17th Wedding Anniversary Dinner, Penang

Well, we knew what the wines were going to be, so then to work backwards to choose the food. We had a Champagne and a Pinot Noir from New Zealand. The Champagne was flying solo, and we decided on a NZ rack of lamb (only fitting) cooked on the Weber Baby Q, with roast veggies to suit.

 

CHAMPAGNE EMMANUEL BROCHET LE MONT BENOIT, EXTRA BRUT
This was our first bottle of this boutique grower Champagne, another stunner purchased from Dave Chan at www.winejourney.com.sg. Beguiling, arresting and bracing at first until we let it warm a little. Then it just overflowed with citrus, brioche, and a line of salinity running right through it. Took a while to get a handle on this, but it kept growing on us until, alas, it was no more. Let’s see what some experts thought about it.

TYSON STELZER, THE CHAMPAGNE GUIDE (BOOK)
” Emmanuel Brochet defines a bold new frontier, bringing an old terroir to life with an intuition derived not from local knowledge, family history or personal experience, but from the sheer courage to respond to each plot, each season and each ferment individually. Most remarkable of all is the beautiful fruits character and pronounced terroir expression he has drawn from this place in a very short time. I know of no one in Champagne today who has achieved so much from so little so quickly as Emmanual Brochet “

WINE JOURNEY
Le Mont Benoit, with only indigenous yeast used, the wine is made from 20% 2014 and balance from 2013. 37% Pinot Meunier, 33% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. 11 months on lees, and 30 months in bottle. South-eastern exposure with silty/clay limestone terroir. Dosage is 4g/L. A natural crowd pleaser with the Brochet signature, the LMB is clearly pinot driven with wonderful acidity and balance.

 

2015 ATA RANGI PINOT NOIR, MARTINBOROUGH NEW ZEALAND
This wine has had rave reviews from all around the world, including 99 pts from MW Bob Campbell. Even after decanting it appeared rather angular and stalky; 20 minutes later it was singing in multi-part harmony. Having said all that, there is no doubt this wine needs at least another 5 years to show its full quiver of tricks. The aromas from the glass envelop the senses, leaving you to wonder if the palate could ever match it – it does! it’s a truly great wine, and will be stupendous when it draws to its peak. I have one more of the 2015, and it’s staying put now till the 21st anniversary. It went beautifully with the rack of NZ lamb, which fortunately was this time perfectly cooked. We even managed to save a little for a taste test next day.

Here are just some of the experts thoughts.

Review by Sam Kim, Wine Orbit | July 2017 – 98 pts.
A symphonic offering, once again, exhibiting red/black cherry, mushroom, mixed spice and vanilla characters with nuances of black tea and floral on the nose. The palate is superbly structured and seductively expressed, offering lovely fruit purity together with sensual mouthfeel and savoury undertones. Perfectly proportioned and impeccably balanced, this is another super-star in the making. At its best: 2019 to 2030.

Review by Bob Campbell MW | August 2017 – 99 pts.
Very seductive pinot noir combining a sensual, silken texture with layers of complex fruit and savoury flavours. The wine has structure but it is deeply buried within a core of sweet fruit. Dark-fleshed plum, violet, cherry, spice and very subtle fresh herbs are among the more obvious flavours in this supremely complex wine. Outstanding!

A New Zealand and world icon of Pinot, this is a cultural treasure. The dark-red fruit is lush and profound and steeped in deep mineral and savoury flavours. These old Martinborough vines on free-draining gravels produce increasingly refined and powerful wines. As always Martinborough brings notable umami tones like charcuterie, culinary herb and earthy spices. Complex and ethereal yet eminently built to last, this could be decanted for a whole day or, for the real experience, left sealed for a good few years. In effect a Kiwi ‘Grand Cru’.

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