Lifestyle- At Last, Hotpot and a Glass of Lascombes
Winter in North East or East Asia typically means it’s hotpot or steam boat time for many people. There is just something inherently satisfying and bonding about sitting over a pot of steaming broth with family and friends simmering your own food. I often get asked what wine to have with hotpot and it really depends on what hotpot you are having as there is such a diversity of soup bases and food you could have. If your soup base or food is predominantly seafood I would probably avoid a big tannic red as I find that grainy tannins tend to clash with some of the umami flavours found in seafood. Also watch for your dips, particularly if you are prone to creating your own strong soy based dips with fried and fresh garlic and XO sauce, as is often supplied in Hong Kong. That can easily overwhelm a fresh delicate white.
Recently I had a Chateau Lascombes 2008 to accompany my hotpot and strips of fresh angus beef and iberico pork. This Deuxième Cru Margaux, is now showing the benefits of significant modernization in vineyard and wine making techniques over the past decade following investments made by US based fund Colony Capital, which owned Chateau Lascombes from 2001-2011. Yields have also been gradually reduced over the years. Chateau Lascombes is now owned by French insurance group MACSF. The 2008 is comprised of 50% Merlot, 47% Cab Sav and 3% Petit Verdot, and has a pretty intense deep purple appearance. Giving the wine a good swirl in the glass, the nose emerges in layers- a deep rich cassis nose a basket of floral perfumery – violets, iris. This is one of those wines which is great pleasure to nose through, keeping it swirling in your glass through the night. On the palate the wine is incredibly juicy with cassis, fresh blueberries, black currants. There are a lot of juicy berries in this full bodied wine, with something akin to vanilla pod or vanilla bean and a layer of integrated oak with supple tannins. Although the juicy and fruity nature of the wine allows it to be enjoyed to some extent now, this wine definitely has the tannic structure present to improve with age. Cellar this one for a bit- it is certainly enjoyable now but I would say patience will definitely be rewarded.
2008 Chateau Lascombes, Margaux (JR 16/20; WS 88; WE 91)