Yep, the place still has me licking my chops, both before and after and yes, distinguished readers, I'd still make the drive all the way from Tel Aviv. A few very informal notes from memory, because any attempt to write notes would have marred the moment.
Antinori, Tignanello, 1999
I remember a tasting at WineRoute a couple of years ago that wound up as a showdown between Old and new World Italian wines. The Tignanello 1999 impressed me at the time as hovering somewhere in the middle, smooth and smoky in a modern way yet with a distinctly Tuscan personality. Two years on, it's more of the same except this particular bottle opened with so much mildew on the nose we were worried about TCA, except TCA never quite goes away, does it, and in this case, the mildew was eventually absorbed into the succulent red fruit. At any rate, this particular bottle seemed less impressive than the one I'd had two years ago.
Antinori, Brunello, Pian Dell Vigne, 1997
Modern and elegant, with a chcolate-y overlay over the smooth black fruits. In fact it's too smooth for my tastes, as I always look for something to upset the applecart and make things more interesting and complex. And thus, it paled in comparison with the next wine.
Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello, Vigna del Fiore, 1997
The two Brunellos were served as a flight and if the Pian Dell Vigne had any fighting chance with us Old World lovers, this matching killed it. A very traditional and complex wine. Most likely in need of further time. This is Barbi's flagship Brunello and it's not available in Israel. Thanks, Ran, keep this up and I might start to think that you like me.
Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, 2000
Brought by our dependable Bordeaux candy man. A very classic wine, that demonstrates my favorite trait of Bordeaux wines of this level of quality: a nonchalant elegance that almost convinces you every wine should be this good until the glass is empty and you're forced back to reality.
Frescobaldi, Lamoine, 1997
You know all the things people who hate Merlot hate about Merlot? Well, take them out of the equation and leave in everything else that defines Merlot, turn the intensity dial up to 8 or 9 and what you've got is the Lamoine. This is a wine that should make me re-think my attitude towards Super Tuscans.
Chateau Gruaud-Larose, St. Julien, 1989
The final wine, as usual, finds my plate and brain too tired to write sensible tasting notes even had I not decided against writing any to begin with. Besides, I don't have enough experience with Bordeaux to judge it in context. But I am grateful for an opportunity to taste another mature claret. It was an experience beyond what the wine as a wine had to offer and was an apt culmination of a wonderful night.