Posted by: jmbwineblog | May 17, 2010

Tokyo Wine Drinking… Parte Deux

… so the next few days involved more drinking of fine wines, but generally at home or out and about as opposed to in a specific tasting situation. Now I am a big fan of structured tastings, but at the end of the day sometimes you just want to crack open a bottle with some good home made food and go for it. Good food and Great Wine is always a winner, so it was off to the Ginza branch of one of my favourite Kushiage (deep fried, skewers of various different things) Restaurant, Kushinobo and in this branch, they have a Champagne Bar attached called Brochettes de Reve… now deep fried and fizzy are a match made in heaven… so we tucked into some:

NV Pierre Moncuit Champagne: deep, citrus, lemon, lime, cream, apples, hints of chalk and minerals but more fruit than earth! Liquorice finish, citrus, lime a nice little champagne and it will age for another few years as well! ****(**?) delicate mousse, hints of nuts, almonds and yeast with time in the glass underlying the fruit and adding complexity.

Perhaps not the single best Champagne that I have ever had, but an eye-opener and another very nice little grower Champagne to add to the list. Rather than detroying my palate immediately, I decided to have a drink that everyone should try at least once. It is the Brochette Half and Half Beer. Half Lager and Half Stout (usually mixed together) but it tastes so much better when they make it like this…

A real Half and Half...

With friends and family who had been waiting to have a drink and a chat at home, it was back there for a couple more bottles of wine of the Red Variety and neither disappointed.

2007 Rosso di Montalcino; Argiano

meaty, rich, delicate and round, fresh plum, wild raspberry, wood, perfume and lift, charcoal, rusty nail, minerals, iron ore, soft tannin, nice complimentary acidity, still with obvious but unobtrusive alcohol, burnt matches, flint. Dusty earth. Has some depth but can be approached already. Really good, easy drinking. *****+

A baby Brunello, and very in keeping with the style of this producer. I thought their 04 Brunello to be very good as well. There was discussions of some of their wine being of the ‘fake’ variety in the various Brunello-gate scandals, but none the less, the wines are very good. We were going to open another bottle of Bubbly, as my fiancee’s Visa had come through and she could finally return to our London dwellings (darn Labour immigration system). Instead, however, we went for another bottle of Red and from an obscure part of the wine making world as well…

2004 Jyonohira Cabernet Sauvignon; Chateau Mercian Private Reserve

ripe, full, cassis, truffle, herbs, wood, pepper, chili spice, sweet spice. Soft grainy tannins with nice balancing acidity, tobacco, cedar, earth, medium body, tobacco, earth and truffle finish. A touch of concentration but I can’t see that it merits the moeny it costs. Very nice but… (I take that back) with time, the concentration is coming slowly, but it has Cabernet stubbornness which makes it difficult to assess right now. Tobacco, cassis finish and its getting longer with truffle, plum and brambles. The more I smell this, the more I love the open earthy, mineral, tobacco, plum, cassis, cedar nose and even the palate is starting to open up and there is good depth. Now a long tobacco, earth, stewed plum, sous bois finish. I’d love to try the 09 of this!! *****(+?) ripe plum and cassis note. Like an acidic version of a Monbousquet with out the dumbness of the Merlot from that estate. Nicely balanced, very good but would I pay the price for it??

This is an estate that really blew me away when I tried the sister wine of this, the Kikyogahara Merlot 2001. Really lovely Bordeaux-esque wine. Yes it is expensive for what it is, but it won’t fall down in any major International Wine Competition. Regardless the original bottle from the estate led the way for a wonderful trip around the ever improving Wine-Lands in Japan.

The next day it was dinner at a Friends house which we have affectionately called Chez-Fumin, because the food is the quality of a top Restaurant/Chef. We started off with a wine that I had never tried before and also a gift from a friend for my Birthday:

NV Substance; Blanc de Blanc; Jacques Selosse

disgorged 6 August 2006; yeasty, nutty, lime, lemon, chalk, almonds, minerals, a touch subdued without the zip that you usually get from this producer. Almond syrup, earthy, balanced, Krug-like; does have some zip but it isn’t lifting off! Ripe apples, a bit too developed for my liking and when it was popped. Its round and it is Chardonnay, but… despite the flavours being really nice, its a touch flat. Honeyed and grassy! *****-

I would guess that this particular bottle wasn’t stored perfectly, leading to this charactar, but still a lovely wine that takes nothing away from previous experiences with this producer. I have always loved the wines of his that I have tried in the past… this money permitting will have to be revisited.

Next up, we had a sparkling Sake that I thought was very nice. It was a DASSAI Sparkling Nigori Zake, made by Asahi Shuzo in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Delicate spritz, strong zip. rotting rice, grass, citrus, lemon, lemonade. Fairly deep, but lacking an acidic lift; long lemondae, rice, citrus, spritzy finish! ***** An eye opener for me, as I have never tried a Sparkling Sake before and was expecting it to be a bit odd and a bit of a gimmick. It certainly surprised me in its quality. We then moved onto the piece de resistance. A bottle that I have now tried 3 times, all effectively from the same source (this one being my birthday and early wedding present from this source, who has treated me to most of my great wine experiences of my life, again eternally greatful am I!)…

1989 Chateau Mouton Rothschild; Pauillac; 1er Cru Classé

mushroom, truffle, earth, mint, herbs, cassis, dark plum, wood, oak, almost closed, earth, sous bois, violets, deep, complex, concentrated with good balancing acidity, long cassis, tobacco, zippy finish. Soft, grainy tannins, lovely balance; red plum, cherry, eucalyptus, herbs, rosemary and thyme, blackcurrants with time and lots of freshness and lift. This will go on for at least another 10-15 years, but drinks so well now. Deep, deep, deep and opening up more and more in the glass. Opulent. Really lovely wine with time in hand. ******(+)

It is wines like this that don’t get a huge amount of respect from the major critics, but still are fantastic drinks and for those special occasions, thus affordable that really get me going. I must try and snaffle a few bottles of this for the future.

Back home to pack, we were returning to London the next day to get back into the vinious swing of things over here…


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