WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

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WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Salil » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:46 pm

Been a while since we had one of these Riesling-soaked nights at Grand Sich, and a few of us got together at the St. Mark's GS to welcome Faryan to NY with a lot of very good wine. Didn't take notes on all the bottles opened (no impressions on the Bachelet, Radikon or sherries, and I may have missed a Riesling or two), hopefully others can fill in, but this was a seriously fun evening with great friends, seriously good food and an excess of wine.

2009 Vouette et Sorbée Champagne Cuvée Fidèle Extra Brut
R09, disgorged in 2012. A lovely way to start the evening; vibrant and brightly fruited with doughy, chalky and fresh baked brioche notes accenting the fresh pear and citrus fruit. There's a nice sense of richness on the palate, though it does feel a little soft on the back end.

1989 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Turckheim
Remarkably youthful; the fruit's still incredibly fresh and bright with a firm mineral base beneath, and tinged with more developed smoky and savoury flavours. It's quite dry but doesn't feel austere with a nice richness to the fruit, and bright acids keeping it very lively.

1990 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Brand
Quite a contrast to the '89 Turckheim Riesling; deeper in colour, much riper and more flamboyant - there's a sense of real power and weight here, with bright floral, smoky, honeyed and botrytis notes around a core of ripe peach and citrus fruits. There's fine balance here with good acidity balancing the richness and faint sweetness of the wine, and impressive length.

1988 Château Cos d'Estournel
Just a fantastic claret; a combination of cedar, graphite, tobacco, mineral and fresh dark fruited flavours all coming together seamlessly in a fragrant medium weight package with stunning balance. There's certainly a bit of tannin here on the back end and it still feels very fresh and youthful with the grainy tannin on the back end suggesting there's plenty of time ahead, but this is drinking stunningly well right now.

1988 Château Montrose
Rather hard, lean and austere initially, but it really opens out with some air to show a lovely fragrance of leather, cedar wood and tobacco, with the fruit starting to gain weight and richness in the mouth and complemented by a savoury mature earthiness. Really enjoyable after some air.

1983 Château Talbot
An unmistakeable Cordier fragrance with some barnyard and leathery funk, savoury earthiness and tobacco around a core of dusty red fruited flavours. This is drinking really well right now, coming across as perfectly mature with the tannins nicely integrated and a sense of real seamlessness to the flavours.

1978 Château Léoville Poyferré
Unfortunately corked.

1999 Éric Texier Hermitage
Not the best showing I've had from this wine (strangely, I've never had two bottles of this show the same way) - there's a core of fresh raspberries and olives tinged with smoky and meaty notes, but the fruit feels a little austere with the acidity really dominating. Air smooths it out some, but it doesn't show the elegance and finesse I usually expect from Texier.

2001 Éric Texier Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes
Hard to guess this as Côte-Rôtie when it was served blind (I was thinking Burgundy with each sip), but this is really lovely - polished and elegant with bright floral, earthy and herbal notes framing a core of red fruited flavours that come across incredibly fresh, vibrant and youthful. Great stuff.

1996 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage
Classic Chave aromatics; that vivid smokiness, meatiness, red fruits and black olives all coming together into one amazing fragrance. This just kept getting better to smell over the course of the evening, and it tastes pretty fantastic as well, a little lighter on its feet than what I usually expect from Chave with the acidity quite prominent, but beautifully balanced with striking length and a sense of real finesse and polish.

1987 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Another awesome bottle that again has me wondering why I don't own any Dunn. Rich dark fruited flavours framed by maturing cedar, pipe tobacco and dusty earthy flavours and conveyed with a sense of power and elegance. Still quite youthful with some grainy tannin on the back end, and quite wonderful with the duck.

2002 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses
Mmm, lovely; a combination of rich red and dark fruited flavours, savoury earthiness and higher toned spicy, tobacco and herbaceous flavours on a polished, medium weight frame. This still feels incredibly youthful and seems to have years ahead of it, but it's a wonderful combination with the lamb with green pepper.

1975 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett
Stunningly fresh and bright for a 37 year old Kabinett. This is perfectly mature; delicate and understated with lemon candy, pear, herbal, smoky and mineral elements all coming together into a single seamless whole. There's gentle sweetness, a wonderful lightness of touch here and bright acids that still keep it very fresh and lively.

1993 Egon Müller Wiltinger Braune Kupp Riesling Spätlese
Great stuff. Quite high toned with bright herbal, almost leafy flavours framing the fresh pear, green apple and citrus fruits here, and a gentle mineral undercurrent beneath the fruit. There's lovely balance, wonderful focus and precision to the flavours and this is all too easy to drink.

1989 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
Liked this a lot, though it seemed to split opinions at the table - dominated by aged creamy and smoky flavours with ripe peachy and citrus fruit flavours beneath. It doesn't have the cut or vibrancy I'd usually expect from Haag, but it's quite lovely to drink though struggling a little in contrast with the older Prums.

1989 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
Great stuff. Seamless and polished with honeycomb, flowers, mature smoky flavours and minerally elements framing a core of pure Mosel fruit. This is really lovely to drink with a really elegant, delicate touch on the palate, bright acids balancing the sweetness perfectly and striking length.

1988 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese
Flat out fantastic. The same flavours as the '89 Spätlese that was poured just before, but there's more richness and depth here, it's sweeter but at the same time the acidity's also more prominent and this comes across with even more cut and focus to the flavours than any of the Spätlese on the table. Old Prüm can be so good.

1983 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Abtsberg Riesling Auslese #88
Well, nice to have another crack at this after a corked bottle a few months ago. This one thankfully wasn't corked, and showed stunningly well - a spectrum of Riesling fruit, developed smokiness and creaminess, and those herbal/forestal/pine cone-like flavours I always find in Grünhaus' wines, all coming together seamlessly and conveyed with remarkable finesse and elegance. There's a sense of real purity to the flavours here, great balance and understated sweetness - old Grünhaus is such great stuff.

1998 Weingut Weegmüller Haardter Bürgergarten Riesling Eiswein
Delicious - an intense core of ripe peaches and tropical fruits tinged with honey and higher toned floral and spicy notes. There's remarkable intensity here but also great balance, with bright acids keeping it really vibrant and precise despite the intense sweetness, and remarkable length. Yum.

2011 Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Spätlese
Another fantastic bottle of this - Auslese-like in richness and intensity, with a core of ripe peaches, white cherries and citrus fruits accented by mineral and exotic floral notes. Despite its sweetness and ripeness the balance is superb with a sense of real purity and freshness here, and a finish that just keeps resonating.

Really fun night - thanks all!
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Matt Richman » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Sounds awesome. Love that restaurant. Great collection of wine too!
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:08 pm

thanks Salil for organizing.I've had a crazy day at office but will try to reply once I type up my meager notes tonight
Fun night, great food, good and a few great wines
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:37 pm

So Salil, why don't you own any Dunn?
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Patrick Martin » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:26 pm

Great stuff, you guys know how to pop some corks.

I love mature wines (Bordeaux and Riesling at the top of wines that develop well with cellar time, for my tastes) and I too am developing a real affection for Dunn cabs. The 93 Dunn HM cab has been excellent every time I've tried it, and I've got the 85 and 87 HM cabs arriving via FedEx tomorrow!
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Andrew Bair » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:41 pm

Salil -

Thank you again for the notes. I wish that I could have tried the 1975 Zilliken Kabinett. :( Sounds like it was a great night!
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:22 pm

Salil put together a group to welcome Faryan to NYC at Grand Sichuan on St. Marks last night. Good to see a couple old friends and meet some new people. Fun table, though with 9 one always regrets not being able to really engage everyone. Food was cheap and delicious- soup dumplings, cucumber with scallion, tea smoked duck, pork with chestnuts, Chongqing chicken,lamb with peppers, lamb with cumin, and more.

Tuesday wasn’t my luckiest day- 2 out of 4 of the bottles I opened were corked. Plus my pen broke, so I borrowed my neighbor’s pen a couple of times,and then paid about $2 for a 10 cent pen at Hudson News on way home and wrote more from memory on train. So most notes partially from memory, and I might have missed some wines - certainly a sherry with an interesting nose- and may have screwed up some vineyards/designations (edit- with Salil’s notes, think I’ve corrected my bad Riesling vineyard IDs).

2009 Vouette et Sorbe “Fidele” Champagne
Yeasty, biscuity, big, very dry, pretty impressive but not really my preferred style of bubbly. B

2005 Radikon Oslavje
Very interesting, dry and complex, long, fresh despite the oxidative notes, gets funky sherry-like aromas after lots of air. B/B+

1989 Zind-Humbrecht “Turckheim” Riesling
Good freshness, gingery spice over citrus/apple fruit, some mineral. B+

1990 Zind-Humbrecht “Brand” Riesling
Vintage differences (or possibly vineyard differences, or maybe just Olivier finding his way toward his more opulent style). Honied, floral, tropical. I like a lot even if it verges close to too much. B+/A-

1988 Cos d'Estournel
I seemed to have liked this less than some others. Still showing a lot of ‘88 tannin, this is more sturdy than exciting to me. B

1995 Bachelet Gevrey-Chambertin (I think Corbeaux?)
Pretty tight at first, kind of angry acid with a bit o tannin, but I liked this once it got some air. Young. B/B+

1988 Montrose
I think again the combination of ‘88 and Montrose was a bit much, but while hard I thought this maybe had some real promise. B- for now, but would love to taste in 10-15.

1983 Talbot
Wow, this was shockingly good. I’ve liked 83 Talbot before, but never truly loved- this was a very very good bottle. Stable and dirt aromas, solid cassis fruit, cigarbox, a classy country gentleman. A pointe. A-/A

1978 Leoville Poyferre
This was a last minute addition, only red I had standing up when I realized ‘85 Dunn was corked, hard to believe but this was also corked. I was in a hurry when opening- one tap of the Ah So and cork was swimming, I decanted into another bottle, but when poured TCA was showing.

Blind #1
My first comment was “stern” and my neighbor Jay’s was “needs time” I had no clue re wine (though on muliple choiceI voted for Old World, France, and Rhone in multiple choice, it was without any certainty). 1999 Texier Hermitage. Last time I had I gave an A- in tough competition, this was far less appealing (previous bottle was decanted well in advance, this was basically PnP). B/B-

Blind #2
Complex, fleshy but bright, herby. Very good. 2001 Texier Cote Rotie. B+/A-

1986 Juge Cornas ( didn’t note if C, SC, or whatever if he used those back then)
Nose was a curious blend of tapenade, VA, and cherry fruit, though a bit better on palate.. C+

1996 Chave Hermitage
Classic, long, elegant but powerful. A-

1984 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (napa Valley)
Corked

1987 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)
I had brought this because an ‘85 I had promised was mildly corked (I didn’t really get when double decanting in afternoon, but a sniff before heading out made me leave the ‘85 and grab an ‘87). Showed well despite its travels. Full, rich black plum and cassis fruit, herb/mint, still some tannins. B+/A-

2002 Olga Raffault “ Les Picasses” Chinon
I found this ungiving now, others liked better. B-

1975 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett
I liked more than my neighbors, quite lively, pit fruits, white flowers, a bit of petrol. B+

1983 Von Schubert Abtsberg Riesling Auslese
Beautiful, complex, long. A-

1988 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese

Stunning bottle of Riesling, my white WOTN. A-/A

I just noted I liked the 1993 Egon Muller Wiltinger Braune Kupp Spatlese and the 1989 JJ Prum WS Spatlese. I didn’t write anything down re the 89 Haag Spatlese, and really can’t draw up an opinion. A 1998 Weingut Weegmüller Haardter Bürgergarten Riesling Eiswein was bright, sweet, and long.There was also a 2011 Schafer-Frohlich Spatlese, but I was gathering glasses, paying, etc and no clear notes, though I liked a lot.

Fun night, fun crowd, thanks Salil for organizing, and everyone for their contributions and good natures.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Matt Richman » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:06 am

20+ bottles for 9 people.

Nice.
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Salil » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:28 am

And then Ross pulled out a pair of sherries at the end of the night, because he felt there wasn't enough alcohol on the table. Didn't take notes, but I also enjoyed both the La Bota Manzanilla Pasada #30, and the El Maestro Sierra 1830 Amontillado VORS had a beautiful fragrance.
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby ChaimShraga » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:02 am

How the hell do you manage to deal with all that alcohol? How long do these affair take?

You lucky, lucky bastards.

:mrgreen:
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby Salil » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:37 am

There were spit/dump buckets, and these meals aren't short. :D (Long train rides after didn't hurt either.)
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Re: WTN: Grand Sichuan excesses

Postby ChaimShraga » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:48 pm

Salil wrote:There were spit/dump buckets.


Salil, you might want to review the wine list and explain how you managed to spit out some of those beauties.
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