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Cheval Blanc..... Musigny..... La Landonne..... Maximin Grunhauser TBA.....


Outstanding Friday night dinner with our friends Amihai & Dafna at their house. Eli and Gilli were also invited, so we were six for a very unusual feast conceived and produced by Dafna.
Dinner was as 'gourmetish' as one could dream of though it was based on high-quality yet strong-flavored Middle Eastern dishes. Everything was homemade by Dafna.
The wines were fine and rare, each a top-notch representative of its kind.
Now I seriously doubt that a matchup between wines of such quality and stature and oriental (of the Arabic, not the Far Eastern kind) dishes of the highest quality was ever attempted.
Everyone agreed though that - unlikely as it may sound - not only did these great wines perfectly matched the wonderful food, but the combination of both [plus the company of course] created an fantastic, harmonious and unforgettable experience.

Grand Mezze (assorted hors d'oeuvres)
falafel, tahini, baked eggplant slices, humus grains, pickled peppers, thinly sliced sauteed zucchini, labane in olive-oil and pine seeds, fried cauliflower and more...

1986 Chateau Cheval Blanc
Shrimps "Shakshuka" - sauteed in olive-oil, peppers and tomato sauce
1990 Musigny, F. Mugnier
"Mishmishia" - Beef filet strips slowly cooked in apricot and crashed almonds sauce, served on a bed of Couscous
1983 Cote Rotie 'La Landonne', Guigal
Grilled fruits in vanilla ice-cream
1998 Riesling Maximin Grunhauser TBA, von Schubert

Chateau Cheval Blanc 1986 St. Emilion

5/2002. Brought by Amihai (Current market price $150).
COLOR: Medium-dark purple, some clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Amazing nose of ripe dark fruit, blooming flowers and strong spices. Clean and most enticing aromas, without the usual 'Bordeaux Nose' elements of tobacco, pencil tip or cedar. Fully forward but with no hint of age. In a blind tasting I would never have guessed this is a Bordeaux wine. Much more like a top Rhone.
TASTE: Extremely tasty and highly expressive wine on the palate. A strange combination of mature sweetish fruit, round and soft texture of St. Emilion and a noticeable touch of hardness by tannins that is still there. Poised, focused and elegant with intriguing contrasts between its elements. Fantastic!
LENGTH: Very long aftertaste with both ripe and dry elements in the finish.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full bodied wine. Ripe fruit, excellent structure and fine balanced. Perhaps in a few years the tannins will become even more harmonized, but this is a great wine right now.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!! I think this one is better now than the famous 1982.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Musigny 1990 F. Mugnier

5/2002. Bought in auction Feb-98 for $165 (Current market price $400).
My last bottle of this marvelous wine.
COLOR: Medium ruby color. Some clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Beautiful complex and deep nose. Semi-ripe red fruit surrounded by the most elegant 'Bourgogne Nose'. Elements of wood add depth to the wide spectrum of enticing aromas.
TASTE: Not only this wine is tasty and complex, it is the epitome of class and style on the palate. Multi-flavored and multi-layered, but in a delicate way that has to be savored. It is not an obvious in-your-face blockbuster, and it is neither an overly concentrated and extracted monster. Still, it is the most harmonious nectar that performs a great tap-dance with every taste bud in your mouth.
LENGTH: Very long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied wine of fine texture and great balance. If I had to use one word to describe this wine it would certainly be - elegance.
OVERALL: Outstanding! A great (B) that is approaching its peak.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Cote Rotie 'La Landonne' 1983 E. Guigal

5/2002. Brought by Eli. (Currant market price $450)
I never tasted the 1983 La Landonne before, but I can still remember the awesome 1983 La Mouline which was at its peak some 3-4 years ago.
COLOR: Still very dark. Noticeable clearing towards the rim. Plenty of sediment in the bottle.
NOSE: Majestic nose of very ripe fruit with definite notes of raw meat. Profound aromas of great depth and intensity.
TASTE: Mouth-filling and chewy on the palate almost as if it was a dish and not a wine. Laden with ripe fruit flavors and excellent winyness. Concentrated, tasty and extremely impressive. Yet, there are some dryish notes towards the finish. Grand as it is, this wine is a tad less wholesome than the '83 La Mouline was at its prime.
LENGTH: Very long impressive aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied immensely concentrated wine. Thick, chewy textured with solid backbone. Superbly balanced huge wine.
OVERALL:Outstanding! A great wine that is perhaps a year or two behind its peak.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Maximin Grunhauser TBA 1998 Carl von Schubert

5/2002. Brought by me and Eli (Current market price $250).
About a year ago we had this wine for the first time. It was a pure revelation then. So Eli and I set out to find more bottles of this rarity from the Mosel.
This Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling is made in minuscule quantities and only in the best vintages.
COLOR: Rich looking deep golden color.
NOSE: Profound aromas of pronounced honey with notes of minerals and citrus.
TASTE: Very sweet with searing acidity that cuts through the sweetness. This wine is very light in alcohol (7.5%). Both sweetness and acidity are heavily pronounced on the palate, but it is as if they come from two different sources within the wine. The wine is certainly not harmonious and the two contrasting elements are not yet blended.
This wine is still amazing but definitely less so than it was a year ago. How come? Well, the only reasonable explanation I can think of is that last year the wine still had a natural freshness which managed to bestow a delicate ethery aura on the whole wine.
LENGTH: Long long sweet & sour aftertaste that sings in the mouth forever.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Alcohol-wise this is a feather weight wine. But at four years of age it is already not there and not yet there... This wine has now passed the stage where its fruity freshness was prominent enough to cover the intense sweetness and acidity. In 5 [or 10] years time, when the sharp elements will mellow down and harmonize, I am sure this will become again a nectar of the gods.
OVERALL:Superb now but will no doubt get better with aging.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Reach Me? yak@yakshaya.com

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.