Here's an old joke:
The phone rings at the Bellows' residence at ten in the evening. Dr. Bellows answers. It's Dr. Silver on the other end of the line. "Jack, we need another hand for poker", Dr. Silver says, "Dr. Meyers, Dr. Levine and Dr. Berkovitz are already here."
"I'll be right there", Dr. Bellows answers and picks up his coat.
"Who was that on the phone? Are you going out?" asks his wife.
"It's the hospital", her husband answers, "there's an emergency operation and they've already called in four specialists."
I felt that way this Wednesday when Ran Shapira phoned to say he's convening an emergency wine tasting at Porterhouse. Or rather, "the shrine", as he called it.
Porterhouse is a meat restaurant near Kadima, in the Sharon area, a few kilometers north of Kfar-Saba. This was my first time there and, oh momma, "the shrine" is a very apt name indeed. I can't single out any specific cut, I just enjoyed getting in touch with my carnivore self in a meal whose only concession to health was a few measly baby greens.
It really did not hurt to have good wines to drink.
Jos. Christoffel Jr., Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Auslese, 1971
This wine reminded me of something Terry Thiese wrote about aged German Rieslings: that the mature flavor manifests as a singe around the edge of the fruit. This felt as though the fruit was lightly fried in kerosene and sugar. Very pure and amazingly fresh on the palate, albeit without any significant complexity. We didn't have a lot of luck with the serving temperature, served too warm at first then cooled down too much, so maybe we missed something. Still, an experience.
Jean-Luc Colombo, Cornas, "Les Ruchets", 1999
The nose is brett paradise: deep, sweet barnyard aromas over black fruits, with notes of burnt rubber. It might be over the top in that respect to anyone would be offended by brett but I loved it with a passion. A balanced palate, with ample acidity and excellent length, good grip, no holes in the middle. I expected a more modern wine but was so glad to be wrong.
Chateau Kirwan, Margaux, 1999
A lovely wine, a bit disjointed, at least at first, with the fruit and acidity not integrated yet and bitter on the finish. Still, it comes together in glass and presents lovely fruit, is quite long and the nose is elegant and complex.
Chateau Smith Haut Lafite, Pessac Leognan, 1998
I really loved the nose. With its delicate fruit, mildew, mushrooms and coffee, I mistook it for Rioja, foolishly airing my opinion. Just a bit austere. The meat distracted me from making a more detailed note, so I apologize, this lovely wine deserves better.
Notice how my notes are getting shorter? Now then, the next wine would probably have been the wine of the night in any other circumstances, but though I enjoyed sniffing the glass of Aldo Conterno, Barolo, Colonello, 1997 that was used to lower the shoulders, when we finally drunk the wine, my palate was ailing and fatigued. It drank well, I knew it was great, I just couldn't focus on the details. Just imagine an excellent Barolo accompanying the steak of my dreams.