Sitting In A Tel Aviv Garden - Informal Dinner at Catit (Sept. 23, 2009)

Eight of us gathered in the bastion of local haut cuisine to partake of Catit's garden menu. Let's face it, as creative as Meir Adoni can be, Catit is hardly free of pretension that comes with a high price tag, and thus the garden menu is a chance to experience Catit without administrating an electrical shock to the bank account.

It wasn't an easy menu to match with wines, especially not red wines.

I had a really witty line about the perils of matching white fish with Alion, but I forgot to write it down with my notes and now it's lost forever. Anyway, it wasn't my faux pas anyway; I went for the sinta.

Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet, 2004

Recently, even villages from the 2004 vintage are too young for my tastes and here the scented oak is overwhelming on both nose and palate. But its mineral cut and saline finish are very nice indeed and it should be a very decent wine in two-three years.

Imported by WineRoute, the price I think is around 200 NIS.

Domaine Arlaud, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2004

Starts out very fruity and flowery and then in time adds a dash of typical Bourgogne spices to the mix. As you would expect from a Grand Cru, the palate is better than the nose but despite its punch, it comes off stylistically more like a Chambolle or a Volnay than a Chambertin.

Imported by WineRoute, price unknown but I'd guess 600-700 NIS.

Chateau Lascombes, Margaux 2me Cru, 2001

I love how a well-made claret balances black fruits with red and this is a solid example. The nose is not complex but is a very pretty creature that will soothe you even if it won't make you tingle and is handsomely lacquered with notes of ash. The palate is rather rougher and shows its youth. Purchased for 50 Euros at the Anatalya duty-free and as I am wary of aging wines purchased at such places, I erred on the side of caution when I brought it on this occasion, some three years earlier than I should have. It's drinking nicely, though.

Ceretto, Bricco Rocce, Barolo, Prapo, 1989

It's hard for me to place or label the nose but the palate is long, balanced, with juicy acidity, and is subtly spicy and earthy on the finish where the lively fruit flares up. Know what? I will try to describe the nose, after all: orange peels and wet coals. And wonderfully idiosyncratic.

Aldo Conterno, Barolo, Cicala, 2001

The nose is more forward and complex than the Prapo but the palate lacks acidity and is over-sweet for me. There is a note of chocolate on the nose that is overbearing but it is tempered by a whiff of tobacco leaves.

Alion, Ribera Del Duero, 2001

This was the only wine not served blind and as Danny Galil (of Mersch) poured it, I told him I was waiting for an Alion that I would actually love. This is it. The nose starts off with a ravishing bottle stink, but adds more elegant embellishments. The palate is modern, yes, but in a tastefully fruity way, with a smoky minerality on the finish.