Mid-tier wines are harder to write notes for than for obvious masterpieces or obvious bombs.
This dry Chenin Blanc from one of the major Loire AOC's initially has a nose of ripe, slightly baked bears and some green apples in the background. It's a bit disjointed at first, crisp and minerally overall yet with a soft attack that flares into a somewhat harsh, acidic finish. The elements do coalesce in time, retaining the softness of the attack while toning down the shriller notes of the acidity, as the length of the earthy, spicy finish becomes more obvious and brainy at the same time. The aromas turn minerally and a bit citrus-y and reminescent of Chablis. A very adolescent behavior does suggest the keeping power associated with Chenin, thus a very personable, if not quite elegant, wine with potential. (Aug. 25, 2008)
Jos. Christoffel Jr., Urziger Wurzgarten, Riesling Auslese ***, 1990
The familiar pungent nose of petrol and dill, intricate and minerally. The palate is more reserved than I remembered. These mature Chrtistoffels have been a familair backdrop in my life these past two years and it's a bittersweet feeling to say goodbye to the last one. (Sep. 10, 2008)
Tulip, Reserve Syrah, 2005
This is a very well made wine, within its own style but I have no patience for styles I find offputting. Thus, though my tasting note echoes the winemaker's description on the back label, my own personal reservations speak loud.
Dark purple well, it's 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet, whaddaya expect, ruby-orange? Aromas and flavors of black fruits read: prune juice, vanilla read: oak and caramel read: too thick, too sweet. Aged for 14 months in French and American barrels. Match with veal, chicken or pasta if you must pair anything with it at all until all that oak melts. It's smooth and, like I said, well made but if it's holding anything in reserve for a few years down the road, I'm not as good a taster as, say, Mark Squires, to pick it up. (Sep. 10, 2008)
I'm not sure about the price, but the friend who brought it thinks he bought it for 150 NIS at a discount.
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000
A disappointing bottle. The first glass is worrying, with stewed fruits on the nose with soft tannins enshrouded with somwhat sweet fruit on the palate. The second glass is better and shows some dust and light hints of spices. Overall, this specific bottle seems a bit past its best. The nose is a good sample of a hot climate red but it's a little distant while the sweetness on the palate is too much for me and overwhelms what complexity and structure might hide within. (Sep. 28, 2008)
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003
Uh, I don't much care for this vintage either. The nose is typical Israeli cab, sweet currants and some cranberries, a hint of chocolate. The palate is long but sweet and structurally ambient despite tightening up after three hours. It's tasty and there's a salinity I enjoy that opens up on the finish but it just doesn't have the multilayering of flavors I'd expect from this wine's stature as an Israeli classic, despite being GHW's third wine after the Katzrin and Elrom. Maybe the 2000 bottle wasn't off, maybe the Yarden cab and I are no longer suitable for each. In which case, I'm not sure which Israeli red is. (Sep. 30, 2008)
100 NIS, is it?