Sunday, January 18, 2009

Free Grange

December was a story of me surviving having surgery on my neck in the very good Asan hospital near Jamsil and then surviving Christmas back in England at the very good hotel known as my parent's house.
Surgery was a great success and for the time being all the worst possibilities that were possible are looking less like possibilities. Which is quite possibly good news.
Apologies to any commenter's ignored. I will be catching up on things soon.

Christmas too was a great success. I laid down a lot and pushed things into my face a lot.

I ate at the Michelin starred JSW in Petersfield, Hampshire and for the second time in two years had a really brilliant tasting menu there. Scallops with cauliflower, seabass and tapenade, goats cheese and onion tarte tatin, a ridiculous mushroom risotto, slow cooked lamb and pork belly that defied belief so melt in the mouth was it. Two sweets as well. Really very, very good and again the one type of cooking that doesn't exist here that I do miss for the occasional treat.

My mother's cooking was up to the usual standards with some superb lamb, an ace Spanish tortilla and her trifle all being highlights.

Let's call the above my self indulgent diary post eh?


I drank well.

I won't go over it in detail as it has very little to do with Korea and given that my recent posts have been food related the whole wine korea title might start to look a little tenuous.

Dom Perignon 1990
Gorgeous. Straw coloured with a still fairly persistent fine mousse. This is a refined but powerful Champagne with a lovely honeyed quality. Cream soda was a factor with a long, long ripe apple finish. No edges, no meat(eh dad?) and a drink to remember.

Pol Roger 1990
This as a comparison to the above. Much darker and with a more persistent mousse. Really spicy nose on this one with a little apple. Was more like sticking your nose in a pestle and mortar than a glass of wine. It was a really interesting Champagne unlike anything I have had before. Fresh ground black pepper was the predominant flavour. I liked it a lot but it was not in the same league as the DP.

2 Bottles of Puligny Montrachet from different negociants and of different vintages which I can't remember.
The younger was tasting, er, younger. Both were excellent with great fruit and oak balancing going on. Yes, I should have taken notes.

Whiskey tasting. Glenfiddich 12, 15 and 18 year and an Islay that was 20 years I think.
Whiskey goes right to my head. The Islay was, as you would expect, peaty with a real iodine quality. Was not as smooth as I expected. There was a definite progression in drinkability through the three ages of the Glenfiddich. Again, must make more notes.

Grange 1996
Gorgeous. Fairly consistent garnet colour with very little fading at the rim.
Has a big old nose of the expected dark fruits with nice spicy complexity of bay leaf, violets and tea. It is a wine you know is going to taste nice.
It does. Full bodied and opulent it is fantastically structured with ripe fruit of blueberry/bilberry and plum combining with spice, vanilla and chocolate to veil the still very present tannins. It is a wine with a finish that just keeps giving. Will age for some time yet and will no doubt improve. The highlight of my drinking last year I think.

Korea 2009

I am back and I am busy. After the stress of last year however, I am now really starting to enjoy the new 'hood. Did a circuit of the local wine shops yesterday and picked up some good 'uns I think. We have some Portuguese wine which I have not seen here before we have an Albarino(!) which was very exciting to see. I have spotted Cloudy Bay for 44,000won for those who are so inclined(Wine House). I picked up another bottle of Sherry in order to continue training my palate to actually like it. erm... Goats do Roam has shown up in another shop and I think it is time to start pressing the importers to bring some more of the South African wines in.
What else?
All the pubs near my gaff are useless.
I might be going to Pierre Gagnaire for my birthday.
I am considering starting a second, no doubt equally ignored blog, on how to do luxury in Seoul. Where to buy all the things I can't afford, where to sleep in all the places I can't afford and where to do all the things I can't afford. Winning idea eh? You can think of me with my nose pushed against windows, in the cold, excluded from where the luxury lies.

Albarino and Portugese wine reports to come. Hopefuly something on Gagnaire to come.


Steve Ward said...

What neighborhood are you in now? I'd be interested in doing some guest posting on your luxury in Korea blog, as I've had similar thoughts. Specifically I could talk about cigars, scotch, and coffee from the angle of 'affordable' luxury.

Caellum said...

Your blog is not as ignored as you think, considering I'm a reader from South Africa - with a huge interest in good-value wines, local or otherwise (like you). As for good value, New York critic Eric Asimov apparently said in the New York Times recently: '... South Africa is one of the greatest sources for moderately priced cabernet sauvignon on the planet today... These wines would never be called weedy or thin. Nor do they feel self-important nor grandiose.' And 2004 seems to be a particularly good vintage. Would like to hear your feedback - I'm adding a blog to my website soon. Check out

Caellum said...

Actually, just tracked a list of South African cabernet sauvignons particularly recommended by Asimov for good value:
- De Trafford 2004
- Rust en Vrede 2004
- Bon Cap Robertson 2006
- Thelema 2004
- Neil Ellis 2004
- Bilton 2004
- Waterford Estate 2005
- Alto Estate 2005

roboseyo said...

Hi there. Your blog was nominated for an award for the best Korea blogs of 2008, at The Hub Of Sparkle. Go check it out if you like.

squirrelandgman said...

Steve: Living in Gangnam now. If I pull my finger out and get it set up I will let it be known on here. Guest posting would be useful. Especially on the Scotch front. I am at the beginning of a love affair with the stuff right now.

Calleum: Cheers for that! Some of those wines should be available here. I know Neil Ellis and Thelema have a presence here. I will get on to them.

Roboseyo: Cheers for letting me know. I have voted for myself and feel no shame.

Steve Ward said...

I'm still working in Gangnam, though I just moved out to Shincheon (Jamshil). We should have a beer in the area some time. Sideway is having a deal where you can buy a bottle for 20,000 won tomorrow, but I'm busy with Toastmasters and other stuff tomorrow night. Maybe they'll do it again.

You can still email me at, or stvwrd@gmail,com

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Planted grape varieties in Burgundy

Pinot noir
Some other less important grape varieties may be found, buy they are grown in marginal quantities and little used :
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