TN: Honolulu Offline - Pierre Peters, Prum, Allemand, Rayas

Honolulu Offline - Honolulu, HI (1/22/2017)

Dinner at Choi’s Palace
In a fantastic show of hospitality, once Mark Johnson from Wineberserkers found out I was going to come to Honolulu, he arranged this offline with Ralph Earle. Mark picked a great Korean place near Waikiki where we could bring some bottles, and then Mark and Ralph really pulled out all the stops. The Pierre Peters was a pleasure, and at just a perfect stage of maturity now with great complexity. The JJ Prum I brought (bought on the island) was excellent as well, but nothing to compare to what was to come. Mark pulled out a pair of 2004 Allemand Chaillot and 2004 Chateau Rayas, both truly superb wines. I’ve had Allemand a handful of times before, generally in younger vintages, and this was just as good as I expected. The Rayas was a novel experience for me since it was my first time with this Chateau, and I can see why it’s so sought after. It had an elegance and lightness that reminded me of superb red burgundy. But that wasn’t all… Ralph came with a couple of sweet surprises. Tasted blind, the 2010 “Sauternes” (thought to be declassified Yquem) was excellent, comparable in style and quality to a Doisy Daene in a good vintage (though also the same price as the Doisy, to be fair, so it’s not a cheaper alternative). It was a wine I’ve wanted to try, and it succeeded at being a “second” wine that I would love to drink. Ralph followed with a Kracher TBA, which had excellent concentration though could use more acidity (which I’ve found is common with Kracher TBAs), but which I still found really enjoyable.

Truly guys, this was over-the-top incredible. The food and company would have been more than enough, but I also picked up some potential WOTY candidates in the Allemand and the Rayas. Hopefully I can return the favor if you’re in San Francisco.

  • 1999 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Speciale Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (1/22/2017)
    Golden color; nice slight oxidation and excellent white fruit with a bit of apple; palate is balanced, medium-plus acid, drinking well now and I would not age further as it has some mature character already. A pleasure to try this tonight!
  • 2011 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (1/22/2017)
    Wonderfully aromatic with petrol, no reduction, peach, white fruit; palate is superbly balanced with good fruit and medium-plus acid, off-dry, almost spatlese level of sweetness, nicely balanced; medium-plus finish. Very nice, lovely to drink now or with more age!
  • 2004 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (1/22/2017)
    Medium ruby with slight bricking; lovely highly aromatic nose with superb red fruit, berries, blueberry, spice, superb depth, meaty, iodine, bacon fat; palate is medium bodied, medium-plus acid, present but very approachable medium velvety tannins, superb red fruit; long finish. Wonderful, and classic Allemand with its elegance and depth compared to other Cornas. This could easily evolve more in the bottle.
  • 2004 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/22/2017)
    Pale ruby with slight bricking; highly aromatic nose with superb elegance, Burgundian red fruit, spice, meaty; palate is light to medium bodied, some spice, wonderful meatiness, but overall a lightness and elegance throughout; long finish. My first time trying a Chateau Rayas, and it is a unique wine with superb balance, length, and complexity with unparalleled elegance for a Chateauneuf du Pape. Superb wine, though out of my price comfort zone despite its excellence.
  • 2010 Château d’Yquem Declassified - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (1/22/2017)
    Tasted blind. Medium golden, youthful color; nose is youthful, minerality, apricot, pineapple, tropical fruit; palate is medium-full bodied, youthful fruit, tropical fruit, minerality; medium finish. My first guess was barsac, possibly something like Doisy Vedrines from 2005. Drinking very well now, and quite an interesting experience to try, since this may be the only “second” wine from sauternes that I thought was comparable to a “first” wine from another chateau.
  • 2006 Alois Kracher Scheurebe TBA #11 Zwischen den Seen - Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee (1/22/2017)
    From 375. Golden color; highly aromatic, plenty of fresh fruit, ripe orange fruit; palate is full bodied, orange fruit, almost icewine level of concentration without the purity, some botrytis, medium acidity (could use more); medium-long finish. I think I liked this more than others at the dinner. Yes, it could use more acidity, but the concentration of fruit is excellent and in the right context is enjoyable to drink in limited quantities.

Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks for putting up such detailed notes Ashish. It was a pleasure meeting you and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I’m glad Ralph was able to join us so we could wish him a Happy Birthday!

You’re notes are spot on and all of the wines showed extremely well. Well, except for the Kracher. I wasn’t much of a fan of that. I got an off-putting aroma that seemed a bit “plastic”.

The Chetillons had a wonderful brioche nose, an oxadative style and certainly filled its Grand Cru status.

The Prum Kabinett was delicious and a wine I could drinks tons of.

I had never had either the Allemand or the Rayas as I only have a very few bottles of each and thus open them selectively. Both lived up to the hype and will be new benchmarks for me going forward. Fortunately I have 2 more of the Chaillot and one of the Reynard but I will be very stingy about opening them.

Not being much of a sticky guy, I have to say the Declassified D’Yquem was absolutely delicious and so much better than the Kracher.

Great to meet you Ashish and I look forward to more wine dinners either here or in SF.


Glad not everyone is falling for the old “you can’t enjoy good wines on vacation in the tropics because of the humidity” trope.

I never understood that. Been here 20 years and drunk plenty of wine. Course I’m not sittin’ in a beach chair with the water lapping my slippas either!


Nice notes on the Rhones. Rayas is great.
I haven’t had an Allemand as yet. Looking forward to trying it at some time.

I haven’t found the pickin’s too good in Oahu retail shops for wine. Tamaru’s in Kailua is one stop for us. We fly a case in from CA using Todd’s Winecheck. Last one we did went to Maui first in error and made it later that evening to us in Kailua, still cool to the touch. Here’s the recent import:

Let me know when you’re around Steve. I’d love to get together.

Hawaii retail requires regular checking of the various retailers. We seem to be a year or two behind the mainland which can be good/bad! The good is that the wines may be on discount, the bad is that they are highly allocated or non-existent. Also, very high end wines are rare and expensive and even “regular” wines available on the west coast, for example, just don’t exist here.

Fortunately, Kermit Lynch apparently has a place in Kailua, so his wines tend to show up regularly. They ain’t cheap tho!

Thanks Mark, will do. I think we are set to return late this year to Kailua.