Monday, May 28, 2012

Asian Flu?

Today was pencilled in as the day we might take a side-trip over to Macau and see the Vegas of the Orient. I don't know if it was just the earlier parts of the vacation finally starting to catch up with me or whether there really was something to all those Asian flus that always hit the news in Vancouver, but there was no way I was up to a ferry ride to Macau. Making my way back to bed after breakfast was about as adventuresome as my constitution was ready to handle.

Ultimately, I wasn't about to spend a quarter of our time in Hong Kong flat on my back and I managed to wander a few streets in the afternoon. So, under the weather or not, we took in another couple of street markets - including the famous Jade Market - and made our way to the Hong Kong Museum of Art - only to find that it was closed.

We wandered around a bit in the Tsim Sha Tsui section of town and took in a shop that featured jade pieces worthy of any museum. Tiffany's should shut its doors when compared to this place. We didn't last long trekking about, however, particularly since we found out that our hotel had a complimentary Happy Hour. Nothing like a little tipple to pick you up from the flu.

1138. N.V. Louis Perdrier Brut Excellence (France)

Boo and I had taken quick looks in the wine shops that we'd run across in Hong Kong and it was abundantly clear that the city's residents appear to be in love - almost monogamously so - with French wines. The wines that we saw for sale must have been 90% French - and many of them were high end Bordeaux and Burgundy. There were no doubt many bottles of Champagne as well. But weren't served that this evening - despite the wine's being French.

I couldn't find out much about the winery itself and I no longer have the bottle to see if there was any additional information (such as a web site) on the back label. That was a bit of surprise. There's plenty of reference to where you can purchase the bottle - and it appears to be available worldwide (although not Vancouver) at a very reasonable price. (I saw a number of listings for around $10).

That being said, this is clearly a mass market wine and the one reference (that I repeatedly saw) to the grapes being used would seem to indicate that the grapes are at least being sourced from the south of France. The is a blend of Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Chenin, Folle Blanche and Menu Pineau and they are all fermented separately then blended prior to the second fermentation. During second fermentation, the wine is aged on its lees (spent yeast cells) to add a bit of extra body and complexity, including that biscuity flavour note that is immediately reminiscent of an actual Champagne. There was bigger fruit than you'd expect with Champagne. There wasn't much mousse (profusion of bubbles in the mouth) but the bead of bubbles in the glass was very evident and was continuous.

Hardly a wine to knock you socks off, but it's nicely made and a decent value at the lower price point. Plus, I get to add three new varietals to my Wine Century Club tally - Colombard, Folle Blanche and Menu Pineau. I'll take that over Asian Flu any day!

I will say that, when I asked the server if she could leave the bottle for a bit while I took a picture, I was quite surprised that she never came back to collect the virtually full bottle. We took to sharing it with the duo of African businesswomen that were sitting at the table next to us. So, if nothing else, the wine did lead to an interesting conversation with some ladies that we would likely never cross paths with in regular times.

Following Happy Hour, Boo and I wandered a couple blocks from the hotel to sample what was supposedly one of the best noodle houses in Hong Kong. A light and simple dinner - with no wine in sight - at what would likely be called a greasy spoon back home. But it hit the spot and was definitely tasty.

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