Friday, April 24, 2015

The Mimouna Wines (Apr. 11, 2015)

Burn down the disco!
Another "what have I done to deserve this evening", a Mimonua party with a couple dozen delirious wine geeks. And not just any delirious wine geeks - wild-eyed Bourgogne freaks!

A. Margaine, Special Club, 2008

Fuck, fuck, fuck - now I have to once again re-adjust my buying list. This has fantastic aromas that at first made me turn around to check whether I was standing near a steaming buffet, so intense were the mushroom and chicken broth aromas. And then there's the precise focus on the palate that has turned me into a Champagne addict,

Jean Lallament, Reserve, n.v.

I'm never going to be able to choose between a great Blanc de Blancs (such as Margaine) and a great Pinot based Champagne. And why should I? I very much like this and it just grows and grows on me. But then, I'm a sucker for Lallement in the first place, who always seems to nail the quintessential funkiness of Pinot-based Champagnes -  which for me is mushrooms and chicken broth. Except that I just used those terms for the Margaine, which had no Pinot at all. So let me just be self referential and say that if you've ever tasted the regular Jean Lallement non-vintage bottling - this is more of the same with warmer bass notes.

Pegau, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Reserve, 2093

Great jumping behemoth, this sure is a surprise! A great nose, with leather and other good stuff, the palate much more restrained that I'd ever imagine a 2003 Chateauneuf would be. Do they even make CdP's like this any more? (Analytically, my guess is that in a hot vintage like 2003, the other grapes in the blend had an easier time to catch up with the Grenache, so the overall affect is, counter-intuitively, more balanced).

Because of the characters involved in this annual event, there were plenty of Bourgognes, so let's travel up the Burgundy Food Chain, shall we?

Serafin, Bourgogne, 2008

Good, complex nose for a supposedly lowly wine. Forest floor, hide, minerals. Very nice presence.  

Leflaive, Bourgogne, 2011

Great acidity, minerals. Terrific Bourgogne! RIP, Anne-Claude.

Domaine Confuron-Cotedidot, Vosne-Romanee, 2011

Forest floor, a touch of spices, very young. Savory tannins.

Comte de Vogue, Chambolle-Musigny, 2009

This, of course, isn't a bona fide Village, as it contains a great deal of Premier Cru juice. This is very young, with an intense nose, redolent of raw meat and a great deal of breed. I've heard comparisons to Hermitage and that's all wrong. What it reminds me of is Cote-Rotie, which is fine by me; mature, old school Cote-Rotie reminds me of Burgundy.

Domaine d'Arlot, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos Des Forets Saint Georges, 2008

I love the smell of forest floor in Bourgognes, but this is the first time I've even run across over-extracted forest floor! Looks like great terroir done wrong, which sucks because I have a few bottles of d'Arlot 2009's, back from when the hype suckered me in, which I assume would be even riper than this.

Domaine Bernard Moreau, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, La Maltroie, 2012

Another wow, an adroitly painted nose of minerals and apples, and a long, savory finish. Very, very good.

Olivier Guyot, Clos St. Denis Grand Cru, 2007

From a double magnum. Fresh, young fruit, laced with minerals. Vivid is the keyword here, with Grand Cru poise, depth and length, although, at this stage only middling complexity - understandably, given the  large container. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am!

Just Desserts:

Willi Schaefer, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Graacher Domprobstת Riesling Auslese #14, 2006

Petrol, minerals and great delineation of smokey apples and lime on the nose, but the great fun is what happens on the palate, where the delicious, succulent purity digs deep. In short, the vivid electricity will get you for sure. And if it don't, better make an appointment with your cardiologist.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tasting Bourgogne with the Dynamic Duo (Mar. 31, 2015)

Eldad Levy and Daniel Lifshitz have teamed up to position Daniel's Bourgogne Crown imports under Eldad's patronage and partnership. I'm still trying to figure out which of the two is the sidekick, but it's great to have these two great minds cohorting and scheming.

Formally, the subject of the tasting was the latest property Daniel managed to charm his way into, Pierre Duroche, but we also tasted a couple of other properties the two have lined up, an old favorite from the Bourgogne Crown portfolio - and to round the evening off, a great Champagne from a local and personal favorite.

Domaine Pierre Duroche, Bourgogne, Blanc, 2013

Lightly tropical and floral, yet restrained fruit. 100% Gevrey fruit, with a veneer of minerals that starts to assert itself. A classical, restrained cut, different yet a little plain.

Francois Carillon, Bourgogne Aligote, 2013

A rebranching/rebranding of the original Louis Carillon estate. This is typical Aligote with electric acidity and a dirty nose, with floral trappings.

Francois Carillon, Bourgogne, 2013

The sentimentalist in me wants to prefer the Aligote, but this is the better wine for my tastes. The acidity might be slightly tamer, but there is greater purity and complexity. A mini-village.

Pierre Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin, Le Clos, 2013

There is a lot of pure, nubile red fruit here, very fresh, floral with a touch of minerals. I like it, but it's for the hardcore purists who don't need immediate gratifications. Daniel says it will develop and the fruit certainly seems to be made of fine cloth, despite the youth of the vines in the Duroche Clos holdings.

Pierre Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin, Le Champ, 2013

This, on the other hand, is a much more immediately impressive and typically powerful expression of Gevrey sauvage, with similarly fresh fruit in the background. acidity driven to the point where the tannins are subtly hidden.

Pierre Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Lavaut St. Jacques, 2013

The beast unleashed. Intense animalism, intense minerality: blood and rock. Here the acidity can't quite hide the tannins. Great power tempered with ease by the balance.

Pierre Duroche, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2013

Here there's a hint of tobacco leaf green morphing into forest floor. Blind, you'd think the Lavaut was the Grand Cru, if your comparison of the two was based on power only, but this is surely the more elegant wine. If you can only afford one bottle of the two, buy the Lavaut. If you can buy just three bottles, purchase two of the Lavaut, and one Charmes. If your budget allows only two bottles, well, it'd break my heart having to choose between one of each over two bottles of the Lavaut.

Domaine Georges Noellat, Vosne Romanee Premier Cru, Petit Monts, 2012

Minerals and gently exotic spices. Breadth and balance. Really lovely, the kind of Burgundy that elicits a gasp and a moan. Tied for wine of the night with the Lavaut.

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Meursault Premier Cru, Guettes d'Or, 2011

Incredibly funky, dirty, beautiful aromas, and the palate follows suit. Factoring the depth, complexity and the offhand precision, even the slight fat and sweetness is offset to the point where it's downright moving.

Gimonnet, Oenophile, 2005

The last Oenophile I tasted, the 2000, was almost challengingly dry, but this borders on lush, with intense fruit creating a sweet impression - despite the zero dosage - and an incredibly intense concoction of nuts and apricot pie on the nose. Yet the final effect is of fine elegance, the lushness somehow cloaked in old school Gaul reserve.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Taking Care Of Business (Mar. 2015)

Weingut Hirsch, Zobinger Heiligenstein, 1er Lage, Riesling, 2009

This is almost ridiculously at ease with the Grand Cru designation, starting with the complex, mineral-laden nose with that lures you in with granny apples, hints of dill, petrol and hot water baths and an icy veneer - and ending with the elegant palate that is so drinkable and moreish that you want to just sit and finish it off, only it's so classy and intriguing that you slow down to relish the view. Falstaff says this has great aging potential. I say it's great now and feels as though you're drinking an immortal. (Mar. 4, 2015)

Fat Guy, 225 NIS.

Sphera, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014

Sphera is one of the five or so local wineries I buy from regularly. This is an extremely young Sauvignon, currently leaning towards the New Zealand tropical, gooseberry style, yet with enough smoky mineral aromas and aftertaste nuances to satisfy me. More than enough, in fact. Above all, what captivates me is its purity. (Mar. 10, 2015)

105 NIS.

Moccagatta, Barbaresco, Cole, 2001

I bought this for about 60 USD, five, six years ago. I think it's all too typical, with truffles and tar and dusty tannis. It's fairly elegant - I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but it's lovely artifact, with a mellowness reminiscent of herbal tea. (Mar. 11, 2015)

Jean Lallement, Verzenay Grand Cru, Brut, n.v.

Like an infatuated lover showing off his woman, I'll make a bore of myself telling you what a treat this is. It's always the same, yet always... different. This time, while I still find the chicken broth, roasted nuts and sauteed mushrooms I love so much, the minerals and juicy fruit are much more prominent, almost as though the fifth of Chardonnay was pulling its weight. (Mar. 13, 2015)

Fat Guy, 269 NIS.
If you can dream it, Donnhoff can make a wine out of it
Donnhoff, Nahe, Norheimer Dellchen, Grosses Gewaches, Riesling, 2007

As is always the case with Donnhoff - any pradikat, any vineyard - this is a precise wine, expressive in an insinuating manner. The aromatics are complex, leading with apples and minerals, and hinting at tropical summer fruits as well. Other things, too; this is the kind of wine that gives and gives, a small handful at a time, so it takes a while until I find ginger and mint tea. What about the palate, you ask? Refined breed, with the coy dryness of a Grosses Gewaches and the ineffable friendliness of a Spatlese. (Mar. 14, 2015)

Giaconda, 300 NIS.

Chateau Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 1998

Not the ripe blockbuster I've come to expect - and and fear - in a CdP. In fact, I rather see it as a complete failure in that idiom (is this particular bottle a Parker 79 perhaps?), which makes it very suitable for me. The nose is deeply nuanced, with garrigue and clay, but little barnyard/leather funk, while the palate is surprisingly subtle, albeit drying out. (Mar. 16, 2015)

Wine Route, the original price was 210 NIS, which is very irrelevant these days.

Potel-Aviron, Beaujolais-Villages, 2011

Continuing my exploration of Pote-Aviron. Tart, floral fruit with a hint of minerals and white pepper. A tasty, enjoyable wine. (Mar. 20, 2015)

Giaconda. It's a style of wine I really enjoy, but whereas the Vieilles Vignes are terrific values at 120-130 NIS, this is only so-so QPR at 100 NIS.

Marie et Paul Jacqueson, Bouzeron, Les Corderes, 2011

I'm a fan of Aligote. If you choose wisely, you can find some very interesting wines at decent prices: Leroy, Ente, Buisson up at the Cote, de Villaine at Bouzeron - and now this. This has nutty, citrus aromatics of decent complexity with hints of gunpowder, and what is, for Aligote, an almost fat body that is balanced by the grape's limey acidity. With all that nuttiness to the fore, it almost comes across as a Meursault, but I actually prefer the Aligotes from up north, even though Bouzeron is legally the Aligote AOC. (Mar. 21, 2015)

Giaconda, 120 NIS.

Marie et Paul Jacqueson, Roully Premier Cru, Margotes, 2011

Sometimes a wine jumps at you and says, I'm good. Not excellent, mind you, but good, If you love white Burgundies, then you know what to expect, and this delivers: green apples with the pungency of their skin, a touch of oranges, an overlay of chalk, a hint of dried grass and iodine. This is not especially complex or unique, but it's cute in the best sense of the word, well crafted and deftly balanced, tasty and pure, with no untoward intrusion of oak. (Mar. 23, 2015)

Giaconda, a lot of honest fun for 150 NIS.

Recanati, Reserve, Marselan, 2012

This Grenache-Cabernet Sauvignon hybrid is showing a rich nose, with black and blue fruit, but surprisingly, the richness doesn't put me off, as it's complemented by an mineral layer that is reminiscent, as well, of olive brine, The palate, too, balances its own richness with a very healthy dose of acidity. Tasty. (Mar. 24, 2015)

149 NIS.

Marie et Paul Jacqueson, Roully, Les Chaponnières, 2011

2011 is a really fun Bourgogne vintage to drink now. Indeed, I am not sure I see a great upside in cellaring this Roully, for instance, but it sure is deft, fresh and vivid lightweight now, with a heart-warming earthy overlay. (Mar. 26, 2015)

Giaconda, 150 NIS.

Vitkin, Carignan, 2010

I was more impressed last time. It's still a very good wine, but the heat of the 2010 vintage is more obvious in the sweetness of the fruit. It's still well balanced and tasty, with charming aromas of earth and leather, but the last bottle gave the impression of pulling far ahead of the pack, and this bottle isn't in that place. (Mar. 27, 2015)

Delamotte, Blanc de Blancs, 2002

The 2002 vintage, with its freshness and precision of the fruit, combines with the clarity of Chardonnay to produce a very refined, pure and elegant wine, This bottle is still young, with green apples and complexity derived from minerals and freshly baked bread, and only slowly opens up to reveal the more mature nuances of mushrooms and nuts. (Mar. 28, 2015)

About 50 GBP.

Marie et Paul Jacqueson, Roully Premier Cru, Gresigny, Blanc, 2011

This immediately impresses as a heavier style of white Bourgogne than the Les Chaponnières, the same elements combining with notes of spicy pear for a Chassagne-like effect. What might elevate this beyond the four-squared character that you might expect from the comparison is if the clean, fresh green apple and citrus fruit asserts itself in a couple of years, as development in glass seems to prophesy. But even now, it offers good, solid drinking at a nice price. (Mar. 29, 2015)

Giaconda, 150 NIS.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Another Branch In The Recanati Family Tree

Mia Luce, Rosso, 2012

Kobi Arviv is the third musketeer in Recanati's trio of winemakers, the other two being Gil Shatzberg and Ido Lewinsohn. And with his Rosso, comprised of 97% Carignan and 3% Syrah, he extends the mother winery's philosophy of using "Mediterranean" varieties (that is, grapes suited to the Mediterranean basin's climate) to his own boutique operation. The Carignan is sourced from the same vineyard as Recanati's Wild Carignan and shows a different aspect: somewhat softer, friendlier fruit, even if the tannic finish reminds you that old vines Carignan doesn't play around. The 2800 bottles are mostly sold to restaurants, which is apt, as this has tasty, juicy acidity and an Old World leathery charm that should pair well with pastas. The name "Rosso" is also an apt choice; if you drank it in a Tuscan restaurant, you'd post about it on Facebook right away, then run off to find the winery and buy a bottle to take back home. As good as anything in the Recanati Reserve series or Ido's Garage de Papa Rouge. (Mar. 7, 2015)

And speaking of Recanati...

Recanati, Gris de Marselan, 2014

Here's where Recanati makes two pioneering steps for the price of one: the first Israeli winery to make two roses and the first to make two Marselan-based wines! This is one of those mineral led roses that are so spot on in the interplay of light, crisp fruit and acidity that you could probably drink it while working out in the gym. And yet it sneaks in a saline finish that scratches a mild, intellectual itch. (Mar. 8, 2015)

92 NIS.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Purim at Halutzim (Mar. 5, 2015)

The Wild, the Innocent and the Lifshitz Shuffle
My wife and I joined another couple at Halutzim for a Purim feast. I picked the wines, even calling for the Gimonnet, which I didn't bring.

But before we got to the wines we paid due corkage for, my friend Yossi at the table next to us sent over a glass of Maison Leroy, Bourgogne, 2009. As always, Madame Lalou knows how to choose wines for the Maison label, even if I do object to not knowing more about who grew the grapes and made the wine. This is a good Village level white of, to me, undecipherable origins, but the Domaine's Aligote of similar age would give it a good whipping. A good drop, an intellectual annoyance.

240 NIS at Burgundy Wine Collection.

Pierre Gimonnet, Special Club, 2002

This always elegant Champagne show its intense side, while remaining complex and multidimensional, full of baked apples, mushrooms and brioche, almost a mini Krug. I'm lost for words to express my wonder at how great this is, and I'm a man who thrives on expressing how great wines like this are.

Fat Guy, 400 NIS.

Jean Paul and Benoit Droin, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2007

Funky and reeking of sea weeds and granny apples. It's really hard to follow in the footsteps of the imminently classy and outré  Gimmonet, so subjectively this felt undernourished - but this is really fine, complex and full of presence in its own right. A hint of cheese in the finish adds a a dozen seconds.

Giaconda, 350 NIS.

Jean Chauvenet, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Les Perrieres, 2008

Intensely spicy black fruit at first, an Nuits-St.-Georges for Barolo lovers? Even now, a joy to drink, but tannic and perhaps the youngest drinking and most intense 2008 I've had in ages. True to the Nuits mold if not the vintage's. This is tasty, long, complex with deep fruit, but  I did not, definitely did not, expect that level of backward intensity in a 2008 Premier Cru.

I'm so in love with this wine - definitely a wine to make me chase down another bottle so I can witness firsthand what it finally reveals.

Bourgogne Crown, 350 NIS.

And then another friend offered a glass of Jaboulet, Hermitage, La Chapelle, 1982, which was an elegant village elder, black pepper highlighting the Syrah, and, at thirty three years of age, just as mellow a mature Bourgogne Grand Cru. An unexpected gift and a tasty pleasure.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Taking Care Of Business (Feb. 2015)

Weingut Wittmann, Rheinhessen, Westhofener Morstein, Riesling Auslese, 2007

A good dessert wine should be a hedonistic treat, without fatiguing the palate. An excellent one should convey depth and complexity, while a great one should achieve all of that with the most ethereal of touches. This is just excellent. It's also quite young, so the immense, incredibly layered mass of fruit and sugar, while refreshed by terrific acidity, still has some years to shed a lot of fat before we can consider greatness. What it offers now is an incredibly intoxicating confection of tropical fruit and peaches, delicate minerality and botrytis. (Feb. 6, 2015)

Giaconda, 220 NIS.

Domaine des Baumard, Quarts de Chaume, 2006

This is another example of an excellent dessert wine, complexly balancing summer fruit with wet wool and minerals, as well as a hint of nuts; incredibly long and multi-layered, the sweetness tempered by grapefruit peel and candied ginger. (Feb. 7, 2015)

Giaconda, 335 NIS.

Domaine Leroy, Bourgogne Aligote, 2008

I loved the bottle I drank last month so much that, going against my usual practice of pacing myself, I rushed off to open another one, just to see if the magic was still there. And it sure was, lovely flint and light toast on the nose, subtle lime fruit on the palate, acidity that carried the finish out of the ball park. (Feb. 10, 2015)

Recanati, Reserve, Wild Carignan, 2011

I've always liked this, and the bottle tonight has reinforced my affection. The nose is an extrovert, with iodine, and herbs, black fruit and burnt earth, and my mind's eye can just see the hills of Judea browning in summer, The body, on the other hand, is elegantly chiseled, with lovely acidity, and is simply a delicious drink. (Feb. 11, 2015)

149 NIS.

Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, Gershon, 2011

Gaby Sadan makes a very miniscule quantity of this special cuvee from a small parcel and just a few bottles make their way to selected restaurants in Tel Aviv, where they sell for 200 shekels plus. I drank a bottle at Halutzim 3 and my verdict is it smells like a good Pouilly-Fume or Cote de Beaune Premier Cru, smoky and flinty. There's oak, too, and at times it seems overdone, or least too much for the fruit to handle, especially on the palate. But the fruit is tasty, long and deep, 'with good acidity, and I believe will outgrow the oak, and if not, future vintages will. Because I believe Gaby is not only that good a winemaker, I want his wine-making approach and philosophy to win. And also because Gershon is the name of my dog. (Feb. 12, 2015)

And what do we drink on Valentine's Day, kids?

Jean Lallament, Verzenay Grand Cru, Reserve Rose, n.v.

This isn't just a Champagne tinted pink-  this truly captures the essence of Pinot. Which is apt, since Jean Lallement is one of the masters of Verzenay, a village at the heart of Pinot country. So you get fresh strawberries and you get forest floor and you get minerals, but, because this is a Champagne, you also get oranges, roasted nuts and brioche. All this, in a complex, tightly sculpted structure that restrains, but can't completely hide, a simmering, feral streak. (Feb. 14, 2015)

Fat Guy, 319 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Marsannay, Longeroies, 2011

The Maison's wines are always full of Bourgogne jism! This has lovely red fruit and forest floor, a touch of spices, wrapped in rusty tannins that build to a savory finish. It's always tempting to try and find a hint of Premier Cru in a Village wine, so let me say right off that this is just a Village (albeit one with almost scathing aromatics). Yet Oronce's wines have so much personality that there is always an added interest factor beyond the formal AOC demarcation. (Feb. 15, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 220 NIS.

Vitkin, Grenache Blanc, 2013

Another first for Vitkin, this is quite mineral driven, with mellow yellow fruit and hints of rainwater nuts, with a long, spicy, lightly pungent finish. Yes, it speaks of Southern France, but it also alludes to Italy. (Feb. 18, 2015)

90 NIS.

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 2000

It's Family Day, and I've just gone through a 50 hour work week. Definitely a job for Bordeaux! This is classic claret, with dense black fruit with notes of cedar and earth. This is still young and monolithic, but the tannins are soft, yet dusty enough to provide grip. There's something rough about it and even though it's a 2000, I expected a Saint Emilion to be readier, given my past experience with this wine, but this seems like it will need another five years. But it's tasty and quite wonderful to follow as it opens up and unfolds (revealing, for example, definite signs of bacon) - and best of all, it's so savory, even after the aftertaste fades, every swallow conjures up its tannic finish. (Feb. 19, 2015)

About 120 USD.

Michel Redde et Fils, Pouilly-Fumé, Les Cornets, 2011 

This is just my cup of tea, a lean austere white, with trappings of smoky minerals, a lightweight that punches hard to the guts. I draw parallels here with, say, a Chablis Grand Cru, Hubert Lamy, Donnhoff even. This a wine that goes beyond varietal characteristics, in that it talks of minerals and a sense of place, and not about Sauvignon, but if I had to refer to the grape, then I'd say the Redde family make the best Sauvignon Blanc I've ever drunk. A great catch for Uri Kaftori and Eldad Levi. (Feb. 20, 2015)

Fat Guy, 259 NIS.

Vitkin, Riesling, 2013

This is technically the flagship white at Vitkin, but I think the Grenache Blanc kicks its ass these days. It's a floral, spicy white with subtle earth notes, and while the nose is complex, interesting and inviting, the palate today is not as inspiring. or, for that, matter, aspiring. Although, after tasting an aged version lately, I'm all for giving it a chance in the fridge. (Feb. 22, 2015)

110 NIS.

Jean Foillard, Morgon, Cuvée Corcelette, 2012

There should be no reason why any sane person would write a tasting note about the same wine less than two months apart. But this is just so fresh, so drinkable, yet at the same time so full of the complexities and nuances that go beyond delicious fruit and make wine an art form. (Feb. 26, 2015)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 150 NIS.

Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2008

Maybe 2007 was a better vintage for Moreau's Les Clos, or maybe 2008 needs more time, but while this is a very fine, elegant and complex wine, with typical Chablis marine scents and flavors, it feels as though it hasn't quite emerged from its youthful shell. And like many such adolescents, every time it seems to open up, it clamps down and grows even number, (Feb. 27, 2015)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 270 NIS.

Marcel Guigal can keep his barrels
Domaine Jasmin, Côte-Rôtie, 2006

I love all of the Northern Rhone AOC's, but my favorite is probably Côte-Rôtie, because it not only expresses Syrah as brilliantly and as typically as the best (black pepper, bacon, flowers), it is likeliest to display mellow, almost feminine fruit, languid yet structured, that writers like to term "Burgundian". The Jasmin is a wonderful example - liquid magic that, at 40 GBP, goes easy on the wallet. Like other producers that aim at a similar "Burgundian" model (I'm thinking of Graillot, Cuilleron, Gaillard), this is wrought of succulent black fruit and sour cherry acidity that are made for haut cuisine rather than the showroom. (Feb. 28, 2015)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Nono Take II (Feb. 2, 2015)

And there I was, thinking life couldn't get any better after staying up all night to witness Tom Brady win his fourth Superbowl ring, thirteen years after incredulously watching him drive the Patriots towards an upset over the St. Louis Rams.

Well, it didn't. But an evening with friends at Nono, enjoying, among other things, a Grosses Gewaches and a Barton mini-flight, was a good way to come down to earth.

Rebholz, Pfalz, Chardonnay, "S" Trocken, 2010

While I recalling enjoying a previous vintage in the past, this won't replace Puligny or Chassagne, maybe Meursault. It's vaguely Pinot Gris or Semillon-like in the way it sports floral trappings alongside pears and apples, and somewhat sweet, yet high in acidity for a Chardonnay. Baffling.

Schafer-Frohlich, Nahe, Schlossbuckelheimer Felsenberg, Grosses Gewaches, 2007

The Other Germany. Apples and chalk and assorted minerals combine for a regal explosion. Very complex and continually expanding in glass. This is in a very good spot.

Pierre Marey, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2011

Oaky and spicy. Interesting nose, annoying palate. I think few things are as deeply annoying as a mediocre white Burgundy. And this is actually downright bad.

G. D. Vajra, Barolo,Luigi Baudana, 2006

Typical tarry/spicy nose, with red fruit on both nose and palate. Still young and dourly brazen but I take to it. Very good.

Two siblings, separated by the usual French history of trading chateaus
Château Leoville-Poyferre, Saint Julien 2me Cru, 2001

Oh, what a lovely stink. Brett in spots, mellow black fruit and light cedar all over the place. If the Barolo was like being a Catholic - suffer now but enjoy the afterlife - here the party has already started and will continue for a long time.

Château Leoville-Barton, Saint Julien 2me Cru, 2001

The Poyferre sans brett. I like them both, but for me the Barton might be arguably better, even if less approachable.

Ferrer Bobet, Priorat, Vinyes Velles, 2010

Black yet grapey fruit. Not too modern, kinky enough personality-wise to make up for the ripe fruit. I enjoyed my glass without a great urge for seconds.

Chateau de Fargues, Sauternes, 2003

Like a lot of 2003 Sauternes, this is a heavy loaf of cheesecake. Tasty but plodding