Jade Palace

This was a sensational meal in this basement-level restaurant featuring classic Cantonese cooking situated in a shopping mall. The place was packed, and the quality was top flight with the exception of the Durian dumplings that were served with assorted desserts. Durian, of course, is the stinky, fecal smelling fruit of Singapore, and no matter how much one tries to cultivate a taste for it, it reminds me of an over-the-hill French cheese such as epoisses, that has become runny and stinky.

The wines started with a stunning magnum of the impressive, long 2000 Pol Roger Champagne Winston Churchill. Still very young out of magnum, it was dominated by its Pinot Noir component. The white wines included an oxidized, evolved, nearly undrinkable 1996 Comtes Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre. It is truly unacceptable to have these flaws appear so frequently in white Burgundy. On the other hand, the outstanding 1994 Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne showed no oxidation and was impressive.

We then moved to a disappointing, corked bottle of Gaja's 2000 Barolo Sperss, and a virtually perfect bottle of 2003 Chapoutier Red Ermitage l'Ermite, which displayed lots of crushed rock minerality as well as enormous levels of extract and richness, but not much acidity. This is a bizarre vintage, and the wines will age on their extract rather than anything else given the super concentration of this wine. The 2008 Two Paddocks Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand was light, pleasant and tasty, but hardly inspiring. The two best red wines for drinking with this food were the two Rhône selections. (The restaurant's wine list includes an excellent selection of Rhône Valley wines.) The stunning 2007 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Papeexhibited lots of kirsch, seaweed, pepper, lavender and roasted meat notes. The blockbuster 2007 St. Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes was unctuously textured, thick and juicy. It was a real head-turner and eye-opener for the Asian guests. We finished with a blockbuster, massive, sweet, stunningly rich and well-balanced 1997 Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella.

Jade Palace has a fabulous wine list with pretty fair prices as well as top-of-the-line Cantonese cuisine. Consequently, I am happy to give it a high recommendation.

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