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Pinot Gris 'Clos Windsbuhl'..... Chablis - Grenouilles..... Ch. Haut Marbuzet ..... Ruchottes Chambertin.....

1999 New Year's Eve chez Ben-David


We celebrated this year's New Year's Eve at our friends and wine-partners Amihai & Dafna. Oded & Nitsa were there too as well as Michael & Irith and another friend couple of our hosts. All in all we were ten people.

Dafna prepared a wonderful 'degustation' dinner of some 8(!) courses which were accompanied by four different wines. Everything was really exquisite. Food and wine and company.
If only the portions were smaller...

Sevruga Caviar
Vodka Absolut
Fresh Foie Gras
1989 Tokay d'Alsace 'Vendange Tardive', Zind-Humbrecht
Cheese and roasted peppers Tart
Shrimps in sweet & hot Aubergines
1995 Chablis Grand Cru 'Grenouilles', L. Jadot
Leek cream soup
1990 Chateau Haut Marbuzet, St. Estephe
Boeuf Bourguignon
1988 Ruchottes Chambertin, G. Mugneret
Apple Tart with vanilla ice-cream
Coffee and Godiva

Clos Windsbuhl 'Vendange Tardive' 1989 Zind-Humbrecht

1/99. My own contribution. Bought in auction Nov-97 for $95 (Imported for $115 net).
My first taste of the 'Late Harvest' version of this famous Alsatian wine. Like the regular cuvee, this 'Clos Windsbuhl' is made of Pinot Gris or Tokay d'Alsace as it is called locally.
COLOR: Shining golden-yellow color.
NOSE: Pronounced honey is there as well as teasing lemon tones and the most delicate fresh vineyard aromas. What a perfume! A wine one can sniff for hours...
TASTE: Sweet all the way but surprisingly light and fresh on the palate. Fantastic flavors and good grip in the mouth with fresh acidity that adds zest to the flavors. Created perfect contrasting harmony with the salty Foie Gras and the Cheese Tart.
LENGTH: Medium long and expensive aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Must be full-bodied though did not feel a bit heavy. Fruit is still abundant with totally uncloying sweetness and good acidity. A perfectly balanced nectar.
OVERALL: Superb-plus!! More in tune with great Alsace than the regular cuvee which resembles a good Meursault. Ready now but will last many more years.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Chablis Grand Cru - 'Grenouilles' 1995 L. Jadot

1/99. From our partnership stash. Acquired in Beaune, Nov-97 for $35.
I never tasted such a young Chablis (and I don't think I'm gonna repeat the mistake).
COLOR: Pale greenish straw.
NOSE: Pretty closed up. Not much in the way of fruit and neither the rich mineral nose I have come to associate with Chablis Grand Cru. Only faint citric tones with some decent flowery aromas.
TASTE: Quite neutral on the palate with nothing to distinguish it from many other decent wines that you forget as soon as the bottle is empty. Neither fruity nor did it have the steely freshness that accompanies so well all sorts of sea-food. It was no match to the hot & sweet flavorful shrimp dish.
LENGTH: Not much that I remember.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Not much body here. Weak structure and very little fruit or other positive flavors. It may well be that 3-4 years is much too soon to open a bottle of Chablis Grand Cru, but at this point at least - the wine lacked both stuffing and balance.
OVERALL: Very-good only. I am willing to give this wine the benefit of doubt and taste my other bottle some three years from now. But if my experience is anything to go by, I honestly doubt that a white wine can be truly great yet show so little at 4 years of age.
MARK: 16/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Chateau Haut Marbuzet 1990 St. Estephe

1/99. Oded Lerer's contribution. I think he got it at auction for $70.
I have tasted this wonderful Cru-Bourgeoise wine at Oded's some 20 months ago.
COLOR: Deep violet red. Very slight clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Wow! What a mix of black fruit, liquorice, flowers and restraint wood. All that can be good in Bordeaux nose without any of the tarry cedarry elements I am not so crazy about. Completely forward, warm and absolutely enticing!
TASTE: Not to be outdone by the nose, this wine taste like magic. Voluptuously rich and concentrated, with elegant fruit and plenty of winyness to fill your mouth. Perhaps not as complex as a First Growth, but surely as good as most and better than many. Marvelously matched the elegant and tasty Leek soup. I simply could not have enough of it.
LENGTH: Not much aftertaste. The only department where this wine was less than perfect.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Fullish bodied and very well endowed. Beautifully integrated and perfectly balanced. Warm fat and cosy wine that made me feel warm fat and cosy...
OVERALL: Extraordinary!!! A wonderful example of an affordable Bordeaux that can stand up to peers costing three times as much. At its peak now.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Ruchottes Chambertin 1988 G. Mugneret

1/99. From our partnership stash. Acquired at auction Jul-97 for $100 (imported for $110 net).
We had this Grand Cru about a year ago and were quite pleased with it.
COLOR: Normal color for a 10 years red (B). Noticeable clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Profound nose of sturdy earthy nuances. Semi-ripe black forest-fruit with a not-too-delicate 'Bourgogne Nose'. Impressive nose that could use more complexity and less force.
TASTE: Fruit is there, as well as many other flavors. Very good grip too. However, the wine is too acidic and lacks somewhat in winyness. Matched well the Boeuf Bourguignon but gave the feeling of hollow gaps in the middle.
LENGTH: True to its breed, the aftertaste was long and pronounced if somewhat dominated by acidity.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied. Fruit, wood, alcohol, acidity and tannins are all there. Could use more winyness though. After a while in the glass, all ingredients blended well. Too acidic and a bit thin for good balance.
OVERALL: Excellent-plus! Somewhat less exciting than my previous bottle. Perhaps this wine does not have the stuffing to carry it into gracious maturity...
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

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Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.