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Dinner in the American Club in Central last evening was a extraordinary feast for the senses. I am told much of the club was refurbished six months ago and it really is very smart indeed: not smart formal, but smart like the finest railway waiting room of the 1950s, complete with some small shiny white tiles and flat, large, cake-shaped light shades. I hadn't been for many years and certainly didn't recognise the place.
We dined on steak, I having started with a scallop carpaccio in a lime/citrus concoction and served in scallop shells. The steak - a sirloin - was utterly delicious and cooked perfectly rare.
We started with a Chablis. And what a Chablis it is: the '09 Grand Cru Bougros Cote de Bouqueyreaux from Patrick Piuze. There was the merest smudge (like a melted droplet of white chocolate) of wood over the aromas that were rich and citrus and, like the sauce on my scallops, majoring on lime. In the mouth, such richness, but also precision; weight without heaviness; a proper sense of the soil. This is brilliant white wine. I wouldn't wait...not sure I could if I tried!
The red I have had before and with the same kind person with whom I found myself in the American Club last evening. Last time out it was extremely good. This time it was off the charts, out of the building and doing loop-the-loops over the hills of Kowloon. 1994 Chateau Latour. Here's the note:
A super-complex nose offering a dry set of aromas that take in iodine and cedar and come across as being very saline. The smell is stunningly crisp and of fruits red and black. There's were bits and pieces of smoke, cedar and dried herbs; something very airy about it and even a distinct floral whiff. Blood-like iron. And finally, with air, a hint of something balsamic to accompany the plum-pudding, cake-like scent. Later still, it became rooty smelling, earthy, drier. Really pungent and dense set of aromas. The palate is, of course, fully resolved, rich, medium plus weight with a dusting of fresh, upright tannin from the mid-palate. Walnut rising. Extraordinarily fine, dark fruit. The tannin becomes increasingly fresh, remaining very fine and fully integrated. There's a graphite thread to this. Putting it down was hard; finishing the bottle a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
Snakes alive. I will wait many a month to taste another wine this fine. With huge thanks to mein host!