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St. Joseph..... Bonnes Mares.....


"Seder" night dinner at our good friends Oded & Nitza Lerer. Some 14 people participated. The fantastic food was mainly done by Nitza with some of the guests (including Dorit) shining in supportive acts.
The company, atmosphere and food were non-plus-ultra. As for wines, there were some more ordinary bottles for the less initiated and two supposedly great ones brought by yours truly.

Pre-Seder warmup

Just about to begin

Oded Lerer
Gefilte Fish
Chablis 1er Cru
Oriental soup with Kneidlach
1994 St. Joseph "VV", R. Trollat
Special meatballs on rice with sauce
Cowpea with liver and gizzards
1989 Bonnes Mares, Comte de Vogue
Passover matzo cake
Tea and coffee

Nitza Lerer

Some other guests

The food was so good that I (and most others) just had to accept second helpings of everything. I don't know about the others, but I know I felt like a concrete moulding for the next 12 hours or so. [yeah, yeah, been there before, done that before, swore never to do it again, but...]

St. Joseph "VV" 1994 R. Trollat

3/99. Acquired in auction Sep-97 for $45 (imported for $65 net).
A red Rhone wine highly touted by R. Parker, made from 60-80 years old Syrah grapes.
COLOR: Deep dark red as one would expect from a pure Syrah wine.
NOSE: Somewhat unusual nose with discernible 'Rhone Nose' that some love and other don't and additional lactic and vegetative aromas that I don't recall in any other Rhone wine I ever had. I loved the nose, but even those who didn't admitted it is interesting with distinct personality.
TASTE: A bit less impressive on the palate. Nothing faulty but not as rich and multi-layered as Hermitage or good Cote Rotie. Good winyness but too little fruit and a bit too acidic.
LENGTH: Surprisingly long and pleasant finish.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-light-bodied, moderately concentrated, very little tannins and a bit too much acidity for perfect balance. A nice and interesting wine but not a great one.
OVERALL: Excellent though no match for a truly great Rhone. For some reason I expected more. Perhaps the vintage was too weak or perhaps my palate and that of Mr. P don't match here.
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Bonnes Mares 1989 Comte de Vogue

3/99. Acquired in auction May-96 for $120 (imported for $136 net).
Bonnes Mares is certainly among my favorite (B) Grand Cru. Comte de Vogue (known primarily for his Musigny) needs no PR as one of the superstar producers in the Cote de Nuits, and 1989 was an excellent vintage from which I had many great wines in the past. So, we are in for a treat, right?
COLOR: Ordinary color for a 10-years-old (B) with some clearing around the rim.
NOSE: A straightforward rustic kind of 'Bourgogne Nose' with the farmyard aspects overpowering whatever fruit aromas are there. This is not the kind of nose I expect from a mature (or immature, for that matter) Bonnes Mares.
TASTE: Quite tasty as such but lacks any resemblance to the Grand Cru pedigree it holds. A bit thin on the palate, sour fruit with high perceived acidity and little complexity. Neither tired nor still closed, this bottle is just not what it should be. I am being careful here not to say 'wine'. I had one bottle a year ago and although not great, it was much better than this one, and I still have another bottle.
LENGTH: Didn't notice and couldn't care less.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-bodied with more perceived alcohol and acidity than class, winyness, fruit or stuffing. Nothing faulty or spoilt with this bottle except for the lack of resemblance to a true (B) Grand Cru.
OVERALL: Very good (but so are Cote de Beaune Villages wines that cost 15% as much as this one). The most disappointing (and the lowest marked) Bonnes Mares I ever had.
MARK: 16/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.