Saturday, March 29, 2008

Misc. Notes (Feb.-Mar. 2008)

In this winter of discontent and strife, I found myself drinking a lot of Rieslings at home, imported by Giaconda.

Langwerth von Simmern, Rheingau, Erbacher Marcobrunn, Riesling Kabinett, 2004

Developing nicely. Mineral notes float lightly over aromas of ripe peaches and both red and green apples. Green apple acidity and round, ripe fruit on the palate, with the apples more to the fore, with minerals and spices, even light quince notes, on the finish. It's got more fat than I'd expect from a Kabinett but that's not a fault and anyway, it's a wine I find delicious beyond any score I might award it. (Feb. 16, 2008) 100 NIS.

Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Mussbacher Esselshaut, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2004

This seemed off-dry when I first tasted it a year and a half ago. Maybe it has absorbed its residual sugar or maybe my palate has adjusted to German Rieslings by now but it feels very dry now. It smells like a Champagne, with apples, lime, yeasts and spices. There's also just a trace of minerals in the background. The palate echoes the nose very much with a trace of petrol on the finish while the fizz it showed in its early youth is gone. Needed a couple of hours to open up, surprisingly. (Feb. 19, 2008) 116 NIS.

Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfalz, Kalstadter Steinacker, Riesling Kabinett, 2004

Talc, peaches and honey on the nose with hints of green herbs and mint, and that's only scratching the surface of this wine's complex and elusive aromatics. A soft yet agreeably acidic backbone contains a fairly wide array of flavors in a compact, Kabinett frame. The somewhat austere, grapefruit pip finish is reminscent of a young Alsace Riesling, only softer. (Feb. 27, 2008) 117 NIS.

Donnhoff, Grauschiefer Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2006

The aromatics resemble a Chablis: Chalk, sea-salt, a hint of flint, peaches, lime, lemon peel, though there is a lees-y note in the background which would be out of place in Bourgogne, I think. The palate and mouthfeel carry on the resemblance, with the fruit a bit rounder than a Chardonnay. It's drinking nicely but just a bit tight on the finish, so I'd give it another year or two. Nice, though it's a bit too precise in character, but worth another bottle. (Mar. 1, 2008) 113 NIS.

Keller, Rheinhessen, Riesling QBA Trocken, 2006

Pungent green apple peels and lime on the nose, with plenty of chalk, and also dough-y and candied notes. Trocken for sure, with plenty succulent fruit that I think would serve as a very good introduction to German wines for neophytes. A saline, quinine finish of medium length and a textbook example of racy acidity. Not very complex, but a pretty good QBA, that tastes like a declassified Kabinett. Just slightly disjointed and, though probably not very age-worthy, another 6 months will do it good. (Mar. 13, 2008) 90 NIS.

Leitz, Dragonstone, 2005

Quite the same as last time, except for minor differences like more dough and nuts on the nose alongside the lime and minerals. And one somewhat bigger difference being a better balance of acidity and sweetness highlighting the minerals and green apples of the finish. Lovely fruit. (Mar. 18, 2008) 98 NIS

Jos. Christoffel Jr., Urziger Wurzgarten, Riesling Auslese ***, 1990

There are peaches and petrol on the nose but it only in the background, the aromatic essance of this mature Riesling being cold, wet stones and dill, lending a pungent kick. The palate is elegant and subtle, the fruit and minerals having melted into one another, married by a juicy, green-apple acidity that only pure fruit can offer. (Mar. 29, 2008) 245 NIS.

Recanati, Special Reserve, 2003

Typical New World Cabernet nose (though it's only 2/3 of the blend, the other third being Merlot, no surprise) of red currant with mildly noticeable oak, albeit very integrated, with plenty of earth and eucalyptus notes. It's shed some baby fat on the palate since last time but it's still a bit sweet on the attack before the bitter tannins kick in on the finish. But overall, the structure shows potential as the fruit and acids are well balanced. (Mar. 6, 2008)

Domaine Jacques Prieur, Beaune Premier Cru, Champs -Pimont, 2002

Classic Bourgogne nose - one of the variants anyway - of wild strawberries and cherries, a bit animalistic at first with a streak of violets and blue fruit, which assert themselves more and more as the wine opens, at the cost of the complexity the other elements provided at first. On the palate, there are ripe black and black fruit on the attack, which contract to a minerally mid-palate and finish, which some might find too green, though I personally appreciate this austere style up to a point - which this wine (barely) manages not to cross. At any rate, this was a very good match for tbeet, a thick, mildly spicy Iraqi rice dish, a dish I'd never expected I'd find a good match for and a match that manages to complement the greeness. (Mar. 22, 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001

At first, the nose is somewhat reticient but gains fair complexity and even greater depth in time to show cranberries, currants, red and black cherries, spices, violets and hints of dust and mildew on the fringes. Fruity on the attack then tannic on the finish. Rather blunt off the bat for a wine that was relatively elegant in its youth and eventually the elegance creeps back in after some time in glass but to its detriment, it does lack the knockout power of the 2000 and lags behind the nose. Though, when all is said and done, this is a delicious, well crafted wine and makes even an anal retentive, homegrown vineological worrywart like myself proud. And oh yeah, I'd drink it now and over the next two-three years. (Mar. 25, 2008)

Marc Bredif, Vouvray, 2003

A ringer for a Chablis Premier Cru now, especially the nose with its nose of white fruits, minerals and a hint of sea brine. The palate is just a bit waxier than a Chardonnay would be, though. Ther's a hint of baked apples on the nose that emerges in time which suggests the wine's age and though the green apple finish is fresh enough at first, the palate displays maturity and displays a somewhat alcoholic streak after an hour which suggests that this bottle is at its peak. (Mar. 27, 2008)

Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet, 2004

Rather a young one, ain't it, which I opened to decide whether to invest in the 2005 version. Prototypical, mouthwatering white B nose: pears, flint, some flowers, dry summer evening grass. Dry and saline on the palate with impressive power, though the intensity is evidenced as length, not breadth or depth and it is lacking in complexity and finesse. The oak is still in there, in the process of being submerged. Hmmm, the same level of oak, married to 2005's ripeness sounds interesting. Here, the oak will take a year or more to melt away but I find it tasty even at the current level of oak, at the start anyway - it doesn't really improve with airing. (Mar. 31, 2008)

Tomer Gal imports it, Hinawi sold the 2004 for about 145 NIS. The 2005 is more expensive.

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