A long overdue Chez Nous with our old friends Amihai and Dafna and our new friends Eli and Gilli.
Really outstanding dinner by Dorit was matched by wonderful and diverse wines.
Shrimp Tempura in 'Bisque' sauce
1994 Ch. de Beaucastel 'Vieille Vignes' Blanc, Perrin
Eggplant curry soup
1990 Brunello di Montalcino, Livio Sassetti
Spice-rubbed filets mignons, pistachio couscous
1990 Musigny, F. Mugnier
1990 Chateauneuf du Pape 'Beaucastel', Perrin
1994 Dolc de L'Obac, Costers del Siurana
As usual, the quality of the food, the eclectic parade of wines (each one an exemplary ambassador for its kind), and the fun and lively company - all contributed to the wonderful evening. Life is good!
|Ch. de Beaucastel 'VV' Blanc
3/2000. Bought at auction, Sep-97 for $85.
My second taste of this very rare white wine made solely of "Vieilles Vignes" Roussanne grapes. Only 500 cases were produced in 1994.
COLOR: Medium yellow with amber tones, looks fat and viscous.
NOSE: Profound impressive complex nose where high quality mineral and vineyard aromas intermingle to present powerful and seductive nose. Wood notes are there as well as wet stone flint and flowers.
TASTE: Mouthfilling and complex on the palate with honey flavors as well as butter. Though completely dry, the wine feels rich expensive and chewy. Excellent acidity nicely balances the richness. Paired wonderfully with the rich shrimps Tempura and the bisque sauce.
LENGTH: Very long aftertaste though the finish has a bitter touch to it.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied, viscous textured white wine. Highly concentrated and winey, almost fat. Classic proportions and excellent balance. I just wonder if a couple of more years would have shed off the bitterish finish.
OVERALL: Superb! A unique and rare white wine that has a lot more in common with top-quality reds than it does with many whites.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|Brunello di Montalcino 'Riserva'
3/2000. Bought at auction, Jan-98 for $140.
One of the most distinguished producers of Brunello. I wonder how this 1990 'Riserva' will compare to the outstanding Costanti rendition we had on the Millennium Eve.
COLOR: Dark reddish black, slight clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Immense nose of typical Brunello "ingredients" emanating from the glass. Black forest-fruit, minerals, tobacco, coca and oak. Simply ecstatic!
TASTE: Multi-layered, mouthfilling, complex and extremely tasty. Great depth of fruit, chewy winyness, fantastic grip and focus. Full of flavors, both accentuated and nuanced. Solid backbone with good acidity and soft yet full-of-presence tannins. Had no problem standing up to the mildly piquant aubergine soup. A true joy for the palate.
LENGTH: Very long vibrating aftertaste that never cease to sing long after each sip is gone.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied hefty wine that manages to deliver all that it has without getting overboard in any respect. Wonderfully concentrated and ripe but not overly so. Mouthfilling and multi-flavored without being jammy. Superbly balanced and composed.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!! Hard to tell after three months, but I think this one has the edge [but only a very slight edge at that] over the Costanti 'Riserva'.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
3/2000. Bought at auction, Feb-98 for $165.
I think I can fairly say that I usually succeed in matching wine with food, and with lining up wines in 'proper' order for a multiple-wines dinner. This time however I flopped. Big time!
Four months ago I tasted this gem for the first time. It was one of the very best Burgundies I ever had. Opening this wine tonight, 'sandwiched' by two real blockbusters (The Brunello and the Beaucastel), and accompanying the delicious but quite spicy filets mignons was really stupid of me...
COLOR: Lighter of course than the Brunello, but not by much. Thin clearing around the rime here also.
NOSE: A beautiful and seductive combination of fresh cherry fruit with subtle flowers and sweetish notes, together with high-class earthy elements and a supremely elegant 'Bourgogne Nose'. So different from the Brunello, yet totally captivating.
TASTE: The palate is where the problem manifested itself. Silky, delicate, complex and regal, with a broad spectrum of flavors and perfect winyness. Superbly tasty, focused and elegant.
Alas... both the previous wine [and the one to follow] and the dish the Musigny accompanied were not exactly conductive to a wine whose qualities lie more on delicate subtleties than on forward punch. Even the most "open minded" palate would be too saturated by the Brunello and the spice-rubbed filets to enjoy the unique qualities of this rare Musigny to the degree they should be enjoyed.
LENGTH: Very long aftertaste though again, seemed minor-keyed in conjunction with the spicy meat and in comparison to the Brunello.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied in Burgundy terms, but here felt like a medium-light one. Multi-layered, multi-flavored, classic and harmonious. Delivering the Musigny feminine terroir in a perfectly balanced Grand Cru fashion.
OVERALL: Outstanding at least, though one could not have chosen a worse-fitting backdrop to present these qualities. I'll be much more careful with the last two bottles I still have
MARK: 18.5-19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|CdP - Chateau de Beaucastel
3/2000. Bought at auction, Aug-96 for $75.
My most favorite Chateauneuf du Pape. I have had quite a few of this and the 1989 in the last five years. For me at least, the jury is still out on whether this 1990 or the 1989 are the best Beaucastels ever.
COLOR: Extremely dark red, starting to develop beautiful reddish hues. Noticeable though not large clearing around the rim. Plenty of 'legs' on the glass.
NOSE: Pungent spices and earthy element abound. Plenty of forward dark fruit too. Amazingly complex concoction of aromas and bouquet. As usual, the signature of Beaucastel - i.e using all the allowed 13 grapes - is clearly evident in this multi-layered nose.
TASTE: Multi-flavored, sensual, big and full of winyness on the palate. As with the nose, the contribution of such a variety of grapes is apparent on the palate too. Declining tannins and good acidity add to the structure of this fine wine.
LENGTH: Medium-long but pleasant sweetish aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and impressive. Rich in everything and finely balanced. Almost fully mature by now.
OVERALL: Very fine. This wine is getting close to its peak, but with years ahead to give pleasure.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|Dolc de L'Obac
||Costers del Siurana
3/2000. Brought by Eli.
If last time I tasted the 1995 of this natural (non-sweetened, non-fortified] red dessert wine, this time Eli brought the 1994 which he claimed is even better.
According to the label, only three(!) barrels were made of this really rare 'Late Harvest' wine. It comes from the Priorat region in northern Spain and is made of non-constant percentage of Granacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
COLOR: Deep full violet-red.
NOSE: Serene and captivating mixture of spices, ripe fruit [more black than red] some vanilla and even orange peels. Very rich and expensive on the nose, with only a hint of sweetness.
TASTE: Sweet, but not as sweet as Port or Sauternes. Extremely concentrated with velvet feel. At tasty and flavored as one could hope for. Warm (but not hot!) and soothing on the palate in spite of its amazing 16.5% natural alcohol. Extraordinary winyness and style that is both forward and reserved. Excellent acidity and very soft tannins help balance the alcohol fruit and the sweetness.
LENGTH: Very long and persistently tasty aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Can anyone imagine a 16.5% alcohol wine that is not a blockbuster? well, here is one. Full bodied of course, but with such a velvety silky constitution and so finely balanced that its fruit and winyness only seems to be complemented by its sweetness.
OVERALL: Outstanding. I can't honestly say this '94 was better than the '95 I had a couple of months ago. They were both fantastic. It would take tasting them side by side to decide.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.