To celebrate the second anniversary of their opening, we joined the party for a set food and wine pairing at our favourite Penang restaurant, Markus.

Markus Restaurant Penang

Course 1, Texture of Fegato

3 types of Foie Gras from hot to cold; ice cream, mousse, pan fry.

I tried them in reverse order, finishing with the foie gras ice cream (not cold). Fascinating food and, while not my favourite appetiser, it was quite a sensation, moving from the more robust pan fry across to the more delicate ice cream.

Pol Roger Brut NV

Our take –

Pale straw gold in colour, nose of vibrant citrus and light bread.
Palate of lemon, fine and elegant bread/biscuit; light but intense with great feel and balance.
The wine held up well with the dish but it might be interesting to see a vintage against it also.

Further notes on the Pol Roger –

The Brut Non Vintage blend is traditionally composed from about 30 to 35 still base wines, drawn from different vineyard sites, grape varieties and vintage years. It usually contains wines of at least two vintages, often three or four. Reserve wines compose between 20-30% of the traditional blend. The Brut NV is never sold until the youngest component is at least three years old, which gives it more character and body.

The definitive house-style, composed from 30 still base wines drawn from at least two vintages, and the three varieties of Champagne, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier blended in equal portions.

The Pinot Noir comes from the villages of the Montagne de Reims and contributes body and character; the Chardonnay comes from Epernay itself and the Cote des Blancs and provides lightness and elegance; the Pinot Meunier comes from the Vallée de la Marne and provides youthfulness and vigour. The perfect apéritif champagne which we never release until it is at least three years old.

Pale gold with a very fine bead; flowery, delicately toasty aroma with fruit and complexity; creamy, beautifully balanced with a dry, harmonious finish.

Critical Acclaim –

Wine Spectator – “Kumquat, melon and anise notes are layered with toast, smoke and golden raisin flavors in this firm, minerally Champagne, complemented by a fine, creamy mousse.”

Wine & Spirits – “A great disgorgement of Pol Roger’s basic Brut, a blend that includes 25 percent reserve wines, this is a gracious, red-fruited Champagne. Though the wines go through malolactic, this emphasizes freshness, with a tingle of ginger and mineral acidity lifting the flavors in the finish.”

Course 2, Mushroom Ricotta Ravioli with Italian Autumn Truffles

Homemade ravioli stuffed with mushrooms, ricotta cheese, topped with freshly shaved Italian Black Autumn Truffle.

This was a stunning dish served with a stunning wine. Layers of flavour with each mouthful, constantly interwoven with the generous topping of black truffle. Just further evidence of Markus’ amazing ways with pasta.

Domaine Faiveley Chablis 2014

Our take –

Should have been overpowered by the dish, but not a chance, truly a standout entry level Chablis.
Nose of soft lemon citrus with mineral/slaty/stony aromas. Palate similar with some austerity but in the best way. Beautifully balanced, somehow with its shy nature and spine of citrus and acid, still rich and satisfying in the mouth with a long finish. Remarkable entry level Chablis
Power enough to hold the strong dish and cuts cleanly through the cream not missing a beat.

Critical acclaim-

This is a classic Chablis, with lemon and oyster shell aromas. Broad, supple and creamy, offering a gently saline oyster shell quality. This fine-grained wine would make a lovely introduction to Chablis for the uninitiated.

Haagen-Dazs sorbet, palate cleanser

Course 3, Wagyu Beef seasoned with Fleur de Sel

Wagyu marbling 6 seasoned with Fleur de Sel and served with mash puree. Beautifully cooked, tender and rich, and simply adorned with the mash and salt crystals. However every time I eat the famed wagyu, I cannot help but think that a quality piece of Australian rump, seasoned with salt and a light dose of hickory, then cooked on a covered BBQ, would make most wagyu devotees reconsider their fascination.

Chateau Giscours Margeaux 2012

Our take –

An intriguing nose of black currant, chocolate, maybe some pine and aniseed notes. the palate has solid tannins and initially seems a little bruising. Perhaps a little thin and drying on the palate but time will soften this. The wine needs food, where it starts to come into its own. The finish is spicy and long, another 5 years may see a much friendlier wine.

Critical acclaim –

Finely extracted cassis fruit, elegance and lift of Cabernet dominant, fine florality, purity and length.

Read more here.

Wine Advocate – Parker :

Tasted at the Château Giscours vertical and a few months later again at the property, the 2012 Château Giscours is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc picked between September 27 and October 17. It has a rather conservative nose with raspberry, fresh strawberry, tobacco and light licorice scents. The palate is medium-bodied with supple black fruit, but with slightly aggressive acidity. Like the 2013, though to a lesser extent, it needs to show a little more concentration and finesse on the finish; but otherwise, enjoy this over the next decade or so. Tasted March 2016.

One of my favourite châteaux in the Médoc, Ch. Giscours has been making consistent, hugely enjoyable and affordable top quality Margaux since 2000, and 2012 is certainly no exception. Sometimes criticised for producing a more ‘masculine’ style of Margaux (that I thoroughly enjoy), this is not the case this year. Multi-layered, refined with a beautiful freshness and elegance that is the personification of its commune, this will be a reasonably early drinker that will deliver great satisfaction in a few years..

Simon Staples, Asia Director

Creme Brûlée

Homemade baked cream with crispy egg white top, and side of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream
A Markus take on the old favourite, but not as we know it Jim. Deconstructed so that you could eat a single component, or mix it with another to find a new flavour – delightful.

Nikka Taketsuru Whisky, Japan

A wonderful whisky and a revelation to us. Warm, silky smooth, with just a touch of smoke. Not sure what caused Markus to dream up this pairing, but it turned out to be inspired; this was a joy to drink, both with the individual components, as well as the mix. Unqualified to attempt a more detailed analysis I’ll defer to the experts listed below.

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Bottling Note

A non-age-statement expression of Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt whisky, named after the company’s founder, Masataka Taketsuru. It features plenty of whisky from the Miyagikyo distillery, as well as percentage of malt matured in Sherry casks to give it a rich, spiced nose.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Sherry-soaked plums, raisins and green apple slices. Honey’d cereal, black pepper and hint of barrel char.

Palate: Espresso beans, milk chocolate, tobacco leaf and lingering Sherried fruit. There’s a slight touch of smoke as it develops…

Finish: Elegant smoke continues, with golden barley and a final hint of coffee.

Overall: Superb Japanese blended malt from Nikka.