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Corton Charlemagne..... Tignanello..... Opus One.....


We had our good friends Amihai & Dafna and (the nowadays Europe-trotting) Yair Hajdu over for a full-fledged Friday night dinner at home.
As usual, Dorit produced the finest fare for a mid-summer Israeli evening. The wines too proved not to be too shabby ;)
Food, wine, atmosphere and conviviality were all of the finest quality, as was the evening as a whole.

Oriental Summer Shrimps Galore
(Shrimps marinated in soy, with asparagus ginger and chili, on a bed of sliced melon)
1996 Corton Charlemagne, Bonneau du Martray
Spaghettini ai Funghi con Tartufo
(Hair-thin Spaghetti with mushrooms and truffles)
1990 Tignanello, Antinori
Beef filet wrapped in Goose-breast slices and Portobello mushrooms
1991 Opus One, Mondavi-Rothschild
Mango Surprise
(Mango, whipped cream, meringue and passion fruit)

Corton Charlemagne 1996 B. du Martray

8/2003. Bought at auction Jul-01 for $80.
Bonneau du Martray is of one the very top producers of Corton Charlemagne - one of my favorite white (B). 1996 was an excellent vintage for white (and red) Burgundy.
COLOR: Medium golden color.
NOSE: Deep rich and wonderfully balanced nose. Not yet fully blown, but very enticing and elegant. Minerals abound as well as that unmistakable coolness of a steel knife that is so typical of the Corton Charlemagne unique terroir. Wood is there, but not overdosed at all.
TASTE: Majestic wine on the palate, though never losing its refined qualities. Dry minerals and white fruit flavors are finely balanced by refreshing acidity. Still young in every respect, but very tasty and impressive even now.
LENGTH: Extremely long aftertaste that indicates an even better future.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied white Burgundy. Well endowed wine that does justice to the CC appellation. Powerful yet very elegant. Superbly crafted and balanced.
OVERALL: Superb now, but will undoubtedly become outstanding in a few years time.
MARK: 18.5-19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Tignanello 1990 Antinori

8/2003. Bought at auction Nov-98 for $150 (current market price ~$200).
The first Super Tuscan single-vineyard 'hybrid' that was introduced by Antinori some 32 years ago. It is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard itself is hundreds of years old and was producing single-vineyard Chianti Classico for decades before the non-traditional varietals were introduced.
We have a special soft spot for this wine, as we were looking at the vineyard just outside our bedroom window for a whole week in the autumn of 2000.
COLOR: Medium ruby. Slight clearing towards the rim. Tons of sediment.
NOSE: Warm nose of red and black forest fruit. A touch of mature barnyard earthy tones add complexity to the already enticing aromas. Fully blown and and a pleasure to sniff at nose.
TASTE: Mouthfilling and luxurious on the palate. Mature fruity flavors with excellent winyness. The Sangiovese grape is very evident of course but this wine has so much more to it than any Chianti I have tasted. Delicious!
LENGTH: Long and pleasant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied fully mature wine. Wonderfully balanced with receding tannins and great harmony.
OVERALL: Superb. At or around its peak now. I don't think one should keep it for too long though.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Opus One 1991 Mondavi/Rothschild

8/2003. Brought by Yair Hajdu (current market price ~$300).
The now-over-twenty-years joint venture of Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Opus One is one of the most celebrated American wines. A Bordeaux-style melange of Cabernet Sauvignon (93%), Cabernet Franc (6%) and Merlot (1%).
A few years back I have tasted the 1994 rendition of this wine. It was extremely tannic to the point of being hardly drinkable and unsavory.
COLOR: Very dark purple, hardly any clearing around the rim and no noticeable sediment.
NOSE: A 'Wow!' nose here no doubt. Powerful, fruit-driven, complex and oaky. Nothing shy or hinting about this nose. A Bordeaux complexity amplified to California proportions. Everything it has sprout out of the glass, and it has a lot!. Impressive.
TASTE: As impressive on the palate as it is on the nose. Endless layers of semi ripe and mature fruit, immense concentration and winyness, hefty (but completely round) tannins and very clear sweet notes in the midpalate and finish.
LENGTH: Very long bitter-sweet aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full-bodied blockbuster wine. Deep, complex and expressive. Could use a bit more elegance finesse and harmony though.
OVERALL: Outstanding! A remarkable wine that is much more than your normal American fruit-bomb. Would I drink this wine often even if I could? Probably not.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Reach Me? yak@yakshaya.com

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Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.