Three of us had brought wines we had deemed suitable for a lamb roast and no one quite wanted to be 'demoted' to the cheese plate. This is but one of the myriad quandaries of the wine geek! Good thing I kept my day job!
Rene Rostaing, Cote Rotie, Cuvee Classique, 2000
This has a nose that cried out to be matched for the lamb, with aromas of roasted meat and herbs over a gentle background of black cherries. The palate is very Old World, elegant with great acidity yet the fruit is somehow a bit too shy. An interesting wine and very appealing to me personally, though I must admit it was overshadowed by the next Cote Rotie.
Rostaing used to be imported by WineRoute but no more. Cost about 300 NIS about four years ago when the exchange rate was 1 USD = 4.5 NIS.
Guigal, Cote Rotie, Chateau d'Ampuis, 2001
This is a much more extroverted wine than the Rostaing that tries to be a posh wine for the upper class, albeit without top-notch elegance. It displays a spiciness that seems borne of expensive oak and quality fruit - the fruit lending, among other things, a gentle acidity that grows in glass. But in the end, though it was objectively a better wine than the Rostaing, it doesn't have its charm.
Imported by WineRoute, price unknown (though I could check).
Roger Sabon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Prestige, 2001
The cheese platter wine.
Not ready! Although it sports attention-grabbing, herbal-tinged aromatics, the palate is disjointed: there is plenty of tannins yet that are matched by the fruit extract but its admittedly fine acidity only comes in the finish, stranding the middle and rending it drying and unfriendly.
Sabon has been imported by WineRoute since the 2004 vintage.
The preliminaries were arguably more interesting.
Domaine des Baumard, Loire, Savennieres, Clos du Papillon, 2005
An elegant, albeit reserved nose was a promising start: white fruits and chalk, with a late arrival hint of flint, painted a Burgondian tapestry. The palate? Well I've been testing the waters with Giaconda's Loire whites and this, like the Domaine du Closel, Savennieres, La Jalousie, 2006 is so tight, the fruit so shy, my experience so limited, I can only say it seems to me like a good prospect for cellaring because of its length and structure. But it's a frustrating drink right now.
Giaconda import, 171 NIS.
The highlight of the evening was foie gras paired with a Tokaji.
Oremus, Tokaji Aszu, 5 Puttonyos, 1999
A pure delight, an orange marmalade laces with smoky spices, which I think is well in the midst of a robust maturity. The Hungarian label is still Greek to me, but the instructions are simple: pour, sip, swallow, repeat.