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Corton Charlemagne..... Vosne-Romanee 'Les Beaux-Monts'..... Clos de la Roche..... Grands Echezeaux..... Chambertin..... Vintage Port.....


A couple of months ago we were privileged to dine together with - and be introduced to the finest wines by - Eli Shoshani. A most generous and highly knowledgeable Spanish wine lover. After that splendid evening with Eli and David and Gilli and Roni, the six of us pledged to meet again and share more fine wine and food together.
Tonight we had the same group coming over to us for dinner. My intention was to introduce some really fine and interesting (B) to the others, especially to Eli. I say especially to Eli because Gilli is on her way to become a wine professional and is a (B) lover on her own right, while David have already been bitten by the (B) bug. The theme for the red wines was the excellent 1988 vintage which, by and large, is now becoming of age.
Dorit produced a wonderful dinner [so what else is new?] to match the variety of Burgundy treasure:

Shrimp Bisque
1992 Corton Charlemagne, L. Jadot
Tart of four cheese with truffles
1988 Vosne-Romanee 'Les Beaux Monts', Dom. Leroy
Duck in herbs and honey. Puree porcini, balsamic onions
1988 Clos de la Roche, Dom. Dujac
Cheese Plate
1988 Grands Echezeaux, Mongeard-Mugneret
1988 Chambertin, C. Mortet
Pine-nuts and almonds cake & cookies
1985 Vintage Port, Fonseca

Not only was the dinner superb and the wines top class, interesting and educative, but the whole evening was truly one of the most enjoyable I can remember. There are few better things in life than sharing great wine and food in the company of similarly-minded people. Especially if these people turn out to be charming interesting and entertaining individuals in or out of the wine scene.

Corton Charlemagne 1992 L. Jadot

3/2000. Acquired from Beaune, Dec-94 for $43.
I have had this wine once before and thought it is the best Corton Charlemagne ever produced by Jadot.
COLOR: Medium-dark yellow, almost golden color.
NOSE: Deep powerful and nicely developed. Northern fruits like apples and pears, minerals, and well-defined oak tones are all there. A tiny bit too oakey perhaps though nothing exaggerated or distracting. Majestic and captivating nose!
TASTE: Very intense and highly concentrated flavors. Again apples and pears, together with that flinty steely dryness that I so much associate with Corton Charlemagne. Mouthfilling yet extremely elegant and poised.
LENGTH: Very long and persistent aftertaste that keeps developing for almost a full minute.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied Grand Cru white (B) at its best. Plenty of dry fruit with additional complex yet tasty flavors. Excellent grip and fine acidity to add freshness. very finely balanced too.
OVERALL: Superb! One of the best Corton Charlemagne to be had.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Vosne - Les Beaux Monts 1988 Dom. Leroy

3/2000. Acquired at auction, May-96 for $90.
They say "There are no bad (Premier or Grand Cru) wines from Vosne-Romanee". This wine used to be an almost affordable Leroy (it is not anymore...). My last of five bottles that I have enjoyed over the years.
COLOR: As dark red as (B) gets, even after 12 years. Hardly any clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Beautiful pure nose of fresh cherries for the first 15 minutes or so. Then the more subtle and complex elements of the 'Bourgogne Nose' reveal themselves. Exotic spices and earthy aromas serve as a nice backdrop to the fruit and wood.
TASTE: Delicious winyness fills the mouth while focused and still a bit tannic backbone add dimension. The sweetish semi-mature fruit and piquant earthy flavors beautifully complimented the truffles-rich cheese pastry dish. Reasonably complex though not extremely so. Very very tasty.
LENGTH: Very long and pleasant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied multi-layered wine. Excellent fruit and winyness with plenty of vigor. Quite concentrated with both depth and width. Excellent grip and perfect balance between fruit, acidity and the rounded tannins..
OVERALL: Very fine. Better than many Grand Cru wines. At its best now with still a long life ahead.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Clos de la Roche 1988 Dom. Dujac

3/2000. Acquired at auction, May-96 for $62.
I chose this wine together with the next (Grands Echezeaux by Mongeard-Mugneret) to accompany the duck in herbs main course. I was hoping to demonstrate the different expression of the result that comes from two great producers when each makes his flagship Grand Cru.
COLOR: Somewhat lighter than the Beau-Monts. Discernible clearing around the rim. Impressive 'legs' on the glass.
NOSE: Less frontal fruit and less well-defined 'Bourgogne Nose', but more complexity and subtleness. Class and breed is immediately apparent if not in a forward out-of-the-glass way. Multiple nuances of aroma and bouquet bring out the essence of Burgundy to the nose.
TASTE: Smooth and delicate on the palate without being flabby for one moment. Flavors are all elegance and class. Only moderately concentrated and lacking somewhat in vigor and focus. Discernible but minor-keyed mature fruit with soft acidity and receding tannins. Good winyness from attack to decay with no dryness at any stage. Extremely tasty and a pleasure to sip.
LENGTH: Fine medium long aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-light body. All the elements are classic quality and the wine does not lack in winyness or balance. Yet its somewhat soft grip and its weakish expression distract a little from an otherwise fine wine.
OVERALL: Fine. Though perhaps not one of Dujac's most successful Clos de la Roche. This wine will not get any better.
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Grands Echezeaux 1988 Mongeard-Mugneret

3/2000. Acquired at auction, May-96 for $80.
The prospects of tasting a Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echezeaux will always fill me with excitement. The three bottles I have tasted of the 1983 rendition were probably among the best ten bottles of wine I ever had.
COLOR: A bit darker than the Clos de la Roche with huge 'legs' attesting to the fatness of the wine.
NOSE: Wow! Now that is what it should be! Both black and red forest fruit together with a plethora of enticing aromas. From wet forest floor to raw meat to mushrooms and truffles. Complex, rich and deep. Concentrated high-class nose that is immediately apparent yet keeps changing and developing all the time.
TASTE: Each sip performs a dance with your taste buds. So good and rich and expressive, yet you never get the in-your-face simplicity nor the over-ripeness and over-concentration of modern world-wines. Finely delineated and focused fruit with plenty of winyness, excellent grip and a firm backbone to support it all. Chewy, fat and deliciously tasty.
LENGTH: Extremely long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied high-class wine of viscous texture and great balance. Still a bit 'wild' with wonderful fruit, fantastic depth and breadth, great complexity, refreshing acidity and vibrant tannins. Super-duper now but in a few years, when the elements will 'tame' down a bit and become more harmonized, this wine will really become extraordinary.
OVERALL: Superb to outstanding! Another fantastic effort from Mongeard-Mugneret.
MARK: 18.5-19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Chambertin 1988 C. Mortet

3/2000. Acquired at auction, Feb-97 for $100.
What can be more fitting to accompany an assortment of cheese after a wonderful dinner with great wines than a good Chambertin? A vineyard capable of producing wines that are among the very best in the world.
COLOR: Medium-deep red. Wide clearing around the rim. Some sediment left in the bottle.
NOSE: Flowery more than fruity. Earthy elements and sweetish plums mingle together. Not a powerful nose but reasonably complex if somewhat rustic.
TASTE: No real class here. Wide spectrum of flavors but not much depth. Not really concentrated and somewhat four-squared. Quite tasty nevertheless. Complexity and the multitude of nuances attest to the high breed of the vines, but the hollowness in the mid-palate and the over acidity of the finish do not speak much of the winemaking here.
LENGTH: Medium-long aftertaste that is dominated by acidity.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied wine with an undeniable quality expressed in its basic constitution and complexity. However, a lot of things here from the lack in winyness to the dryness of the fruit to the over acidity - all point to a faulty winemaking rather than bad raw material.
OVERALL: Very good (which is a pretty low mark when it comes to Chambertin!).
Don't get me wrong there. There are zillion wines much worse than this one here, but they are not called Chambertin and they do not cost as one. Again, this is not a bad wine. But in comparison to the other wines we had tonight, and especially in lieu of its pedigree - this wine was by far the underperformer of the evening.
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Vintage Port 1985 Fonseca

3/2000. Bought locally, Mar-96 for $106.
I have not tasted many port wines in my life, but those I have were mostly truly great, and among the best in the world (or so I am told).
We decanted this port about four hours before we got to it.
COLOR: Extremely dark blackish-red. Very thick, completely opaque. No hint of clearing towards the rim.
NOSE: Very deep nose of jammy dark fruit, toffee, figs(?!), chocolate and whatnot... Not completely forward yet but by no means restrained.
TASTE: Immensely concentrated. More a food than a drink. Powerful and rich in fruit alcohol and unctuous winyness in spite of its sweetness. Perfectly accompanied (or was accompanied by) the dry almonds cake and cookies Dorit prepared for "dessert". A true gods' nectar!
LENGTH: Never ending finish that leaves a myriad of flavors on the saturated taste buds.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: As thick as they come... Full bodied (and then some), powerful with plenty of concentrated fruit, alcohol, medium tannins and an all-important acidity.
OVERALL: Outstanding!! Will this port become a 20/20 in ten or twenty years? My hunch says yes, though I have no experience to base it on.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.