Along with seven of our best friends [all wine-loving], we gathered at Yonatan Roshfeld's restaurant in Tel-Aviv to receive the new millennium in style.
Amihai & Dafna, Migry & Pietro, Yair, Shlomo and Miriam all joined Dorit and myself for an evening we shall always remember.
As usual, we brought our own carefully selected wines for the evening. The house of Pommeray, whose representative flew in especially to Israel, provided the champagne for the night.
Roshfeld went out of his way to present a real feast truly befitting the historic occasion.
The evening started with a an amazing assortment of freshly flown-in seafood delicacies. Heaps of Iranian caviar, lobster tails, oysters, shrimps, mussels and other monsters of the sea were liberally dispensed with, accompanied by NV Pommeray.
At midnight, the vintage 1992 Brut Royale Pommeray was poured and the new millennium was greeted with cheers, kisses and the best wishes for all.
Whole Foie Gras, roasted, served cold with Brioche and quince in Sauternes
1988 Chateau Guiraud, Sauternes
Lobster and pumpkin soup with crab ravioli and black truffles
1994 Chablis 'Les Clos', R&V Dauvissat
Turbot, roasted in herbs and champagne sauce
1992 Bienvenues Batard Montrachet, Dom. Leflaive
Roasted suckling lamb on a bed of pumpkin tomatoes and root vegetables, in concentrated thyme and olive-oil stock
1990 Chateau Ausone, St. Emilion
1990 Brunello di Montalcino, Conte E. Costanti
1990 Chambertin, A. Rousseau
Assortment of desserts: chocolate mousse, passion-fruit cake, sorbets, marrons, croquants etc.
The food, the wines and the company were all perfect. Witness the six full hours we all spent at table. [remember, this was a dinner, not a party...]
12/99. Brought by Yair.
Made of 65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc, Ch. Guiraud is one of the 11 Premier Crus vineyards in Sauternes.
COLOR: Somewhat paler and not as viscous as I usually expect in a great Sauternes.
NOSE: A bit restrained though very stylish and elegant. Botrytis and fruit with added tones of measured wood make the nose a pleasure to sniff at.
TASTE: Honeyed vineyard flavors well balanced by good acidity and robust backbone. Quite rich on the palate with good depth and resonance. Expensive, mouthfilling taste that successfully accompanied the wonderful foie gras dish.
LENGTH: Long tasty and lingering aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium body, good clean fruit. Reasonably complex and sweet, yet totally un-cloying. Not immensely concentrated but very well balanced and well crafted wine.
OVERALL: Excellent. Perhaps not Chateau Yquem, but a fine tasty and very well made Sauternes nevertheless.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|Chablis 'Les Clos'
12/99. Brought by Miriam.
Rene and Vincent Dauvissat (together with Raveneau) are, in my opinion, the best producers in Chablis.
COLOR: Medium-pale color. Clear appearance.
NOSE: Half-dumb at first as the bottle was over-chilled. Opened up after a short while to reveal crisp and focused nose boasting assertive, lemony aromas with lots of minerals and some non-sweet honey tones. Very elegant and true to its form.
TASTE: Again, very focused on the palate. Stylish, crisp, yet full and ripe. Elegant acidity gives plenty of structure to the pure and clean fruit. Stood up very nicely to the rich-textured lobster and pumpkin soup.
LENGTH: Extremely intense and long searing finish.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full bodied wine. Elegant and stylish. Beautiful expression of the Chablis Grand Cru terroir and class. A bit too acidic now. Will soften up and become more round in years to come.
OVERALL: Excellent. Still a bit young but its breeding shows well.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|Bienvenues Batard Montrachet
12/99. Brought by me.
The famous Puligny-Montrachet Grand Cru from an excellent vintage made by one of the best possible sources.
COLOR: Full yellow color. Looks fat and luscious. Noticeable legs on the glass attest to the considerable amount of glycerin.
NOSE: Profound wide-spectrum nose of ripe northern white fruits (pears, apples, etc.), aromatic spices, discernible botrytis-like sweetness and wood.
TASTE: Mouth-filling full-throttle flavors. Very concentrated and high class in every respect. Fat and buttery on the palate though not short on the more stylish mineral flavors. Extremely rich and tasty though somewhat lacking in focus and grip.
LENGTH: Really long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and impressive in every department. Fat, viscous with plenty of winyness. Yet the relative lack in acidity distracts from this otherwise perfectly balanced wine.
OVERALL: Superb though not perfect. With more defined contours this wine would have been extraordinary.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
12/99. Brought by Shlomo.
The 1978 Ch. Ausone was my first serious Bordeaux. I remember it as a big revelation some five years ago. Will this St. Emilion Grand Cru "A" from the universally fantastic 1990 vintage be as good?
COLOR: Dense, solid dark ruby. Hardly any clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Somewhat subdued, though black fruit and spices are definitely evident in the aroma. Toasted oak is there as well as chocolate and other 'Bordeaux Nose' elements. Classy though not impressive nose.
TASTE: Still very tannic and closed on the palate. Some sweet fruit is there surrounded by concentrated winyness. Alas, at this stage at least, the wine is broad and muscular but lacks charm.
LENGTH: Medium long aftertaste that is too much dominated by astringent tannins.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium to full body. Stylish, elegant but not really a pleasure to drink. Rich and concentrated with all the ingredients in perfect balance. But where is the charm?...
OVERALL: Fine. A bit disappointing at this stage. Will no doubt become much better in 5-10 years time.
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.
|Brunello di Montalcino 'Riserva'
||Conte E. Costanti
12/99. Brought by Pietro.
My first Brunello from this producer. I am told the 'Riserva' rendition appeared on the market some six years after the vintage.
COLOR: Dark, almost opaque color. No sign of clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Wow! Profound and extremely broad-spectrum nose. The typical 'Italian' aromas are there, together with a plethora of other elements from red fruit to herbs, tobacco, orchards and wood. A real pleasure to sniff at.
TASTE: Mouthfilling in the true sense of the word. Ripe sweetish fruit with scores of secondary flavors to boost. Very rich and concentrated but multi-dimensional rather than monolithic. Silky tannins and fine structure help this wine to always retain its elegance and composure in spite of being so damn tasty... A pure vinous pleasure.
LENGTH: Very very long aftertaste that echoes the myriads of flavors in the mouth long after each sip is gone.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied densely textured wine. Wonderful display of semi-ripe fruit, round tannins, measured acidity, plenty of winyness and overall harmony.
OVERALL: Outstanding!! Simply the best Brunello I ever had. Will not be surprised if another five years will result in a perfect mark.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
12/99. Brought by Amihai.
We have tasted this fantastic wine more than two years ago when we stayed in the Cote St. Jacques in Joigny and ordered a bottle to accompany our meals two nights in a row. A lot of pressure was required to convince Monsieur Lorain to sell us a third bottle to take home with us. This here is that third bottle.
COLOR: The lighter looking of all the three reds. Noticeable clearing around the rim. Huge 'legs' marks are left on the glass.
NOSE: It is a vain effort to try to analyze and short-change into words the total-experience that stems out of the glass. A rope-thin balance between intensity, richness depth and breadth. Sweet ripe plum-like aromas, earthy, animally notes with soft wood. All amidst the most perfect 'Bourgogne Nose' imaginable.
"He who had sniffed the 1990 Rousseau Chambertin will forever carry with him the benchmark for a great (B) nose".
TASTE: A superb follow-thru of the nose. Ripe fruit, raw meat, the wine is rich and ethereally multi-dimensional. Deep and light flavors inter-mingle to provide an unforgettable experience on the palate. The wine is completely integrated though full of youth and vigor. Supremely tasty and then some. A classic manifestation of a truly great wine.
LENGTH: Never ending powerful aftertaste. This wine should actually be taken in small sips with long intervals in between. The aftertaste alone would be enough to completely re-vitalize the taste after each sip.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and powerful [in Burgundy terms...]. A wonderful balance between richness and delicacy. A multi-layered wine that is almost fully mature yet retains it youthful constitution. Perfectly balanced and perfectly everything else...
OVERALL: Divine!!! This is a Grand Vin now, though it may yet gain some extra harmony in years to come. A wine to die for.
MARK: 20/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.