Brancaia, Tre, 2004
This Sangiovese-dominated blend smells and tastes Italian, though not obviously Tuscan, I think; it's got the acidic, fruity zest, just the wrong shade of it - too black, wrong spices. In fact, when I tasted it a few months ago it reminded me of a good Cotes du Rhone with its rustic bite. Though you need to pair it with food to get the connection, as on its own the sweetness of the fruit is somewhat overbearing (that's true of all the Brancaia wines I've tasted, actually). On the simple side, palate-wise, it needs a year or so to shed its baby fat although not a wine for the long run. (Dec. 1, 2007)
About 100 NIS from Anavim.
Two from Giaconda:
Weingut Unckrich, Kallstadter Steinacker, Gewurztraminer Spatlese, 2005
Oddly enough, this had been one of my first encounters with German wines a year and half ago. At the time, it seemed like a muted variant of the Alsace paradigm, all lychees and rose petals but without the pungent, spicy kick. Now, after further bottle time, while just as delicious, it is more complex and the telltale spiciness and slightly alcoholic coctail whiff of the varietal is there. It's still softer than the Alsace version but it works very well with fine, understated acidity and a lightly peppery finish. Makes for a lovely companion piece to the same producer's Scheurebe. (Dec. 9 and 29, 2007)
75 NIS at the end of year sale but even the original price of 90 NIS made it arguably the best value Gewurztraminer in Israel.
Leitz, Dragonstone, 2005
Leitz' entry-level wine, more or less, sports two labels, Rudesheimer Drachenstein on the back for the local boys and Dragonstone for the American market, the pradikat somewhat obscured. Probably QBA. The wine itself is also of two minds. The somewhat pungent lime and chalk nose fools you into expecting something along the line of a Chablis so the typical German semi-sweetness seems sweeter than it actually is, with the acidity balancing it in a very non-nonsense manner. Not especially long, nor does it possess the crystalline structure of a great one. It's one of the Terry Thiese portfolio's core-wines and he usually predicts a life expectancy of up to ten years for most vintages. This is so very ready now I wouldn't wait that long which is very weird because the bottle I tasted in August was too primary. For more or less the same price, the Magdalenenkreuz is more exciting but this is probably better for current drinking.(Dec. 16, 2007)
Decently priced at about 100 NIS. Better value than the Leitz QBA (unless you prefer dry Rieslings) but I still prefer the Magdalenenkreuz, which is the one I'll probably wind up stocking up on.
Weingut Loersch-Eifel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Vogelsang, Riesling Spatlese Trocken, 2006
I think dry German Rieslings can sometimes be awfully unforgiving in their youth and this example from a little-known producer seems to be a good example. Taut green apples aromas and yeasts on the nose suggest beer, while the palate is at least superficially tart. That is, it seems complete within itself but gives little indication of future direction. Didn't leave me very hopeful.
Not imported to Israel. Price unknown.
Condado De Haza, Ribera Del Duero, 2002
This used to be a favorite of mine. The 1999 was terrific and I'd like to think I'd still like it lots. The 1996 was impressive if somewhat of a showoff while the 2000 and 2002 taught me how consistent this estate can be. You'll always have a great nose, sweaty and stinky with red cherries and a chocolate overlay developing in glass. The palate will have useful acidity and poise, bhe vintage variations will affect the stuffing, length and complexity. Sadly, 2000/2 are lacking in this respect, starting off great until the good first impression falls apart as a hole begins to grow in the mid-palate. Useful for hosting but a little too predictable for me by now.
Imported by WineRoute, price usually going between 95 and 100 NIS, depending on sporadic marketing considerations.