Bobby, Bea, and Sarah Cotton - our friends from Switzerland - make their annual pilgrimage to Israel towards the end of December.
For the fourth consecutive year, we take this opportunity to invite the Cottons (together with our mutual friend Miriam) over for an evening of fine company, good food and 'passable' wine...
This year Dorit prepared a delicious "Mediterranean Winter Dinner", which resulted in some of the most unorthodox (but extremely successful!) wine & food matching.
Red Mullet on a salsa of tomatoes, hot pepper and black olives
1996 Meursault 'Genevrieres' Hospice de Beaune, Colin-Deleger
Chickpeas soup with pine seeds
1989 Ch. Lynch Bages, Pauillac
The Ultimate Moussaka
Cheese Plate: Girolle (Tete de Moin) and fantastic "appellation controle" Gruyere
1991 Chambertin Clos de Beze, A. Rousseau
Pears in wine and cardamon
12/2001. Bought in London Aug-01 for $52.
This Meursault 1er Cru is from a parcel donated to the famous Hospice de Beaune.
COLOR: Full impressive golden color.
NOSE: Highly concentrated nose that was at first dominated by wood. This left little room for minerals, almost no fruit and none of the Meursault typicity of fat buttery nuances. After a while the wood subsided somewhat, revealing glimpses of what should have been there in the first place.
TASTE: On the palate, acidity joined forces with the wood to dominate the taste. At first there were no signs of the chewy fat flavors of Meursault, though later some fruit did creep in. In a strange way this wine did fill the mouth, and [when the wood and acidity have softened] was quite impressive in its own way. But at this stage at least this wine is not what I expect from a good Meursault.
LENGTH: Medium-long aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and expressive but over-oaked under-fruited and very acidic. There is no lack in concentration or winyness here, and it might very well be that the wine is currently in its dormant phase. Right now the wine is not well balanced and it certainly lacks the Meursault texture and viscosity.
OVERALL: Fine at best at present. But I suspect it will improve significantly in 3-5 years.
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.
|Ch. Lynch Bages
12/2001. Bought at auction Jan-97 for $87 (current market price about $150).
My last bottle of this fantastic Bordeaux .
COLOR: Dark violet. Some clearing around the rim with lots of sediment in the bottle.
NOSE: Absolutely marvelous. Deep expensive nose of sweetish black and red fruit augmented by a wonderful 'Bordeaux Nose'. Fully developed very rich aroma and bouquet. Immensely seductive.
TASTE: Mouthfilling, rich and luscious, with plenty of winyness and wonderful ripe fruit. Amazing depth of flavors with soft receding tannins and a touch of refreshing acidity. As tasty (for me that is) as a Bordeaux wine can get...
LENGTH: Very long smooth and sweetish aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full bodied Bordeaux of the highest quality. Poised, elegant yet forward and yielding with wonderful depth of flavors. Superbly balanced and positively at its peak now.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!! Probably the best of the less-than-first-growth 1989 Bordeaux, on par with (though different from) the '89 Haut Brion.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|Chambertin Clos de Beze
12/2001. Bought at auction Sep-95 for $68 (current market price more than $250 if you can get it...).
1991 burgundy followed the three glorious vintages of '88, '89 and '90. Upon release, the wines were sneezed at by many famous wine critics (look at the ridiculous price I paid for this wine!). I have started tasting the 1991s some seven years after the vintage and have not yet encountered a bottle that was less than superb...
Armand Rousseau is of course the benchmark domaine for Chambertin and Clos de Beze, so I naturally expected a good wine here.
COLOR: Relatively dark for (B), but significantly paler looking than the Lynch Bages.
NOSE: Unbelievable nose that is as enticing as complex and as wide-specrtrumed as one can ever hope to encounter. Beautiful semi-mature black fruit together with the most luxurious earthy elements like raw meat, damp forest floor, barnyard and what not. All this comes in a wonderfully harmonious package that makes just sniffing this wine a total experience.
TASTE: Multi-flavored multi-dimensional wine expressing that rare combination of delicacy and style coating a backbone of wonderful structure and vigor. Fruit and winyness abound with wood elements providing a matching backdrop. Tannins are round and silky and the measured acidity adds freshness. Absolutely delicious.
LENGTH: Infinitely long and reverberating aftertaste that is evident even when chewing on the tiniest possible sip.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied [in (B) terms] wine that has just emerged from its shell. Rich, focused, finely textured, with fantastic grip and harmonious balance between all its elements. This well endowed nectar is just ready now though will hold on for years to come.
OVERALL: Extraordinary at least!! (the only reason I don't give this wine 20/20 is that I have another bottle of the 1991 Rousseau Chambertin which is almost always a tad better than the Clos de Beze. So reluctantly, I must leave some room there...) .
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.