2010 Simple Dinner Series No.8 – US Theme

The SIMPLE wine dinner has resumed – a US theme has been selected with Modern European cuisine from Sage the restaurant. The atmosphere of the restaurant is good, the only drawback was they do not have enough glasses for us, well, free corkage, that’s the most important, right? Hehe. However, we were disappointed for the food too by the end of the dinner.


Foie Gras
Sautéed duck foie gras with fig compote on a
cold terrine of poached pears and verjus jelly
Seared Hokkaido scallop with on celeriac mousseline,
celery bubbles and celery root remoulade
Escargot & Prawn Risotto
A risotto with Burgundy escargot and tiger prawn bits flambéed with pastis,
parmesan crusted poached egg and parsley veloute
Cappuccino of wild mushrooms with truffle infused scrambled eggs,
asparagus and morel cream
Fillet of cod topped with prawn and cognac butter on salt cod brandade,
caramelized lemon confit and bouillabaisse jus
Beef Cheek
Slow cooked 300 days grain fed Black Angus beef cheek topped with
onion confit and foie gras mousse, potato gratin and a veal jus
Duck Confit
Duck leg confit on a Savoy cabbage parcel stuffed with a fricassee of field mushrooms
and foie gras, potato puree and Pommery mustard jus
Crème Caramel
Bailey’s crème caramel with Kahlúa-coffee ice-cream,
compote of Morello cherries and Grand Marnier caramel
Chocolate soufflé with Amaretto ice cream
and vanilla bean custard
Coffee or Tea

Very nice bread!

Foie Gras

This is nicely done, just a little bit salty


Escargot & Prawn Risotto

This is not bad but I hardly got to taste the escargot…



The meat is rather dry and lost the fatness of the cod, frozen cod? Another let down.

Beef Cheek

Look like a brownie, huh? The mince meat like texture really not attractive and the source is too thick and heavy that cover the beef flavor. The most anticipated course yet the biggest let down of the night. We hardly finished the whole course.

Duck Confit

I regret that I ordered the beef cheek instead of this!


The chocolate is really rich, not bad.

Crème Caramel

Line Up

The 1 and only white

Everyone bringing the red thus I choose this white and hopefully it can be the palate cleanser after some heavy red. But this was too young with heavy oak that turn out to be another heavy wine. LOL.

  • 2005 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley Alcohol : 14.9%
    Deep toasted oak nose that display lots of ripe lemon, orange peel along with some fresh herbs, dried spice and slowly pick up with chrysanthemum nuances. A real big, bold wine that is rich, creamy textured with vanilla flavors, traces of honey and beeswax. There were tons of underlying ripe fruits in placed with low-med level of ripe acidity that all tightly framed by high level of toasted oak. Long smoky finish. What really worth to mention is the creamy texture, and the sheer richness and concentration that hide the high alcohol very well thus there was no trace of heat and alcoholic tone. I wonder if the fruits and acidity would be able to fully absorb the oak.

The Pinots

* Rivers Marie was very fine and drinking well though the depth is not there.
* Brewer was my pick of the night for the Pinot as it offers good structure and depth amongst the three.
* Soter IMHO, is very un-Pinot likes and too sweet and wild, Rhone likes profile.
Worth to mention is that all 3 Pinots showed rustiness on nose and palate, hmm… interesting.

  • 2008 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Old Vines Summa – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Alcohol : 14.1%
    The 1st wine of the Pinot Flight and this was surprisingly ready to drink. The nose is not so expressive, in fact quite shallow but clearly a new world Pinot that display ripe, candied cherry with sharp mineral core that is metallic with iron notes. A well made, refine Pinot that the round palate is rich, ripe and it did gain more power and mid palate weight palate, however the attack is quite surface and did not gain much on depth and complexity. Maybe this is still young as the good mid palate can’t carry through to the somewhat disjointed finish, with trace of heat. This fleshy Pinot has everything is in place and the sheer balance, velvety mouth feel resulted in a more forward, early drinking style. Drinking well now.
  • 2008 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills
    Alcohol : 14%
    Decanted at 530. drank at 845. This is very metallic, smelly bloody note at first. However, the aromas of stew strawberry, red cherry fruits, herbs with underlying sweetness and smokiness that slowly showed up along with the metallic, bloody nose which have significantly toned down that emerged into a deeper aromas and made the wine interesting. The metallic components showing on the palate as well with smoke, sweet ripe fruits with high level acidity to keep the wine balance and provide good grip, slight edgy, long finish with trace of heat as well. Quite complex and better depth than River Marie also bigger in structure and the med level fine grained tannins made the wine not as approachable as the River Marie but for long run, I believe this will eventually out-performed the River Marie.
  • 2008 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton

    Alcohol : 13.6%
    This is so un-Pinot like aromas of its liquorish nose with meaty, game, grill herb with underlying sweet berry and cherry core. A Rhone like profile that is bold, big, tannic, smoky, meaty and sweet fruits flavors that is rich but heat with metallic and slight rough edge. Mere acidity coming out to tighten the fleshy body and keep it in better shape after some time in the glass. This is too sweet and meaty for my preference.

The Age Cab

As usual, the Caymus is very sweet and fleshy for their entry cuvee, Dominus is very well made wine with good depth while the 1992 Montelena was a let down which might be bottle variation? Hope have the chance to taste another one to ensure.

  • 2000 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Alcohol : 14.3%
    The first cab for tonight. Quite deep aromas of tobacco, tea leave with blackcurrant liquor and sweet liquorice. A fleshy wine that is soft in structure with rich opulent palate showing lots of sweet jammy dark fruits and silky tannins for a smooth mouth feel. Reminded me of the 2007 that I drank two months ago which has exactly the same profile for early drinking because of the structure is so soft and fleshy. Alcoholic sweet finish. A typical Napa Cab?
  • 1996 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Alcohol : 14.1%
    Though it might not be fair to compare with the Caymus normal cuvee, but the nose is head and shoulder above the Caymus, deep, expressive, highly complex nose with perfume creme de cassis, plum, cigar box, smoke, spices. As usual of a Dominus, super ripe profile but always maintained just before the top with good freshness. Intensely mid palate with layer of fig, blackcurrant, mineral with secondary nuances of smoky dried herb, spices and leather along with underlying acidity provide firm, polished backbone. The tannins is really fine and silky and the precise juicy long finish is excellent. Good depth and complexity, but there was heat present at the very end that distract a bit of the overall drinking pleasure. Still have some upside potential and should be able to continue evolve for another 5yrs.
  • 1992 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Alcohol : NA
    This wine seems not much evolve given 18yrs of age. A big and fleshy wine that possessed huge ripe alcoholic currant and spices that the palate is opulent with voluptuous sweet, jammy dark fruits, alcoholic plum, blackberry. Somehow the finishing is kind of disjointed from the intense, rich mid palate, and the savory alcoholic finish. There are not much acidity to support the fleshy body, and the acidity started to fade at the end of the night which causing a weak finishing. This could be due to the bottle condition?

The young Cab

OMG! The Beringer was so structure and tannic that merely able to swallow. The 2004 Montelena, IMHO, was my picked of the night and it is so different witht he 1992 in style, however, it is still very new world that I will not link this to any of the Bordeaux.

  • 2001 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Alcohol : 14.2%
    Pop and Poured. Super backward and tight, liquorish blackberry fruits and not showing much. Lots of stuffing underneath that hidden by the big structure and high level of tannin which is hard to access and very tannic that stain the whole mouth and is almost impossible to swallow. A super rich and concentrated wine with long, super powerful alcoholic finish with bitter cocoa and dark chocolate after taste. At the end of the night there was around 2/3 left inside the bottle. Keep and will try again few days later.
  • 2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Alcohol : 14.1%
    The most elegant wine with finesse, beautiful texture and structure for tonight. Super silky fine tannins that caressing the palate, good delineation with lots of blackcurrant fruits, creme de cassis and spices with long, mouth filling finish. Though is tannic, but very fine and the rich concentration to buffer sheer balance is awesome to buffer the structure and tannin which made the wine approachable. Very good indeed and this need at least 10yrs to really start showing itself.

WOW! The dinner is over, with some wines left over which was expected. It would be very enjoyable if there were only half of the red wines presented for the dinner, but too bad that all the wines are so structure and tannic which we can’t really enjoy all of them and too much for us to finish.

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2005 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley

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One Response to 2010 Simple Dinner Series No.8 – US Theme

  1. JT says:

    Wah wish I can try the Dominus!

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