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Jayer, Vosne-Romanee..... Meo-Camuzet, Cros Parantoux..... Bonneau, Reserve des Celestines..... Huet, Vouvray.....


We, together with our friends Eli and Gilly, were invited over for dinner to Kuti and Sharon's house.
This time everyone but Dorit and myself took part in preparing the excellent dinner. Our only duty was to enjoy ourselves, and so we did.
The wines were contributed by Kuti, who is a very serious collector.
The food was superb, the atmosphere wonderfully convivial, and the wines extremely interesting.

Fillet of Grouper in white wine sauce
1993 Vosne-Romanee, Henry Jayer
Saddle of young lamb in herbs
1989 Vosne-Romanee 'Cros Parantoux', Meo-Camuzet
Assorted Cheese
1988 CdP 'Reserve des Celestines', Henry Bonneau
Crepes Suzette
1971 Vouvray 'Clos du Bourg' Moelleux, G. Huet

Vosne-Romanee 1993 Henry Jayer

10/2002. I think this bottle was brought by Eli.
Excuse me for foegoing the usual structured description of this wine. Because drinking it was a developing story:
We (that is myself, Dorit, Gilly and Sharon) knew nothing about this wine. We were given glasses and asked to try and guess it 'double blind'.
Upon sniffing at it it was clear this is a good Burgundy. An expressive and well developed Cote de Nuits nose. A Grand Cru?.
On the palate it was very well structured, with good grip, discernible tannins and pronounced acidity. But there was something hollow there. Clearly lacking in winyness in proportion to the structure.
Still, it must be a good producer and I was still thinking a Grand Cru or at least a top 1er Cru. Surely not Chambolle-Musigny or Morey-St. Denis or Clos Vougeot. The structure implies Gevrey-Chambertin or Vosne-Romanee. But something was missing in this wine. Aha!! I know! A good wine by a good winemaker but from a bad year!
A 'Villages' wine by a great winemaker like Henry Jayer was just not something I would have thought of in a 1000 years. But perhaps I shouldn't be so harsh on myself. The structure and the expression had the earmarks of a good wine from a good hand. I thought the vintage was responsible for the lack of stuffing, but it turned out the grapes are to 'blame' not the year. Well, not too much off the mark considering I very rarely drink village wines.
OVERALL: Fine. Without doubt the best 'Villages' (B) I ever tasted [not that I tasted many].
MARK: 17.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Vosne-Romanee 'Cros Parantoux' 1989 Meo-Camuzet

10/2002. This was presented by Kuti and we all knew what we were drinking.
One of the best (B) I ever had was a 1989 Richebourg by Meo-Camuzet. I also had a much less thrilling 1988 'Les Chaumes' from the same producer.
Now this celebrated Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru bears more than a passing relation to the previous wine. The names of Henry Jayer, Meo-Camuzet and the vineyard of Cros Parantoux are linked by the intricate, almost incomprehensible, system of who-owns-what and who-works-whose-plot in the Cote d'Or...
COLOR: Medium ruby red, some clearing around the rim.
NOSE: One unusual aromatic element jumped out of the glass with the first sniff. All six of us were positive it is there. I wonder if anyone had ever found it in a wine. If so, please write me about it.
I am not sure they have it in your neck in the wood, but in Israel we have a kind of hard flat stick-like candy that is coated with sesame seeds. Now this wine smelled exactly like that candy!
At first it was an interesting curiosity. But with time this sesame thing overshadowed everything else and caused an unbalanced nose that began to interfere with the otherwise fine taste.
TASTE: Less structured than the previous Jayer village, but with much better 'filling', winyness and balance. Ripe fruit, receding tannins and measured acidity are well integrated with the mature fruity flavors. Pity that after a while, the overbearing sesame nose started to interfere with the otherwise excellent taste.
LENGTH: Long and well balanced aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied fine-textured wine with strange unbalanced nose but very well balanced taste.
OVERALL: Very Fine. This is compromise between the superb taste and the exaggerated nose.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

CdP 'Reserve des Celestines' 1988 H. Bonneau

10/2002. Also presented [not blind] by Kuti.
My first taste of this celebrated Chateauneuf du Papes by Henry Bonneau. I know this special cuvee is very highly regarded (and is extremely expensive), so I was looking forward to tasting this one.
COLOR: Dark impressive violet-black color. Thin clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Pronounced warm nose of dark fruit spices and earth. Not bursting out of the glass but still, quite impressive.
TASTE: Classy, elegant and stylish on the palate. Deep flavors with nice fruit, reasonable (though not 'awesome') winyness and good concentration. Still a bit tannic and perhaps a bit monotonous on the palate due to the single varietal (Grenache) used. Excellent though not great.
LENGTH: Very long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and quite extravagant. At 14 years I would have expected a top CdP to be fully integrated. Though well endowed, some ingredients are more pronounced than others..
OVERALL: Superb. To be honest, I was expecting more. But 1988 was not as good as '89 or '90 for CdP. So perhaps I should reserve judgement till I have a chance to taste from a better vintage...
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Vouvray 'Clos du Bourg' Moelleux 1971 Huet

10/2002. Another you-guess-it wine poured by Kuti. This time a dessert wine.
Well, surprisingly enough, I guessed it. Not from experience or knowledge, rather by a process of elimination plus a very lucky and wild educated guess.
Not a German wine, not Alsatian, not a Sauternes. The grapes seemed different from what we are usually exposed to. And the acidity, so fresh and penetrating. Could it be a Loire wine? Not a Sancerre, but a Chenin Blanc Vouvray type?
When I said I was reminded of a curious wine I once had - a 1971 Huet, Vouvray 'Clos du Bourg' - Kuti could not contain himself anymore and said "This is a 1971 Huet 'Clos du Bourg'!".
I really don't know why this wine came to my mind. The one we had was bone-dry, but with similar honeyed flavor and searing acidity.
OK, enough bragging and on to the wine...
COLOR: Brownish gold honey color.
NOSE: Flowers and semi-hard [apricot?] ripe fruit on the nose. Deep, quite complex, and unusual. Nothing about the nose hints of a wine over 30 years old!
TASTE: Sweet, but not extremely so. Deep flavors with a definite touch of honey. Wonderfully refreshing acidity. Again, nothing old about this wine though everything on the palate is by now perfectly harmonized.
LENGTH: Very long sweet aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-body and structure. Heavier than most German wines but lighter than Sauternes or Alsatian SGN. Superbly balanced.
OVERALL: Superb. Unusual (in the positive, not the weird sense) old wine that doesn't smell feel or taste old.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.