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Ch. Gruaud Larose..... Ch. de Beaucastel.....


Fantastic Friday night dinner for four chez nous. Our guests tonight were our good friends Oded & Nitsa Lerer.

Calamari au Huile d'Olive et Balsamico
Calamari in olive-oil and balsamic vinegar
Soupe d'Aubergine au curry
Eggplant curry soup
Langue de Veau au resins
Veal tongue in raisins & plums
Assiette des Fromages
Cheese Plate
Mousse au Chocolat
Chocolate Mousse

Ch. Gruaud Larose 1986 St. Julien

10/97. Acquired in auction Sep-95 for $45 (imported for $55 net).
Last tasted some two years ago. At that time this affordable 'super second' was very closed and tannic yet came thru as a magnificent wine.
Tonight we decanted the wine and let it breathe for two ours before pairing it with two flavorful dishes.
COLOR: Very dark deep red, very thin clearing band towards the rim. A small amount of sediment left on the bottle side.
NOSE: Very deep, complex and profound. A myriad of red and black forest fruits, coffee and tobacco. Very impressive. The bouquet is so deep yet with that last-minute hold-back of a giant who's aware of his strength but is not ready yet to let all out.
TASTE: Extremely tannic but with tons of fruit and winyness to fill the mouth and play multi-level games on the palate. Three of us enjoyed the wine very much, but for Oded the amount of tannins was too high. I guess everyone has his own tolerance for tannins. The wine is rich and expensive on the palate and with the food, especially the fantastic eggplant curry soup, it was both very interesting and extremely tasty.
LENGTH: Very very long aftertaste that again, for those with low tannins tolerance, may be too mouth-drying.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Feels like a giant wine in spite of only 12.5% alcohol. Thick and 'chewy' all the way. Fruit and other deep flavors are abundant. At this point not well balanced as the tannins still overwhelm and a little acidity is missing.
OVERALL: Superb wine even now! Concentrated almost to the degree of an essence. More 'intellectual' than 'hedonistic' pleasure, but a great pleasure it is! As I don't have enough Bordeaux experience to be able to predict its peak time accurately, I'll just have to try each of my three left bottles at two years intervals...
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

CdP - Chateau de Beaucastel 1989 Perrin

10/97. Acquired in auction Apr-97 for $80 (imported for $90 net).
My favorite Chateauneuf du Pape. This wine never cease to amaze me.
COLOR: Similar to the Gruaud Larose, perhaps even a shade lighter though with no noticeable clearing towards the rim.
NOSE: This wine has nothing held back in reserve! A dozen different aromas spring out of the glass. Red fruits and black fruits, sweetish plums and a whole vegetable garden, flowers and spices, wet forest floor and even some lightly funky 'Rhone Nose'. Exquisite!
TASTE: The wine simply sings in the mouth. Mouthful of super flavors that felt at perfect harmony with the veal-tongue dish. Round and smooth on the palate (this particular bottle seemed a bit more developed than previously tasted ones) - each sip a pleasure.
LENGTH: Surprisingly short for such a deep and rich wine.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied. Rich and 'happy' wine. Multi-flavored, plenty of winyness, good acidity and soft tannins. A perfectly balanced voluptuous wine.
OVERALL: Extraordinary! So good in every respect. If the Gruaud Larose was the intellectual pleasure, this Beaucastel is the epitome of the sensual. I just bought six more bottles of this nectar...
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.