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Gewurztraminer..... Ch. d'Armailhac..... Mazis Chambertin.....


Having to spend three hours in Orly airport en route from NYC to Tel-Aviv netted in a fine selection of cheese (plus some other goodies). Tonight, an evening of cheese and wine for seven friends.
The cheese:

Pont l'Eveque
Tomte de Yenne
Reblochon de Savoie

Gewurztraminer (Orschwihr) 1993 Materne Haeglin (Alsace)

5/95. Bought four day ago at Orly airport for FF 63 ($13).
COLOR: Pale golden yellow.
NOSE: Immense Alsace flavor (vineyard), kept strong for hours.
TASTE: Unfortunately not as dry as we like Alsace (this is the second time in three weeks we encounter not dry Alsace Gewurz. I haven't had an Alsace in about two years. Have they changed their style, trying to imitate German wines? If so - a great pity. Still good pungent taste, though less impressive than the nose.
LENGTH: Reasonably long pleasant fresh taste. Residual sugar distracting a bit.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Crispy, fruity, fresh with good balance.
OVERALL: Excellent but not very complex. Either too young or 1993 not a great year. Still, a pleasure to drink and superb value!
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Ch. d'Armailhac (5th growth) 1989 Pauillac

5/95. Bought Sep-94 in Israel for $39 (the thieves!)
As this is a young Bordeaux and we didn't have three hours to let it breath, we decanted it twice Elliot Apter's style.
COLOR: Dark violet red, as becoming a good Cabernet.
NOSE: Dominant smelly (Cote Rotie style < g >) nose, surrounding black-berries and tarry aroma. The smelly component subsided slightly after a while.
TASTE: At first - austere and close. After a while, good fruit but harsh tannins and somber aftertaste. Reminded me of a too young Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon.
LENGTH: Long but monotonous finish.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Heavy weight wine. Tannins and acid overpowering whatever fruit is there. Not a complex wine, neither a pleasure to drink. Still a wine full of character.
OVERALL: For lack of Bordeaux experience, I'd say 'Very Good'. Maybe I should have waited a little longer, or maybe I missed the trick. I await better things with my 1st and 2nd growths.
MARK: 16/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Mazis Chambertin 1983 J. Faiveley

5/95. Bought in auction Feb-95 for $45 (Imported from Chicago for $55 net).
COLOR: Pale brick-red, turning a bit orange towards the rim.
NOSE: Beautiful vibrant red fruit, surrounded by the right doze of 'Bourgogne' nose. Not a hint of rot as is sometimes found in '83 (B). An undescribable pleasure just to sniff at.
TASTE: Multilayers of fruit and earthy flavors with good acidity and totally resolved tannins. Ever developing in the mouth, leaving the familiar sweetish aftertaste of a mature great (B). All present (most of whom have no good wine experience) claimed it is the best wine they ever had.
LENGTH: Very long and complex.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: An amazing miracle. A hefty, full-bodied wine, that tastes and feels so delicate. A perfect balance between all components.
OVERALL: An extraordinary wine. Can hardly think of a better (B). For its delicacy I would never have guessed a Mazis Chambertin (maybe a Musigny), and for its resolved tannins I would never have guessed a '83 (Maybe '85). Certainly at its peak now. If they ever have it again on auction, I forbid anybody to bid on it as I will bit you anyway < g >.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.