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Chevalier Montrachet..... Clos de la Roche..... Hermitage.....


Friday night dinner at home with four other wine-loving friends: Oded & Nitza Lerer and Eli & Monique Ben-Zaken. Eli Ben-Zaken is the proprietor and winemaker of "Domaine du Castel", the best Israeli red wine.

Shrimps in Pernot, a la creme
1982 Chevalier Montrachet, G. Deleger
Honeyed Duck in Ginger
1985 Clos de la Roche, Dom. Ponsot
Crepes Suzette
Cheese Plate
1978 Hermitage, J-L Chave
Coffee & Liqueurs

Food and company were superb, but I cannot recall having such an extraordinary assemblage of wines for one dinner. As we say in Hebrew: "The landlord has gone mad...".

Chevalier Montrachet 1992 G. Deleger

8/97. Acquired in London Sep-95 for $89 (Imported for $100 net).
George Deleger makes less than 100 cases a year from his tiny holding in Chevalier Montrachet.
COLOR: Golden yellow with a light greenish tinge. Rich and viscous appearance.
NOSE: Profound and concentrated nose. Neither upfront youngish fruit, nor mature and complex minerals. Rather a little bit of everything. Too much use (for my taste) of new wood is the only distracting element.
TASTE: Simply great! Full and concentrated on the palate. Incredibly rich and "chewy". Roasted almonds, buttery fat, honey tones. Good vibrant acidity contributes to the great feel of balance.
LENGTH: Unbelievably long aftertaste. Even the tiniest sip result in a minute-long finish!
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Super-structured full-textured wine. Tons of 'winyness' behind a still somewhat close appearance. Super concentration, good acidity - especially for the '92 vintage - and (why oh why?) plenty of new wood contribute to the superb balance.
OVERALL: Extraordinary! Not too many better dry white wines exists... If you are lucky enough to have a bottle, give it another 2-3 years to become the perfect divine nectar it certainly will.
MARK: 18++/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Clos de la Roche 1985 Dom. Ponsot

8/97. A gift from a friend who knows my taste... (current value well above $150).
I previously tasted a half bottle of this wine some 15 months ago in France. When Ponsot gets it right there are few better wines than his Clos de la Roche.
COLOR: Good medium ruby-red. Nothing to write home about, but who cares for color in these wines? :)
NOSE: The epitome of great mature red (B)! Sweet plums, raw meat, forest earth, licorice - layer upon layer of complex and enticing aromas jump from the glass. The most fantastic and "balanced" 'Bourgogne Nose'. Perfection!
TASTE: Maturely sweet and concentrated, throwing in superb animal sensuality on the palate. Still rich complex and tasty, though perhaps just starting its drying-up downhill journey.
LENGTH: Medium long multi-toned and pleasant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: The ultimate powerhouse (B). Nothing coarse of course, but this is NOT the wine I'd pour to show off delicacy in (B). Still a lot of winyness, good acidity, weak tannins. Superb balance but for the slight hollowness that starts to appear near the finish.
OVERALL: Extraordinary wine. Maybe a year or two behind its "Divine" stage, but just give me a bottle to drink once a month for the next five years and I'll be more than grateful...
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Hermitage 1978 J-L Chave

8/97. Bought in auction Sep-96 for $190 (imported from Chicago for $216 net).
My second and last bottle of this legendary vintage.
COLOR: Really dark red. No clearing around the rim. Only a 20-years Rhone can look so young!
NOSE: At first some bottle stench prevented taking in all that this wine has to offer. After a while the sulphites subsided to reveal a velvety nose of black fruit, complex spices. Deep and elegant. The aroma and bouquet has so much in it, yet it somehow manage to emphasize its delicacy.
TASTE: Again, 'silk' and 'velvet' are the terms that come to mind when sipping this great wine with different cheese. Fully matured, though far from tired. Delicate but mouthfilling. Good matured fruit, acidity and even some tannins - all contribute to the feel of great breed on the palate.
LENGTH: One of the longest, most complex and enticing aftertaste I can recall.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied yet extremely elegant. Fruit, acidity, soft tannins, 'winyness' - all combine to produce a perfectly balanced wine.
OVERALL: Extraordinary+! Probably at or around its peak now, though will hold on for many more years. A classic.
MARK: 19+/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

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Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.