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Bollinger 'RD'..... Musigny..... Vega Sicilia..... Sori Tildin..... CdP 'Les Cailloux'..... Madeira.....


Last Friday we were at our good friends Eli & Gilly for a glorious dinner party where food wine and company were all of the highest possible quality.
Amihai & Dafna, Oded & Nitza and Kuti & Sharon were also invited. The party of ten wine lovers was treated to a truly memorable evening of culinary and vinous pleasures, with the convivial atmosphere adding to the total experience.
Gilly outdid herself in preparing a well-thought-of delicious six-course dinner that not only matched the wines perfectly but was a great gourmet experience in its own right.
Eli, generous as usual, provided an impressive and extremely interesting lineup of wines to accompany the delicious food.

Fresh Bretagne 'Belone' Oysters
1988 Bollinger "RD" Champagne
Provencal fish and seafood soup
1989 Musigny, Comte de Vogue
Tender gnocchi in herbs with bacon and tomato sauce
1985 Vega Sicilia "Unico"
Lamb Ossobuco with root vegetables cooked in Barolo, on a bed of Jerusalem Artichoke
1990 Barbaresco 'Sori Tildin', Gaja
Superb Cheese selection
1990 Chateauneuf du Pape 'Les Cailloux' "Cuvee Centenaire", Brunel
Layers of light filo pastry with seasonal fruits and whipped cream
1900 Madeira Bual, Manuel de Sausa Herdeiros

Vintage Champagne 'RD' 1988 Bollinger

A few months ago I tasted the Bollinger 'RD' [Recently Disgorged] for the first time. It was the 1985 vintage and I was really impressed. The 'RD' champagne is only made in exceptional years. It is made of about half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from choice Grand Cru vineyards.
COLOR: Pale straw color with tiny bubbles sprouting up in a straight line from the middle of the glass bottom.
NOSE: Profound nose of creamy fat butter, minerals and yeasts. Some ripe white fruit is there and an overall sensation of enticing classy and mature champagne.
TASTE: Viscous and fat on the palate with the creamy taste balanced by the zesty bubbles. Wonderfully rich and tasty.
LENGTH: It never occurred to me to notice the length of champagne... :)
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied champagne that is first and foremost a good wine. Rich fat and multi-layered. Not bone dry but neither sweetish. Very focused and wonderfully balanced.
OVERALL: Outstanding! A great champagne of unusual expression.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Musigny 1989 Comte de Vogue

"Musigny by Vogue", the most evocative name combination in Burgundy. Two and a half years ago I had the 1989 Musigny side by side with the 1989 Bonnes Mares, and only recently I had the pleasure of tasting the great 1990 (which still needs some time to completely open up).
COLOR: Medium-light color as can be expected from a 12-years Burgundy. Noticeable clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Wonderfully rich and deep nose of mature forest fruit, sweetish prunes and the most compelling 'Bourgogne Nose'. A wholesome nose that is completely open, complex, elegant and enticing.
TASTE: Delicious multi-flavored multi-dimensional wine of extreme elegance. Opulent brilliant red fruit with plenty of winyness around it. Classy, seductive and well focused with soft receding tannins and fine acidity. A real treat on the palate.
LENGTH: Very long and lingering aftertaste that retains the tasty flavors.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied Grand Cru that is both delicate and rich. Concentrated though not immensely so. Perfectly balanced and harmonious.
OVERALL: Outstanding! A prime example of a great Burgundy. At its prime right now.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Vega Sicilia "Unico" 1985 Vega Sicilia

Yet another vintage of the most sought-after Spanish wine from Eli's treasure trove.
COLOR: Medium ruby color, little clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Very nice 'package' on the nose. Fruity flowery aromas with just a whiff of dust and wood. Nothing spectacular, but pleasant and reasonably complex nose.
TASTE: On the palate the wine is a bit disappointing. Nothing faulty or bad. Quite pleasant in fact. Alas, one expects from Vega Sicilia to be a lot more than just pleasant. No real grip or focus, yet no lack in fruit or winyness. A bit bland but still tasty.
LENGTH: Medium long aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium body, nice fruity nose and taste. No great depth or complexity but well balanced and pleasant.
OVERALL: Fine at best. A nice wine, but "nice" is not good enough for Vega...
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Barbaresco 'Sori Tildin' 1990 Gaja

This single-vineyard Barbaresco ranks among the most celebrated wines of Piemonte. Angelo Gaja, perhaps the most celebrated Piemontese producer, succeeded in elevating the relatively modest Barbaresco appellation to such high spheres as to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of Barolo.
COLOR: Dark impressively looking ruby red. Very thin clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Most elegant nose of deep fruit and blossoming flowers. The nose exhibits earthy meaty elements as well. Quite forward though not yet fully blown.
TASTE: Deep rich and complex, as well as charming and tasty. A bit more restrained on the palate than it is on the nose. Highly concentrated with excellent fruit and plenty of winyness. Very good acidity and tannins that are still somewhat tough. Impressive wine with a great future ahead.
LENGTH: Very long aftertaste where the fruit easily overcomes the tannins.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and very expressive wine. Highly focused with brilliant fruit and complex winyness. Not yet completely harmonized but superbly balanced. A wonderful example of what a Barbaresco can be in the hands of such a giant as Gaja.
OVERALL: Superb. Given a few more years this wine will surely step up a notch or two.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

CdP 'Les Cailloux' C. Centenaire 1990 Brunel

The 'Cuvee Centenaire' is made from vines planted in the vineyard of 'Les Cailloux' over a hundred years ago. This Chateauneuf du Pape is made of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.
A couple of months ago I got excited about the 1995 rendition of this wine. This is the first time I taste the 1990.
COLOR: Medium dark rusty red. Noticeable clearing towards the rim. Nothing in its looks hints at the glory that is to unfold.
NOSE: Amazing nose of everything one can think of and then some... Black forest-fruit, sweetish plums, flowers (violets?), coffee, raw meat and spices. Plenty of spices! Unbelievable spectrum of aromas and complex bouquet. Simply magnificent.
TASTE: Not to lag behind the nose, this wine is just as good on the palate. Mouth-filling and multi-dimensional in every sense of the word. Vigorous complex and extremely tasty without being a 'monster'. Fruit and spice abound with layer upon layer of winey flavors. Absolutely fantastic!
LENGTH: Extremely long and vibrant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied wine of immense breadth and depth. Complex and concentrated but not overly so. Wonderfully balanced with the vigorous fruit soft tannins and good acidity - all fully integrated into a completely harmonious nectar.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!! A truly great and unique CdP. At its peak now but will hold there for a few more years.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Madeira Bual 1900 Manuel de Sousa Herdeiros

They say that a good Madeira is practically indestructible by time. Having very limited experience with old Madeira I was looking forward to tasting this century old wine.
COLOR: Medium dark brownish red.
NOSE: Assertive sweetish nose of semi-burnt caramel, chocolate with a tinge of orange. Very interesting if not really enticing.
TASTE: Barely passable at first, it became almost undrinkable with time. A mixture of sugar alcohol and acid. Completely devoid of winyness. Nothing like the wonderful 1907 Blandy I had 10 months ago or the 1940 I had years earlier.
LENGTH: Long disturbing aftertaste of sour alcohol.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: I can't really tell if this bottle was spoilt or not. I don't have enough experience with 100-years-olds. Spoilt or not, this bottle was bad.
OVERALL: Bad. Either the producer [whose name I've never heard of], or the vintage, or - which seems more likely - just a bottle with 101 years of bad history.
MARK: Just BadaaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.