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#296948 - 11-16-2005 18:13:31 Latour Dinner ('88,'89,'90,'94,'01/Forts '95,'96,'03)
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
Dinner Monday night at the Shangri La Hotel's continental restaurant "RED" was organized by Bacchus International, Inc. (the importer of the finest Bordeaux in my country, owned and run by the Lichaytoo family - I have no connection with the company), featuring several vintages from Chateau Latour, both the grand vin and Les Forts de Latour. The special guest of the evening was Chateau Latour's president, M. Frederic Engerer.

The evening began with all attendees gathered in the kitchen, served generously with various hors d’oeuvres and glasses of Billecart-Salmon 1985. Over 50 people attended. We eventually made our way through to the restaurant proper and were finally seated. At our table were my wife, the Doc, the Stockbroker, Monty Papa, Vince and Zelie Tan, and, of course, myself.

As I had to be more sociable than usual that evening, my notes were telegraphic at best, virtually bereft of visual descriptions of the wines served; so please bear with me.

In the order they were served:

Les Forts 2003 – Dense, dark purple core, dark ruby blush and highlights. Very ripe, well-rounded dark fruit, blackcurrants, sweetish cedar, touch of dried herbs and a whisper of eucalyptus in the nose; mirrored on the palate with added gentle tobacco notes and unsweetened dark chocolate undertones mid-mouth and to the back. Very primary, very young, more weight and body than other Les Forts I’ve tried; nice and smooth on the tongue, a bit “chunky” – chewy. It reminded me of the 2000 vintage. It tastes like a wine Robert Parker would like.

Latour 2001 – Lighter ruby blush than the 2003 Les Forts. Initial “band-aid” scent (“iodine” said the Doc) that lifted after a few minutes, revealing a sweet cedar and blackcurrant nose. Cassis, cedar and slight leather suggestions in the mouth. The fruit seemed comparatively thinner than the 2003 Les Forts at this point – not very interesting, though pleasantly smooth and with good weight. Needless to state, it is much too young to fairly judge now.

Les Forts 1996 – Pronounced earthy, dusty, musty vegetal scents and some bell pepper over discreet dark fruit and cedar I mused; “mushroom” Monty pointed out. Drinking quite nicely, it was also noticeably more masculine than the other Les Forts served that night. Earthy cassis and leather. Whisper of truffle.

Les Forts 1995 - Sweeter smelling and much less earthy than the 1996. On the palate, it had comparatively less weight and body as well, the matte black fruit/cedar comparatively thinner, not quite full-bodied. Notes of tobacco mid-mouth and drying wood to the back. Decent enough, but I’d drink up now.

Latour 1988 – Subtle, more refined bouquet of mushroom and earth (vis-à-vis the 1996 Les Forts) intricately intertwined with cassis and just a touch of cedar. Thicker, rounder fruit, more weight and less severe than the 1994. I enjoyed this much more, but the ’94 wasn’t a difficult act to follow.

Latour 1994 – Crushed dried bugs in the nose initially. I set it aside for around 20 minutes in hope it would blow off, which most of it eventually did – but I could still detect faint traces of it. In the mouth, fading dark fruit took the backseat to cedar and wood. There were notes of violets, tobacco and a touch of iodine mid-mouth and to the back. Tannic. A noticeably drying, astringent finish.


Latour 1989 – Easily the most fragrant and complex bouquet of the evening with scents of blue roses, vanilla/oak, ripe black fruit, light cassis, undertones of violets, earthy whispers and sweet cedar trailing. The bouquet didn’t last very long though and its promise wasn’t fulfilled in the mouth. Medium weight, cassis, leather, cedar with espresso notes underneath. Well-knit, virtually seamless. More than decent, fine enough drinking; but anti-climactic after the bouquet.

Latour 1990 – The Stockbroker and my wife thought this to have the best bouquet of the evening. I coaxed and cajoled the wine, even sniffed my wife’s glass to compare, but could not agree with them. Smelled like a rich Latour, no doubt - from a well-ripened vintage –to be sure, but I couldn’t find the complexity and layers of the ‘89’s bouquet (admittedly short-lived as it was). In the mouth, however, the ’90 was clearly superior. Ripe, rounded, generous, yet not wantonly so; much better weight and fuller body. Texture was luxurious. Beside the ‘89, it was superb.

That said, for whatever little it’s worth, I found the 1982 clearly superior all around.

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#296949 - 11-16-2005 19:33:29 Re: Latour Dinner ('88,'89,'90,'94,'01/Forts '95,'96,'03)
Drew Spaulding Offline
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Registered: 08-24-2003 07:00:00
Posts: 2169
Loc: Outer Qwghlm
Quote:

Crushed dried bugs in the nose initially.




YUM!
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#296950 - 11-16-2005 20:29:30 Re: Latour Dinner ('88,'89,'90,'94,'01/Forts '95,'96,'03)
Bob Harrison Offline
Regular

Registered: 12-28-2001 08:00:00
Posts: 779
Loc: Seattle area
Quote:

Crushed dried bugs in the nose initially.




Given that a large percentage of the world outside North America has some for of insect life as part of their cuisine, might I assume you have some direct experience of this, just like I have experience sucking rocks? (No emoticon: that's a straightforward, serious question!)
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#296951 - 11-17-2005 01:33:34 Re: Latour Dinner ('88,'89,'90,'94,'01/Forts '95,'96,'03)
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
Quote:

might I assume you have some direct experience of this, just like I have experience sucking rocks? (No emoticon: that's a straightforward, serious question!)




Have I direct experience in smelling dried, crushed bugs? Of course, otherwise how/why would I use the descriptor? I don't eat insects though, if that is what you imply; although fried grasshoppers and crickets are delicacies in some provinces here.

I actually wanted to describe it as smelling like a local common house cockroach walked through the glass. It leaves an unmistakable smell. I didn't use that since none of you reading this (except, maybe, the Doc) would have an idea what I was talking about. "Dried crushed bugs" was the closest I could think of. I've experienced this before, last I recall was with a '99 Clefs de Legats CdP - I thought the glass was dirty and scolded one of the maids, replaced and checked the glass, poured the wine - and there again was the smell. It also blew off after a while though.
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#296952 - 11-17-2005 02:01:44 Re: Latour Dinner ('88,'89,'90,'94,'01/Forts '95,'96,'03)
Bob Harrison Offline
Regular

Registered: 12-28-2001 08:00:00
Posts: 779
Loc: Seattle area
Thanks for taking the question seriously, Noel! Can't say that I've ever smelled dried crushed bugs — or cockroaches, for that matter, although I've had plenty of experience with the critters. Just never associated any aroma with them. Perhaps it's more pronounced with the sub-species in your part of the world.

I have had fried (and roasted) grasshoppers, though! (Never tried crickets…)
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They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings;
Steal a little and they'll put you in jail, steal a lot and they'll make you king.

— Bob Dylan

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#296953 - 11-18-2005 02:35:02 "Blue Roses"???
Harry Cantrell Offline
Member

Registered: 03-03-2004 03:45:12
Posts: 118
Loc: NJ, USA
Huh??
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#296954 - 11-18-2005 04:58:24 Re: "Blue Roses"???
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
Quote:

Huh??




Uh-huh.
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#296955 - 11-19-2005 00:24:28 Re: blue roses
gerrydj Offline
Newbie

Registered: 09-11-2005 13:35:51
Posts: 6
Loc: manila, philippines
although i've never smelled or seen a blue rose, apparently they are quite rare and much sought after by people that are into these sort of things...

http://www.global-garden.com.au/burnley/dec00jan01dte.htm

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#296956 - 11-19-2005 01:27:21 Re: blue roses
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
Thanks for the research, Doc.

Ok, as I realize this descriptor may throw some of the others off, I shall attempt to explain it in another way: full cream generously infused with vanilla bean and rose water.

That's about as close as I can get.
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#296957 - 11-19-2005 04:56:44 Lt. Purple Roses
M. M c C a l l Offline
Local

Registered: 06-19-2005 21:07:04
Posts: 1462
Noel, I don't think I've ever smelled a blue rose, but I had a rose bush in California that produced the most intensely scented lilac-colored roses. They had a very woodsy quality that reminded me of furniture polish. It was a very unique, earthy scent, unlike any other rose.... one I sure wouldn't mind smelling in a glass of wine.
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#296958 - 11-22-2005 06:51:28 Re: blue roses-Totally NWR
John Gonzales Offline
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Registered: 01-31-2001 08:00:00
Posts: 2225
I have a cousin named Gerry, who is also a physician in Manila, along with his two siblings and both parents. The family name is Germar. (all UP med grads) They also have a pharmacy (Fatima) on Taft in Ermita across from the hospital. They live in Magallanes Village. My other cousins are Capulong and Escano.
I'm half Filipino, as my dad was born in Batangas City. He went to UST Med and came here as a resident also many moons ago. I've been to the Philippines a number of times, but not for many years now. My wife, who's never been to Asia, and I are trying to get over there later next year.

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#296959 - 11-22-2005 07:47:59 Re: blue roses-Totally NWR
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
Quote:

My other cousins are Capulong and Escano.




"Escano" or "Escaño"?

I knew an Ignacio Capulong, much older than I, my father's friend actually, who passed away a couple of years ago. He was a judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati - he used to sing at bench-and-bar functions, very good basso.

One of my good friends in law school was Jose Antonio "Uzoi" Castillo Escano who settled in California after getting another JD in Georgetown. His family hails from Lingayen where they have an absolutely beautiful and well-preserved (last time I was there anyway) ancestral home.

My wife's family knows the Escaños from Cebu. They used to be neighbors in Ayala-Alabang.

What a small world.

Be sure to look Gerry and I (our wives are first cousins) up for some fine wine and food when you and your wife are in town. You won't regret it, I promise.
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#296960 - 11-22-2005 19:10:52 Re: blue roses-Totally NWR
John Gonzales Offline
Obsessed

Registered: 01-31-2001 08:00:00
Posts: 2225
I believe it's Escano.
The Capulongs are largely attorneys. I think they went to law school at Univ of Manila? Ignacio does not ring a bell.
My oldest cousin Honorio (nory) Capulong did pass away a couple of years back. He was a Brig. General and I believe actually the JAG.
Anyhow, I will certainly give a shout out to you guys when I finally get to visit.

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#296961 - 11-23-2005 10:04:13 Re: blue roses-Totally NWR
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
Quote:

My oldest cousin Honorio (nory) Capulong did pass away a couple of years back. He was a Brig. General and I believe actually the JAG.




He was a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University's College of Law, my and my father's alma mater, and one of the founding members of the Fraternal Order of Utopia (at the time more of an honors society than a fraternity). In the late 80s, he was already a full colonel in the armed forces, connected with the JAG Office. That would make him 5 or so years younger than my father. There is a Romeo Capulong who, as far as I know, is currently a UN judge ad litem. Yes, a family of lawyers to be sure.
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#296962 - 11-23-2005 16:02:34 Re: blue roses-Totally NWR
John Gonzales Offline
Obsessed

Registered: 01-31-2001 08:00:00
Posts: 2225
Quote:

Quote:

My oldest cousin Honorio (nory) Capulong did pass away a couple of years back. He was a Brig. General and I believe actually the JAG.




He was a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University's College of Law, my and my father's alma mater, and one of the founding members of the Fraternal Order of Utopia (at the time more of an honors society than a fraternity). In the late 80s, he was already a full colonel in the armed forces, connected with the JAG Office. That would make him 5 or so years younger than my father. There is a Romeo Capulong who, as far as I know, is currently a UN judge ad litem. Yes, a family of lawyers to be sure.




Yep, you got em'. Nory was the "patriarch" of my generation. Coming to the Phil. often had some added conveniences with my cousin's military position. Not that he wasn't very humble about it.
My family's US connections and time continue to dilute the Filipino influence. We were basically raised American. Though after our conversation, I made a point to stop off and get one of my favorite "filipino foods" Magnolia ice cream. Other Filipino-born cousins are here now. As the older generation passes, even some of the family land (mostly in Batangas) is being sold. Some has also been eminent domained by the gov't. I don't know if you know Batangas City, but my Dad's home was there right on P.Burgos
(& Miss Phil.). I used to stay there for parts of every trip. Apparently the growth has now made it a rare residence amongst larger commercial. So now that the Uncle who lived there just passed, no one really wants to use it. Looks like it will either be sold or we will build something commercial. I'm sure some of the more rural other places like Bagio and Tagaytay I've really grown too. I've never been to Boracay, but will probably go on my trip.
Good to see that you there are enjoying wine. My family always enjoyed a good life there, though in years past it was mainly the best the country had to offer, with certain imported luxuries. For whatever reason, wine was not one of them.
Can you actually buy wine at any local shops? Do restaurants allow you to bring your own wine? What food do you eat when you drink wine like Latour?

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#296963 - 11-23-2005 16:56:02 Re: blue roses-Totally NWR
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
I'm not very familiar with Batangas City itself, but we have a beachfront compound in the small town of Balayan (Baranggay Sampaga). We are not from there though.
Ah, the ubiquitous Magnolia ice cream - it was bought by Nestle several years ago though.

Baguio and Tagaytay are very different these days. Baguio is very commercial now, Session Road heavy with traffic, the air laden with exhaust fumes. Lots of development though. I usually confine myself to the Baguio Country Club when I'm there. Tagaytay has "progressed" as well. There is a golf & country club there called "Tagaytay Highlands" that stands on par with many I've seen in the the US and Asia (in my opinion, much better facilities and food than Phuket's Blue Canyon over-all - though, admittedly, the golf courses themselves of Blue Canyon are far superior).

I was fortunate enough to visit Boracay in the mid-80s when it was still pristine - no electricity, only 2 establishments had generators. Now, well, Shangri-La is building a hotel there, if that tells us anything. There is a golf club, cellular sites, ATMs, tons of restaurants, etc. Still great to visit, no doubt, but I, personally, prefer it the way it was.

You can buy wine pretty much anywhere. Even liquor departments of groceries carry wine - lots of dross from France, USA, Spain and Italy mainly. If you want the proverbial "good stuff" of Bordeaux, though, there is barely a handful of shops. Top on my list is Bacchus Int'l., Inc. - there you can get good vintages ('82, '85, '89, '90, etc.) of Petrus, Pichon Lalande, Latour, Lafite, Haut Brion, Cheval Blanc, Margaux; even Burgundies like DRC (DRC, La Tache, Montrachet, etc.) and the like. I can even get champagne like Salon and Krug there.

My friend, the Stockbroker, part-owns a shop that specializes in Napa wines, some Oregon pinot noirs too.

Most all restaurants we frequent allow us to bring our bottles and waive the corkage. Others that charge do so minimally, say the equivalent of US$10-18 per bottle.

What kind of food with the likes of Latour? At home, normally, grilled US prime rib-eye steaks (which you can buy by the whole slab here) and/or roasted Australian rack of lamb. If you refer to the Latour dinner I wrote about, there were several courses - the main course being "Chilled US Fillet with Sauce Bordelaise, Black Truffled Sea Scallops, Chantrelle Risotto and Tempura Asparagus".
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