Mark's Duck House, Falls Church, VA

An assortment of varied wines were enjoyed with the multiple delicacies from the battery of Hong Kong chefs who inhabit the kitchens of Mark's Duck House. It's always dim sum, which for us, means primarily lobster dumplings, shrimp dumplings, chive dumplings, barbecued pork rolls, Chinese sausage fried rice, Singapore noodles, clams in black bean sauce, etc., etc.

We started with a young but vibrant, mineral-dominated 1998 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste.-Hune that requires 2-3 more years of bottling. We moved to a fabulous 2002 Dauvissat Chablis Le Clos that offered incredible minerality, great acidity, and stunning concentration. It should drink well for 10-15 more years. More restrained and streamlined, but well concentrated was the 2002 Fevre Chablis Le Clos. A somewhat disjointed, evolved effort, revealing a golden color as well as fading fruit was the 1999 Albert Morey Bâtard-Montrachet. I don't know whether this was a heat damaged bottle, or this was a typical performance for this wine since I had not tasted it previously. We next had a brilliant 1999 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard that could have easily passed for a grand cru white Burgundy. Sadly, the 2000 was slightly corked.

One of the greatest young Burgundies I have recently tasted, the 2002 Clos le Tart was a mind-blowing young, vibrant effort displaying raspberry, cherry, strawberry, and currant fruit along with superb concentration, refreshing acidity, loads of texture, and an excellent finish. The 1997 Arlaud Clos St.-Denis was earthy, forward, and not as good as previous bottles. Perhaps it is going through an awkward stage, or beginning to fade. Another top-notch 2002 red Burgundy was Georges Mugnier's Clos de Vougeot. While the color was medium ruby, belying its richness, it is young and vibrant, with considerable intensity and body. This is a beautiful wine to forget for 3-4 years and drink over the following 10-15.

The Rhone flight was well-represented with a brilliant, fully mature, top-flight 1994 Janasse Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes. It performed much better than the awkward, woody, tannic, attenuated 1997 Tardieu-Laurent Hermitage, which appears to be falling apart. The most glorious wine of the day was the 2001 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf du Pape Reine des Bois. Absolutely magnificent, it is a young Rhone Valley red that is loaded with heavenly delights. It is an extraordinary wine produced from ancient vines as well as impeccable winemaking. A wine which was beautiful in its first 10-12 years of life, but now appears completely dead was the 1983 Guigal Côte Rôtie.

Sadly, the 1992 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon was also corked, and the 1964 Moulinet (Pomerol) was completely maderized, so we couldn't fête Pierre-Antoine Rovani's birth year. We finished with a tannic, but promising, rich, extremely exuberant and youthful, black/purple-colored 1995 Montus Cuvée Prestige, which appeared to have another 15-20 years of life left.

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