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Brunel, Cuvee Centenaire..... Chateau Lafite..... Leroy, Clos Vougeot..... Taylor, Vintage Port.....


Dinner at home in honor of Arthur and Jilly, our good friends from Ireland who came to Israel for a short visit.
Eli and Gilly were also invited, as well as our dear old friend Ossi from London [also on a short home visit].
Dorit really outdid herself with the food, the wines were simply out of this world, the company convivial and stimulating and the atmosphere relaxed.
We have had many great dinners at home in the past, but this one will surely count among the very best.

Homemade Fettuccine with Truffles on Gooseliver Sauce
1990 CdP 'Les Cailloux' Cuvee Centenaire, Brunel
Fresh Mushrooms Soup
1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
Sweetbread with Potatoes and Portobello Mushrooms in Port Sauce
1988 Clos de Vougeot, Dom. Leroy
Cheese Plate
Tempura of Dried Figs filled with Almonds and Nuts
1963 Vintage Port, Taylor

Four different wines, from four different wine region. Each represented the region typicity in a way that can hardly be topped. I seriously doubt that we ever had an evening with better wines...

CdP 'Les Cailloux' C. Centenaire 1990 Brunel

11/2002. Brought by Eli [current market price about $320].
I have had this extremely rare 'Cuvee Centenaire' [again, courtesy of Eli] about a year ago and was left speechless. This Chateauneuf du Papes is made from Grenache vines that are over 100 years-old.
COLOR: Medium-dark ruby red, some clearing around the rim, tons of sediment.
NOSE: A celebration of wild aromas and bouquet bursting out of the glass. Black fruit, spices, raw meat, earth tones, mushrooms, leather and whatnot. You name it - it is there. Huge, rich, impressive, forward and wild. The kind of nose that will have its imprint on your memory for a long time.
TASTE: Not one bit less impressive than the nose. Rich, mouthfilling and multi-dimensional. Flavors that range from ripe black fruit to fleshy beef to oriental spices. All blended in a rustic yet superbly balanced way. Receding tannins and excellent acidity. Immensely tasty.
LENGTH: Very long and a touch sweetish aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: A blockbuster wine though not a fruit bomb. 'Awesome' in the good sense of the word. Rich and deep and wonderfully concentrated. Perfectly balanced too.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!! For me at least, this is the ultimate Chateauneuf du Papes. At its peak now.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? I wish I could afford to.

Ch. Lafite Rothschild 1986 Pauillac

11/2002. Bought at auction, Aug-95 for $130 [current market price about $300].
As most of my readers know, I rarely drink Bordeaux. I bought this bottle more than seven years ago. At that time it was claimed to be the wine of the 1986 vintage.
I tasted the wine once, almost four years ago, and have found it then to be superb, but clearly too young.
We decanted the wine about two hours before we got to drink it.
COLOR: Medium purple-red, some clearing around the rim and some sediment on the bottle.
NOSE: Super stylish nose, if a bit subdued in comparison with the previous Brunel. Aromas of semi-ripe black fruit and wild flowers, surrounded by elegant tones of cedar and tobacco. Beautiful, deep and harmonious nose.
TASTE: As elegant a wine on the palate as you can think of. Concentrated fruity flavors, excellent winyness and wonderful focus. Smooth as silk with round tannins and just the right amount of acidity. Very expressive and deliciously tasty.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full bodied wine of unmistakable breed. Silky texture solid backbone and truly amazing balance. An exquisite wine.
OVERALL: Outstanding+ !. Can be fully enjoyed now but will improve for some years.
MARK: 19-19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? At the original price I paid? no doubt.

Clos de Vougeot 1988 Dom. Leroy

11/2002. Brought by Eli [current market price about $370].
As I have said here more than once, Clos Vougeot is IMHO a Grand Cru in pedigree but not in quality. This huge vineyard [in Burgundy terms] spreads from the top of the hill down to the valley road. Add to this the fact that the vineyard is divided between more than 80 different owners, and it is not difficult to understand why Clos de Vougeot is often inconsistent and very varied in quality.
Well, as far as the producer here, there is not a shinier superstar in the Cote d'Or than Domaine Leroy.
COLOR: Medium ruby color. Thin clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Wonderfully sensual aroma of ripe red fruit with the cleanest of 'Bourgogne Nose' around it. One sniff transforms you into a perfumed ethery world of subtle elements that are beyond description.
TASTE: If the Cuvee Centenaire was wild and penetrating, the Ch. Lafite the epitome of style and elegance, this Clos Vougeot here is a specimen of voluptuousness and complex delicacy. Multi-layered and concentrated [though not immensely so], with fine winyness. Excellent grip with tasty flavors, soft tannins and good acidity. Excellent!
LENGTH: Very long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full body, bright and clear texture and superb focus and balance. Ultimate winemaking is showing through every aspect of this wine.
OVERALL: Outstanding! By far the best Clos Vougeot I ever had. I have had a few better (B) in my life, but they all came from more exalted vineyards. There's a limit to what even the illustrious Lalou Bize-Leroy can do...
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Not sure [even if I could afford it].

Vintage Port 1963 Taylor

11/2002. Bought at auction Feb-2000 for $270 [current market price about $220].
When I get to taste a top-level mature port from a great vintage I always feel transformed. They are indeed an otherworldly experience...
Decanted the wine for about three hours before we got to it.
COLOR: At almost forty years, this port is still dark ruby-red with no hint of browning. Of course, a lot of sediment.
NOSE: Deep, penetrating nose of fantastic complexity. Chocolate, coffee, orange [Gilly said 'Grand Marnier'], flowers and a core of mature fruit.
TASTE: Each sip translates into a mouthful of richly sweet nectar. The complexity of flavors is unimaginable. Dried red fruit in the middle, with so many nuances around it. Completely forward and immensely concentrated. Yet it never feels heavy. A celestial harmony!
LENGTH: Infinitely long and complex aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied and extremely alcoholic [no indication found on the label, but I will not be surprised if it is 20% or more]. Tannins still there but have harmoniously blended with everything else. Fine structure and perfect balance.
OVERALL: Divine!!! I'd have to let me taste this '63 Taylor side by side with other Vintage Ports I gave maximum score to, in order to see if I overdid it.
MARK: 20/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.