75% Bourgogne or Sperss-way To My Heart (Feb. 19, 2010)

The Winter Burgundy Evening chez Hagit Koren is a tradition by now. This year we aimed too high. The idea was to limit the reds to Grand Crus. Well, turns out we just don't have enough drinkable Grand Crus between us. Thus, a ringer was pulled in, but as you will see shortly, this is a ringer that no wine lover in his right mind would ever turn away.

Morey-Blanc, Meursault Premier Cru, Genevrieres, 1999

This is a love song to the Burgundian ideal, with enough complexity for a Grand Cru. The nose plays a short game of hide-and-seek before fully unfurling a complex portrait etched in gunpowder, pears and hints of sea shells. The palate is just as good: long, deep and focused with a lingering, saline finish and subtly integrated oak. Sublime.

WineRoute, about 500 NIS and just about worth it. Thanks, Hagit.

Rene Engel, Grand Echezaux Grand Cru, 1996

An anti-Establishment wine, from the murky orange-brown color that would get it disbarred from the New World, to the rusty tannins that are gruff-yet-elegant in a Clint Eastwood fashion. In between are a complex nose of earth, leather and sour cherries and a deep, flavorsome palate of fair, if not outstanding, length. This bottle is surprisingly very, very ready to drink.

Bought in the US for about 125 USD and, as such, amazing QPR.

Chateau de la Tour, Clos de Vogeout Grand Cru, Vieilles Vignes, 1996

Much more firmly entrenched in the mainstream. The color, the nose, the palate - they're all much more clearly delineated, more obvious and less interesting as it were. The style is different - it's fruitier, the fruit being more black, the Pinot spicing is different, the character and weight of the earth tone is different - yet the style in itself is just fine, it's just that personality-wise, this wine is too tame. For current drinking.

Price unknown. Thanks, Ran.

Gaja, Langhe, Sperss, 1997

This was a totally unexpected surprise. Granted, Oron Stern didn't have a drinkable Grand Cru in stock and decided to sub with a Barolo, but throwing in such an expensive one almost goes beyond the call of friendship. If the previous two wines were like weathered country dons, this is a city slicker - sleek in a modern way, yet restrained in a way few New Worlders ever are. The nose is very shy at first, hinting at nail polish and red fruit bordering on black, then it suddenly throws a sneaky overhand right and wham! in come smoke and raspberries. The palate, even when closed down, immediately impresses as being very high class and balanced with polished tannins that are so finely integrated into the fruit they feel softer than they really are. Still a youngster.

Imported WineRoute, I think this was priced at around 1000 NIS. Many thanks, Oron.

This was such a great night, the best epitaph I can conjure is dedicating it to the most romantic niches of our collective hearts.