WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

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WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby Jay Labrador » Sun May 26, 2013 11:44 pm

Last Tuesday, a dozen friends of International Wine and Food Society VP Bernie Sim gathered to celebrate his birthday at what many regard as the finest Cantonese restaurant in Manila, Choi Garden.

While the idea was to treat Bernie to dinner, he insisted on at least supplying all the wines. As he has an unparalleled cellar it was easy to let him have his way.

The festivities started as soon as Bernie showed up with a magnum of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1998. This prestige cuvée is one of my favorite blanc de blancs and rarely fails to impress. This particular bottle was no exception. It was quite toasty with just the beginnings of some café au lait nuances and a little spicy white pepper. The flavor is quite deep and the mouthfeel rather creamy. There is probably still a bit of upside to this wine but it is drinking exceptionally well now. Outstanding wine.
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Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1998 in magnum by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
A battery of appetizers followed soon after. These included Tofu with Wood Ear Fungus, some puffs which I understood to be duck eggs prepared in some way, Layered Pork, a dish of egg whites with some sauce, and my favorite fried oysters.
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Tofu by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Layered Pork by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Fried Oysters by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Duck Egg appetizer by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
To accompany these were two whites from 2004 – a Domaine de Chevalier and a Smith Haut Lafitte. The Smith Haut Lafitte had a honeyed nose, which was nice, but on the palate I found it much too oaky for my tastes. The Domaine de Chevalier was more classically proportioned, crisp and dry with a lemon rind finish.
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Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2004 and Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2004 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
As Choi Garden specializes in seafood, we had several fish dishes to go along with the white wines as well. There was a shark’s fin soup, which I avoid ordering but which I will eat if served, a deboned steamed fish with noodles, garlic and leeks which was my favorite dish, aside from the oysters, of course, slipper lobster with noodles, and a large Grouper served two ways, the fillets steamed and the bones deep fried.
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Shark's Fin Soup by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Fish with Noodles, Garlic and Leeks by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Slipper Lobster with Noodles by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
We proceeded to the reds midway through the fish courses as we had run out of white wine by then.
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Lynch Bages '90, Sociando-Mallet '90, Pichon Baron '90, Mouton '86, Pichon Lalande '82 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
The Sociando-Mallet 1990 was very fine. It is still quite dark with soft tannins and a great deal of fruit and leather notes. I reckon it’s about perfect now. An excellent showing for this wine.

The Pichon Lalande 1982 was the group’s favorite red. The nose was attractive with floral notes coming through. On the palate, the fruit was still prominent showing plum and blackberry as well as other black fruits. It’s a remarkably plump wine for its age. Probably at peak now but it should stay there for some time yet. Outstanding.

A Pichon Baron 1990 followed. Somewhat of a disappointment as it was all prunes with a strong acid streak on the finish.

Somehow, I was skipped when the Lynch Bages 1990 was poured so I wasn’t able to take any notes on it.

The Mouton Rothschild 1986 was rich and meaty but not too interesting as the flavors were quite muted. I would say this is probably starting to decline.

For our meat courses with the reds we had some pigeon and a sliced lamb with mushrooms.
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Pigeon and Prawn Crackers by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Naturally, we had to finish with fried rice, in this case, a version called Rich Man’s Fried Rice.
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Rich Man's Fried Rice by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Three desserts followed consisting of mochi stuffed with mango, mochi stuffed with salted egg yolk which looked very pretty but which I found a little strange and a chilled avocado soup with sago pearls.
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Chilled avocado with sago by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Mochi with salted egg filling by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
I was more interested in the dessert wine which was a Chateau Climens 1990. As I’ve had this wine before and enjoyed it thoroughly, I had high expectations for this and I was not disappointed. Deep gold, caramel and burnt sugar on the nose. Candied pineapple and yellow tropical fruits. Peaches and mango. Exceedingly sweet but balanced with a good deal of acidity. A lovely wine that’s still youthful. There are decades of life left in this wine. Outstanding.Image
Climens 1990 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Although that was certainly a fine wine on which to end the evening, an encore was provided courtesy of Othmar, in the form of a Cossart Gordon Bual Madeira 1976. As there is no fine Madeira sold in Manila, this was a real treat indeed. Murky orange/rust but the bouquet indicated the wine was fine. Strong toffee and some coffee bean on the nose with the toffee carrying through to the palate. Candied orange rind, mocha, Nutella and hazelnut make an appearance as well. Very high acidity balancing the gentle sweetness and making it rather easy to drink. Impressively long finish. Yet another outstanding wine.
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Cossart Gordon Madeira Bual 1976 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Our thanks go to Oscar who organized the whole thing and especially to Bernie for providing the excuse for us to get together, and for his generosity in sharing his great bottles.
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Mike Aguas, Bernie Sim, Bonnie Fuentes, Jojo Madrid and Othmar Ober by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Last edited by Jay Labrador on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jay Labrador
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Re: WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby Rainer from CH » Thu May 30, 2013 4:40 pm

Jay Labrador wrote:
The Mouton Rothschild 1986 was rich and meaty but not too interesting as the flavors were quite muted. I would say this is probably starting to decline.

Hi Jay, thanks for your great report.
I think you just had bad luck with that bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1986. Tasted from a perfect bottle this wine is still showing too young and being far from any decline.
Best, Rainer
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Re: WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby Jay Labrador » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:35 pm

Rainer from CH wrote:
Jay Labrador wrote:
The Mouton Rothschild 1986 was rich and meaty but not too interesting as the flavors were quite muted. I would say this is probably starting to decline.

Hi Jay, thanks for your great report.
I think you just had bad luck with that bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1986. Tasted from a perfect bottle this wine is still showing too young and being far from any decline.
Best, Rainer


Thanks for your comments, Rainer. So far our group has been plagued by mostly blah bottles of Mouton. Hopefully one day we'll come upon a really good bottle.
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Re: WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby James Dietz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:29 am

That 1998 Comtes is excellent now, as is the 1995 and 1999. In fact, the CdC is rivaling Salon as my favorite champagne. And at a better price!
Cheers, Jim
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Re: WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby Jay Labrador » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:45 am

James Dietz wrote:That 1998 Comtes is excellent now, as is the 1995 and 1999. In fact, the CdC is rivaling Salon as my favorite champagne. And at a better price!


Good to know! Still have some '95.
Jay Labrador
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Re: WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:25 am

Madeira, would have thought the enterprising Stockbroker would be hot on the trail!!
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Re: WTN: Lots of Bordeaux with Cantonese at Choi Garden

Postby Jay Labrador » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:28 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Madeira, would have thought the enterprising Stockbroker would be hot on the trail!!


Extremely limited market here, unfortunately. He does have a few in his private stock.
Jay Labrador
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Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:34 am
Location: Manila, Philippines


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