Since we could not invite people to come in to help celebrate my birthday, and we could not go out to a fine diner, we managed to bring the finer diner to us.
Enter Indigo, the restaurant part of The Blue Mansion here in Penang. Delivered to our door right on time.
For starters we had Signature Chilled Capellini with mackeral and condiments of Penang Laksa; Indigo Tiger Prawn and Crab Cakes with Asian herb salad in chilli tamarind vinaigrette.
These were both delicate and delightful, and worked beautifully with the Champagne.
Main courses were Mixed Mushroom and Truffle Spaghetti; Braised Spiced Soy Lamb Shank with leeks, carrots, broccoli and mashed sweet potato. Such were the servings, we saved the spaghetti for a later meal.
The lamb shank was exceptional, and the Amarone simply served to amplify the music.
For dessert we had Lemongrass Creme Brûlée; Burnt Cheesecake.
We thought the lemongrass brûlée a little bit weird, but the cheesecake was heavenly. Meanwhile the Amarone was proving to be irresistible with anything or nothing.
Frederick Savart L’Accomplie 1er Cru Champagne. Produced from a tiny 4 hectare vineyard in Ecueil, which is Pinot Noir country, FS has become one of the great boutique makers of Champagne. All his wines are 1er Cru, and this is his second level, the mix being 80% Pinot and 20% Chardonnay.
Very fine mousse and bead, lemon citrus, bread, yeasty notes.
It’s bracing, rich, mouth-filling, and as it warms you get the bready, yeasty element coming through, also some salty/chalky notes.
There is a scintillating line of acidity that runs all the way down the wine, and it ends with a rich and long finish.
There are some great Champagnes with great names; this is a great Champagne with a name you just heard. We get this through Dave Chan at Wine Journey based in Singapore. Production is tiny, so if you like it, when it becomes available you just say yes, please.
2011 Tedeschi Monte Olmi Amarone Della Valpolicella. Already known as a great wine, this one had eluded our grasp; that is until we met dear friends Luca and Liz, from Amorosso Wines in Hong Kong. Somehow they got this to us and this is our first intro to Monte Olmi. We had been waiting a while, this wine makes it worth every minute.
I think that Amarone is one of the great wines of the world and so I am biased; this wine only going on to confirm that conviction.
Valpolicella is in the province of Verona in the Veneto region, and the process is said to have been discovered accidentally by the Romans way back in history. It’s a complex story and we won’t delve here, suffice to say that if you like wine, you should drink a top shelf Amarone at least once in your life.
Nose of intense pepper, chocolatey, savoury spice, licorice, undergrowth and a touch of burnt raisins. The bottle was decanted but this aroma never lost its aromatic intensity through to the last drop.
Palate is powerful, full bodied, and mouth coating, but no hint of the 17% ABV level. BTW the legal minimum ABV is 14%.
A blend of 30% Corvina. 30% Corvinone. 30% Rondinella, 10% Osoleta, this is not necessarily the standard mix of varieties, which might normally be Corvina. Rondinella, and sometimes (but less usually) Molinara. In any case this is a remarkable and stupendous wine, managing to combine the elements of massive power, concentration and complexity, with those of finesse, harmony and intrigue, into a wine that will captivate for many years to come. You could drink this wine with anything, I still had some left for dessert. It is such a wine that food could almost become incidental. I have one more bottle, that now has little chance of gathering further dust.
One of the great wines I have encountered in recent years; hope to see you soon Liz and Luca.