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Arrowood - Viognier..... Storybook - Zin..... Ridge - Zin.....
Ridge - Petite Syrah..... Joseph Phelps - Insignia..... Caymus - Special Selection.....


Forumite Michael Gat was the reason, the guest of honor, and the Purveyor of Wines to the Roman-style bacchanalia held yesterday at the top Tel-Aviv restaurant Marie Antoinette.
Besides Michael Dorit and myself, five of our best friends and "wine partners" were there to taste some of the finest wines America has to offer. Amihai & Dafna Ben-David, Oded & Nitza Lerer, Shlomo Ghivoly. All I told Chef David was that we will be eight wine lovers and that there will be one white and five red bottles of wine. This is what he came up with:

Sushi-like salmon pate in seaweed rolls
Eggplant soup
Goose liver sauteed in raspberry sauce

Pears sorbet
Pork fillet, wrapped in bacon in marrow sauce
Beef fillet in plums

Campari sorbet
Various deserts

The wines:
1994 Arrowood - Viognier
1990 Storybook Mountain - Zinfandel
1993 Ridge - Zinfandel
1978 Ridge - Petite Syrah
1986 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" - Cabernet Sauvignon
1986 Caymus "Special Selected" - Cabernet Sauvignon

We had the Viognier with the salmon, the two Zins side by side with the next two dishes, then the old Petite Syrah by itself, then the two Cabernets, again side by side, with the two fillet dishes.

The wines, the food, the service, the company, the atmosphere - were all 'non plus ultra'.
Many many heartfelt thanks to Michael for his thoughtful selection of wines, for carrying and protecting them from the elements all the way from California to Israel, and for giving us a (rare) chance to taste and appreciate some of California's best efforts.

Viognier 1994 Arrowood

Vibrant golden color. Immensely pleasurable and 'full' bouquet, with just a touch of wood. Clean, grapey aroma. Round, rich and smooth on the palate, extremely tasty.
A wonderful wine!
MARK: 17+/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Zinfandel 1990 Storybook Mountain

A bit washed out color (especially in comparison with the '93 Ridge). Pleasant, though not impressive aroma. Smooth taste with good acidity that has lost some of its fruitiness, but gained little in return.
Still, a very good wine, but the weakest of the evening.
MARK: 16/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Zinfandel 1993 Ridge

Full dark color. An amazing 'fruit Bomb' on the nose and in the mouth. A monster piece of wine, super rich and concentrated. Huge amount of in-your-face fruit and alcohol. Weak tannins and almost no acidity.
"complexity", "delicacy" and "aftertaste" are all aligned terms where this wine is concerned.
An extremely tasty and impressive wine nevertheless. Superb!
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Petite Syrah 1978 Ridge

Good dark color, hardly clearing towards the rim. Shocking aroma of spices that could mislead one to think there is an old Hermitage in the glass.
Complex, but a little bit dried-out flavors that reveal the fact this is NOT an old Hermitage . More than any wine of the evening, this one resembled an 'old world' wine. Fully mature yet still a bit tannic. Very noticeable and pleasant aftertaste.
A superb wine no doubt.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

"Insignia" - Cabernet 1986 Joseph Phelps

A typical Bordeaux melange of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Good color but some clearing towards the rim. Typical 'Bordeaux Nose' that ever develops in the glass.
Soft and exquisitely pleasant on the palate. Complex flavors, extremely tasty. Superbly balanced too.
Perhaps not as 'great' wine as the Caymus, but certainly not a lesser wine to enjoy.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

"Special Selection" - Cabernet 1986 Caymus

Dark red color, straight up to the rim. The purest Cabernet Sauvignon I ever tasted. Almost an essence for demonstration more than a wine to drink and enjoy.
Huge and concentrated in every respect. Immense nose of black-currants and black-pepper, super concentrated taste. As bold and as American as a wine can get. Nothing hinted here or left for the imagination. Less well balanced and round than the Phelps 'Insignia' though undeniably a truly great wine!
MARK: 18+/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Reach Me? yak@yakshaya.com

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Wine & Food Adventures

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.