Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peking Duck with Pinot Gris, Etc.

Lunch today, 21 October 2009, was at the Taipan with Aaron, Apa and J-Lab. Peking Duck 2 Ways was what was on my mind - for a comparative pairing of an Alsace grand cru pinot gris and a single vineyard German spätlese. I also wanted to see how the said riesling would go with the Taipan's (usually) spicy Crispy Fried Pork with Salt and Pepper. As we decided on the other dishes, we sipped some of Aaron's...

Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut - By the giant Freixenet firm, this is a méthode champenoise sparkling wine which tastes and feels much more like a champagne blend than the usual cavas I encounter in that it is comparatively heftier, creamier, rounder on the palate and not "grassy", sharply minerally or acidic. The dominant, dry fresh apple, crisp pear and second-tier lemon/orange flavors have a very subtle white chocolate undertone mid-mouth and the merest hint of almond bitterness towards the back (but not in the finish).

Lively, bright and thirst-quenching, I'd say it would be more approachable to those not familiar with the more traditional cavas (I am assuming here that this is not a traditional blend of cava grapes). I made a mental note to save some of this for the Steamed Lapu-Lapu in Special Soy Sauce.

Available from Aaron/ADP Enterprises by December this year at approximately P1500 per bottle.

Not long after, our Peking duck was presented, then carved up for the 1st Way.

With this, we had first...

2005 Domaine Bott-Geyl Grand Cru Sonnenglanz Pinot Gris - Luscious, curvey and generously fruity from the get-go with grand cru weight and concentration. The soft, honeyed peach, lemon tarte, baked pear flavors are definitely ripe and somewhat creamy (noted by Apa), but with nice minerality, admirable freshness and balance. Its evident round fullness has precise heft and an alluringly viscous texture.

I've known Apa for so long, it is easy for me to tell if he is making bola - if his lips are moving, he is making bola (see photo above). J-Lab's known him even longer, so he knows this to be true.

It is difficult for me not to gush about this wine, especially when paired with the 1st Way of the Peking Duck. Admittedly, I am a big fan of this estate and am yet again kicking myself for not having visited them in Beblenheim when I spent several days in nearby Riquewihr, Alsace. This wine is a joy to drink now and, I believe, can gracefully age for several years. I see no point in waiting, though. Enjoy it now with Peking duck and thank me later.

Available at Sommelier Selection at around P2600/bottle, more-or-less, at full retail.

J-Lab and I noted, by the way, that this wine seemed at the cusp of being a vendanges tardives because of its level of ripeness/sweetness. I'd wager this, as such, would also pair well with terrine of foie gras. That will have to be another story.

Steamed Live Lapu-Lapu in Light Soy Sauce, behind is the Crispy Fried Pork with Salt & Pepper.

Shanghainese Fried Rice, behind is Spinach with Crispy Enoki Mushrooms

J-Lab digs in. I was a initially bit sceptical about the crispy enoki mushrooms, but he tried it first and pronounced it good. He was right.

With the steamed fish, I revisited Aaron's Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut since I knew the pinot gris would completely over-power this delicately flavored and textured dish and the riesling spätlese would be too sweet. The dry bubbly was surely the best match of the bottles present. As regards the (not so spicy this time) crispy pork, I poured...

2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese - I've had this a few times before. My last notes were from the 9th May 2009 during dinner at Je Suis Gourmand, and they are consistent with this bottle:

Light, sharply focused, pure, well defined sweet peach, fresh apricot, bit of lemon tart - all precisely lifted by bright acidity and typically pronounced minerality. Lovely wine, perfect for summer, and simply excellent with Marc's signature terrine of foie gras.

Further to my old notes above, the riesling had a sugar-watery and candied/dried ginger nuance I failed to include when I posted this. Apa accurately noted that, after the mouth-filling, creamy-fruited Sonnenglanz Pinot Gris, the Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese came off a bit too thin and light, and I definitely agree. I don't recall if it was J-Lab or Aaron who mentioned that we should have started with the latter instead of the former, and I likewise definitely agree.

That said, with the crispy fried pork and the 2nd Way duck, the riesling was a fair enough match, if wholly upstaged by the pinot gris. For this meal, we would have been better off with just another bottle of the pinot gris. I opined, however, that the riesling would likely pair better with the Thai/Thai-fusion dishes of People's Plalace, and they seemingly agreed. Available at Wine Depot at approximately P2200/bottle full retail.

Aaron in mid-strike at the crispy fried pork, the 2nd Way duck (Spicy, Deep Fried Carcass) beside him.

J-Lab and Aaron had a bottle each of red with them and offered them up. Aaron and I were fine either way, but, since Apa and J-Lab had meetings that afternoon, we decided to just call it a lunch and moved to the bar area for some double espressos and coffee. The two eventually took their leave and Aaron and I lingered until 5pm over a few stories and cigarettes.

As always, until the next.


Miguel said...

Another lunch I missed....had the 2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese in Peoples Palace as per your recommendation and it was a perfect match.

Noel said...

Don't worry, buddy. Aaron and I spoke about a Bordeaux lunch for when you get back. Or maybe Piedmont or Tuscany now I think, for a change...hmmm....


Chinkee said...

Is that the Taipan Room at Tower Club? I had my Despedida de Soltera there:-) The food was pretty good... Been wanting to try their dimsum.

Question- would different kinds of sparkling wine pretty much match the same kinds of food? For instance, would prosecco go with the steamed fish as well as the cava?

Noel said...

Hi, Chinkee. Yes, the Taipan is the Chinese restaurant of Tower - a very convenient lunch place for me, I normally just walk from my office as it takes even longer to drive and park.

The dim sum there is very so-so these days, actually. Shang Palace's dim sum is much, much better if you're in the general area.

That said, at the Taipan, what I always get are: the roast duck 2 ways, suckling pig, steamed lapu-lapu in light soy sauce and E-fu noodles with seafood and bok choy. Their sharks' fin with crabmeat soup (you can order it by the individual bowl) is also pretty good, though nowhere near Choi Garden's level.

would different kinds of sparkling wine pretty much match the same kinds of food? For instance, would prosecco go with the steamed fish as well as the cava?

That's a pretty loaded question, Chinkee, one impossible to answer accurately without several qualifications and scenarios.

However, very generally speaking, as regards your specific example, I would say "yes" provided that the prosecco is light and dry. I have encountered some ripe-fruit-forward/sweetish locally available proseccos in the past couple of years - not a style of prosecco I like. I much, much prefer the crisp, dry ones with that appetite-enhancing slight bitterness towards the back.

Chinkee said...

Oh cool, good to know:-) I love my Toso Prosecco and I like to drink it with everything. Hehe. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

As always sweet Rieslings are a perfect match for asia cuisine. I strongly recommend also from the region Mosel the estate Fritz Haag.

2007 Fritz Haag "Brauneberger-Juffer-Sonnenuhr" Spätlese

Or producers like J.J. Prüm, Egon Müller-Scharzhof, Willi Schaefer, Geltz-Zilliken and Clemens Busch

Martin "BerlinKitchen"

Miguel said...

Piedmont lunch in Pepato...!!! Sounds good