Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Steakhouse Wine Dinner

I am never a big fan of "wine dinner" hosted by wineries or shops - the thought of having to sit through a meal with wine snobs swirling and sniffing and comparing tasting notes just wasn't my cup of tea. But recently I did join one featuring a vertical flight of Sena wines at a steakhouse because I haven't done a serious tasting on Chilean wines before and am curious for the presentation of five of the same wines in different vintages. 

Felt like the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse was the perfect venue for such event, with their private dining room upstairs provided the nice cozy vibe for a few dozens of us convene across a few tables, and the American steakhouse classic dishes which the place was known for pair well with bottles of big Chilean red. 

The pass-around canapes were cute, with the crab cocktail tartlet topped with salmon roes being my favorite, working well with the glasses of bubbly (not Chilean, but French) to start our evening with. As we gradually settled at our table and seats and the obligatory introduction, we went on with a five-course dinner paired with five different vintages of Sena in chronological order. We began with the foie gras terrine served with brioche on the side. The terrine got a nice creamy texture and worked well with the acidity of the wine. Hard to go wrong with the combination of beef tartare, roasted bone marrow and caviar in a single dish and that’s followed by the equally rich veal cheek “papillote” which was slow-cooked in a plastic pouch with vegetables. I love the jus and the flavor that’s retained within the pouch. 

We continued with our meat theme with the steak as our main course. Chef picked the strip loin, which was probably the most fail-safe cut to handle for a big group, and prepared it sous vide then finished on the grill to get the medium-rare consistency for all the pieces. The Sichuan peppercorn sauce was nice, and I also enjoyed the bloc of potato gratin served on the side – perfectly seasoned and roasted for the crispy crust. Cheese course was pretty standard but still came with four different kinds served with the youngest red which was the current vintage released just late last year. The wine probably works with something more stronger, like the stilton we had, but I like the young Brillat-Savarin on its own.  

Vina Sena was arguably the most recognizable wineries in Chile, known for the production of Bordeaux-style red. The 2009 vintage was a good entry-point, medium-bodied and fully-developed - I would even say it's slightly over the top already. Good structure of red fruits and smooth tannins, but there's a faintly bitter after-taste that put me off a little. 2013 was my favorite of the flight - full-bodied with pepperish and slightly earthy aroma, plenty of black fruits on the palate and a long after-taste.  That's the keeper and it will stay that way for a considerable amount of time. 

The 2016 resembled more of the style of 2009 but this was the one I preferred more, medium bodied, deep violet-ruby color with a pleasant sweet spices and fennel aroma, plenty of red fruits and good acidity. Meanwhile the 2017 vintage was probably the fullest of all, with big black fruits dominating the palate with a more intense smoky aroma and rounded tannins - it will definitely get even better from here. The 2020 was on the leafy side, austere and tight with some red fruits but nothing else… one that would benefit from further aging, I hope. 

When? April 20 2023
Where? Grand Hyatt Steakhouse, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Veal Cheek Papilotte with Morrel, Black Trumpet, Peal Onions, Lardons, and Carrots
Champagne Lanson Le Black Label Brut NV
2009 Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
2013 Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
2016 Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
2017 Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
2020 Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
Enoteca Wine:
Grand Hyatt Steakhouse:

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