Yak's Home Page
Introducing Yak
Yak's Rating Scale
Yak's Burgundy Primer
Tasting Notes Archive
Wine & Food Adventures

Solaia ..... Beaucastel..... Pichon Baron..... Tokaji.....


Saturday night dinner for seven people at our home. A dear friend from London on a short 'home-visit' to Israel was the pretext for the following:

Cheese and Mushrooms Lasagna
1988 Solaia, Antinori
Duck in Honey and Pepper
1990 Chateauneuf du Pape 'Ch. de Beaucastel', Perrin
Cheese and fruit
1989 Pichon Longueville Baron, Pauillac
'Pavlova' Meringue
1975 Tokaji Aszu '5 Puttonyos', Oremus

The food was great and the atmosphere super. But the eclectic parade of such different four bottles of wines added its rounding effect on the palate and soul of everyone.

Solaia 1988 Antinori

10/98. Acquired in auction May-96 for $95 (imported for $111 net).
My last bottle of this famous 'Super Tuscan'. The first tasted like a nothing pizza-wine some two years ago. The second bottle (tasted seven months ago) I marked 'Excellent-plus'.
COLOR: Medium deep violet-red in color. Some clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Beautiful and complex array of aromas. From black forest fruit to sweetish plums. Added dimensions of spices made the nose a total delight. More developed and rich than the last bottle.
TASTE: Equally delightful. Mouthfilling though not a bit heavy. Some sweet and spicy flavors are there beyond the fruit and winyness. Delicious!
LENGTH: Medium long aftertaste that is a true extension of the myriad of flavors felt during the sip.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied and well endowed wine in all respects. Perfectly balanced and harmonious wine with weak tannins, excellent acidity, good fruit and plenty of winyness. 'A Point' now.
OVERALL: Superb-plus! A wonderful wine that I liked more and more with every bottle opened. Pity this was my last one...
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

CdP - Chateau de Beaucastel 1990 Perrin

10/98. Acquired in auction Aug-97 for $75 (imported for $95 net).
Chateauneuf du Pape 'Beaucastel' is always on my short list of the best loved wines in the world. The complexity of aromas and flavors (no doubt due to the 13 different variatels it is made of) never fails to amaze me.
COLOR: Very dark, opaque looking wine with almost no clearing around the rim. Noticeable 'legs' on the glass.
NOSE: Rich and forward nose of fruits, flowers, pepper and exotic spices. Really complex and enticing combination of aromas. Very 'clean' too.
TASTE: Multi-flavored, big and full of winyness on the palate. Some tannins are there as well as good acidity. Complimented exceptionally well the flavorful duck dish. Beautiful!
LENGTH: Medium long, the aftertaste is as complex as the wine itself.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied. A big wine, rich in everything. Very well balanced though not yet totally harmonized.
OVERALL: Superb! I have no doubt this 1990 Beaucastel will reach unsurpassed heights in a few years time.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Ch. Pichon Longueville Baron 1989 Pauillac

10/98. Acquired in auction Jan-97 for $83 (imported for $109 net).
A year ago I was fortunate to attend a vertical presentation of 13 vintages of this 'Super Second' wine by Jean-Michel Cazes. The 1989 impressed me more than any other vintage.
COLOR: Normal Bordeaux color. Very thin clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Super concentration of black forest fruit and deep aromas of the 'Bordeaux Nose' type (cigar box, pencil tip, cedar wood). Very serious, very promising.
TASTE: A bit of a let-down. More hollow than the Solaia and the Beaucastel. Tannins, wood and alcohol overtake the fruit and winyness on the palate. Some sensation of dust is there too. Not a bad wine by any means, but less interesting and certainly less pleasurable than the previous two wines.
LENGTH: Long, persistent but 'dusty' aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied wine. Does not lack in concentration or complexity, but not as tasty or wholesome as I would expect. Hard for me to say what was missing. Pressed hard I would say the wine suffers from "mid-palate boredom"...
OVERALL: Only 'Excellent' now. It may very well be that some elements in the '89 Pichon Baron are in their 'dormant' phase now. I am no expert on Bordeaux and my limited experience does not permit me to predict anything with assurance. As I have two more bottles of this I hope it will improve with further aging.
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Tokaji Aszu '5 Puttonyos' 1975 Oremus

10/98. Bought in Budapest Oct-98 for $30.
Another bottle from my small stash of Tokay I bought during our 6 days visit to Budapest.
COLOR: Very deep orange-red. Looks and feels very viscous.
NOSE: This mature Tokay did not have that pronounced honey aroma I found in younger bottles. Instead it had a (not entirely pleasant) strange scent that reminded me of some kind of detergent...
TASTE: On the palate the wine was viscous and smooth. Very sweet of course but with that typical orange (or mandarin) citrus acidity to cut thru the sweetness. Very tasty.
LENGTH: Very very long aftertaste that carries the 'sweet & sour' sensation.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: This 23 years-old Tokay is completely mature (I'd guess), but with less zest than the 1993 example we had last week.
OVERALL: Very Good but I expected more. Perhaps a bit 'tired'.
MARK: 16/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Reach Me? yak@yakshaya.com

Yak's Home Page
Introducing Yak
Yak's Rating Scale
Yak's Burgundy Primer
Tasting Notes Archive
Wine & Food Adventures

Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.