual).
Duck sauce. Good on the pork too if you like to double down on your sweet.
Flight 3: Hot in the South
2004 Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree. Parker 99. A wine that tastes akin to liquid rocks as well as white currants and quince is the light golden 2004 Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree. This is a fabulous wine, with blockbuster intensity and richness. This is the kind of wine that may last 50-100 years, but of course most readers will opt for earlier consumption.
agavin: Parker loves these, and I own a whole bunch, but I’m not really feeling the love. They are so high alcohol.
2007 Guigal Condrieu la Doriane. Parker 95. This full-bodied white was aged in one-third new oak and two-thirds tank. One hundred percent of the 2007 Condrieu La Doriane is vinified in new oak, and put through malolactic. It is then aged for 11 months prior to bottling. Absolutely exquisite, with the oak pushed to the background, this wine’s fruit character is dominated by apricots, peaches, honeysuckle, and marmalade. The beautiful floral and honeyed fruit aromatics are followed by a sumptuous, full-bodied white that is never heavy (because of good acidity) or flabby. Consume it over the next 2-3 years.
2012 Andre Perret Condrieu. Parker 92. Moving to his Condrieus, the 2012 Condrieu (aged in equal parts barrel and tank) offers up classic lychee nut, flowers and tangerine aromas and flavors, medium-bodied richness, and brilliant purity of fruit. Possessing a perfect mix of freshness and richness, with vibrant acidity and loads of fruit, it should drink nicely for 4-5 years.
Shrimp lettuce cup. The plum sauce unfortunately came AFTER I had finished the roll. Nice crunch to it though.
Stir-fried lobster w/ black pepper sauce. A nice lobster.
Flight 4: Rhone Rampage
1999 Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape la Bernardine. Parker 89-91. The 1999 Chateauneuf du Pape La Bernardine offers a sweet perfume of jammy black cherries, cassis, licorice, and minerals, moderate tannin, medium to full body, and excellent ripeness as well as flesh. It will age well for 10-12 years.
2000 Domaine de la Grange des Peres VDP de l’Herault. Parker 94. Profound aromas of peppered blackberries, and garrigue emanate from the glass of the 2000 Vin de Pays de l’Herault (red). This juicy, fresh, concentrated wine is a powerfully elegant beauty. Dark cherries, black raspberries, flowers, and assorted red fruits are found in its seamless personality as well as in its luxurious finish. Anticipated maturity: now-2014.
2004 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge Cuvee Cabassaou. Parker 91. The nose stubbornly refuses to charm: surly, introspective with faint scents of forest floor, damp moss, leather and blackberry. The palate is full-bodied, very backward, dense and at the moment just lacking some cohesion. But I am sure this will meld together with ageing but it just lacks a little persistency on the finish. Drinking 2015-2022.
Stir fried frog. With whole garlic, mushrooms, and sweet Chinese sausage. Tasted great, although the look of the frog legs in this sauce wasn’t the most attractive thing I’ve ever seen.
Flight 5: Power of the Priorat
2004 Clos Mogador. Parker 96+. Clos Mogador is produced by the esteemed Rene Barbier who has hit homeruns in both 2003 and 2004. The 2004 Clos Mogador has a more saturated purple color than the 2003 as well as a more expressive perfume of mocha, coffee, and flowers (violets) in addition to toasty oak, earth, and blue and black fruits. More extracted and backward than the 2003, it demands a decade of cellaring and should drink well for an additional 20 years. The 2004 is a tour de force.
2001 Costers del Siurana Clos de l’Obac. Parker 91. This unfiltered blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, and Carignan, aged for 14 months in new French oak, and bottled unfiltered, boasts a deep purple color along with a pure bouquet of raspberries, blueberries, wet stones, and toasty, subtle vanillin. Medium-bodied with outstanding concentration, impressive elegance, and a nice texture, this tight but promising 2001 should hit its prime in 2-4 years, and last for 12-15.
2003 Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita. Parker 94-97. I tasted a ready-to-be-bottled tank sample of the 2003 L’Ermita. Typically there are 400-500 cases of this blockbuster, but because of the vintage’s tiny crop as well as a severe triage, only 240 cases were produced. This superb effort displays a black/blue/purple color along with a huge nose of creme de cassis, flowers, crushed rocks, and a hint of smoke. The wine is full-bodied and opulent, with tremendous structure, great definition and purity, and a huge, but elegant, persistent finish. It will benefit from another 1-2 years of bottle age, and last for 15 plus.
agavin: someone brought out the big guns!
On the left, fried frog. Really great crispy garlic fry. Few bones. One of the best frog preps I’ve had.
On the right “french beef.” Sweet and beefy. Good with the wine.
Asparagus. Sort of the prep for Szechuan string beans, but with asparagus.
Flight D: Sweet Finish
2003 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Auslese. VM 93. Birch beer and pungent brown spices in the nose. Enormously rich, with a hint of caramelization, yet only subtly sweet in overall impression. Peach jam with candied lemon zest, herbal essences, and brothy meat and mineral depths. Firmer in feel than this year’s Brucke Auslese #19, and apt to unfold over a long period.
My cup of tea! Actually it’s the Donnhoff.
Macao Egg Custard. This version was a little eggy, but good.
Sesame mochi ball with bean paste. Nice texture and a really good bean paste. Too bad I don’t digest beans like I used to.
A mango soup, very refreshing.
First off, I have to say this may be my first (regular) Chinese meal that was individually plated. Impressive.
Second, we had a LOT of great straight up Cantonese here and some fun wines with a lot of variety. I thought the dry rieslings paired best, but some of the reds were fabulous wines. Oh, how I love the SGV.