Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage Rouge,Selection, "Fraconet" 2001
A nose laden with ripe fruit, complemented by leathery notes. The palate is balanced enough and though I'm not enamored of its sweetish overtones, I think it will outgrow them. Not a great wine and I really don't have a lot of interesting things to say about it but it is a bargain Hermitage, a rare creature indeed. (Oct. 6, 2007)
Imported by WineRoute, out of stock by now, but sold for about 170 NIS.
Sea Horse, Antoine Special Edition, 2004
The nose nods at high extraction, cherry-berry aromas over chocolate and spicy oak, with a hint of something musky I can't quite pinpoint, almost feral, though it does not overcome the wine, just gives it an interesting shade. The palate follows it up with a rustic bite at the end, which I find charming. As I've said before, I'm not very confident of the cost effectivenes of cellaring Dunie's wines but I quite like their rustic youth these days, when over-extracted ripeness doesn't kill them.
Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Hauts de Montmirail, 2001
In Raging Bull, Joey LaMotta counseled his brother Jake about taking on a tough opponent: "if you win, you win, and even if you lose, you still win". I often feel the same way about the Rhone and this is a lovely sample. An expressive if not an immensly complex or refined nose. Cherries and berries, leather, earth and coffee, with the typical Rhone stink in the background. Somewhat more earthy on the plate, in a charming way. The tannins are still obvious, driving the long finish. Good value abroad so why doesn't anyone import the stuff? Too little money and too many Chateauneufs vying for local attention? Damn it. (Oct. 23, 2007)
Guigal, Condrieu "La Doriane", 2005
An almost inconceivable disappointment, on the order of the Katzrin Chardonnay (order of quality, not disappointment, I haven't had any high expectations from the Katzrin in a long while). It has a pretty nose - not great but very nice - laden with flowers and honey, textbook Condrieu I suppose. But something went really wrong with the palate, which I found alcoholic, bitter, unbalanced, lacking acidity and fruit. (Oct. 30, 2007)
Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge, 2000
An oddity, for me, although I think Ramonet makes a respectable amount of red wines. 2000 wasn't an exciting vintage for red Cote de Beaune and this being a village wine, you wouldn't have expected it to survive and thrive after seven years and, indeed, at first it seemed quite senile. Well, not quite; it cleaned up its act enough to show mature Pinot aromas and though the body was a bit limpid, I'd have enjoyed it in its own right alone at home. You know, there is a time and place for a not-so-great Bourgogne. As it was, in the context of a group tasting, it got a thumbs down. (Oct. 6, 2007)
Used to be imported by Tomer Gal but not any more. I called it a not-so-great Bourgogne so you'd expect to pay a not-so-great price and I see it listed in the US for about thirty dollars.
Other Tomer Gal imports:
Francois Jobard, Bourgogne Blanc, 2004
Look, the guy's a genius, okay?
I suppose white Burgundy comes in a few distinct flavors. The nose on this wine is a distillation of a couple of major themes: a heavy dose of flint on a background of ripe pears with some citrus and nuts lurking on an even deeper level. Guaranteed to put a smile on any fan of the style, especially those of us who can't afford the really expensive stuff. The palate falls short, however; there is very good acidity but it is at odds with an astrigency on the finish. There's an interesting tug of war and the weight and oak level continually change and there are enough good things about it to make me want to gamble on a year or more in the cellar. (Oct. 9, 2007)
Listed at 140 NIS.
Dauvissat, Chablis, 2002
Much longer and more intense than the previous bottle I had, actually the best bottle of Dauvissat village I've tasted (2000, 2002, 2005) and better than almost any Premier Cru Chablis I've drunk. An intense and pungent nose of grapefruit peel and chalk at first, then more subtle citrus aromas join the fray and even hints of white chocolate, oddly enough. I can sense a very specific mineral bite on the palate and this is really a flavorsome wine with an excellent acidic backbone and a lightly saline finish. It boasts 13% alcohol, just like the La Foret 2002, so I guess the grapes were more or less as ripe as a Premier Cru. I love it right now though more bottle age might mellow it without making it too tame. (Oct. 25, 2007)
Listed at 150 NIS and sold out.