Granted that great company can uplift the quality of a given set of wines, this particular set was one hell of a lineup.
Pierre Gimmonet, Special Club, 1999
The initial impression of citrus fruits on the nose makes way for apricots, brioche and honey. The palate has a great structure, dry with a hint of sweetness. One of the best Champagnes I've had yet and at half the price of of the few that I've tasted that were better.
Imported by Eldad Levi, the 2000 sells for 349 NIS.
J. J. Prum, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenhur, Riesling Auslese, 1994
A highly nuanced slab of icy rock and mature Riesling fruitiness, amazingly light and tasty beyond adjectives. Ran Shapira claims the 1999 is even better - the future looks good!
Imported by Giaconda, the 1994 was sold for about 350.
Olivier Leflaive, Corton-Charlemagne, 1995
The nose shows lightly oxidative notes that blow off and morph into nuttiness. The big story is the palate, which is at a stage where the fruit is even less than secondary: spicy, long, powerful, Bourgogne.
Recent vintages imported by WineRoute.
Dosio, Barolo Riserva, 1982
Muddier than Exile On Main Street. The nose with its tarry colors is austere compared to the palate, which sails on the strength of its integrated, ripe acidity to great places. A "wow wine" for its sheer deliciousness.
A handful of ancient Dosios were imported by the Doosh and sold for about 650 NIS.
La Rioja Alta, Rioja Gran Reserva, 890, 1995
Classic and intense. At fifteen years of age, it's young enough to carry an earthy, spicy punch, mature enough to smell like the true Rioja deal. The palate, while not as complex as the other reds of the evening, has an appealling, sauteed sweetness born of fruit, not residual sugar or sweet oak per se.
Imported by HaKerem and sold for upwards of 600 NIS.
Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac 2me Cru, 1986
Ran and I both thought we detected a light hint of TCA, so how can it possibly still taste so good? Just how good would an untainted bottle be? The nose is still rudimentary, with notes of cedar and saddle leather, while the palate is balanced and elegant, TCA or not.
Chateau Montrose, St. Estephe 2me Cru, 1995
The Montrose had the best nose of the evening, oscillating between cedar and sewer. The palate is muscular, yet refined, with a bitter-tannic finish.
Recent vintages of the Pichon-Lalande and the Montrose are imported to Israel by WineRoute.
Kiralyudvar, Tokaji, Aszu 6 Puttonyus, 1999
Annoyingly (because I can't get a bottle) fresh. The botrytis is subtly and seamlessly integrated on palate and nose. One of the most complex stickies I've tasted.
Not imported to Israel, price unknown.