Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stellar Sage! IWFS President's Dinner December 13 2013

The Doc and the Lenglui

Ho hum. Another December, another IWFS KL President's Dinner. It does occasionally feel so easy to take the idea of being able to go to these parties for granted. But as far as possible it is better to bear in mind that those of us who do go to these things are very very privileged indeed. Finding oneself somewhere in the top one per cent of humanity being able to feed themselves on some of the finest epicurean creations the planet has to offer. Unbelievable. Certainly a far cry from a bag of Fish and Chips from the corner bar on a rainy night home from the pub. Always good to remember the past to see how far we fly. And how far we can fall just as easily. 

The Scribe and the Lenglui
The President's Dinner for 2013 saw 75 pre Christmas revellers decked out in their best bibs, tuckers and frocks and party down at the Sage Restaurant in The Gardens. Lenglui looked especially stunning on the night in white Prada and Chanel. Elegant and chic. Made me breathless and in need of a steadying glass. Which came. Copiously. The Sage staff were extremely generous with their pourings of Bollinger Brut Reserve Champagne, though apparently there was still some remaining at the end. Everyone was in the mood to party. Perhaps it was the special sense of the IWFS KL reaching sixty years. Which is older than most of the members. As usual, I managed to miss the canapes - got a bit busy doing the rounds and taking potshots of the assembled. 

"Smile dear!"   "I am smiling..."
Our President's Dinner is always a Black Tie affair, though somehow this message doesn't always seem to make it through. There were again one or two attendees without Black Tie. I never used to subscribe too much to the concept of dress code, but having done it for the last few years it really does lend a great sense of occasion. In my three year experience the IWFS has never previously been seen to stand too much on ceremony in this aspect, though this time a few grumblings made their way to my ears. I smell a resolution requiring members to ensure that guests are properly attired on pain of a flogging in the bathroom. 

Foodwise, the Foie Gras Risotto was excellent - textured, full of French umami and brilliantly off the map. The Doc is refusing to take the Foie Gras because of the way they force feed the geese. Having seen photos, I may not be far behind. Quite hideous.
Risotto of Foie Gras with Black Truffle
The Salmon and Avocado Mouselline was also a belter, with its liberal douse of truffle oil and the salty caviar crunch. A brilliant foundation for the mellow but lively and concentrated Te Koko. The age seems to give a hint of a Semillon feel but the Sauvignon Blanc shone clearly through. So, so nice.

The Lafon Meursault was a cracker with the Foie Gras - rich and beechnut woody with lovely balance across the palate. Someone naturally whinged that the FG needed an Yquem to which the response was a general "yeeee--eees…..  well anyway, cheers!" Didn't stop them quaffing the Meursault, though.

Slow Cooked Hillside Lamb Rack with Shiromiso and Blue Cheese Sauce
I had the lamb which was wonderful. Tender as a supermodel's butt, this lightly seared darling was so good with the gooeey salt of the attendant blue cheese sauce. Zippy and acidic with the lean lamb meat - first class. Pairing it with the 2008 Leoville Barton was a no brainer, though the youth of the wine raised a slight question. The LB was indeed overflowing with youthful vitality and clearly a lot of life and zip is there for time to do its stuff with the rest of the bottles in our stock. Perhaps a bit on the lean side, though with fair fruit and lovely sleek balance. Great bordeaux wine, one of our favourites. 

Wagyu Beef Striploin
The Muga was plush and crisp with a firm grip and possessed of a bold mouth with a bit of Spanish sweetness. It did sterling matador work with the little steal of wagyu I pinched from the Doc. Even balance, rich fruit, a very tasty drop of structured Spanish terroir. 

Dessert got swallowed swiftly and the bread was as stellar as it ever is at the Sage. I remember sipping the Sauternes and finding it not oversweet with good crisp fruit and a smooth but not too syrupy mouthfeel. Again, a very well balanced wine which seemed to be the hallmark of all the wines on the night. Firm, full, even. Another stellar evening at the Sage - still the absolute best in town for us.

The Wines and the Auctioneers
As recorder and spotter for the upcoming fund raising auction, I felt half a need to keep a fairly sober sheet - well, at least until my duties had been discharged. This became difficult when an open bottle of the 2008 Leoville Barton somehow appeared near the place where I had parked my glass. Sometimes the signs from the gods are perfectly crystal clear. 

Chef Daniel and team
The auction raised RM125,680. The charities supported for the year remained the Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled and the Damai Disabled Persons Association, both in Petaling Jaya in Selangor. Members can be very generous when they want to be. Just have to make sure they wear their bow ties next time.

Kin Mun and Vanya


Tuna Otoro with Aioli and Nori
Kampachi King Fish with Salted Kelp

Bollinger Brut Reserve Champagne NV

First Course
Seared Smoked Norwegian Salmon with Avocado Mousseline and Avruga Caviar
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Te Koko 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand

Second Course
Risotto of Foie Gras with Noix de Saint Jacques and Black truffle

Domaine Comtes Lafon Meursault, 2007

Palate Cleanser
Soursop Granite

Main Courses
Slow Cooked Hillside Lamb Rack with Shiromiso and Blue Cheese Sauce 


Wagyu Beef Striploin with Mashed Potato and Natural Juice

Bodegas Muga Selecion Especiale, 2005, Spain
Chateau Leoville Barton 2008, Bordeaux, France

Calvados Glace with Fuji Apple and Almond Gougat

Chateau Guiraud Premier Grand Cru Classe, 2005, Sauterne, France
Coffee or Tea

Serena, Prakash and Y C Yap

Bollinger Brut Reserve Champagne NY

It is three years under sixty since Bollinger appeared as James Bond’s virile sophisticated Champagne. Not a pound or franc changed hands in lining up the man with the bubbles. ‘Diamonds are Forever’ was the movie and lovers of the masculine full bodied wine have known for decades that this non-vintage has crystalline elegance. Depth is balanced by a weighty mid palate and a biscuit, long finish.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Te Koko 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand

Te Koko o Kupe (The Oyster Dredge of Kupe) is named after a mythical Maori super hero warrior and it is the original name of sweeping Cloudy Bay on the Marlborough coast line. If you aim high in Maori names, you have to justify it. So we have an oak-aged Wairau Valley, harvested ripe from five sites and matured for a year on lees. There is fleshy complexity in a long non-herbaceous style. Rated a Super Classic by renowned Kiwi, Michael Cooper.

Domaine Comtes Lafon Meursault 2007, Burgundy

This biodynamic Chardonnay from some of the deepest cellars in Burgundy is brimming with the balance of a carefully crafted and weighty white. It is tempting to passionately enjoy the creaminess, nuttiness and ripe fruit balance with a substantial finish in sheer delight. We suggest you do linger over this Meursault as it evolves in the glass, if you can.

Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especiale 2005, Spain

Fruit and evolved complexity are led by a multifaceted aroma which shows why aged styles from Rioja hold their own. Critics from both sides of the Atlantic lavish 93 points on wines like this from this particular vintage. Elegance in the plum, black raspberry, vanillin and tarry notes of this Tempranillo dominant classic are structured towards a very long finish.

Chateau Leoville Barton 2008, Bordeaux

Ripe, opulent and bold in an inky brawny Saint Julien style. Aged in 60 percent new oak, this is an intense Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine with a long sweet finish and a strong tannic backbone. This rich, young wine shows the winemaker’s skills in an uneven vintage. (Robert Parker 92 points, Jancis Robinson, 16.5)

Chateau Guiraud Premier Grand Cru Classe 2005, Sauterne

The fruit for this classic style is grown on over 40 year old Semillon and Sauvignon vines and after noble rot imparts its fickle pleasures, the wine aged is for over two years. The 2005 Guiraud has a bouquet with dried honey, marmalade and just a hint of minerality emerging with aeration. The palate is medium bodied with a viscous entry, crisp acidity, touches of beeswax and almond define the harmonious waxy textured finish. It has already evolved into a delectable Sauternes. (Robert Parker 93) 


No comments:

Post a Comment