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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chateau Musar wines at Denise@TTDI - okay...

Chateau Musar Wines Tasting Event at Denise Wine House@TTDI April 20th, 2016

Chateau Musar Reds
This was a joint collaboration between the IWFS and Dionysus Asia, the purpose of which was to offer IWFS members an opportunity to explore and experience wines from a rarely explored wine region. May had been approached by the wine distributor and a deal worked out whereby they would supply the wines for tasting but IWFS would pay for their food. At RM65 it was a steal and the twenty spots got quickly snapped up by the members.

Chateau Musar grapes come from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Jancis Robinson's Wine Course notes this valley is located "on an inland plateau as high as England's highest highest mountains" which allows the winery to produce "some very exciting bordeaux-like red wines…inspired by a visit to the Bartons of St-Julien." 

Kit, Ania and I left a bit early in anticipation of heavy traffic getting into TTDI. It did get a bit slow past the Jalan Damansara toll but eased out after the first TTDI traffic lights. Actually took about 30 minutes. 

IWFS KL Members thoughtfully chugg... er, sipping on the Musar white wine
The Denise Wine House was well appointed in a shophouse on one of the main drags in TTDI. On approach it looked like a parking nightmare, though this would dissipate on turning the bend and straight into a perfect spot for later exit. Inside, there were rails and shelves of bottles that were quite esoteric in origin and a shade stiff in price, though presumably that is the premium for their esoteric nature - the unusual always demands a margin. Walkign through to the back led to a small dark candlelit room in which barrels and tables were located and chairs on which to sit, drink and eat. Mostly polished wood, it was cosy and cool. There was a small wine cellar in airconditioned glass to the side and a TV with a laptop against the wall for presentations. Most pleasant, especially when the lights got turned on and we could all see each other.

Originallly it was planned that Sales Director, South East Asia and West Pacific Sales Director Mr. Ralph Hochar would be on hand to talk about the wines. As it panned out, he would prove unable to attend due to a family emergency. We hoped that all would be well soon and passed our best via Dionysys' Desmond.

The halal charcuterie - was very tasty!
Some of the dishes contained pork and non-pork food options were made available to members unable to partake. Those of us on such tables made a temporary reseat onto one where the cured meat was available. It was quite good - Spanish and Italian salami I have seen in the Supermarkets. Went well with the light red 2009 Hochar. 

The food was allegedly with a Lebanese twist, which seemingly proved to be Pine Nuts in various concoctions on each. There was enough of it, but outside of the wonderful Balsamic Salad dressing and Iberico Pork Chop the food was pretty forgettable. Especially the pasta which ended up as a lump of cold noodle mess on the plate. Vanessa collected everyone's to feed the street dogs around where she lives. Hope they enjoy it more than I did. 

But the food did provide a useful foil against which to taste the wines, and certainly did allow different characters to show through. All were pleasant and eminently drinkable, though a shade on the thin side for personal preference. I do like a bit of crisp in my white and heft in my reds and not enough seemed on display in these Lebanese offerings. Nice, but not that nice. 

Two of the reds - which to choose?
 On the night, people seemed to prefer the 2000 Red. We also got a 1999 Red to contrast and which was claimed by the Wine man to be one to cellar for another 30 years. Well, and maybe - for me, it felt like it was peaking though I am no expert as to whether this style of wine can be laid down for the next generations. I have had some Spanish and Portuguese aged wines and found I was not really able to appreciate them. Though in fairness, the 1999 had some similar textural qualities so maybe the Wine Man had a point. Teh Governor said he would not be buying - his policy is now Buy To Drink. Though he continues to confess a weakness for bidding on Christie's Wine Lists. 

Pitt Lee, May and Kalsom
The evening wound down with offers by The Wine Man of 15% discount on purchases. some people bought, though as said I didn't think it was "that" nice enough. David decided it was time to open a bottle of South African fizz for all of us to try and by the time we had scarfed that and swept up the reds we were all feeling quite nicely oiled. I called time and got us all home safely, notwithstanding a long detour necessitated by unexpected road works on the Jalan Damansara. One day these road works will end. Yeah, right…

Prakash and YC
Was a good noisy evening of food and drink and well worth the drive there and back. The Denise is a pleasant place to suck on a bottle and chew some salami with friends, though perhaps a shade more functional than the somewhat easier atmosphere and chairs that can be found at Ceggo Boardroom in Taman Danau Desa. Bebe's food there has the edge as well with her Rosemary and Truffle oil Pork Shoulder. But the wine girls at Denise were very pleasant and generous - worth seeking out if you're in the mood for a snacky rather than a full on main course style dinner. 

Denise Wine House @TTDI, 
60 Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, 
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel 03 7727 7033

Lebanese Salad with CHATEAU MUSAR JEUNE WHITE 2013
Pasta with Lebanese Twist with CHATEAU MUSAR RED 2000
Iberico Pork Chop with CHATEAU MUSAR RED 1999

Varietal: Viognier 35%, Vermentino 35% ,Chardonnay 30% 
Appearance: Pale lemon in colour. 
Aromas: Fruity and herby aromas – of apricots, white peaches, pears, honeysuckle and elderflower. 
Flavours: Fragrant and vibrant, aromatic wine with a hint of nuttiness on the rich, yextured palate with gentle acidity and a peachy finish.

Varietal : Cinsault 100% 
Appearance: A light salmon, pink colour. 
Aromas: Peaches, pears and white stone fruits with a hint of mandarins and rosewater on the finish. 
Flavours: Fruits of quince, apples and Seville orange marmalade, nice balanced with soft well integrated tannins and good acidity with a cranberry juiciness on the finish.

Varietal: Cinsault 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 15%, Carignan 15%, Grenache 20% 
Appearance: Deep dark ruby colour. 
Aromas: Rich dark berries – black fruits, plums and dark chocolate. 
Flavours: Intense and vibrant, enriched with ripe forest fruits, plums, black cherries, prunes with layers of dark chocolate following through. Beautiful balanced, complex with a good tannin structure.

Varietal :Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan 
2007 was a good year for the Cinsault which displayed red berry and concentrated cherry fruits, reminiscent of Amarone. As the Cabernet Sauvignon rested in vats, it showed intense coffee bean aromas and ripe fruit, typical pf a warmer vintage.

Varietal :Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan 
Appearance: Deep dark red. 
Aromas: Complex, intriguing mixture of figs, prunes, leather, dark tea, tobacco, black olives with spices and a certain earthiness. 

Flavours: Ripe black cherries, figs, damsons – even chocolate and olives. Good acidity with nice smooth tannins resulting in a wine which is full-bodied, rich and velvety, with very long length.

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