A superb night at Tetsuya’s in Sydney for an end of year get together with friends.

I feel Tetsuya’s is on a tier of its own in Sydney, I’ve been to three times now and each time I’ve been blown away.

The Food:

Cold Corn Soup with Saffron & Vanilla Ice Cream

Smoked Ocean Trout & Avruga Caviar with Seared Scallop

Leek & Crab Custard

Sashimi of Big Eye Tuna with Wasabi and Eschallot

Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Daikon & Fennel
Seasonal Green Salad

Ravioli of Queensland Spanner Crab with Tomato & Basil Vinaigrette

Baby Abalone with Braised Ox Tail and Orange

Twice Cooked De-Boned Spatchcock with Olive & Caper Jus

Grilled Wagyu Beef with Lime & Wasabi

Comte Gruyere Cheese with Lentils

Beetroot & Blood Orange Sorbet
Summer Pudding of Blueberries and Raspberries

Blue Cheese & Vanilla Bean Bavorois with Sauterne Jelly

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with White Beans & Dates

Chocolate Terrine with Mascarpone & Cognac Anglaise

Coffee or Tea & Petit Four

The Wines:

1990 Salon “S” Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil
Straw yellow coloured. Fine bead. Initially quite shy in the glass but opened over time to reveal honey, floral notes, vanilla, apples and lemon pastry on the nose. The palate is fine, long and balanced, there isn’t a great deal of depth or complexity yet but I am confident that this had the structure to develop beautifully over the coming 10 years.
94/100

1964 Veuve Clicquot
Gold colour. Seems to have lost its fizz along the way. The nose though makes up for it in complexity with toffee, caramel and apple cider. Lots of character to the palate as well. Well balanced, and it lifted several notches with the Smoked Ocean Trout & Avruga Caviar dish. Very much a Champagne for lovers of aged character, I thought it excellent for my taste.
91/100

1989 Billecart-Salmon Elisabeth Salmon Rose
Strawberry shortcake and a bit of cherry and earth showing on the nose. Medium body and length. Very elegant on the palate, maybe a bit too much elegance and not enough depth. There is a touch of sweetness there as well. Otherwise, there is not much else to talk about, it was good but lacked character.
88/100

2000 Max Ferd. Richter Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese
Intriging nose of floral notes, apricot, pineapple, orange zest and slate. The palate is lovely, I cannot fault the balance between acidity and sweetness, the sweetness gives a generous mouthfeel but then the acid comes in and refreshes the palate. I love Riesling of this style.
93/100

1998 Domaine Rapet Pere & Fils Corton-Charlemagne
Quite tight, but some swirling revealed honey, oatmeal and hay/straw aromas. Palate has very good texture and medium length. Still quite youthful, it could perhaps use a few more years in bottle.
90/100

1993 Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron Romanée-St.-Vivant
An open, generous nose of vanilla, coconut, bright red berries and cherry. Tannins stand out a little bit, but there is enough boldness to the fruit to carry them. Very good, but hopefully it will take on more complexity with time.
91/100

2001 Domaine de la Romanée Conti Richebourg
A deep, rich, brooding nose of smoke, earth, black cherry, five spice and wafting perfume. Length and depth of flavour on the palate is superb. The excellent structure indicates that this has brilliant and obvious potential. One of the best (of the few) DRCs that I have been privileged to enjoy.
94/100

1986 Château Cos d’Estournel (St.-Estèphe)
The nose on this just bursts out of the glass with blackberry, cedar, vanilla, raspberry and gravel. The palate shows that good bottles of this have decades ahead. Brilliance on the palate, long, balanced and while the tannins are still at the fore they are very fine and classy. Without doubt, a superb wine.
95/100

1962 Penfolds Bin 60A Coonawarra Cabernet Barossa Valley Shiraz
The colour of this wine when poured was very promising – ruby red in colour on the edge, darkening toward the centre. My very first sniff caused a rush of emotions, this was obviously something special. Soft gasps and exclamations could be heard around the table as each person lifted the glass to their nose. There was stunning complexity to the nose, with raspberry, cedar, sweet vanilla, graphite, spice, molasses and cherry. Every time my nose returned to the glass I could pick up on another fleeting aroma. The palate has youthful power but also impeccable balance as well as super length, great texture and soft tannins holding the structure in place. All the elements were working together in harmony to form something truly special. On reflection over the past few days, it seems unjust to hold any points back, so I’m not going to.
100/100

1967 Penfolds Bin 7 Cabernet Shiraz Coonawarra-Kalimna
Another legend of Australian wine. Great colour to this as well, medium red with no visible browning around the edges. The nose initially showed some volatility but this cleaned up in the glass with some air to show blackberry, tobacco, cherry and violets. The palate is long, balanced and deep but as with the nose, it suffers in comparison to the complexity and emotion invoking character of the 60A. Still a world class wine that stood up admirably after an impossible act to follow.
94/100

1964 Vega Sicilia Unico (Ribero del Duero)
Tempranillo 65%, Cabernet Sauvignon 15%, Merlot, Malbec, Albillo 20%. A very bold, confronting nose of charcoal, charred cedar, varnish, earth and game. The palate is rounded and mature, with lots of savoury character. Food was essential for this to show well. We gave this plenty of time in the glass and some of the less desirable aromas lifted, leaving the savoury characters and a still very interesting wine. This bottle was ready to drink.
92/100

1976 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
Very deep colour for the age. Some VA, blackcurrant, kirsch and vanilla on the nose. The palate is youthful but the components have integrated nicely. A very good wine, but seemed quite one dimensional compared to the wines that had preceded it, this is something that could come with additional time.
90/100

1949 Ferd. Pieroth Gau-Odernheimer Petersberg Muller-Thurgau Beerenauslese (Rheinhessen)
Golden brown coloured with some red tinges on the outer rim. Honey, coffee and toffee on the nose. Very softly sweet on the palate with good acid still present. This was very interesting and there was a great deal of enjoyment to be had from drinking it. A unique experience.
92/100

1989 Château d’Yquem
I had high expectations for this. The nose was reticent and it took close examination to find mandarin, brown sugar and honey. The palate was elegant and balanced but the depth and interest were not there to see. Still very good, but just seemed a little bit off-key this evening.
91/100

1906 Seppelt 100 Year Old Para Port
Deep mahogany colour, so viscous that it stains the glass with each swirl. A nose dominated by alcohol and VA, in behind there were signs of coconut, burnt toffee and raisins but they were hard to get at. The palate is dense, intense and chewy and there is a bitter dark chocolate character to it that I think subtracted from the balance. Over the next few nights the alcoholic overtones faded but it was replaced by a burnt cedar character and the VA remained, the bitter chocolate on the palate got even more prominent. Nothing like the experience I’ve had with the 1880 and 1905, either this bottle or this vintage isn’t up to scratch.

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