Monday, January 30, 2012

Best Dinner of Year 2011

The best dinner of the year would of couse took place at one of the best fine dining restaurant in town. This dinner was partly organised by me as I wanted to celebrate two of my friends' birthday with a Bang. No it does not include a bunch of waiters and waitresses singing a Happy Birthday song but it includes a lineup of exceptional wines that are almost rare and good food. Lafite @ Shangri La KL thus came to mind due to its consistent quality and convenient location.

I've always stressed on the importance of a good bread basket before a meal. At Lafite, I love the fact that they have a basket of a few bread varieties to choose from. There's also an interesting squid ink bread in black if you are into quirky food. I loved all the breads!

I brought along 3 bottles of wines - Jacques Selosse V.O Blanc de Blancs, Pur Sang 2006 and Domaine Du Pegau CDP 1998. If I start my story on these wines, I think it'll take at least sometime to read. But it's important for me to record my experience with these wines as I might not be able to sip them again. Read on and you'll know why.

If you think that you've tried the best champagne out there, you might want to get yourself a bottle of this and compare. I thought I've tried the Kings of champagnes from Krug to Cristal but I kept my mouth shut after I discovered a Jacques Selosse V.O which stands for Version Originale.

Version Originale is Anselme Selosse’s great multi-vintage cuvée, aged 42 months before degorgement, and bottled with little or no dosage (which typically means little or no sugar added at all). Anselme's work has been most glittering and has more than once been referred to as revolutionary with uncompromising brilliance in the winemaking world which include low yields, chemical free vineyards and creating terroir based wines.

I love my champagne and the excitement to try this bottle has been building up since a few weeks before the dinner. It was told to me that it's going to be a fabulous experience, one I would never forget and by putting money where my mouth is, this bottle does not only worth every penny, it's a champagne that is just out of this world. His prices, at almost SGD$600 and given the work that goes into the making wines coupled with the overwhelming demand, was deemed fair.

This champagne is so distinctive in terms of its aroma, palate and texture. It's like a Burgundy with bubbles. How often do you decant a bubbly? With this, it actually taste exceptionally well after decanting about half to an hour. Instead of a champagne flute, a burgundy glass would be perfect! The bubbles are elegant but the nose is intense. Words are hardly sufficient to describe my experience with the V.O. but I'm so excited to share the tasting notes. There's something so sexy about this bubbly - ripe pears, cider, yeast, the wonderful oak perfume, honey, lime and the fragrant apples all trying to lure me for a sip. If Adam couldn't refuse the temptation of the apple, then this is a sip I couldn't refuse. It was rich, full of body, citrusy and it's really like a burgundy with soft, delicate bubbles. I've never tasted such stylish, full of confident and stimulating champagne. Not only it's lingering on the palate, my mind was totally blew out too. What a brilliant bottle!

That's just the description for 1 bottle. Imagine we drank all of these bottles that night. I think a 5-page post would then do justice to all these outstanding wines. The next bottle that had left me with such a long-lasting impression was Didier Dagueneau's Pouilly-Fume Pur Sang 2006. An exceptional wine always come from an equally outstanding winemaker. Didier Dagueneau has been called a nonconformist, independent, eccentric, and maverick by producing some of the greatest white wines from Loire or probably the whole of France. He's not called the master of all sauvignon blanc grape for nothing!

PurSang in French means Thoroughbred, where some journalists used to joke about Didier using a horse to till the vineyards. This wine is produced from a vineyard called La Folie in the south of Saint Andelaine where deep clay and limestone make up the soil. It has a soft upfront and on the nose, there's flowers, nuts, fresh grass, citrus, lemon and verbena notes. The aromas are almost identical to my Loccitane Verbena shower bath! The nose is so refreshing and inviting, something so distinctive and unique. With an hour's decanting, it has opened up to a very creamy yet succulent palate of bursting honeysuckle, tangerine, tropical fruits with sweet melon and balanced minerality. With such a great acidity, this wine is of superb length and lingering finish. Mesmerising and impressive!

What makes his wines more valuable today is that Didier was tragically killed in 2008 when he was 52 years old in a ultralight plane that he was piloting. He had a problem with the take off and it eventually crashed and the world has lost such a talented winemaker. The 2 superstar whites produced from single vineyards were the Silex and PurSang in which I've written about the Silex here and now I've describe the PurSang 2006. You might baulk at the prices but his Sauvignon Blancs (around SGD$220) are not to be compared with those of the New Zealands if you know how Didier make his wines. It's unfortunate that after his passing, many would never know how wonderful the Pouilly-Fume can be.

For starters, I ordered their chef's recommendation of Delicious of the Land and Sea (RM85). Yes, for a starter the price might seem like it's over the top but if you look right down to the ingredients, you'll find that the price is quite reasonable. On the top layer, there's a butter poached lobster, followed by seared foie gras, cherry tomato confit and covered with white truffle foam. The soup base tasted like a lobster bisque and I absolutely love the succulent and fresh lobsters. Paired it with the foie gras and you'll get a robust taste with different textures. Wonderful finish!

Another starter that is worth a try is the Black Truffle Tagliantelle Pasta (RM38). Though it's supposed to be a starter, the portion is quite generous. The pasta is freshly made, and then it's cooked with parmesan cheese, chives and black truffle cream. Very simple dish with simple ingredients but the secret was the texture of the pasta and its balanced flavours. It's truly a rich pasta and my friend finished every morsel of it!

It was very generous of a friend to bring along a bottle of his 2004 Cheval Blanc. This is a Premier Grand Cru Classé A. Knowing that I have not tried a Chateau Cheval Blanc, this is like my birthday! One of the best vintages for Cheval Blanc would be the 1998 before 2009 comes along and was rated a 100 pointer by Robert Parker. This 2004 (around SGD$240) scores a 94 by Wine Spectator and what I liked best about this bottle is that it has earthy and black berries aromas that are so intense. If you nose it a lil longer, you'll get to trace some hints of tobacco and maybe some flowery notes as well. On the palate, you can't help but notice its silkiness, velvety texture and elegance. There's lots of ripe fruits but it was rather tight and complex. Let it breathe and it'll taste much better. Medium-bodied, great length and bright acidity!

For mains, I had the 200g Grilled Kobe Wagyu Rib Eye (RM170). It comes with cherry tomatoes, french beans which are all grilled as well and a potato fondant and rosemary sauce. The potato fondant is made out of thin slices of potato assembled into a short tower. It's buttery and has a very nice grilled flavour. The Kobe Wagyu as expected was tender and juicy due to its marbled fats. The taste of the fats is dissolved into the meat when it underwent the grilling station and the result is that you get a very succulent and intense taste of butter and nuts. Yummy!

With all the superstar wines, a dessert is almost unnecessary just so that the wines can have a lingering taste on our palates. Probably we were too high to remember, but there were 3 desserts. We has a Valrhona chocolate soufle (RM30) and then a Raspberry Yuzu Orange Cheese Cake (RM30). This cheesecake has interesting layers of colours which reminded me of the "kuih lapis" that I used to eat. Of course, this is only more posh with the use of Pistachio sponge cake, yuzu orange sabayon, raspberry jelly, mango peels and wafer with cocoa nips. Aesthetically beautiful, creamy texture and tangy finish. It's all good!!!

I'm glad that I've finally decided to end this post although omitting two wines that I should have written about them - the Ruinart Brut Rose and the Domaine Du Pegau CDP 1998 which are equally outstanding too in their own ways. It took me the whole night to write this post and I'm glad I've finally put it down. The dinner had taken place a few months ago when the new chef was still absent from Lafite and due to procrastination, I've only decided to pen it now. Though without a chef, the sous chef has been doing such a wonderful job. And the best thing was, someone went and picked up the bill! hehehe....

Shangri La Hotel
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
T: +(60 3) 2032 2388


Mun Mun said...

Well I am must say I really impressed with the line up of the wines. It has to be one of the fabulous wines that I would love to taste again.

You are indeed one lucky lady to try all these wines, in my terms, "None can get suck luxury to taste such fine wines in one night."

Thanks for sharing the notes, am looking forward to see more of this.

Great taste, Eiling!

Mun Mun said...

"None can get such luxury to taste such fine wines in one night." Pardon me for my earlier remarks.

eiling lim said...

Mun Mun: yeah I wanna suck luxury too. LOL... Well, don't be envious because I know you have tasted all of these wines!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

600sg champers? i cringed when i paid 200pls sgd for my bottle of 18yr yamazaki single malt..

i think it will be quite a while more b4 i can actually splurge on such a pricey champagne..till then im happy with my aud50 a bottle of moet

suituapui said...

At those prices, it'd better be good... Ah well! Shangri La, what to expect.

Bangsar-bAbE said...

That's one very very expensive meal! Pengsan wei... o_0

Edi神 said...

macam sedap le...''

how much?

missyblurkit said...

such a luxurious meal with fine wines...definitely qualifies to be the best dinner for the year.

Sean said...

the food at lafite can be pretty impressive, but it looks like your champagne and wine managed to outshine lafite's food! :D

Anonymous said...

Another eiling's life is great post. How we mortals must be envious and hide in the glory of her illuminating shadow.


eiling lim said...

Joe: But once in a blue moon can la..

STP: Yeah but the dinner wasn't that expensive compared to the wines.

BangsarBabe: Hehe... good to spoil oneself once in a while.

Edi: not sure. i didn't foot the bill.

missyblurkit: exactly!

Sean: I think it works both ways. Good food compliments the good wines!

Anon: And I felt so remorseful. Whatever?!!

TY said...

It has always been one of my favourite restaurants to dine, when I am back in town.

The food standard has always been exceptions and so are the wine lists.

eiling lim said...

TY: very well said

eddie said...

Excellent writer, Eiling writes so smoothly, so absorbing. Makes one feel like one is right there sampling the food & wine too. Go girl, keep the wine and the pen flowing.

eiling lim said...

Thanks Eddie. You made my day.

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