Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category

Dinner at Joseph’s

April 30, 2015 4 comments


I attended a private dinner this week with a relatively small group of friends at one of Bucharest’s best restaurants owned by Joseph Hadad. It was a an event well prepared in advance with a clear list of wines selected by me and the food pairing selected by a friend. As a first time visit to this restaurant the food was excellent and the pairing happily chosen. Food is really at the highest level. There were 7 wines proposed initially but we ended up with 11 eventually.



Champagne Billercart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV was offered as a welcome drink. I like the soft notes of citrus fruit, yeast, its rich and lively palate. (91/100)



First course: Semi-row salmon sashimi, shiitake mushrooms wrapped in seaweed tempura, ginger vinaigrette, coriander, tapioca, mango and maple syrup was a match for 2012 Von Winning Kalkofen GG. The wine has a sweet exotic nose of high intensity, where peach, apricot, pear and pineapple mingle together with discreet shades of kerosene. Lively and dry on the palate, its racy acidity suggests a bit of patience until next bottle will be open. Very intense and refreshing. (92/100)



Sauted Saint Jacques scallops, celery mousse flavored with truffle oil, tomato tartar, chives, smoked duck breast were served next to a great Pinot Noir: 2012 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru. This is a 7-8 ha Grand Cru monopole owned since 2013 by the famous LVMH group so prices are expected to soar. There is a 60 m altitude difference between the start and the end of this vineyard so there are significant differences between the style of each parcel of vines, differences that actually build the complexity in this wine. The nose is developed and intense, but there is so much elegance and class in it. Fresh raspberry and cherry fruit, tea leaves and subdued undergrowth all make a profound nose. Silky smooth on the palate, with rich red fruit, coffee and savoury palate, there is depth and elegance. Very long finish that lingers. For me it was the wine of the night (95/100). Scallops actually enhanced the fruitiness and somehow gave it even more depth and complexity.

We also tasted an interesting Pinot Noir from Dao, Portugal, a pure un-oaked and unfiltered wine: Quinta de Bella – Dom Bella Pinot Noir 2012 that shows a warmer profile due to its origin, dominated by ripe cherry and sour cherry fruit.

From there on my menu was slightly different than the others as I chose to replace all meat with different fish.

Three wines were served with the next dish. 2011 Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile that stays true to its provenance and welcomes you with the unmistakable aromas of very ripe black fruit and mint into a very forward style (87- 88/100). It was an abrupt fell from the heavenly Clos des Lambrays.

2012 Quinta do Vale Meao was served initially a bit too warm. There is exuberance of ripe fruit and cream on the nose with shades of hot stones and tar, chocolate flakes, beef blood and rum. It is rich and lush on the palate with layers and layers of ripe fruits but well balanced by smooth tannins and acidity. Medium to long bitter-sweet dark chocolate and black fruit liqueur finish. (91-92/100)



Then came the favorite wine for a big portion of the participants: 2008 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou from a classic vintage. There is sheer class in this wine. Its color is red garnet and opaque. It is not very expressive on the nose for the moment, but you could recognize its Cabernet typicality. There is cassis, paprika, black currant leaf and coffee bean that shine the most today. Full and well structured on the palate, it is a massive wine. Its fine-grained tannins, its rich texture all point to a great evolution in time. Really good. (94/100)



2004 Elio Grasso Barolo ‘Ginestra Casa Mate’ came for me with a dish based on sea bass, eggplant and nuts and it worked very well. There is a lot of pleasure drinking this wine today, however it has a long life ahead. Very pure ripe cherry fruit, dry rose petals, tar and mushrooms are just some of the aromas found in the complex profile. There are firm but smooth tannins with enough fruit and texture to make it a highly pleasurable experience. (92/100)



2000 Domaine de la Mordoree ‘Cuvee de la Reine des Bois’ Chateauneuf du pape is a maturing wine today. The nose and the palate combine successfully pure sweet red Grenache fruit and spices with tertiary aromas of bacon fat, cured meat and truffles. It is intense and complex, with silky smooth tannins, savoury red fruits and spices, Provencal herbs, fresh, but it feels like it is at its peak. Long finish. (93/100)



1998 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape was unfortunately corked beyond any chance of revival. Such a pity as I had high expectations to be the wine of the night.



Desserts were quite spectacular and were paired with a Martha’s Porto – Tawny 20 years. 

Last but not least there was a bottle of 2007 Chateau Musar rouge with its bretty and gamey aromas, wild red fruits and leather. Firm and structured, with grippy tannins and spicy cherry fruit. (90/100)



Vinuri de top de peste 90 puncte – Degustare 28 ianuarie 2015

January 21, 2015 Leave a comment


Viața este prea scurtă ca să bem vinuri proaste! Ghidându-ne după vorba asta de duh, ne-a venit idea unei degustări de vinuri foarte bune din toată lumea. Ca si criteriu am ales numai vinuri de peste 90 de puncte. Si iata ce a iesit:

  • 2012 Clos des Lunes “Lune d’Argent”  – Bordeaux Blanc sec produs in Sauternes, Franta – 91 puncte
  • 1998 Lopez de Heredia Reserva Tondonia Blanco – Rioja, Spania – 93 puncte
  • 2003 Guado al Tasso Antinori – Toscana, Italia – 92 puncte
  • 2004 Pasanau Finca La Planeta – Priorat, Spania – 95 puncte
  • 2003 Chateau Musar Rouge – Liban – 92 puncte
  • 2006 Trapiche Single Vineyard Malbec Bibiana y Christina Coletto – Argentina – 95 puncte
  • 2007 Modus Ruffino – Toscana, Italia – 96 puncte #25 in Top 100 Wine Spectator 2010
  • 2004 Chateau La Tour Figeac (St-Emilion) – Bordeaux, Franța – 91 puncte

Ne gândim să facem degustarea “in blind” în pereche de câte două vinuri. Adică nu vă spunem ce turnăm în pahare decât după ce degustăm și ne facem o părere. Ce ziceți?

Degustarea va avea loc miercuri, 28 ianuarie 2015, de la ora 19:30, la Restaurant Dada (Str. Matei Voievod 94bis). Sunt 12 locuri disponibile și fiecare costă 235 lei, sumă care include vinurile, o sticlă de apă și prezența noastră agreabilă.

Pentru rezervari contactati-ma pe sau la telefon 0723 240 102 Cosmin sau prin completarea formularului de mai jos cu datele de contact si numarul de locuri dorite.

(Pentru cei nefamiliarizați cu sistemul de 100 de puncte pentru vinuri, vă spun doar că ce este peste 90 de puncte sunt vinuri deosebite, iar ce este peste 95, well, sunt considerate exceptionale, adică foarte puține, deosebit de bune și de obicei foarte scumpe)

1999 Chateau Musar rouge

December 27, 2011 1 comment

Just had the 2003 Chateau Musar rouge a couple of weeks ago, so the memory of that wine is still fresh in my mind and I am able to compare the two vintages. Both wines maintain the same style, but what this 1999 brings to the table is a more pronounced old sock – brett like aroma that just gives more complexity to this extremely charming and easy to drink wine. Also, the 1999 seems more youthful, while the 2003 appears to be more evolved and probably will hit its maturity plateau sooner.

1999 Chateau Musar rouge Bekaa Valley Lebanon

Ruby red with garnet hues and really youthful.  Well developed and intense nose, there are aromas of cinnamon, earth, sweet red cherry and strawberry, anise and Brett. Overall, a very sweet and spicy nose. Medium to full bodied, really silky, with a great mouth feel, lively and rich on the palate, extremely drinkable, with sweet  and ripe tannins. There are beautiful pure sweet red cherry and warm forest floor flavors, mixed with exotic spices in the mouth. Medium to long finish, with lingering sweet red fruits and spices in the aftertaste. What seduces me at this wine are the similarities it shares with an old Pinot Noir and the absolute purity of the sweet red fruit. Loved it.  I can drink this all day. (92/100)

Categories: Lebanon

Carbonnieux Blanc ’08, Musar ’03 and Cati ’09

December 3, 2011 2 comments

We haven’t seen our Greek friends for a long time and I was very excited to learn that we’ll meet them and have dinner together on FRI evening. We dinned at Crowne Plaza’s La Veranda, a place I start to enjoy more and more. The food was pretty good and it seems that pleased all of us. Our friends are really savvy when it comes to what are the best places to eat in town, so I was very content to learn that they did not visit this place lately and to see them enjoying the dishes.

I had my favorite appetizer from La Veranda: Ahi tuna tartar with sesame seeds and avocado that went pretty well with the 2008 Carbonnieux blanc – Champagne remains the ultimate best companion for this dish.  The second course was beef steak with king prawns, mushrooms, mashed potatoes and waxed green beans – I liked the combination of Shitaki-Champignon mushrooms, but the beef was a bit too cooked(I usually like my beef as bloody as possible). The beef was paired by Chateau Musar 2003. For dessert another all time favorite from La Veranda: crumble with quince and plum pulp served next to a Spatlese Riesling from Mosel with 9% alcohol, some residual sugar and plenty of acidity to balance it and give a sense of freshness. The other persons at the table had some sushi rolls made with some type of creamy cheese that was unusual and surprising, but very tasty.

2008 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc Pessac Leognan

Blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, aged for about 12 months in French oak. I previously tasted the 2007 version of the same wine and enjoyed it a lot, so naturally I was very curious to see if the ’08 is as successful. It certainly is.

Medium yellow color with green reflections. Well developed and intense nose, exuberant, with aromas of smoke, honeysuckle, Indian spices, apricots and tropical fruits: pineapple, tangerine and very smart oak.  Medium body, bright acidity, lively palate, with very good freshness and intensity of flavors, the same exuberance as on the nose in a more condensed manner. The finish is medium to long, fresh and spicy. A beauty. (91-92/100)

2003 Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar red Bekka Valley

A legendary producer from Lebanon that I was eager to taste. 14% alc

Ruby red color with garnet reflections and very youthful. Well developed nose with very good intensity, a bit of rust before swirling the wine in the glass, but after that the wine gains completely new dimensions, with aromas of sweet red fruits: bright red and black cherry, red currant, raspberry, lots of spices, earth, licorice and tobacco. Medium plus bodied, with an extremely smooth texture and absolutely no hard edges. The tannins are ripe and well integrated, lively, showing good depth. On the palate: very minty, with flavors of bright red fruits, earth, spices and just a touch of Brett enough to make it interesting and show the Musar barnyard typical signature. Medium plus finish, with lingering flavors and spicy. This has an almost Pinot Noir purity of red fruit aromas and carries a Burgundian character that I find very seducing. I could drink this all day. (92-93/100)

2009 Cati Riesling Spatlese

Yellow lemon color with green reflections. The wine preserves the typical Mosel characteristics, with petrol, apricots and citric fruits. Full bodied, great acidity keeping the residual sugar in good balance, rich on the palate, with a medium finish and good freshness. Always a good choice to pair with a lighter sweet dessert. (88-89/100)

Our friends were delighted with the whites and fancied the red Lebanese wine as well. The red Musar has an extremely good drink-ability.

Categories: Bordeaux, France, Germany, Lebanon
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