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Chablis - Les Clos..... Prado Enea..... Cote Rotie - La Turque..... Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg (Trockenbeerenauslese).....


Last week's Friday dinner was such a success that Dorit decided to repeat the menu [with one small change]. We invited our friends Oded & Nitza and Eli & Gilly over, to join us in what turned out to be an evening of pure hedonism.
We have all had wonderful food and great wines in the past, but this evening will surly be remembered as one of the very best.

Bourbon Shrimps
1996 Chablis - Les Clos, R&V Dauvissat
Andalusian Gazpacho
1991 Rioja 'Prado Enea', Muga
Fillet in port, baked in salted pastry
1989 Cote Rotie 'La Turque', E. Guigal
Ice-cream meringue with raspberries
1998 Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg (Trockenbeerenauslese), C. von Schubert

Chablis - Les Clos 1996 R&V Dauvissat

8/2001. Bought in auction Dec-98 for $90.
Rene and Vincent Dauvissat (together with Raveneau) are among the top producers in Chablis. Les Clos is perhaps the best of the seven Grand Cru vineyards there, and 1996 was one of the best vintages of the decade.
COLOR: Medium-full straw color.
NOSE: Full blown citric and minerally aromas. Plenty of wood that is presently a bit too dominant. An impressive nose that still lacks the honey tones that come with maturity.
TASTE: Mouth-filling, full and expansive on the palate. Powerful yet extremely stylish with excellent grip and focus. Years away from being completely open and harmonious.
LENGTH: Very very long finish that still has some hard edge to it.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full-bodied, complex and very stylish. Fruit, spices and minerals are there but somewhat obscured by searing acidity. Very elegant with superb backbone.
OVERALL: Superb. This is potentially a great wine, but at 5 years from the vintage the wood and acidity still overshadow some of its winey elements.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Rioja 'Prado Enea' Gran Reserva 1991 Muga

8/2001. Brought by Eli.
An old style Rioja [80% Tempranillo, 20% other grapes] that spent a long time in oak.
COLOR: Nice looking full ruby red, slight clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Cherries and plums with smoky background and dusty old-world feel. Very nice. Very Rioja.
TASTE: Winey, reasonably concentrated wine, with sweetish flavors of semi-ripe black fruit. A bit laid back but tasty. Good grip and nice acidity add structure to that tasty fruit.
LENGTH: Medium long and very pleasant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied well balanced old-style Rioja. Fully mature and harmonious.
OVERALL: Very Fine. Probably at its peak right now.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Cote Rotie - La Turque 1989 E. Guigal

8/2001. Bought at auction Mar-00 for $380.
There is no - and there can never be - justification for paying hundreds of dollars for a single bottle of wine. Yet, some wines are so unbelievably better than others, that at least you don't feel you were taken for a ride by paying these princely sums [unlike with some California and Bordeaux cult wines...]
COLOR: Dark violet-red. Hardly any clearing around the rim. Lots of sediment on the bottom.
NOSE: Tsunami-like waves of aroma sprout out of the glass. Black fruit, pronounced spices, raw meat, earthy elements and a well balanced backdrop of wood. So captivating and harmonious. An otherworldly nose!
TASTE: A huge wine on the palate. Concentrated, superbly winey, with depth of flavors beyond belief. The nose is carried forward to the palate with rich, voluptuous flavors of jammy berries, spices and herbs. So good, so wholesome and so well balanced, that every sip makes you wonder what is this giant's primary appeal. Is it its wonderful taste? its elegance? its structure and texture? Well, all of these and more...
LENGTH: Simply endless. Reverberating finish that keeps singing forever.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied, extremely concentrated and thick nectar. Yet elegant stylish and harmonious at the same time. Gobs of complex flavors, super grip and backbone, round and pleasant tannins and just the right amount of acidity. Perfectly balanced.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!! Immensely enjoyable now with many years in store. Once this wine is fully mature it will no doubt deserve perfect marks.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg (TBA) 1998 C. von Schubert

8/2001. Received as gift a couple of years ago. Bless you Bobby!.
My experience with German wine is so shamefully limited, that the only thing that may be said in my favor is that I am not prejudiced or biased for or against any wine or producer.
I really had no idea what to expect, but after this wine rocked us all to the point that every one at the table is willing to swear by it from now to eternity, I have researched it for hours on the net.
I found out Carl von Schubert is among the most respected winemakers in the Saar-Moselle-Ruwer region of Germany. His three single-vineyard plots in the Grunhauser area produce Riesling that is highly regarded all over the world. There is the simple QbA followed by Kabinet, Spatlese, Auslese, and even Eiswein. But it is only since 1993 that his innovative vineyard-caring methods allowed him to harvest healthy botrytis grapes and hence produce the ultimate Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in minuscule quantities. And this Trockenbeerenauslese is what we had tonight...
COLOR: Shining golden color, looks fat and viscous.
NOSE: "Wow!". This was the identical reaction of each and every one of us when we took the first sniff. Fresh vineyard aromas, combined with the most sublime notes of mandarins, honey and minerals. So evocative and captivating, the nose alone would justify every possible praise.
TASTE: Now this must be heaven! Viscous yet never unctuous. Concentrated yet light as a feather. Sweet yet vibrantly acidic. This nectar was so good no words could do it justice. The purity of fruit and honey is so well balanced by natural acidity that I cannot imagine anything subtler or finer in the realm of dessert wines.
LENGTH: Extremely long finish that carries the pleasure of every sip on and on and on...
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Very light body [only 7.5% alcohol], but so wonderfully focused and structured that the high extraction and concentration never feels one bit heavy. I guess that in years to come this wine will gain in complexity. But right now, the purity and freshness of the fruit is so good, I can hardly think it will improve.
OVERALL: Divine!!! Ready to turn the world upside down in search for another bottle...
MARK: 20/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.