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Jay Labrador

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WTN: Great wines at Tivoli

by Jay Labrador » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:40 pm

Keiichi is in town from Tokyo for a Christmas vacation and was able to get a day off from family duties to have a wine lunch with us. As Jojo had to get back to the office after lunch, we settled on Tivoli at the Mandarin, which is a short walk from his office. Six of us were able to make lunch; Keiichi, Jojo, Noel, Alex, Richard, and myself. No theme as far as wines were concerned but Keiichi requested a Champagne and dessert wine, which I was happy to supply. Noel, eager to try some new Beaucastels he just had shipped over, volunteered the ’88 and ’89. Various other reds and whites were brought by the others so we had a good mix on tap.

I showed up rather early so I was there before everyone and so took the opportunity to have the Champagne chilled and to take a tour of the appetizer buffet, which was very tempting. The others arrived in short order so we had a bit of Champagne before ordering. I favor a rich style of Champagne and I also like it with a bit of age. As it’s been a while since I’ve had any Gosset, I thought this would be a good time to revisit it. Gosset Grand Millesime Brut 1999 - Light gold. The bubbles are almost gone. Lovely, rich and complex. Flavors of coffee, white chocolate and honey. Very long and fully mature. Excellent Champagne.

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Terrine by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Salami by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Cheese by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Sushi by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Gosset 1999 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

Richard brought a mystery white wine which he insisted we open next. Medium weight and very dry. Intense, ripe, Sauvignon Blanc nose. Slightly smoky. I figured it was a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire. Unfortunately, a closer look at the wrapped bottle revealed the shape to be a Bordeaux bottle so I was obviously wrong. At least I got the grape right as it was a Pavillion Blanc du Chateau Margaux 1984.

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Pavillion Blanc du Chateau Margaux 1984 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

Keiichi’s white was up next; a Coulee de Serrant 2006 from the Loire. Stunning medium gold color. By color alone one would think this was a dessert wine. Candy, honey and smoke with touches of yellow tropical fruit. Very good and better served a bit warmer than the usual temperature for whites wines in order for the complexity to come out.

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Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1989 Coulee de Serrant 2006 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

My order came just as we finished with the whites. Although the appetizer buffet was very tempting at a most reasonable price of just a bit over P 1000.00, I figured that all the feasting of the last three weeks was getting to be a bit much so I decided on just one menu item for portion control. The restaurant was serving a special beef from Spain’s Basque region called Txogitxu beef at a rather friendly price of P 500.00 per 100 grams. I asked for the smallest cut of striploin (200 grams) with a side of roasted vegetables in a bit of truffle oil and that was that for me. It was a bit of a struggle as I’m accustomed to having at least three courses but I willpower prevailed, somehow. The beef was quite lean and a little overcooked (I asked for medium rare but it was closer to medium) but for the price, it was a pretty good steak. If you’re on a budget but want a steak in an elegant setting, this is not a bad deal.

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Txogitxu Beef by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

On to the reds then with the beef. Noel’s Beaucastels were opened early to be sure they would be drunk so they were poured side by side. The 1988 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape shows the wine’s signature barnyard character immediately. There’s also leather, strawberry and sour cherry. Dangerously easy to drink as the wine is already quite soft but still rich with a bit of refreshing acidity keeping it fresh. Lovely wine amazingly balanced and probably at peak. Unfortunately, the 1998 Beaucastel, a great year for Chateauneuf du Pape, was showing the telltale cardboard stink of cork. While the flavor wasn’t too compromised, the corkiness was a great distraction in tasting it.

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Chateau de Beacastel Chateauneuf du Pape 1988 and 1998 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

Keiichi’s Burgundy was up next. Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1er Cru 1989. This is one of the most sought-after Burgundy producers and this bottle was a fine example of Burgundy. Although muted on the nose, the wine was brilliant. Rich, well rounded, meaty and spicy. Tobacco leaf. Plum. Fully mature, soft and drinking very well. An outstanding Burgundy.

Another treat was in store for us with Jojo’s wine. Guigal La Landonne Cote Rotie 1996. Very dark and a bit minty. Roast meat. A fairly ripe and rather sweet wine. Soft and drinking nicely but could probably gain a bit more complexity with a few more years as it still seems rather primary at this stage.

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Cote Rotie Guigal La Landonne 1996 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

I had a trip to Tagaytay that afternoon and had to get going pretty soon so my tasting of the last wine was a bit rushed. Last up was Alex’s Chateau Palmer 1986. Rich and quite dry. Alex asked us earlier if we needed to decant it but Richard and I thought it would not be necessary. On tasting, it seems to me it would have been better to decant as it was pretty big and took a while to open up in the glass. Asphalt, pencil lead and dried fruit showing here. Amazingly young for a wine over 20 years old. I think this can go on for at least another ten years without any problem. Alex also brought a 2009 Spottswoode from Napa but we decided it was far too young to be properly appreciated.

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Spottswoode 2009 Palmer 1986 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

Although Keiichi requested a dessert wine, and I brought a Kiralyudvar Cuvee Ilona 2000 to oblige, 7 great bottles for the six of us was quite enough and he decided to forgo it until our next boozy lunch.

Many thanks to Keiichi for providing the excuse to get together and to the rest of the gang for the great bottles and more importantly, great company.
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James Dietz

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Re: WTN: Great wines at Tivoli

by James Dietz » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:54 pm

Great to see the dueling tasting notes and fotos with you and Noel! I like the different takes.
Cheers, Jim
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Jay Labrador

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J-Lab's in da house!

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Re: WTN: Great wines at Tivoli

by Jay Labrador » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:11 am

James Dietz wrote:Great to see the dueling tasting notes and fotos with you and Noel! I like the different takes.


Thanks, James!

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