Less than a week after returning from our grand trip to Asia-Pacific, we were invited to our friends Eli and Gilly for an impromptu Friday night dinner.
Our hosts insisted on serving the wines blind, so that we - Dorit and myself - will have a chance to show our ignorance and make complete fools of ourselves [Just joking of course. They really wanted us to taste and evaluate the wines without any prejudice].
Apparently we never tasted any of the three wines before, so there was no way we could guess them, but they both seemed happy with our blind-man assessment of the juices :)
Sitting in their balcony on a fine autumn night, eating and drinking delicious stuff and recounting our trip with the aid of about 160 pictures, was a pleasurable experience as is always the case with these two.
2002 Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau Golan
Spare Ribs with potatoes [A whole rib cage roasted by Eli in their Tabun]
1992 Chateauneuf du Papes 'Marie Beurrier', Henri Bonneau
Cheese selection [Epoisse, Pont L'Eveque, Munster, Gruyere and more...]
1995 El Pison, Artadi
Sorbets and Fruits
10/2003. Not available in shops. Cost Eli about $30 at the winery.
Our guess - A Sauvignon Blanc but Old World rather than New Zealand style. Well, not too bad a guess...
A first release of Sauvignon Blanc by this relatively new and highly pretentious Israeli winery situated in the south of the Golan Heights [not to be confused with the well established Golan Wineries!].
Israeli white wines are always problematic. The hot climate does not allow for natural acidity to develop. The heavier Chardonnay wines are often clumsy and the lighter varietals usually lack substance and balance.
COLOR: Medium-light yellow.
NOSE: Distinctly floral and a touch sweetish nose with clear grassy Sauvignon Blanc character. Very young and fresh yet stylish and penetrating. Very nice nose.
TASTE: Completely dry on the palate. A touch austere but flavorful with good backbone, reasonable depth and astonishing acidity for an Israeli wine.
LENGTH: Medium-long lemony aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-light body, elegant, very good fruit, excellent structure, really well balanced.
OVERALL: Very Fine. An extremely well-made one for an Israeli white wine.
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
|CdP 'Marie Beurrier'
10/2003. Current market price about $140.
Our guess - South Rhone. Not bad at all...
I think that after a truly great Burgundy, my most favorite wines are the top class Chateauneuf du Papes.
1992 was perhaps the worse vintage of the 90s almost anywhere in France, the Rhone valley not excluded. Having this gem at 11 years of age proves the fallacy of generalizing over vintages. Great winemakers [and Henri Bonneau is certainly among the very best] can produce great wines from great vineyards even in mediocre vintage. They don't always do so, but this bottle is one prime example of what happens when they do.
COLOR: Dark fleshy color. Some clearing around the rim. Noticeable sediment on the bottle.
NOSE: Fantastic nose of dark fruit, prunes, meat, earth and plenty of spices. Wood tones that are complimentary and not overshadowing. Really enticing.
TASTE: Simply delicious! Multi-flavored deep and concentrated on the palate. Sweetish notes with layers of fruit and winyness. Mouthfilling and wholesome. Went superbly with the spare-ribs.
LENGTH: Very long and reverberating and full-of-flavors aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied but not a hefty wine. Lusciously textured and supremely balanced wine with receding tannins and perfect acidity.
OVERALL: Outstanding! A better wine and at a fraction of the price of the more illustrious 1988 'Reserve de Celestain' I had a year ago.
MARK: 19/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
10/2003. Current market price about $150.
Our guess - Dorit said Burgundy, I said Northern Rhone. I would never have guessed this is a Spanish wine, and a Rioja at that!
I never had El Pison before, so when Eli revealed this is a Rioja wine we could hardly believe it.
COLOR: Very dark brownish-red. Very slight clearing towards the rim. No sediment on the bottle.
NOSE: Profound, uninhibited, nose of raw meat. Like a good steak would smell just before being put on the grill. Concentrated fruit and plenty of oak. Not a sign of the signature 'dusty' aroma of Tempranillo, yet Eli swears this is a 100% Tempranillo wine. Whatever... This wine smells good. Very good.
TASTE: Very tasty though a touch drier and more restrained than the nose. Stylish and elegant yet very concentrated and winey. Complex fruit, fine tannins and good acidity.
LENGTH: Long and pleasant aftertaste.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium bodied fine textured wine. Winemaking is obviously top class here as this still-young wine has solid backbone and perfect balance.
OVERALL: Superb. Clean, impressive, modern, though unlike any Tempranillo I have tasted before.
MARK: 18.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.
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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.