Wines and friends from all over the place, and with them, just cheeses, bread and cold meat.
Bodega Dehesa De Los Caningos, Ribera Del Duero, Reserva, 1996
Because this was the first wine and it took its sweet time opening, and because we were waiting on a few late arrivals, we spent a little extra time with this one. So, there were multiple impressions. At first, an obviously mature wine but not especially vibrant on the palate, yet imminently easy to drink due to its sweet tannins. The nose is much better, I think "funky mocha" nails it. It's even a bit Burgundian , for my tastes. Thirty minutes later, the funk is replaced by black pepper and spices and it recovers enough structure to show a tannic bite and typical Spanish acidity. Nice, if not especially memorable.
Chateau Clerc-Milon, Pauillac 5me Cru, 1996
We'll always have Bordeaux. This is a Classic Claret, and no amount of capital letters will do justice to way it upholds to that platonic ideal. I mean it's not great per se, but it does what it does very well, and almost effortlessly. It's a very fresh wine - even the nose feels fresh - typically currant and mineral-laden, tasty and balanced with rusty, savory tannins. This is why I love 1996 Bordeaux so much.
Price unknown, but 1996 is always a little under-priced. WineRoute imports newer vintages.
Torres, Penedes, Mas La Plana, 1997
I thought it nodded at Bordeaux, despite its sweet tannins lending it a New World vibe. However, in no way is this a bombastic wine. Needs mulling over but even though I left a glass to air, I got caught up in the rest of the wines and never bothered to go back. It just didn't quite grab me enough.
Next up, two wines that were highly enjoyable and almost embarrasingly easy to fathom.
Pegau, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Reserve, 2001
Smoky, bretty, sweet and slutty. Just a little barbed and raspy. A sane man's CdP.
WineRoute sells contemporary vintages for about 350 NIS. This cost about 250 NIS when released, if I recall correctly.
Aldo Conterno, Barolo, Colonnelo, 2000
Ok, tar and spices and very Nebbiolo. Full, sweet and inviting. The 14% ABV is totally invisible - how do they do it?
I bought this at WineRoute about seven years ago for about 350 NIS. They're selling new and back vintages for much more.
Then a wine easy to dismiss.
Caravina, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007
Very New World on the nose, very sweet, ripe and jammy. A little while later, the nose shows interesting spices but even then it shows too much extrovertness, and anyway I don't find the palate very attractive. Lots of black (and blue) berries.
Finally, the night's gem.
Dr. Loosen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Beerenauslese, 1976
A very evocative nose that touches on all sorts of sweet stuff: herbal green tea, mellow sweet fruit and a trace of petrol and botrytis. Amazingly fresh and vibrant! The acidity kicks ass without being overbearing. And its got an esoteric, slightly pungent mouthfeel and finish as well. The freshness belies its age and only the only sign of that age is fact that the fruits have blended together far too much to pigeonhole any of them.
WineRoute actually sold this for about 300-350 NIS last year. Oh My God!