The occasion: our friends Ina and Yahali Sherman's 22nd wedding anniversary.
The place: Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. Makom Shel Basar, which translates literally as "a place of meat", which is an apt description indeed. A different setting and style as compared to my regular haunt Porterhouse, but same motif: meat, meat and more meat.
The wines: see memo below.
Ishmael Arroyo, Ribera Del Duero, Reserva, 2001
This wasn't my bottle but since Yahali consulted with me on the choice of wines, I am directly responsible for choosing a wine I had drunk only a couple of weeks before. Which only goes to show how much I love this wine, as I never drink the same wine so soon if I can help it. Whatever, it's somehow a bit blacker and harsher than last time, but still mineral laden on both nose and palate, funky and wild and at a good place between old and modern.
Giaconda, 220 NIS.
Numanthia, Toro, 2001
This is nowhere close to my tastes these days, but a very good pairing for the big slabs of porterhouse steaks that arrived at our table. Oaky and extracted at first, with a streak of graphite that turns me off in such modern settings, but in time it started to stray on the borderline of the Arroyo's stylistic realm, showing a similar minerally, almost saline facade. The oak is still obvious even with air, though.
WineRoute, about 250 NIS at the time (five, six years ago).
Royal Tokaji Wine Co., Aszu 5 Puttonyos, 2003
Amazing nose! There's a lot of orange marmalade, with sweet spices and obvious botrytis funk, and more complexity than my descriptors can convey. The nose is more complex than the palate as well - at this point in its life, anyway. On the other hand, the palate sure is long and sleek, yummy and well complemented by the acidity, and the botrytis bite gets stronger and stronger on the finish as the wine opens. I have to score this one for a change: 93-95.