Shakuf (Feb. 21, 2011)

Tel Aviv restaurant Shakuf reminds me of Hector Camacho, dressed up for the ring like a Native American warrior and calling himself the Macho Man, then proceeding to stick and run, all smoke and mirrors, never delivering any real knockout power. The tasting menu is an experience, for sure, but for an undue portion of it, an outlandish, silly one.

PS. I think that if the waiter accepts a glass of wine from a customer - and incidently pours himself a healthy portion - said customer might feel disappointed if there is absolutely no discount on the corkage fee, no?

Artadi, Pago Viejos, 2001

The very complex nose shows cedar, forest floor, balsam, then leather as well as Barolo-like spices and underneath that aloof menthol, Bourgogne-like in its red fruit and minerals. Soft, ultra-fine tannins on the palate, mellow fruit, saline finish. Feminine and friendly without trying too hard to flatter, it keeps an elegant, composure throughout, gaining an added measure of freshness to become a Bordeaux look-alike. You could keep it for a few years, but a great showing like this makes cellaring an unwarranted privilege.

WineRoute, about 300+ NIS, purchased about six years ago, maybe even more. I've been cellaring it for a while now.

Ishmael Arroyo, Val Sotillo, Ribera Del Duero, 2001

That it initially stands up to the Pago Viejos is a stamp of quality - but once the PV shifts into full gear, it is a no-contest. Complex nose of leather and brine, rusty iron, cardamon, all atop black fruit that is starting to reveal signs of red fruit. Fuller than the PV and just as savory. A case of slugger vs. boxer here, perhaps?

Giaconda, about 220 NIS.