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PICTURES * All highlighted text has pictures "behind" it!! * PICTURES

Rose Champagne ..... Montrachet..... La Tache..... Hugel SGN.....


Friday night dinner chez nous with our wine-partners friends Amihai and Dafna. I know I have said this many times, but this time was really out of this world!
Both Dorit and Amihai have had their respective 50th birthdays recently. And although we have celebrated the occasions with different people, this was the first time the four of us met for some serious wine & dine...
The wines (especially the duo DRCs!) were truly of the once-in-a-lifetime kind, yet Dorit rose to the occasion with a similarly non-plus-ultra dinner...
All four of us have had extraordinary dinners in the past, but this one will be remembered for a long long time! The wines and food were simply the best imaginable.

Beluga (Imperial) Caviar with blini and cream
1992 Rose Champagne, Moet & Chandon
Lobster Cocktail
1989 Montrachet, DRC
Herb-coated Fillets Mignons in Pinot-Noir sauce, Roquefort & Potatoes pancakes
1989 La Tache, DRC
Cheese and fruit
Souffle Grand-Marnier
1989 Gewurztraminer SGN, Hugel (1/2 bottle)

[My new toy, Sony's Mavica Digital Camera, enabled us to take plenty of pictures. Alas, we were too immersed in our indulgence to make a consistent job of it. Shame on me for not getting the heavenly main course and dessert...]

Rose Champagne 1992 Moet & Chandon

11/98. Bought in London Nov-97 for $47.
Not much of a champagne drinker myself, I bought this bottle because Dorit loves the pink bubbly.
As for the matching between caviar and champagne, I still think it should be left to Hollywood movies. Real people drink vodka with their caviar...
COLOR: Very light orange-pink. I guess they let only very short contact with the Pinot Noir skins during the initial fermentation. Tiny bubbles in vertical stream from an invisible fountain at the center of the glass bottom.
NOSE: What I like a good champagne to have are distinctive winey aromas on top of the yeasty, creamy tones. This particular one had only faintly recognizable Pinot Noir nose. Pleasant enough but not really profound.
TASTE: Delicious! Very elegant in the mouth with warm and even spicy feel. Surprisingly enough it had enough body and structure to compliment the salty caviar.
LENGTH: Medium length. The aftertaste was where it got closest to reminding us of PN.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied with very good acidity.
OVERALL: Excellent!. I've had a few better champagne in the past, and I am not totally convinced of the added-value of the 'rose' element. That being said I enjoyed it very much.
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Montrachet 1989 DRC

11/98. Acquired from Beaune (in 'partnership' with Amihai) some five years ago for the crazy price of $300 (imported for $360 net). I have seen this extremely rare wine come up at auction only twice. On both times the minimum estimate was $750... If this is what this wine costs, then it is the most expensive wine I ever drank. By far!
"D.R.C Montrachet", those two words are enough to put any wine lover at awe. According to the simple label, 5314 bottles were made in 1989. 1989 was an excellent vintage for white (B), so I was good and ready to taste what is probably the best white wine in the world.
COLOR: Rich golden color. You could tell that this wine is viscous and chewy just by looking at it.
NOSE: Immense and truly unbelievable! Pronounced aromas of buttery fat, pears and apples, minerals, slight smokiness and whatnot. The sheer power of the nose made everyone at the table take many long slow sniffs before tasting the first drop.
TASTE: Grandiose in every respect. The most concentrated and rich taste of any wine I can think of, red or white! This wine not only could be drank on its own, it could almost be eaten on its own... so chewy and fat, it was mouth-filling in the most literal sense of the word. Pairing it with the delicious yet delicate lobster cocktail (based on creme-fraiche and orange juice) was simply out-worldish.
LENGTH: Infinite... A tiny sip is enough to create a never-ending dance of your taste-buds.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: A giant. Super structured, super concentrated - a meal on its own. It is simply inconceivable that "grape juice", deprived of its natural sweetness, can be so rich. Fruit (though not the tropical stuff), alcohol, wood, acidity - all abound yet are in perfect harmony. The wine is ready and open though it will easily hold for another decade.
OVERALL: Divine!!! This awesome (yeah, I know, but this one really is) Montrachet is the best dry white wine in the world!
MARK: 20/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? I wish I could...

La Tache 1989 DRC

11/98. Acquired from Beaune (in 'partnership' with Amihai, together with the Montrachet) some five years ago for $225 (imported for $275 net).
My first La Tache ever. Unlike the vineyard of Montrachet, where at least a dozen other growers besides DRC grow vines and/or make wine there, La Tache is a true 'monopole' of the Domaine de la Romanee Conti.
Second only to Romanee Conti itself, La Tache, with its 1700 cases annual production is one of the most sought-after red wines in the world.
COLOR: Pretty normal mature (B) color with some clearing around the rim. Lots of sediment at the bottom.
NOSE: The most generous nose with the fullest spectrum of aromas. profound scent of fresh red-berries, wet forest-floor, bacon fat, mushrooms and floral tones. Clean and elegant 'Bourgogne Nose' serves as a proper backdrop to the complexity of the nose. Fantastic!
TASTE: Layer upon layer of flavors. Vigorous fruit with ample acidity against discernible tannins and gobs of winyness. Delicious and rich on the palate though far from blockbuster. Went wonderfully with the fillets mignons in Pinot-Noir sauce. The combination of fragrance and delicacy on a superbly structured backbone is what a truly great (B) is all about.
LENGTH: Very very long and mouthfilling aftertaste. This wine too should be sipped in tiny quantities in order to appreciate its strength and length.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied (in relative, Burgundy terms). Surprisingly vigorous and young at almost 10 years. Plenty of fruit, winyness, acidity and tannins. All components are there, and in perfect balance, only they have not yet totally blended into one harmonious entity.
A bothering aspect was that after about an hour or so, the nose became burly and the taste got somewhat crude.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!!! Among the very best (B) I ever had. Given a few more years this wine has every chance of becoming a perfetto.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Gewurztraminer SGN "S" 1989 Hugel

10/98. Bought at the winery in Alsace Aug-95 for $50 (375 cc).
'Selection des Grains Nobles' is my favorite dessert wine. Made only in suitable years, the house of Hugel in Alsace has been the major proponent of this style. SGN are similar to the best Sauternes yet they are very different. Not only are the grapes used different, but the fresh, vineyardy nose so typical of Alsatian wines is always there.
The small "S" at the lower right part of the label designates - according to Hugel - a specially selected couvee [of what is already a very special selection of grapes].
COLOR: Very deep and luster golden yellow.
NOSE: Unbelievable rich bouquet. Multi-layered and complex nose. Fresh yet very concentrated. The grape is unmistakable but the nose is far more intense than any other type of Alsatian wine. A vineyard jumping out of the glass.
TASTE: Loads of fruit with hint of slightly spiced sweets. Very rich and sweet of course but extremely focused with excellent acidity. Fantastic grip and semi-mature harmony. Super duper!
LENGTH: Long and reverberating aftertaste that lingers on and on.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Only moderately full-bodied as far as dessert wines go. 14.5% alcohol that feel like maybe 11%. Opulent, viscous and smooth. Great balance between the elements though not yet completely blended.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!!! I wish I had another bottle to open in, say, five years. A divine wine in the making.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.