The first week on the new job finds myself looking up the hill for the first time in years. And that wasn't the only thing keeping me from updating this blog - actually, a family Bar Mitzvah and a dear friend's birthday (more on that later, this wasn't a run-of-the-mill-friend, this was a wine buddy) more than took care of the dreary task of soaking up my time like a sponge. But finally, a long week culminated in Ronnie James, a very good Tel Aviv restaurant, and two wines whose separate universes intersected only because their respective owners decided to share them.
Juliusspital , Franken, Wurzburger Stein, Riesling Trocken 2005
This has got the VDP logo on the capsule as well as the grand cru thingie on the label ("1" followed by a grape bunch icon). It also boasts the weird shaped bocksbeutel bottle unique to the Franken region, as well it should, since Juliusspital is one of the "Three Hospitals" of Wurzburg, founded in 1756 and a trocken specialist to boot. No pradikat, though it tastes like a spatlese. A very good, nigh-near excellent nose of green apples laced with minerals, so just two colors but it elegantly riffs off them and morphes subtly with every whiff, eventually evoking aromas that almost belong in the red wine spectrum, ripe fruit that borders on white chocolate. The palate, alas, lacks behind but the balance is effecient enough and there is enough acidity in place to surmise it simply needs some three years in the cellar. Not a great wine yet t's different enough from the other German appellations I'm familiar with for me to earnestly thank the friend who brought it.
Masi, Grandarella, 2000
Sometimes, it's not what you drink, it's who you drink it with. Amarone is no longer a regular port of call for me but it's a favorite of a couple of long time friends so the plan is to open the bottles remaining in my fridge with them (technically, the Grandarella isn't even an Amarone as it's sourced from vineyards outside the DOCG but let's not quibble). At Ronnie James, this was a perfect accompanyment to the sirloin and company. The nose betrays its hyper-extraction, with raiseny, black fruit and a tarry core, although that works well here, since the ripeness that follows it up on the palate has got enough zip, spiciness and presence to lend it credibility. It evolves well in the glass and all that but really, the reason it works is, sometimes you don't want the pretty girl with the faraway eyes, sometimes you want the blonde with the big boobs.