Let’s set things straight – this post will be more of a photo report. The words fall short to describe an amazing experience at Norma Jean, Bistro/Bar in Tel-Aviv. The best place to sit is in the bar, as stuff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. You can start with the beer, which comes form all over the world, and needless to say, each served in its own proper glass. While you enjoy your first beer and glass and waiting for the food, your eye can rest on the walls full of scotch:
Among many bars, I’ve seen those where you will pay $500 for a shot, and but I never saw the one with such a selection of really great scotches which you can actually afford!
And then comes food – all fresh, succulent and great tasting:
Of course the next step is the scotch. Based on the friendly recommendation, we couple of new scotches which we never had before. First one was coming form Speyside, a belnd of three different single malts, called Monkey Shoulder in the honor of those who developed a “monkey shoulder” condition throwing peat with the shovel, while making a great scotch for the rest of us:
The next one was Laphroaig Triple Wood, matured in the 3 different kinds of wood barrels, as you can see on the label:
The smoke flavor and bite on this one were immense, like breathing the air coming from the smoker (or may be just chewing on the cigar ). Too strong by itself, addition of 3 drops of water made a miracle – the scotch opened up beautifully, with big flavor profile and lots of depth.
And then… yep, a special dessert for the scotch lovers! Tartufo, made out of the best Belgian chocolate with addition of pepper and scotch:
I know that the picture worth a thousand words, and this is why you can see a lot of pictures. However, one should really experience the taste, this is where picture fails short – and this is why, if you even the smallest opportunity – head to Norma Jean in Tel-Aviv, you will not be disappointed.
An article in Wall Street Journal by Lettie Teague did put Cameron Hughes and his wines on the wine map for me. I always valued a good deal when buying wine, and Cameron Hughes held a promise to deliver very good QPR (Quality Price Ratio). I didn’t want to order direct, as shipping cost was quite steep, but then the Cameron Hughes wines started to appear in the places like WTSO, and afterward simply in the stores. When I saw Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon in the local Stew Leonard’s wines, I couldn’t resist anymore.
After reading tasting notes in the Weekly Wine Journal, I also decided to use the device called versovino to accelerate “aging” process, or in other words, to help the wine to open up faster. With this – here are my tasting notes.
Even with the versovino’s help and after a 10-15 minutes in the glass, the first reaction was an alcohol bomb. It was after the first reaction that I checked alcohol content – 14.9% ( I’m sure more in reality). Next, lots of jammy fruit came in, with all sorts of super-ripe berries in the mix, all smothered with very aggressive tannins, covering the whole front of the mouth. Bright acidity was showing quite well too. Interestingly enough, after about 3 hours in the open bottle, the wine became very tight and unexpressive… I would have to attribute this to the powerful wine at very young age, which will hopefully become better behaved on the second day ( report to follow). Until then the rating is…
As this is the first post of this kind, a little explanation – as I usually have a glass of wine every night, Daily Glass will be the place to share my thoughts about the wine I was drinking. For what it worth, it is only my opinion, so it is only relevant to you if your palate and taste in wine is similar to mine. Anyway, here we go…
Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Napa Valley 2007
2007 vintage was great in Napa Valley ( rated 94-97 WS), so I guess this wine is too young to be judged. Mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Tightly woven with only a bit of fruit showing, and tannins being not too pronounced, but tremendously lingering. This was not a bad wine – but at the same time time, this was not a great wine either, therefore, until I try another bottle in 3-4 years…
Again, another explanation: Drinkability is my way to rate the wine. Wines are rated on the scale from 1-10, with + or – modifiers when uncertain. 10 means the most amazing ever, and 1 would mean “I would rather drink vinegar”. Throughout all the years, the lowest rating ever was 4, and I’m still waiting for the perfect 10 (9 being the highest ever so far).
And I’m doing this again… Few years ago I got hooked on the interesting challenge – to try 100 different grapes and become a member of The Wine Century Club. This was relatively simple task, as I already had quite a few glasses behind me Then in the spring of 2009 I learned that there is next membership level, “doppel”, which requires (I’m sure you guessed it) one to try 200 grapes. This was more challenging and it did require quite a bit of focus, especially trying to do this on the budget – this is where various wine tastings in the stores and at the events were of big help. Eventually I reached my destination, and just when I decided that it is the time to rest on laurels, I learned of a new challenge! The new level, called “treble” is now the new goal. If reaching 200 was not easy, 300 is much less of an easy target.
I’m glad to reach today grape number 240 – this grape is called Uva di Troia, and I had it in a bottle of nice Italian red wine called Rosso Giancarlo Ceci, 2007, from Castel Del Monte DOC. The wine was soft, simple and heart-warming, with great amount of black cherries on the palate and nice balancing acidity.
Well, 240 are in, and 60 more to go. When you go somewhere, it is greatly helps to have a map and see how can you get from point A to point B. Trouble is – in this “treble journey”, only half of the map is visible, and another half is under a dense fog. I definitely know about next 7 grapes I will try ( simply because the wines are already in the cellar), and I know about 30 other grapes which somehow should be possible to find. Which leaves me 23 short…
But – long live challenge! Let’s find the way to treble – and I will keep you posted on this journey. Until the next time – cheers!