Meat Men (July 7, 2011)

Polaroid impressions from a table in Neve Tzedek's A Place For Meat, upon which we gourmands heaped bottles of red and slabs of cows that made a temporary stop on their way to the Great Grazing Ground.

Chateau Lafleur-Petrus, Pomerol, 1999

Currants, leather, savory tannins. Feel young and vigorous; tannic, but these are tasty tannins and, like I said, savory, and there is enought fruit and acidity to balance them. Drinking it blind, it was obviously a Bordeaux, but no one guessed Right Bank.

WineRoute imports this and the Calon-Segur, but current prices really don't reflect the purchase price of these wines.

Calon-Segur, St. Estephe 3me Cru, 2000

Fruity and cakey and I'd have pegged this one for the Right Bank. Actually becomes more primary in the glass. The turns meatier and later there is a touch of minerals. Less tannic than the Lafleur, but the acidity is sharper. It's in a strange place, its components not quite at ease with each other, and it actually drank better three years ago. No cigar box in the mix, yet, either.

Sometimes a wine that needed decanting and didn't get it is worse than an off bottle. If a bottle is off, then the book is closed on the affair - but hindsight is not just 20/20 vision, it can be a minor form of torture.

Remizieres, Hermitage, Cuvee Emile, 1998

The nose is quite nice, actually, with olives and vague hints of black pepper (which I might have imagined at the time, since it was my bottle and I knew what I was drinking), but the palate is initially unfriendly to say the least - although it improves in glass, it never quite reaches my exalted expectations. Then I top my glass with the bottom liquid from the bottom fifth of the bottle and lo and behold: it finally shows typical pepper, hints of smoke and mellow fruit. The last glass is really fun and deep and layered! I would have expected the 1999 to need this much air, but I thought the 1998 would be as friendly as the 2000 I'd drunk a couple of times.

Purchased at MacArthur for 60 USD.

Roger Sabon, Chateauneuf du Pape, Prestige, 2004

A brooding monster worthy, for the moment, of a phoned-in tasting note. Monolithic. Closed. Very ripe. Some spicy nuances. But very sweet on the palate.

Tardieu-Laurent, Chateauneuf du Pape, Vieilles Vignes, 2001

A wow nose! Deep and peppery and smelly. Slightly liquorish. Tannic yet balanced. While the Sabon shows all the faults of CdP, the Tardieu-Laurent shows all that Chateauneuf can aspire to - and which sadly I only experience once a year. My wine of the night.

Both Chateauneufs were bought at WineRoute (although Tardieu-Laurent is no longer carried). The Sabon cost about 250 NIS three years ago. I recall absolutely loving the Tardieu-Laurent seven years ago, when it cost about 350 NIS.

La Rioja Alta, Rioja Grand Cru, 890, 1995

If you love Old World red, then this is quite heavenly. Ripe, spicy and big, yet shows all the finesse all the ripe fruit can give. Drinkable and all, yet still quite primary. In fact, I had guessed it to be a much, much younger, top of the line Artadi.

Imported by Hakerem and the official price is about 600 NIS. Although quite frankly, most of the people 'round the table have the connections to get a much better price.