Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Edouard's 2010 Château Siran.

Had a tasting lunch today, the 27th February 2013, at Elbert's Steak Room, to test the pairing dishes for La Commanderie de Bordeaux Manila's Château Malescot St-Exupéry event. In so doing, I got to taste (well, more than a taste, we finished the bottle between the two of us) Edouard's...

2010 Château Siran - Rich, fleshy and well-polished, showing an open nose of warm asphalt infused cassis (very Margaux appellation to me), licorice, spicy red berries, hints of dried herbs. Past mid-mouth and through the finish, the spicy red berries are joined by nuances of vanilla/oak and cinnamon. A bigger, riper, more powerful, savory rendition of Siran, but retaining its Margaux typicity and hallmark petit verdot spiciness. Broad, big-boned, open, generous, muscular, expansive, full-bodied.

Pretty good show. Quite different from his 2009 vintage, but, I think "Vive la différence" well applies. Young, of course, the wood notes to integrate well in time I'm quite certain (materially less toast to the oak barrels per Edouard). I'd like to taste this again in 5 years just to see how it is coming along.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Saturday Night Swiss-German Dinner w/ My Boys @ The Appenzeller.

Catha was out last night, Saturday, the 23rd February 2013, for her IWFS Manila Ladies Branch's Annual Wine Crawl, so I took my teenagers out to dinner at The Appenzeller, a nice, homey Swiss-German restaurant-bar along the Alabang-Zapote Road, almost exactly perpendicular to Ayala Alabang Village's Acacia Road. We took a table in the non-smoking section. Mauro followed as he had to take another car so he could go to a party after dinner.

Shared appetizers were the usual Steak Tartare...
...& Deep-Fried Camembert, both of which the kids love.
We all had Oettinger Weißbier throughout the meal.
Mauro & Joaqi each had an order of Wienerschnitzel & Fries.
As one can see, the servings are quite large here.
Renzo had the Pork Sausage & Caramelized Onions w/ Potato Salad.
My usual Boiled Veal Sausage w/ Sauerkraut & Potato Salad.
Love these boys' nights out. Prost! Until the next!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday Night Family Dinner: Bubbly & Craft Beer @ Hanakazu

Saturday before last, the 9th February 2013, was back at Hanakazu (108 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque) with Catha & the kids sans the eldest who had schoolwork to attend to (or so he claimed).

Complimentary appetizers from the chef-proprietor.
I always order extra of the Baby Squid.

Toro Sashimi flown in fresh from Japan. Love this stuff. With it, some Champagne Krug Grande Cuvée Brut - from the same batch I brought home from Hong Kong early last month. My notes from last Saturday, naturally, still apply:

I've always loved Krug's aromas - alluring honey, ripe apricot, fresh bread, candied ginger, slight nuttiness, complexed with a breath of oxidation - all generously mirrored on the palate in a hefty, yet light-footed body. Not as complex as vintage Krug, of course, but, wonderful in itself nonetheless.
Excellent Hamachi Sashimi from Japan.
Also got a whole, fresh Saba - half as sashimi...
...the other half grilled (not very interesting grilled though).
Nigiri Sushi: Anago, Ikura, & Ama Ebi...

...with which I opened a Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner - a sweetishly honeyed malted, moderately hoppy, luscious, full-bodied imperial pilsner to which an Iron Chef lent his name. Unless it is a good bubbly, I've pretty much given up having white wines with Japanese fare. I enjoy beer and saké with it so much more.

Of course, we also had the obligatory (for me, anyway) Ebi Tempura, which Hanakazu does very well. As far as this dish goes, to my mind, Hanakazu's is easily on par with that of Tsukiji, both of which I consider the best in the country (in the absence of the defunct Sushi Kappo Kobikicho).

Joaqi's Beef Yakimeshi, which he said was "Just ok".
Soft-Shell Crab - a bit too muddled for me. A big pass on this.
Nice, refreshing, complimentary Honeydew Melon for dessert.
Kampai! Until the next!

Back at the Tivoli for a Mini Dégustation.

Tuesday the 15th January 2012, I attended a dinner at The Tivoli hosted by Charisse Chuidian, the Mandarin Oriental Manila's Director of Communications, for Alicia Sy, Cyrene dela Rosa, Sanjeeb Gopaldas, and I. We had the Tivoli's current dégustation menu (which changes quarterly as I understand). As I usually do, I brought my own bottles of wine to dinner.

The Menu
Nice enough bread selection, flavored butters, & creamy liver pâté.

Starting with the rustic Pâté de Campagne amuse bouche, I opened a bottle of 2009 Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Fourchaumes Vieilles Vignes - a bit tight at first from the ice bucket, it fleshed out as it warmed in glass, showing nicely ripe apple and pear with an underlying cold stone theme, citrus and orange rind surfacing just past mid-palate and extending into the moderate finish. Clean, decent purity, moderate steel and mineral profiles. Nicely balanced 1er cru Chablis.

With this wine, we continued through the above depicted 1st course - a duo of seafood - Orange & Crab Meat Canelloni, and, Sea Urchin & Salmon Roe on a Baguette Slice, adorned de riguer with Microgreens. Quite pleasing. The notably fresh sea urchin's creamy nuttiness was nicely cut by the salmon roe's inherent saltiness, the microgreens  adding herbaceous complexity. The mentioned Chablis went better with the crab meat canelloni, but was muddled by/with the more complex sea urchin & salmon roe.

The 2nd course was Quail Consommé with a Watercress & Shallot Wonton, the bowl streaked with concentrated earthy, sweetish Onion Reduction. A graceful soup course, delicate and subtle, yet the flavors made a statement.

The 3rd course: Scallop "à la Plancha" with a Warm Green Lentil Salad & Citrus Butter Sauce. Very well executed, the microgreens adding nice touches in complexity, not only visually. I only wish the portion was bigger. Other than that, I was quite impressed.

Charisse & Executive Chef Rene Ottlik.
Lemon Sorbet

The 4th (main) course was Australian Veal Tenderloin, Pan-Fried Veal Sweetbread, with Olives, Polenta, & Mushrooms, with which I opened a 2002 Louis Jadot Pommard Premier Cru Epenots -  decanted for aeration for around 1½ hours by the time it was served. The Epenots lieu dit is a few kilometers west-southwest of the old town of Beaune in the Côte de Beaune, its wines are generally  heavier boned, deeper in fruit, and a bit rustic.

The subject wine, after breathing, was a few notches over medium-bodied, displaying moderately smoky, minerally, well-ripened black cherry, dark plum, raspberry, slight tomato topnote, bit of anise, hint of pine needles, cedar, and oak spice. Underlying suggestions of ceps. It's healthy acidity lent good cut to the beef and earthy sweetbreads. Pretty good, though not exciting, it did do its job nicely enough.

The 5th (dessert) course was Cinnamon Parfait with Rum-Marinated Figs & Chocolate Ravioli.

The second dessert was quite entertaining: named "Chocolate Surprise", it is a ball of chocolate generously bathed with chocolate sauce with puddles of passion fruit.

Inside the ball lay passionfruit mousse on a spongecake base. Together with the rich dark chocolate sauce, it was quite delicious. I really enjoyed the chocolate's interplay with the passionfruit/citrus flavors. Loved it. I felt like a kid again.

Sanju, myself, Alicia, Cyrene, & Charisse
The above discussed menu is approximately Php3800+ per person and, as I recall, is available only during dinner service - a fair enough price for the dishes, relaxed, elegant ambiance, and crisp, attentive service. For so long as I am allowed to bring my wines, I'm game for another go at this. Thanks again to Charisse for the dinner. Until the next!

Champagne Taittinger, Pibarnon Rosé, & Prunotto Barolo Bussia @ Champêtre.

Saturday family dinner of the 19th January 2013 was at Champêtre for more of Marc's honest, hearty, authentic French country cuisine. Nicole and Michael joined us, and Lorenzo had other plans, so we were six in all.

Shortly after we arrived, before we could even finish ordering, Marc had sent us a terrine of creamy, earthy Boudin Noir to be spread over Melba Toast. We started off with this and a bottle of well chilled Champagne Taittinger Brut Réserve (no photo as I forgot to take one) - Vibrantly dry white fruit, citrus, whisper of bready yeastiness, lively effervescence, notable freshness, focus & purity. I must say that the last dozen or so of this that I've gotten from Säntis has been much, much better than those they used to sell, say, the past 5 years. Good non-vintage champagne at a very reasonable price. Good value for money at approximately P2750/bottle at Säntis.

Of course, no meal at Champêtre would be complete without Marc's signature Escargots à la Bourguignonne, so we had three orders of it... well as a couple of orders of the luxuriously addictive Terrine of Goose Foie Gras with Blueberry Compote & Brioche. We also had an order of the old favorite Terrine of Duck Foie Gras with Melba Toast, as Joaqi insisted on it (no photo as he dug into it before I could take one).

The subject night was also the first time we tried Marc's new Ris de Veau En Croûte. Comfortingly rustic, hearty, and nicely earthy with a somewhat creamy texture inside. Lovely. This was quickly wiped out. Those who claim not to like veal sweetbreads should definitely give this a try.

With the escargots and ris de veau, we had moved to a bottle of 2011 Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rosé - a gift from the Stockbroker, currently distributed by his Premium Wine Exchange. Typical roasted herbs, orange peel in its strawberry, raspberry and underlying cantaloupe. Underlying notes of  torrefaction and garrigue. At a local retail price of approximately 60% that of Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, it is a good buy if one finds it difficult to pay more for the latter (I don't, but I know for a fact that some/many other winos do).

Cheers! from Michael, Joaqi, & Mauro.
Joaqi photobombs Catha & Nicole.

Michael and Mauro each an order of the Dry-Aged Prime Grade US Rib-Eye (rare)...

...each served with sides of Potatoes Dauphinoise.

The steaks were even larger than usual that night, as can clearly be seen in the above photo, but both growing boys did justice to them. Nicole, ever trying to keep the weight off, had the Trio of Chilean Seabass, Scallops & Prawns on Linguini (no photo).

Catha, Joaqi, and I each had one of the night's specials: Magret de canard with Foie Gras.

For the night's red, I opened a bottle of 2001 Prunotto Barolo Bussia - Roses, tar, violets, cedar, blackcurrants, slight licorice, and some citrus peel in the nose. Full-bodied, properly rigid structure and concentration, precise ripeness to the moderately earthy fruit, joined by nuances of black olives and earthy tobacco notes. Clean lines. Acidity is good; could be a little better, but that's picking nits. Good focus, neatness, and typicity. Confident performance from attack to finish.

Locally available at Bacchus International. I don't recall the exact price, but it should be in the neighborhood of around P3500/bottle at full retail.

Good show.

For dessert, Nicole, Mauro, and I each had Marc's seasonal Chestnut Soufflé which was excellent as usual. Michael had some creamy mango dessert, but he attacked it before I could take a shot of it.

Marc sent us over a couple of complimentary platters of his new dessert: Nelusko Cake. Fantastic. Rich chocolate with a moderate hit of caramel, all in balance and not too sweet at all. Loved this, and, actually, just had it again last Saturday.

Coffees and double espressos capped off yet another fine meal at Champêtre. Nicole was off on a date with Leo, so we dropped Michael off at his place on our way home. Thanks, Marc, for yet another comforting evening. Everything was delicious. Until the next!