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Chambertin..... La Landonne..... Grands Echezeaux..... Fonseca.....


It's been long time since we had a proper 'gourmet' dinner with truly great wines.
For Shavuot (Pentecost) evening dinner we were invited to our good friends Eli & Gilly.
The four of us sat in the pleasant spring evening breeze on their open balcony and had an unforgettable evening of superb food, great company and out-of-this-world wines.
Eli's generosity in choosing the wines for the evening is a hard act to follow. Gilly's imaginative and tasty creations were delightful. We all had a fantastic evening.
Four bottles between four people is a lot of wine. Some would say excessive. But if one is about to 'sin', I cannot think of a finer indulgence.

Roasted Peppers stuffed with Scallops and Feta cheese
Crepes stuffed with Peppers and Feta cheese
1985 Chambertin, A. Rousseau
Young Lamb and its Crown Ribs in the oven with potatoes fried in its fat
1985 Cote Rotie 'La Landonne', E. Guigal
Rich assortment of cheese
1966 Grands Echezeaux, Leroy
Meringue ______
Meringue and ice-cream with fresh forest fruits
1985 Vintage Port, Fonseca

Chambertin 1985 A. Rousseau

6/2003. Current market price $600.
The flagship Grand Cru from Domaine Armand Rousseau, and the yardstick by which all other Chambertins are measured. 1985 was a wonderful vintage in Burgundy, but after 18 years, only the best wines are still at their prime.
COLOR: Medium-dark ruby, noticeable clearing towards the rim, plenty of sediment.
NOSE: A wonderful manifestation of super-clean 'Bourgogne Nose'. A nose that had amazingly retained its fruitfulness and is so harmonious that it is hard to tell apart the primary, secondary and tertiary elements that are all there. Delicate more than it is robust. A thing of beauty.
TASTE: On the palate, the wine is a celebration of harmony. Semi-mature fruit, velvet winyness and layers of complex flavors that are totally integrated by now. Add to that the receding soft tannins, the correct acidity and the result is a delicious 'en point' wine.
LENGTH: Very long a multi-flavored finish.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied and generally on the softer and delicate side. In a blind tasting I would never have guessed this is a Gevrey Grand Cru. Something was missing in the backbone department. Though well focused and perfectly balanced I think this wonderful wine does not faithfully represent the terroir of Gevrey-Chambertin.
OVERALL: Outstanding! The wine is on its top plateau now, but will start its downwards journey soon. If you are lucky enough to have a bottle - don't wait, go for it.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Cote Rotie 'La Landonne' 1985 E. Guigal

6/2003. Current market price $500.
Another 18 years-old wine. This time from the stable of the Parker-loves-it style, superstar Marcel Guigal. The immorally-expensive La Landonne single vineyard from Cote Rotie.
COLOR: Very dark violet-red, hardly cleared around the rim. Plenty of sediment.
NOSE: Huge nose in every respect and dimension. Black fruit, chocolate, spices and meat. Plenty of raw red meat. Sweetish notes as well as those of oak. Nothing subtle about the nose here. Everything is amplified and impressive. Awesome! (I don't usually use Parker-kind adjectives in describing wines, but this time I can't think of a more appropriate one).
TASTE: Not to lag after the nose, the taste is mouthfilling and awe-inspiring. Big in every respect. Brilliant fruit, immensely concentrated winyness, very fine acidity, but still hard tannins. What this wine lacks in delicacy and complexity of flavors, it more than compensates in the sheer power, depth and concentration.
LENGTH: Never-ending aftertaste that is still marred by somewhat bitter tannins.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied blockbuster wine. More than just a fruit bomb of course. Much more. And although totally open and mature, it is surprising that after 18 years its tannins have not yet softened up to make it perfectly balanced.
OVERALL: Extraordinary!!. While mature and drinkable now, this wine will keep for ages. If at one point it will shed its finish hardness, this wine may well deserve a perfect marking.
MARK: 19.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Grands Echezeaux 1966 Leroy

6/2003. Current market price $220.
37 years-old red Burgundy?? Well, yes and no. Yes, this Vosne-Romanee Grand Cru was bottled 37 years ago. But the bottle was lying until very recently in the caves of Domaine Leroy. Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy sometimes decides to release wines that at the time were not deemed good enough to market (A few years ago I had a 1972 Savigny 1er Cru from Leroy that was just released by the Domaine). The labels on the bottle are new and consequently pristine-looking.
COLOR: Medium-light color, large clearing around the rim, tons of sediment.
NOSE: Ahh! Wow! Woot! Those were the sounds heard around the table when we first sniffed at this rare gem. If you ever had a really old and great (B) wine then you know what I am talking about. If you didn't - no words will help there.
So complex the nose is that it really defies description. Fruit is there, and not in traces! The nose is old, but nowhere near the 'convergence' stage. A unique and rare experience.
TASTE: On the palate there is unbelievable vigor. I doubt that anyone would have guessed the age of the wine in a blind tasting. Still fruity and totally harmonious. But perhaps a tiny bit lack in focus. Make no mistake! No 37 years-old (B) could taste like this one if it were not kept unmoved at the producer's cellars for all this time.
LENGTH: Very very long and reverberating aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full bodied, totally integrated and heavenly balanced. If you have a bottle it means it is no longer lying in Leroy's cellars, so drink it now.
OVERALL: Outstanding! And not only as a curios. An unforgettable experience.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Vintage Port 1985 Fonseca

6/2003. Current market price $60.
Funny enough we have had this very wine more than three years ago, when we invited for the first time our then-newly-found friends Eli & Gilly over for dinner at our home...
COLOR: Very dark, almost ink black. Opaque looking with no clearing around the rim.
NOSE: Deep rich nose of dark fruit, oranges, chocolate, raisins and what-not. So concentrated it is engulfing the senses. Quite forward and open at this stage, but not yet totally harmonized.
TASTE: Impossible not to give in to the hedonistic pleasure every sip provides. Thick and chewy, yet the sweetness is so well balanced by the pleasant acidity and the myriad of flavors. A real celebration in the mouth.
LENGTH: Everlasting lingering finish [like most vintage port have].
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full-bodied viscous nectar. Deep, concentrated, super-rich yet perfectly balanced.
OVERALL: Outstanding! Perfectly enjoyable and rewarding experience now. Will be even more so in 5-10 years.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? yes.

Reach Me? yak@yakshaya.com

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Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.