Once upon a time, I brought some Peking Duck leftovers home after an offline tasting at King Fung Garden. The next day, I was shocked to see my 4 year old daughters chowing down on said leftovers and screaming for “more duck!”. So, a few months later when their birthday comes along and their mother asks them what they want for their special dinner, they reply seemingly out of nowhere “King Duck”—which is now what we all call Peking Duck from King Fung. So, we dutifully make a reservation and with 3 grandparents, 2 parents and an uncle in tow, we occupy the one big table for 8 right in front. We worry quite a bit when they bring out the 3 ducks with the heads still on and all, but that does not phase these lordly duck eaters at all. And indeed, the two of them eat more than anybody else at the table, but at least the rest of us got to drink some wine!
N.V. Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier. Aromas of bread dough, toast points, chalk, citrus rind, apple and darker tree fruits are quite fresh and lively here. On the palate, it has a dark toasty edge throughout, and a fine yeasty middle that frames the core flavors of pear, apple, lemon and darker fruit accents. It maintains a soft mousse in the mouth, but remains tangy and driven all the way through to the clean finish.
2003 Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Kabinett Nahe. This wine is a bright yellow color with greenish tinting and it possesses aromas of kerosene, candied peach, blue slate, nectarine fuzz, lanolin and something akin to lemongrass. It is softly-framed in the mouth, without a lot of acidic cut, but also without an over-abundance of sweetness. It has some bass note density but also airy top notes of lemon oil, white peach, nectarine and lemongrass. The finish is open and easy, but again it holds the line in being not too sweet. As a package, it actually works quite well with the sweet plum sauce and scallions that come with the Peking Duck first course.
2005 Varner Pinot Noir Spring Ridge Vineyard Hidden Block Santa Cruz Mountains. This is a very light, smoky garnet colored Pinot that does gain a bit of color in the glass, yet remains quite light overall. It has an interestingly earthy but ethereal bouquet of sassafras, brown grape stems, wintergreen, light molasses, cola nut, vanilla dust, brown spices and dried leaves. There is a lot going on, but not a whole lot of fruit in the mix. In the mouth, it is on the light-bodied end of the spectrum, and features an absolutely intense bite of spices and bright acids. Over time, though, it begins to flesh out and the flavors actually grow quite forceful despite the lighter mouth-feel. It gives a big welcoming burst of tart cranberry, cherry and caramel apple flavors that have surprising intensity and persistence. A prickle of heat comes on the finish, but blends in with the spicy, tangy and downright savory notes that also play big roles there. It is an unusual wine that had me alternately disliking the thinner, more austere elements and really liking the persistent burst of flavor it manages on such an airy frame. Either way, the savory elements worked really well with the second and third courses of the Peking Duck.
1992 Sichel Riesling Kirchheimer Kreuz Beerenauslese Rheinpfalz. Served from 375 ml. I’ve had this wine three times before and this was the best showing it has given. It is caramel-colored and offers up aromas of spun sugar, sweet caramel coating, kumquat, fig paste and yellow raisins. In the mouth, it has some burnt caramel character to go along with flavors of musky mango and other sweet yellow fruits. Although not terribly unctuous, it is decidedly sweet with sugary caramel, fig and raisin flavors persisting through the moderate finish. It is nothing too special, but it was a nice little after-dinner sipper with fortune cookies.