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Yair Margalit..... Barbaresco..... Ornellaia..... Patrimo..... Ice Wine.....


We and our friends Oded and Nitza were invited for Friday night dinner at Migry and Pietro's home.
An endless array of delicious dishes were prepared by Migry (and Pietro). These were accompanied by some really interesting good wines.
A delightful tasty and fun evening that we all enjoyed (Except for the fact that there was too much food and too much wine, for which I at least am paying the price the next day).

Beef Fillet with truffles a l'Alba
1993 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yair Margalit
Truffled eggs
1998 Barbaresco, Giacosa Fratelli
Gnocchi a la Piedmontaise
1996 Ornellaia, L. Antinori
Beef Stroganoff with Pilaf Rice
1999 Patrimo, Feudi di San Gregorio
Mango Tart Tattin
1999 Founder's Signature Ice Wine, Peller

Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 Yair Margalit

9/2002. Brought by Oded (Almost impossible to find. About $100 if you find one).
It has been a while since I last tasted this controversial one-of-a-kind vintage of Yair Margalit's 1993 Cab.
COLOR: Starting to show its age with brownish hues added to the deep ruby.
NOSE: Concentrated ripe black fruit with unmistakable sweet jammy scent. Secondary aromas add to the complexity of the nose.
TASTE: Extremely concentrated and sweet. Reasonable winyness with the natural fruit almost masked by the sweet marmalade dominating flavor. Quite harmonious and silky with soft receding tannins. Unnaturally sweet and a bit one-dimensional, but you can't take away this wine's obvious characteristic - this is a one damn tasty wine...
LENGTH: Medium-long sweet aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied thick-textured wine. Overly concentrated and lacking in depth. But now, in its 9th year from the vintage, it has acquired a very nice balance and harmony.
OVERALL: Fine. An unusual wine that - for better or worse - is now at its peak.
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Barbaresco 1998 Giacosa Fratelli

9/2002. Contributed by Pietro (Current market price about $20).
A simple but drinkable Barbaresco that I have tasted and enjoyed a few times in the past.
COLOR: Lighter ruby red.
NOSE: Simple clean nose of red fruit that is still somewhat tight.
TASTE: Nothing to write home about, neither good nor bad. A bit too acidic, but apart from that quite drinkable. Probably too young at any rate.
LENGTH: Medium-short finish that is a touch sour.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Light bodied wine with reasonable winyness, no great concentration and a bit too acidic for balance.
OVERALL: Good-Plus. The 1989 that I tasted at 7 years of age was much better. So perhaps this one will improve with 3-4 more years.
MARK: 16.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Ornellaia 1996 L. Antinori

9/2002. Contributed by Pietro. (Currant market price about $60)
The famous Bordeaux-type Super Tuscan wine made by Lodovico Antinori at Bolgheri. I have recently tasted the 1990 which was fabulous.
COLOR: Medium-dark violet red.
NOSE: Somewhat muted but very elegant nose. Discernible black forest-fruit with some tobacco and tar.
TASTE: Elegant and stylish on the palate, though not flamboyant or showy. Fruit is there, though a bit thin. Good winyness grip and focus. Not lacking in charm and probably too young for me to pass verdict on.
LENGTH: Long and pleasant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied well made wine from a less-than-perfect vintage. Round tannins and measured acidity combine together with the medium fruit to deliver a very well balanced wine.
OVERALL: Very Fine but not more. May improve for a few more years though is perfectly drinkable now.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Patrimo 1999 Feudi di San Gregorio

9/2002. Contributed by Pietro (Current market price $70-$85).
I don't think I ever tasted wine from Campania. I certainly have not tasted any serious wine from that southern part of Italy.
This extraordinary wine has the earmark of a 'Super Campania' in the making. It is a pure Merlot and thus not even entitled to a DOC pedigree. The IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) it holds is a misnomer of course (Merlot, typical grape of Campania region?). But never mind the Italian wine-laws logic. Let's get on with the wine.
COLOR: As jet black as the darkest looking wines I ever saw.
NOSE: Huge nose that attracts your senses immediately. Commanding nose that is a blend of wild fruit, strong earthy elements and an unusual, almost narcotic, quality to its aroma. Extremely impressive if still not altogether forward.
TASTE: Again, highly commanding on the palate. Merlot? nothing of the warm flowery qualities of this grape here. Blockbusting flavors, huge structure and hard tannins. Superb grip and focus, but not enough winyness to support them. The wine is very impressive, even awe inspiring. But at least to my taste it really lacks in the charm department.
LENGTH: Infinitely long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied monster that feels heftier than its 13.5% alcohol suggests. Super structure, high concentration and multi-dimensional. Yet not winey enough and a bit lacking in acidity. Obviously a baby at this stage. But what an impressive baby.
OVERALL: Superb. If further aging will result in smoother winyness, this wine may reach much higher spheres. I would love to taste another bottle in 3-4 years.
MARK: 18.5-19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Founder's Ice Wine 1999 Peller Estate

9/2002. Contributed by Pietro.
I have tasted Canadian dessert Icewine once or twice in the past, but these were probably of low quality and I didn't really like them.
Pietro and Migry who have recently visited the Ontario region brought back a Vidal specimen they said is fantastic.
COLOR: The deepest shining gold color imaginable.
NOSE: Pure lychees immediately apparent. After a while the nose becomes a bit heavier, more like apricots. No grapes or vineyard aromas.
TASTE: Smooth sweet (actually very sweet) drink that is very tasty but lacks the German or Alsatian acidity to cut through the sweetness. Mouthfilling, reasonably delicate and not heavy or sticky. Tasty for sure, but more as a light-drink than as a serious wine.
LENGTH: Long sweet aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-bodied at 10% alcohol. Thick textured and concentrated, but single-layered and not particularly complex.
OVERALL: Very Good. Good stuff for what it is. But cannot be compared with the top European dessert wines.
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.