Drugs Of Choice (Dec. 28, 2017)

Back at Basta TLV, for a night focusing on Burgundy, which is appropriate, given the guest of honor was Cyrielle Rousseau of the famed Gevrey property, Domaine Armand Rosseau. Basta's private room and menu are an epicure's Arcadia, and sharing wines, in that setting, with someone whose great-grandfather transformed Burgundy by pioneering domaine bottling, is a good candidate for the most memorable outing of 2016 (even in a year redolent with amazing evenings and a week long fiftieth birthday binge).

Domaine Benoit Ente, Aligote, 2013

This shows funky, taut, limey fruit that has a definite filigree. If you ever doubted that Aligote is a worth grape, try this. It's not only a fine wine (consistently the best Aligote I drink), but, to me. it expresses the character of Puligny with offhand ease. Indeed, tasted blind, we thought it was a village level wine.

Vilmart, Grand Reserve, n.v.

With intense, youthful vigor of citrus, green apples and chalk, this shows the bold, fresh aspect of a youngish Champagne. Despite this being a blend dominated by Pinot Noir, and Vilmart being a sort of Pinot specialist, this takes time to show the hints of autumnal aromas the grape can at times bring to a blend.

Domaine Amiot-Servelle, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Charmes, 2010

Raw red fruit - even grungy, at first - on the nose, then showing mellow forest floor and minerals, as well as hints of mint. The palate is in a mid way phase, a tannic and grungy surface belying the savory, precise backbone, which promises an elegant evolution..

Domaine Hubert Lignier, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, 2006

This, too, shows a rough elegance, but where the Charmes reverses the classic metaphor of an iron fist within a velvet glove, here the tannins make me think of a boxer calmly flexing his muscles before a fight. It starts impressively enough, expressing its power as iron-laden, black fruit, before blooming with exotic spices. And that's just the one-plus glass I had; I believe that a full bottle shared with a smaller group over the course of an evening would show ever more facets. Superb, wine of the night, at this point the best 2006 I've had yet.

Domaine Jacques Fredric Mugnier, Chambolle-Premier Cru, Les Fuees, 2002

An opulent and heady, sexy nose, that shows red fruit and spices and a sweetness that I tentatively wrote down as saddle leather. The palate is linear, with just a little padding, not fat, that gives it a jaunty bounce.

Lopez de Heredia, Tondonia, Rioja Grand Reserva, 1991

Lots of iron at first on the nose, as well as that old wood aromas that mature Riojas often give, while the palate shows, sweetly sauteed fruit driven by intense acidity, its power belied by a relatively mellow body.

Produttori di Barbaresco, Barbaresco, Montestefano, 2001

A very classic showing (tar and rose petals), pedigree without vanity. I bought a few mid 2000's crus from Wine Route, and after drinking this, I regret not buying more. This is great stuff.

Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac 5me Cru, 1981

Minty, dusty, reticent, black fruit that doesn't stoop to flattery. Textbook Pauilliac, requiring some concentration to gleam the fair complexity embedded within its depths. If the modern, latterday style of the property doesn't appeal to you, you might be in for a pleasant surprise with an older vintage such as this.