Dinner last Thursday evening ?was an exciting event. It took place at Tim's Kitchen, a long-established Cantonese restaurant on Bonham Strand in Sheung Wan. I have attended meals at which European wines are paired with the indigenous food of Hong Kong in the past and find the match works extremely well, by-and-large.
My fellow diners and I had all taken along bottles...and what a line up! Food quickly started to arrive: a series of delicious dishes based on seafood or meat, with egg and rice. At one stage a blast of chilli sauce (self-administered, I freely confess) deprived me of my taste buds for a few minutes, otherwise everything was tickety-boo in the extreme!
1967 Barolo, Borgogno
I sold old vintages from this producer many years ago and they were very dry and savoury. Not so this. Touch of oxidation, but the nose becomes increasingly black and savoury; smoky, showing dry spice aromas and a hint of liquorice. The fruit here is very good, the whole delightfully fresh. There is piquant minerality. Tannin is fully resolved: just a fine dusting at the end. Finishes very smokily. Long, fresh and lovely.
1967 Barolo, Giacomo Conterno
Opened beforehand, but not decanted alas. My glass was cloudy and full of rich deposit. It seemed that the lees was giving the wine a madeirzed character that abated later and revealed how good the wine beneath really is. Broad and gingery nose. Sweet leather, with a coffee aftertaste.
1978 Château Musar
Also a big sediment here. Smoky aromas; singed hair. Resolved and orange-scented this. Nice juice at the back. Develops an aroma like sweet chestnuts. Toffeed a touch, nutty and smoky. Cold, leaf tea, with smoky length. Very toothsome and (that awful descriptor) smooth.
1981 Unico, Vega Sicilia
The first young wine! Deep red in colour. Berryish, sweet and black on the nose: pure blackberry aromasHint of sweet liquorice. This is really young and has a pastille-llike sweetness. Later, a smoky, earthy note. Tannin is mild, internalised. A long wine, very bright and pure. Real pastille fruit at the finish. Busy, with earthy grip. Later, an exotic note like mango or papaya.
1990 Costa Russi, Gaja
Aromas hard to describe: bluberry; hint of flowers. Very spicy. Tar. Rich, both sweet and savoury and increasingly spicy. Seriously suave stuff. Very black on entry. It then becomes loaded with fine, integrated, upright tannin. Very long wine. Juicy grip here. And the herbs: dried mint. Fabulous, full, intense finish. Takes on menthol.
Unico Reserva Especial, Vega Sicilia - 1990, 1994 and 1996 base
Very pungent wine, a touch animal. Creamy black plum fruit. Very bright. Hint of banana here (more exotic aromas from VS!). Very rich on entry; very plush...then compact, tight and laced with smoky, chunky, spicy, incisive tannin. Long. Did I encounter a touch of fish at the finish?
1996 Brunello Riserva, Soldera
Really complex, oxidised aromas. Very smoky, very spicy wine. The burnt crust of ginergerbread. Rich; fine.