Wednesday, November 30, 2022

LeDomduVin: UGCB Tasting HK - Vintage 2019





UGCB Tasting HK - Vintage 2019



On November 30th, 2022, I went to the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB), held in a huge, magnificent room, on the 3rd floor of the Rosewood Hotel (Hong Kong). 

The "UGCB" tasting is always a great opportunity to taste either the "En Primeur" vintage (not yet released, tasting usually happens around April of the year following the harvest), or one of the most recently released vintage (tasting usually happens around November/December).  

That day, we tasted the 2019 vintage, which was released around March/April 2021, usually after 12-18 months of barrel aging, depending on the Chateau practices and the quality of the vintage. 

This last sentence may come as a surprise for some of the novices, but both Chateau's vineyard & cellar management differ from vintage to vintage for various reasons (mostly due to weather conditions and their consequences throughout the year and during the harvest), and therefore it is the reason why the wine blend and period of aging differ from one vintage to the next too. 

That explains why, despite trying to keep a similar style and profile, good years and bad years, the wine from the same Chateau will have a slightly different taste from one vintage to the next. Producers have to adapt to the various challenges they may face in the vineyard and in the cellar brought by both Mother Nature and more evidently these past 10-15 years, the climate changes, unfortunately.                    






The tasting was a seating tasting, which is good to take your time to taste and focus on the quality wine, yet, in my opinion, which is more difficult, slower, and less efficient to get an overall appreciation of all the wines of one appellation. 

Wines are brought to you by flights of 3 wines at the time, which means that by the time you finish all the flights (e.g. 4 flights x 3 wines for one appellation represented by 12 Chateaux/Wines), you have to go back to all your notes and compared. 

While a standing-up tasting, in my opinion, is preferable, as it allows you to
  1. see all the labels of the wines you're about to test at once
  2. speed taste all the wines one after another in a much faster fashion
  3. enable you to easily remember what you have tested before
  4. have a good overall appreciation of the quality level of the wines and the appellation
  5. arrange in order from worst to best (ascending) or best to worst (descending) as you prefer    
  6. make a faster decision on the ones you liked the most
Don't get me wrong, I know that you can also do all the above (1-6) at a seating tasting, but in my opinion, it is different and not as fast when you're seating down, and, personally, I will rather be standing up and facing the table where the wines are lined-up, than seating at a table, but I guess it just a question of preference and the time you have at your disposal to do the tasting.  







I had RSVP for the 1st session, from 10h30 to 13h30, as I prefer to taste in the morning, prior to eating, when the mind is still alive and focused, and the tastebuds are more sensitive and awake (e.g. try to go to a tasting after a nice lunch that you probably ended with a double expresso, trust me, your tastebuds won't be as efficient, and that's a fact).     

3 hours may seem like a long time, yet, the tasting included 97 wines to taste, meaning that technically you only have, roughly, less than 2 minutes per wine if you want to taste them all, which might be possible if you're super fast and don't get distracted, and only if you are standing up, facing the display tables, not talking to anyone and barely taking any notes... which is basically impossible. 

Impossible, because you know as well as me that during these types of tastings, more especially Bordeaux tasting and, in general, French wine tastings, which usually attract a full crowd of Sommeliers and other restaurants/bars/brasseries staff including F&B Directors, etc, as well as other people of the wine trade (importers, distributors, suppliers, salespeople, etc...) and even wine retailers, you are sure to be distracted a few times and therefore lose your focus and even waste your time in enjoyable catching-up discussions, yet ending nowhere. You know what I mean, we all do it. 😁👍🍷

      





So, I started to make a list, more especially for my friend Benny (picture below), for whom, despite the fact that he knows a lot about wine, this type of Bordeaux tasting was his first experience, and he could not stay for more than 45 minutes. Hence, I had to guide him in his choice about what would be the most appropriate wines to taste.  And, as you probably guessed, I shorted down the list to the ones that I think are among the best of the lists.    

Of course, being a Bordeaux native with more than 31 years of experience in the wine business, as a Sommelier / Wine Buyer, you may say that my choices are surely a bit biased, as I made the list based on my taste and preferences, and I have to agree. 😁👍

That said, I think that it is fair to also say that after having tasted these wines year after year, sometimes 2 or 3 times a year (or even more times, as I buy them for restaurants, as well as private and corporate events, then sell and/or serve them, and therefore also taste them). 

Anyway, he was happy with the list I made, and I can that these were truly the ones to absolutely taste if/when you do have not enough time to taste them all.    







I can already sense that some of you are drooling with impatience to know what were the wines on that list, aren't you? 

Well, to be fair for the other chateaux presented that day, I will just list those recommended to my friend to taste (as he did not have time to taste them all, it is important to note the context once again in all fairness for all the other wines). 

The list is in alphabetical order without indicating which ones I preferred more, or even which ones I estimated being the best respectively in their own appellation. So, it is fair, ok? You will probably do the same if you were at my place.   


Pessac Leognan (White)

  • Chantegrive
  • Carbonnieux
  • Domaine de Chevalier
  • Malartic Lagraviere
  • Pape Clement
  

Pessac Leognan (Red)

  • Domaine de Chevalier
  • Larrivet Haut-Brion
  • Malartic-Lagraviere
  • Pape Clement
  • Smith Haut Lafite

Saint-Emilion

  • Canon-La-Gaffeliere
  • La Couspaude
  • Dassault
  • La Dominique (of course, as it is my name and I love their wine)
  • Valandraud

Pomerol

  • Le Bon Pasteur (of course as this Chateau belonged to the previous company I worked for, and I know the wines and the team rather well, I was even behind the table at the previous UGCB to pour the wine and represent the Chateau, with my friend and mentor the late Bernard de Laage de Meux, who passed away earlier this year, and for whom I had tremendous respect, may he rest in peace) 
  • Clinet

Haut-Médoc

  • Belgrave
  • Cantemerle
  • La Lagune
  • La Tour Carnet

Margaux

  • Brane-Cantenac
  • Cantenac Brown
  • Dauzac
  • Lascombes
  • Rauzan Segla

Saint-Julien

  • Beychevelle
  • Gloria
  • Lagrange
  • Langoa Barton
  • Leoville Barton
  • Leoville Poyferré

Pauillac

  • Lynch Bages
  • Pichon lalande

Saint-Estephe 

  • Lafon-Rochet
  • Ormes de Pez
  • Phelan Segur

Sauternes

  • Lafaurie Peyraguey
  • de Rayne Vigneau
  • Suduiraut


Voila, that is the list, and that's 40 wines out of the 97 presented that day, and my friend did not even have the time to taste them all, mainly due to lack of time, distraction, and slow service; hence the reason why I was saying earlier that standing-up tastings are better and faster in my opinion.  But I took the time to taste them so I know. 😉



Distraction also, because "Madame la Consule", Mrs. Chrstile Druhle, of the French Consulate of Hong Kong and Macao was there, with two of her colleagues, Bertrand Quevremont (Managing Director Hong Kong Office, Head of F&B and Agriculture Department Greater China) and Philippe Baudry (Economic Counsellor / Head of the Economic Department), and Benny and I know "Madame La Consule", via events and projects with the company we work for.  

So, we had to say hello and ended up discussing longer than planned, which is both important and a very good thing when you want to entertain a strong relationship with the Consul and the consulate in general and continue doing projects with them, in a long-term scenario.  
 





I must say that it was very nice tasting the 2019 vintage Bordeaux at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, at Rosewood Hôtel, well organized, classy and spacious environment, great wines too. 


Four of us decided to go for a quick bite at BluHouse restaurant, in K11/Rosewood, after the tasting. And, it was a very nice lunch with good food and good wines, in great company. 😁👍🍷🍷🍷

From left to right in the picture:
  • Minnie Wong (EaSiness Wine)
  • Jean-Baptiste Copot (Blacksheep Restaurants Head Sommelier)
  • Roland Tram (Senior Sales Manager at Imperatrice)
  • and your humble servant, myself, Dominique Noel (a.k.a. LeDomduVin) 😁





As for the 2019 Bordeaux vintage, I will say: solid vintage, lots of black, dark ripe fruits, with ample, generous, ripe, juicy, rich palate, even thick for some; so a lot of volume and layers, yet with good acidity for the freshness and nice chewy tannins, fairly well integrated overall, bringing nice structure and texture to most wines. 

Overall, I really like this 2019 vintage, lots of very good surprises. Personally, I mostly loved the wines from Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Haut-Médoc, and Pomerol. These appellations are in the lead in my opinion (from what I could taste that day).

That said, some seemed overripe to me, with a bitter aftertaste or presenting some bitterness, mostly due to some unintegrated alcohol and some tannins that lacked a bit of maturity.

Some said the 2019 Bordeaux vintage is a winemaker's vintage and I tend to agree.  Even more so, in my opinion, once again, I could tell that those who are making good to great wines, bad years and good years, have been making stunning wines.  

Unfortunately, and once again, those who despite some recurring advice to change their methods and technologies in the vineyard as well as in the cellar, to get better, produce better wines, and obtain better scores, unfortunately, continue, out of stubbornness or lack of vision or motivation or maybe for financial reasons, to produce lesser wines. 

I won't name anyone as wine is so subjective that everyone has his or her own taste. Yet, every year i try to approach the UGCB tasting with an open and fair mind, by saying to myself "this year you will be surprised" and yet, I was not...    

Good winemakers will always be good winemakers! Yet, those who don't want to learn or admit or see or change will never be as good. 


Cheers! Santé! 

Dom (a.k.a. LeDomduvin) 

(NB: looking at these pictures, I realize that I am getting old and fat 😱😱😱🤣🤣🤣)

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #ugcb #ugcbordeaux #2019 #vintage2019 #uniondesgrandscrusdebordeaux #rosewood #rosewwoodhotel #wine #vin #vino #wein #winepeople #tasting #tastingnotes #lunch




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Sunday, November 27, 2022

LeDomduVin: Laurent Roumier Clos Vougeot & Château Haut-Bailly





Opened this weekend 



Laurent Roumier Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru  2016


Nice, bright red color. Fresh nose, with red and dark cherries aromas, flowers and earthy notes, and subtle, warm, oaky nuances at the opening. The first taste, right after opening, was very fresh and crisp, with lots of juicy red cherries flavors, yet, a little tight, very young, and very sour too. Fortunately,  I opened it about 45 minutes prior to serving it, as the wine showed beautifully after, fuller, more ample, and more opened too, with ripe dark and red cherries, still very nice acidity, but the sourness had vanished, and overall the wine was more harmonious and balanced. It just needed some air to fully express itself. I loved it, yet, it deserves more time to reach its full potential. To revisit absolutely in a few years. 


Château Haut-Bailly Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2010


The last time I tasted it was this past July, and although, it tasted better this time, I will say that it is still young and in a closed phase now. A very solar wine, full, ripe, generous, ample, layered, earthy, with dark fruits and berries mingling with oak nuances, nice balance overall, and still a good grip of tannins, that could still use a few more years to round up. Still very young, and even a bit rough after 2 hours of decanting and cooling by leaving the decanter on ice for a short while to serve it at the right temperature. Quite a long finish. A touch of alcohol somehow. Enjoyable, yet too young in my opinion, and needs a bit of time to mellow some of the rough edges.


Cheers! Santé!

Dom


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #laurentroumier @laurentroumier #chateauhautbailly @chateauhautbailly #burgundy #bordeaux #frenchwine



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Saturday, November 26, 2022

LeDomduVin: Magnums... Juyondai Sake & 2018 Benjamin Leroux Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru


Magnums


It might not work for everyone or everything, but, for wine, large formats are usually better.

As the wine usually tends to take longer to evolve the bigger the bottle is, the wine usually remains fresher and often tastier, in my opinion.

Although it might not matter much for young vintages, it is particularly true for older vintages.

Last night, I was doing the service at our Japanese restaurant for a group of 10 people, and I selected some magnums of Sake and Burgundy, as I think that Sake is mandatory, and Pinot Noir perfectly complements the delicate and refined yet flavorful flavors and tastes of the Japanese cuisine.





Juyondai Cho Tokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo 1800ml


Sake is a must in a Japanese restaurant, and without it, something would be terribly missing, and the whole experience would not be the same. So, I selected this Juyondai Cho Tokusen that I have been buying a lot lately, but this time in a 1800ml bottle. Not only it is great with various dishes, but it makes for the perfect apéritif to wake up your taste buds and open your appetite. Rather light to medium bodied, well-balanced, fruity, and lightly sweet, with aromas of melon, lychee, peach, and mineral nuances. Harmonious and soooo easy to drink. Love it.







Benjamin Leroux Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru 2018 1.5L


This came as a great surprise to me, the host, and his guests. I bought it based on "instinct", not knowledge, as I had never tried this 2018 and therefore did not know what to expect. Yet, I like to challenge myself. To one particular guest, a wine connoisseur who always wanted to try Benjamin Leroux but never really had the chance to do so before and absolutely loved the wine. To the host, because this guest was essential to him, he was pleased with me for selecting this particular wine. Was it a combination of my skills, knowledge, and experiences, or just luck? However, I am grateful it worked, as everyone was pleased with the food and the overall evening experience, enhanced by the quality of this beautifully crafted, soft, silky, and delightful wine.

Cheers! Santé! 

Dom


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom @benjaminlerouxwines #benjaminlerouxwines #benjaminleroux #leroux #burgundy #juyondai #wine #vin #vino #wein #sake #magnum #magnums #largebottle #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob






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Friday, November 25, 2022

LeDomduVin: Happy Thanksgiving to you all



Happy Thanksgiving to you all 


...and your family and friends and loved ones.

A special thank you to my kids, my parents, and all my family and friends, as well as all of you, who have been supporting me and my different projects over the years, at

@ledomduvin
@domelgabor
@domelgabor_photography
@domelgabor_music
@aworpyramide

Your presence, support, and comments as friends, followers, readers, and likers on my Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts, as well as on my various blogs, are the reasons why I continue writing, drawing, creating, making artsy visuals, collages, memes, taking pictures, making videos and even music tracks.

Thank you for your physical, psychological, emotional, and moral support on a daily basis. It means the world to me. You are all in your own way a source of inspiration and of motivation.

Take good care of yourself and your loved ones, be safe and keep your imagination and creativity ongoing.

Never let anyone distract you from what is important to you.

Dom

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesdessinsadom #lescreationsadom #lescartoonadom #thanksgiving #saythankyou #thankyou #wine #vin #vino #wein #turkey #dinde #drawing #cartoon



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LeDomduVin: Receding hairline.... ....and Movember stache





Receding hairline...
....and Movember stache



Give it a few more years and the top will have completely disappeared, hence, I might let the beard grow...
😱😱😱😁👍🍷🍷🍷


Dom

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #portrait #autoportrait #recedinghairline #movember #stache #dominiquenoel 




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Thursday, November 24, 2022

LeDomduVin: Juyondai Cho Tokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo Sake




Juyondai Cho Tokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo Sake

十四代  純米大吟釀 超特撰 播州山田錦 生詰


If I have been posting more "Sake" lately, it is because the company I work for has recently opened a Luxurious Private Club, comprising several bars, private rooms, a cigar lounge, and a few restaurants, including one Japanese Restaurant, where I have been going to do the wine service at least once or twice a week, in the past few weeks.

The good thing is that atop buying wines for these dinners, I now also get to buy some Sake, which is great as I can learn more about them and train my palate by tasting lots of different ones.

Last Monday night, I poured this Sake from the famous and highly regarded brand "Juyondai". Although they produce quite a few of them, I love most of their Sake. That's how reliable this brand is. Highly recommended.

The "Cho Tokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo" is quite nice and strong, medium sweet, and very flavorful, with a slight sensation of alcohol in the back end.
It pairs well with stronger and more flavorful dishes.

For those of you who might be clueless about Sake, here is some information that may help, courtesy of https://theartofsake.com/products/juyondai-junmai-daiginjo-cho-tokusen

Grade: Junmai Daiginjo
Polishing Ratio: 35%
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki
Alcohol: 15%
Prefecture: Yamagata
Brewery: Takagi Shuzo

Junmai Daiginjo is the highest grade of sake: refined, sophisticated, elegant,
an usually the most flavorful of all Sake types.

Banshu is the old name of the Harima Region in Hyogo, which is known for making the best Yamadanishiki. It was recently awarded GI Status. Fruity and gorgeous aroma of melon, Juicy & Fruity without being cloying.

Cho Tokusen is a special selection chosen from fermenting tanks that are particularly vigorous and go through a unique pasteurization technique, which after that goes into storage for maturation.

Cheers! Santé!


Dom


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #sake @juyondai #juyondai #juyondaisake #tastingnotes #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob



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LeDomduVin: Red vibes


Red vibes


Not sure why this picture (which I took on Monday night) reminds me of both Christmas and Japan at the same time.

It is probably the red and white colors of the Lynch Bages label and the presence of this bottle of sake with letters reminding me of snow, and the red background, that have influenced my mind to associate it with the colors of Santa Claus, as well as those of the Japanese flag, maybe...

Maybe also because it is late November, Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Christmas will follow shortly after.

The older I get the quicker time seems to fly... Yet, time flies when you're having fun, they say, and I believe it to be true.

Time is just a notion, it is in your head. So, as long as the spirit and the mind remain young, curious, alert, enthusiastic, positive, and avid for more, enjoying the passing of time will never be a problem, nor a waste of time.

Time is both the witness of the perpetuation of traditions and the protagonist of progressive changes.

And, IWA 5 Sake is a great example of it, as Sake has been produced for roughly the past 1300 years, first for the Emperor, around 700 AC, then breweries mushroomed between the 14th and 16th centuries, and it became a thriving business between the 16 and 19th centuries. Slowed down during the 20th, and became fashionable over the last 15-20 years due to international interest in Japanese culture and traditions, as well as food and beverages.

And, Dom Perignon, long-time Cellar Master, now retired, Richard Geoffroy, jumped on the bandwagon, by spawning a true gem of a refined sake combining his interpretation of classic Japanese sake with the luxurious French savoir-faire and skills he acquired while making Champagne. The result is stunning.

For wine (and other alcoholic beverages...), (like for humans too), time is crucial for its development and "bonification".

Like this Chateau Lynch Bages 2000 has now reached the beautiful age of 22 years old, and is much better now than 10 years ago, yet still remains so young in the palate.

Make Time your ally!

Cheers! Santé!

Dom


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #vin #wine #vino #wein #red #time #sake #chateaulynchbages @chateaulynchbages #iwasake @iwa.sake




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LeDomduVin: Mise en place for Chambertin lovers





Mis en place for Chambertin lovers



Of course, it would have been easier to go with some of the most respected producers of Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru, whom I love and have the privilege to buy and serve on a regular basis, like Domaine Armand Rousseau, Domaine Fourrier, Domaine Trapet Père et Fils, Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier, etc...

I could have even thrown in some wines from some of my personal favorites, like Denis Mortet, Perrot-Minot, Dujac, Dugat-py, Claude Dugat, Remoissenet Pere et Fils, Denis Bachelet, Arnoux-Lachaux, Laurent Ponsot or even Pierre Girardin, and a few more.

But, I like to live my life dangerously and venture out, off the beaten track, explore new places, and try my luck on something new rather than be satisfied by what I already know.

And, these 3 Domaines are definitely worth (re)discovering:

Domaine Arlaud Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2016


Established after WWII, Domaine Arlaud does not need any presentation and is a stellar producer, better known for their Morey-St.-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, and Vosne-Romanee, yet, their Charmes-Chambertin is a delight not to be missed.


Domaine Henri Magnien Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru 2017


Established in 1987, Magnien was a fairly small and unknown producer until 2012, when his son Francois took over and brought the wines to new heights. It is now one of the rising stars of the appellation.


Olivier Bernstein Mazis Chambertin Grand Cru 2016


Olivier Bernstein is a fairly new producer/négociant, as he produced his first vintage in 2007, yet rapidly gained fame and respect for the quality of his Premiers & Grands Crus wines produced in tiny quantities. He is now considered one of the most accomplished rising stars covering several appellations.


Cheers! Santé!

Dom


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #vin #wine #vino #wein #redwine #burgundy #gevreychambertin #charmeschambertin #ruchotteschambertin #mazischambertin @domainearlaud #domainearlaud @domainehenrimagnien #domainehenrimagnien @bernstein_olivier #olivierbernstein #misenplace #frenchwine





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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

LeDomduVin: Pauillac 2010 collision




Pauillac 2010 collision



I like horizontal tasting as they allow you to compare different wines from the same vintage and preferably the same appellation.

The other day, I put @pichonbaron 2010 against @chateau_pontetcanet 2010.

Chateau Pichon Baron 2010


Attractive ruby color, clear, medium concentration with bright reflects. Charming nose of dark and red fruits, blackberry, licorice, earth, purple flowers, roasted notes, and slight oaky nuances. The palate is soft, silky, focused, ample, complex, rich, and layered, in a very elegant and graceful way, balanced by great acidity, adding freshness and juiciness, with present tannins, yet, superbly integrated, bringing structure and backbone, to this beautifully crafted wine, gently expanding and coating the palate along the way to the lingering finish. Very juicy, palatable and so approachable right now. Definitely calling for another glass. Looooooved it.

Chateau Pontet Canet 2010


Over the last few months, I have bought this particular wine a few times, to be served during diverse dinners, to see how it will evolve, as Bordeaux 2010 vintage wines are drinking quite well lately, and I usually enjoy Pontet Canet. However, that night, compared to Pichon Baron, Pontet Canet appeared darker, earthier, less harmonious, more angular, and more austere too, less together somehow, with earthy tannins that may take time to tame down.

Don't get me wrong, I still liked it a lot, but not as much as Pichon Baron, as Pichon Baron seemed open, confident, radiant, and ready now (despite a strong potential to age for many years to come and get even better). Pontet Canet seemed closed, less ready, and somber, and presented angularities and youthfulness that may take a few more years prior to reaching a more harmonious and more integrated state.

In conclusion, I will say that it was an interesting experience showing how 2 wines from the same vintage and same appellation can be quite different, the former being in an opened phase and very enjoyable now, while the latter seems too young still and in a closed phase of its evolution.

Dom

#ledomduvin #lesphotosadom @ledomduvin #vin #wine #vino #wein #bordeaux #pauillac #tastingnotes #pichonbaron #pontetcanet



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Friday, November 18, 2022

LeDomduVin: Juyondai Sake





Juyondai Sake



Recently, I have been buying and serving a few sakes, more notably from "Juyondai", a well-known and estimated brand in the medium-to-high price range. I have previously posted a few pictures of the Juyondai Sakes that I have served, with brief descriptions, yet, I wanted to consolidate them into one post, to develop a little more on the subject of Sake (*) and this particular brand.  


Briefly, what is Sake? 

For those who are unacquainted with this beverage, Sake can be pretty hard to understand, as it is often categorized as a spirit, while it is not distilled and only contains about 13-17% of alcohol, so, it seems closer to wine, right? And yet, it goes through a brewing process like beer. So, what is it then? A spirit? A wine? A beer? 

Well... It is definitely not a beer. It may have the texture of certain spirits, and because it is usually served in a small ceramic glass, it might easily be mistaken for a clear spirit, such as Vodka, Gin, or Rhum. Yet, on the nose and palate, it smells and tastes more like wine.  

Sake is an alcoholic beverage brewed primarily from rice and water, similar to white wine in appearance, ranging from almost transparent to slightly yellow.  

"The term “sake” is often used in Japan to denote alcoholic beverages in general, including wine, beer and whisky. Sake itself is also called “Nihon-shu” or “sei-shu.” The element “shu” in these words is written with the same Chinese character as “sake” (酒). This character has the readings “sake,” “zake” or “shu.” “Nihon” means Japan, so “Nihon-shu” refers to the traditional alcoholic beverage of Japan. The “sei” in “sei-shu” means clear." - Courtesy of A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Sake

In terms of chemical composition, sake extract (consisting mostly of residual sugars) contains a comparatively high percentage of glucose and significant levels of nitrogenous components and amino acids, but little organic acid, compared to beer and white wine.  









In terms of taste, sake is rather mild with little acidity, bitterness, or astringency. It is often softer, silkier, and more delicate than beer and white wine. Therefore, the pleasant taste of Sake cannot be characterized as sweet, acidic, bitter, or astringent, the word "Umami" is used instead. 

Umami is often described as “savoriness” (sweet and salty at the same time, if you prefer). It is one of the 5 basic tastes (as shown in the picture above).  And, compared to white wine and beer, sake is richer in amino acids and peptides that produce "umami". 

Yet, most sake, in general, and more especially the type of sake known as Ginjo has wonderfully fruity aromas on both nose and palate, and therefore, taste. Consequently, in general, most people speak about the level or degree of sweetness when tasting sake, rather than Umami.   

Basically, Sake is made from Japanese rice and water, going through a specific brewing technology designed to produce both "umami" and fruity flavors from rice.



How is Sake made? 

As a visual is worth a thousand words (and is often clearer to understand), here is one to help you understand how Sake is made.


  





Juyondai Chotokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo 










Work in Progress... 👀







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Thursday, November 17, 2022

LeDomduVin: Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny "Terres Chaudes" Loire Valley 2018



Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny "Terres Chaudes" 

Loire Valley 2018



In truth, I'm a bit biased when it comes to Thierry Germain's wines, as I have been buying them for a long time (the last 2 decades, at least), and I have always loved them.

Cab Franc is not the usual crowd-pleaser, yet, I used this particular wine for 2 big events recently, and it was a real success, everyone loved it.

I wanted a different type of wine than the usual (and utterly boring) Merlot or Cab Sauv offered at parties and events. And, as I am a huge fan of Cabernet Franc, I thought I would dare.

The tricky part with Cabernet Franc-based wines is that they can be dry, tannic, astringent, earthy, austere, and even green (vegetable/leaf), especially if slightly unripe.

Yet, I knew that by selecting a wine from Thierry Germain / Domaine des Roches Neuves, I was not taking much risk, as they are always fruit-driven, balanced, and harmonious (and organic).

As expected, the wine did not disappoint and showed really well. Boasting aromas of ripe dark berries and cherries, plum, with earthy notes complemented by subtle oak and mineral nuances. The palate is lush, ripe, generous, and ample, without being heavy, balanced by the right amount of acidity and a solid grip of present yet integrated tannins, providing backbone and structure to this charming wine combining both intensity and depth.

To be honest, the juiciness, freshness, and complexity of this wine make it suitable to be enjoyed both alone or with food. I tasted it with a "cooked sous-vide" 48 hours US Prime Short Ribs, and it was to die for. Loved it.

After the tasting, I brought the rest of the bottle home to finish it with my dinner. I had a glass with some roasted chicken I prepared, delicious! And left some to be tasted the next day, as I felt it could use more opening. And, I was right, the next day, coming back home after work, I poured myself the last glass, and it was even better. Man, what a wine! Highly recommended. Moreover, it is a steal at this price!

Thank you, Thierry Germain!

Santé! Cheers!

Dom


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #domainedesrochesneuves @domaine_des_roches_neuves #thierrygermain #loirevalley #cabernetfranc #saumurchampigny #tasting #tastingnotes



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LeDomduVin: Domaine Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes 2003



Domaine Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin
1er Cru Aux Combottes 2003



What an extremely pleasurable and satisfying wine! Amazing! And, it is a lot to say for a guy like me, as I am definitely not a fan of the 2003 vintage in Burgundy and even less in Bordeaux.

2003 was the first severe heat wave of the 21st century to hit Europe. It produced the hottest summer recorded in Europe since at least 1540.

France was hit especially hard. It began in June and lasted throughout mi-august, raising summer temperatures 20 to 30% higher than the seasonal average.

It was a weird vintage in many western European countries, as the producers facing such a heat wave for the first time did not know what to do.

As grapes reached their maturity much earlier than usual, some decided to harvest earlier to keep the acidity and prevent over-ripeness but also feared the weather may change to rain.

Others waited to take advantage of the full ripeness and concentration of the flavors, hoping it might rain in September to produce more juice.

And some did both, resulting in awkward, unbalanced, and inharmonious wines, displaying overly mature or often overripe, cooked fruit flavors lacking or with weird acidity and unintegrated green and earthy tannins.

Even wine critics and the press were fooled by this unprecedented vintage, rating the wines highly at first, "En Primeur", more specifically for Bordeaux, then lowering their scores 2 years later at release.

I will always remember 2003 as one of my worst "En Primeur" campaigns ever. So many people canceled their orders and it took months or even years to get rid of the unwanted stock.

However, this Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes is definitely an excellent example that some producers also managed to produce amazing wines in 2003, and how good producers know how to make good wine, good year, bad year. Showing extremely well now. Really approachable and enjoyable. Rich, ripe, lush, ample, smooth, generous, and layered, coating the palate with both ripe red and dark fruits. Great structure and texture, and enough acidity to keep it fresh. Very "suave" in my opinion. Highly recommended.   - Dom (11.11.2022)

Santé! Cheers!

Dom

PS: Kudos to Jeremy Seysses that I had the pleasure to meet many times during my London years 1997-2002

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #domainedujac @drinkdujac #burgundy #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob #tasting #tastingnotes




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LeDomduVin: Krug Vintage 1990






Champagne Krug Vintage 1990



I tasted it last Friday, shortly after tasting DP P2 2002, (*), and I must say that both were stunning Champagnes, yet totally different in so many ways.

Where DP P2 2002 is rich and complex, yet in a fresh, vibrant, sophisticated, and elegant way, (without necessarily being feminine), Krug 1990 brings power, depth, richness, and concentration, in a rather more masculine way.

A blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay, and 23% Pinot Meunier, from a vintage, often qualified as "exceptional", Krug 1990 perfectly reflects the complexity of this particular vintage. It has a beautiful, hypnotic, deep golden color in the glass. Enticing and appetizing nose filled with toasted brioche, roasted almond, pastry dough, dried stone, citrus fruits, and caramelized plum tart aromas. The palate is opulent, ample and rich, complex and layered, yet, fortunately, really well balanced by the acidity still conferring great freshness to this Champagne, despite his age and the ton of flavors coating the palate from beginning to end, which could have been overwhelming without this fresh note. The long and tasty finish is definitely calling for another glass. Although really enjoyable now, it still has the potential to age for many more years to come.    - Dom (11.11.2022)

Santé! Cheers!

Dom

(*) see my previous post for DP P2 2002 description/tasting notes


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #champagne #krug @krugchampagne #tasting #champagnetasting #tastingnotes




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LeDomduVin: Champagne Roger Coulon Heri-Hodie Premier Cru Vrigny NV






Champagne Roger Coulon Heri-Hodie 

Premier Cru Vrigny NV



Thank you @maxime.duval.04 for making me taste and discover this Champagne from Roger Coulon. 

It is delightful, fresh and refined, delicate, almost fragile, complex and rich in a light and elegant way, and very consistent and intricate from beginning to end, graceful like a ballerina. Love it, and it is a steal at this price.

Santé! Cheers!

Dom

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein @champagnerogercoulon #rogercoulon #champagne #vintage #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob #tasting #tastingnotes


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LeDomduVin: Dom Perignon Plenitude 2 (P2) 2002


Dom Perignon Plenitude 2 (P2) 2002



What an amazing champagne!

DP P2 is usually always very pleasing, yet, this vintage 2002 was truly amazing: fresh, enticing, and delightfully aromatic on the nose (fresh almond, citrus, white flowers, mineral, slightly toasted), then, rich and, complex, and layered, multidimensional, yet focus and precise on the palate, long and persistent, beautifully balanced and harmonious, great acidity, lively and generous from beginning to end. Refreshing, graceful and powerful in a very refined and elegant way. Loved it. - Dom (11.11.2022)


#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #domperignon @domperignonofficial #champagne #vintage #DPP2 #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob #tasting #tastingnotes




Unless stated otherwise, all right reserved ©LeDomduVin 2022 on all the contents above including, but not limited to, photos, pictures, drawings, illustrations, visuals, maps, memes, posts, texts, writings, quotes, notes, tasting notes, descriptions, wine descriptions, definitions, recipes, graphs, tables, and even music and video (when and where applicable).

LeDomduVin: Friday night quartet


Friday night quartet



Recently, I opened, tasted, and served a few bottles of 3 of these beautiful ladies, it was a real treat. 






Dom Perignon Plenitude 2 (P2) 2002


What an amazing champagne! DP P2 is usually always very pleasing, yet, this vintage 2002 was truly amazing: fresh, enticing, and delightfully aromatic on the nose (fresh almond, citrus, white flowers, mineral, slightly toasted), then, rich and, complex, and layered, multidimensional yet focus and precise on the palate, long and persistent, beautifully balanced and harmonious, great acidity, lively and generous from beginning to end. Refreshing, graceful, and powerful in a very refined and elegant way. Loved it. 






Domaine Pierre Girardin Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru 2018


Lovely juicy wine, full of "Griottes", the name of the wild cherry in France. Vibrant, yet somewhat unsettled, at first, offering juicy, sour, yet ripped red cherry aromas and puckering sharp acidity, with a slightly pearling, tingling sensation on the tongue. Fresh and zesty at the opening, yet nicely developing and taming down after about 45 minutes of opening in the bottle, offering a more harmonious, balanced, and focused palate, light to medium-bodied, full of bright, juicy red cherry fruits and minerals, lingering in the finish. Youthful and refreshing, very enjoyable now, while a few more years in the cellar will make it even better. 






Chateau Palmer Margaux 2005


Majestuous, noble wine, showing a lot of stature, character, and maturity. Ripe dark and red fruits mingling with gentle oaky, sandalwood nuances, floral, mineral, and earthy notes. Gorgeous, ripe, complex, generous, opulent, ample, soft, and silky, beautifully coating the whole palate while expanding gracefully and seamlessly, like a confident monarch, to a long-lasting finish. Rich and layered, concentrated without being heavy and perfectly balanced between the ripeness of the fruit, the acidity, and the present yet integrated tannins, adding respectively substance, texture, and structure. 
Looooooooooove it!







Juyondai Chotokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo 

As I prefer to write a full post about it, please check my next post for the details and descriptions.  


Santé! Cheers!

Dom



#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob #tasting #tastingnotes #champagne #burgundy #bordeaux #sake @domperignonofficial @domainepierregirardin @chateaupalmer

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

LeDomduVin: Bacalhoa Quinta do Carmo 'Dom Martinho' Tinto 2017


Bacalhoa Quinta do Carmo 'Dom Martinho' 
Tinto 2017 Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal

I passed by the supermarket the other day and wanted to drink something different. 

I was reading something about Portugal recently about the quality of their wines, which made me laugh as I have been buying, selling, serving and drinking Portuguese wines for the past 30 years, they have always been really good and great value for money too. 

Ok, granted, they are probably better now than they were before due to the changes of technology, techniques and practices in the vineyards and in the cellar over these last 30 years, but still, they were still very good then. 

However, I came across this bottle, about HKD 150, and decided to try it. As per the back label, it is made from a selection of Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the key vineyards, named "Dom Martinho" , of Quinta do Carmo (owned by the group "Bacalhoa"). 

Deep, dark color. Earthy nose with aromas of dark fruits and berries, ripe plum, blackberry, and graphite notes. The palate was a bit tight and earthy at first, but really opened up and soften up after a few hours. It was even better the next day. Soft, ripe and supple, medium bodied, layered and ample, without being heavy, due to good acidity to balance the ripeness of the fruit and the earthiness. The tannins are super soft and well integrated, making this wine almost milky, soft and super easy to drink. Not the most complex, but a nice, quaffable wine, without over thinking about it. 

Cheers! Santé! 

- Dom (06-08/11/2022)

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein  #bacalhoa @bacalhoa #portugal #portuguesewine #winetasting #tasting #tastingnotes 

Monday, November 7, 2022

LeDomduVin: Dom Perignon 2012


Dom Perignon 2012


"What a gorgeous champagne!" was the first thing that came to my mind. 

Right after popping the cork, incentive yeasty scents of brioche mingling with apple, peach, nuts, and lemon zest were already emanating from the bottle. They became even richer, more aromatic, while I was pouring it. Boasting a bright pale golden color chiseled by fine lines of small and fast bubbles. Aromas evolved with floral and mineral nuances entangled with nutty, peachy, and limey notes. The palate is rich and concentrated, flavorful and layered, yet harmonious, balanced, and lifted by great acidity, bringing focus and freshness throughout the expanding palate, leading to a long, persistent, and generous finish. Although extremely comfortable and enjoyable now, DP 2012 has tremendous potential to age and evolve for a few more decades to come.  

- Dom (LeDomduVin - 05/11/2022)



#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #champagne #domperignon #vintage #vintagechampagne #brut @domperignonofficial #tastingnotes #tasting



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LeDomduVin: Cigars



Cigars 


For those who may not know, a Sommelier is someone that has studied and has been trained on anything you can serve at a table, including, but limited to: 

Drink (wine, beer, spirits, sake, whisky, cognac, armagnac, port, liquors, cocktails, and basically all alcoholic beverages in general, but also none alcoholic beverages too like coffee, tea, chocolate, etc ..)...

Food (it is very important for a Sommelier to have deep knowledge and even skills about all sorts of food, but also cooking and recipes ingredients, in order to make food and wine pairing, and find the most ideal match (I do not believe in the perfect match, as wine like food is very subjective and taste differ from one person to another). 

And, even smoke! 

Cigars are parts of the service at the table. For those who enjoy smoking them (like me), they are the quintessence of the relaxing time that comes after the meal with a digestive, while enjoying endless conversations with guests, family, and friends. 

I have not smoked a cigar for a long while now, as I completely stopped smoking cigarettes 3 years ago, and did not want to smoke anything, not to be tempted to go back to the cigarettes. Once a smoker, always a smoker, unfortunately. 

Yet, despite a few rare and weird occasions, I have succeeded for the past 3 years in not falling back. Very proud of myself for it. 

However, a cigar is very enjoyable and I keep great memories of my time in London (1997-2002), where I have been initiated to smoke quality cigars and took great pleasure in smoking them. More especially the Partagas Serie D, one of my favorite cigars. 

Dom 

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #cigar #cigars #smoke #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob


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LeDomduVin: Weekend Quintet


Weekend Quintet



Over the weekend, I had the chance to open, taste and serve these beautiful ladies: 



Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St Jacques 2015 (x 3)




Armand Rousseau Mazy Chambertin Grand Cru 2015





Château La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 2016







Although they were all very young, fresh, and aromatic, and showed great potential for aging, the Burgundy drank wonderfully. Yet, La Mission Haut-Brion took the longest to open up and was only starting to emerge after 3 hours of decanting. LMHB is definitely too young for now. 

Full descriptions soon on my blog at www.ledomduvin.com 

Cheers! Santé! 

Dom

#ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein  #burgundy #bordeaux #denismortet #armandrousseau #lamissionhautbrion #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob @domainedenismortet @domaine_armand_rousseau 
@chateaulamissionhautbrion 



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