First of all, TAC in general. I don't know if you've got a family with you in Tokyo. If you do (and if you can spare the coin or your company will pay initiation/dues), it is well worth joining. Good social outlet for family members, nice pool, some kid's activities, complete gym, etc.
I would say that the food is very good by club standards. Of course, by Tokyo standards in general, the food is not stellar, but they do a good enough job that we eat there a fair bit, especially in the kid-friendly informal restaurants.
As to wine scene...
There are one to two events a month. The themes are all over the map, but I would say they have a new world bent.
A few highlights are the Fall Vendors' Sale and the annual blind challenge. There is a current thread from me on this site reporting in the Fall Vendors' Sale. At the bottom of this note is my report on this year's blind challenge (typos and all!).
As to pricing... If you will send me an e-mail (via the button above when you read this post), tell me what your e-mail is and I will attach the club wine list (both in restaurants and for retail carry away). You can judge the prices and selection for yourself, which will be worth a lot more than opinions from me.
In any case, welcome to Japan!
AUSTRALIA V. FRANCE - Tokyo American Club (1/21/2005)
This is an annual event pitting one country's wines against another. This time it was Australia versus France. Five pairs of wines...varietally matched. Group voting determines the winner.
- 1995 Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Millésimé - France, Champagne
Bright, light straw yellow. Restrained small mousse. Giving very little on nose...varietal chardonnay aroma, slight wite fruit, pretty unexpressive. Tight, light mouthfeel with acid more evident than mousse. More munier/noir on palate...apple, white plum, a little creaminess in texture. Somehow slightly cloying despite being dry.
Flight One -- Sauv Blanc/Sem
- 2001 Cullen Wines Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc - Australia, Western Australia, Margaret River
Light, light yellow...very bright...almost white at rim. Aggressive sauvignon character on nose...simple varietal aromas, with bright freshness and generic white fruit. With time, tart greenberry and floral come out on nose. Alcohol and white pepper very evident in finish (in the chimney).
- 2003 Château Carbonnieux Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
Slightly deeper in color, but similar to previous. Much more restrained on nose (no greenberry/cat pee), but with a little smokiness. Rounder in mouth with relatively short finish. Flavor impact mostly in front of mouth and waxy. Oak is slightly intrusive, covering any fruit on nose.
Flight Two -- Chardonnay
With crab terrine and pan-seared scallop
- 2002 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet
Bright yellow...solid to rim...clearly viscous. On pouring, nose gives nothing. On first sip, oak immediately evident and dominating fruit. Amazingly long finish, though, that turns to malo/butter and apple. Good acid, full but not heavy body. Oak quickly recedes on palate to reveal the fruit. With a few mintes in glass, mineral and a little toast on nose, along with a tad of fruit trying to come through. A lot there, but tight and closed right now.
Personal WOTF, WhWOTN.
- 2001 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series - Australia, Western Australia, Margaret River
Slightly lighter than previous, with a little less viscosity and a little less brilliabce. Much more toast, butter on nose. Rounder, more giving with more tropical fruit character. With time, the oak steps up and starts to dominate the fruit. Maybe better with a few years for the oak to integrate????
Flight Three -- Pinot
- 2003 Paringa Estate Pinot Noir Reserve - Australia, Victoria, Mornington Peninsula
Rich, red ink, young. Spicy fruit aroma -- major toasty oak (American??). Could be syrah if I didn't know better. Oak on palate with big rich red fruits -- plums and such. Good nose, good taste, but it ain't elegant -- a baby shiraz. After an hour, oak is ahead of the fruit.
- 1996 Domaine Daniel Rion et Fils Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny
Slightly orangey but still relatively young. Just starting to show age. BURGUNDY NOSE -- sous-bois/animalle/leather. Definitely better right now on nose than palate. New oak oversteps the fruit, but good acidity comes through to make it lively -- with bright cherry fruit. Good while to go -- too much iak, but the fruit and acid hold it up. With time (1 hour) gaminess gone from nose -- relatively shut down -- but with great complex, exploding palate.
Personal WOTF; Group WOTF
Flight Four -- Syrah
With lamb chops and mashed potatoes
- 2000 Bernard Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Deep, inky color, absolutely solid to rim. Mild hit of leatheriness (a la Coudelet) turning quickly to a little spice and pepper. Very much closed down I think...but clearly with a lot more to come. Palate is pper and slightly drying tannins and plum and berry. Tannins come out and shut down fruit with more time. This note doesn't read very well but this was really good. Rich fruit hiding behind the tannin and a nose that revolves among leather and a little game and the spice and primary fruit...getting stronger the longer it is open. As palate closes, nose opens. Wait 8-10 years or more...this will be amazing.
Personal WOTF, WOTN.
- 2002 Torbreck The Factor - Australia, South Australia, Barossa Valley
Deeper, inkier. Absolutely dense looking. Lots of wood on nose, licorice, candied fruit. Very, very primary!! Viscous and sweet and jammy on palate. Chocolate in both feel and flavor. Lots of fun! With food??? Don't know. Way, way young. Rich berry fruit, tannin coming out on finish, but not in any aggressive way. Needs the tannin to cut through the rich sweet fruit.
Flight Five -- Cab, et. al.
- 1999 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon - Australia, Western Australia, Margaret River
Young deep purple...solid...surprising reddish color at edge. Cedary, cassis nose. Immediately seems to be the Bordeaux -- nose settles down and becomes restrained after a little time. Fruit is sweet berry. Damn good wine and a tough competitor to its flight opponent.
- 1996 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
Young healthy purple -- no age showing. Nose incredibly closed at first...seems like water...with time some slightly dusty cassis comes out, along with the cigar box/ pencil/etc...With a little more time, a nice sweetness on the nose. On the palate, this one is clearly the French one. A little tannic and dry, but with the acid and cherry and breadth on the finish to be the winner.
As inconclusive as can be.
(1) Flight by flight, it was tied at 2 1/2 to 2 1/2 for the group.
(2) On total votes across all wines, Australia won it.
(3) The formal tiebreaker was the WOTN vote. The Chave was group WOTN, but -- interestingly enough -- only tied with the Torbreck within its flight. Go figure!
I was 5 for 5 in picking country of origin, but that was hardly an achievement as this was a pretty easy exercise. The wines were miles apart. Only tough one was the cab pairing -- and the finish made that pair clear.
Posted from CellarTracker