This was one of the periodic tastings that Giaconda hold on Friday late mornings/noons.
First off was a German Riesling, the first wine imported by Giaconda to reach it's third consecutive appearance in Israel: Heymann-Lowenstein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Schieferterrassen, 2006. As usual, it is an off-dry, yet crisp, wine, with a sweet nose dominated by apples and notes of peaches and mild spices. It breaks from the 2004 and 2005 by possessing a more subdued acidity and some bitterness on the finish; while it is almost as slick as they were, it hints at more bulk and its structure doesn't flow as naturally, the sweetness and acidity not yet integrated. It's still a good wine and a very good value. 107 NIS.
Following that were two reds from Ribera del Duero. Val Sotillo, Crianza, 2004 is famed winery Bodegas Ishmael Arroyo's entry level wine. Arroyo is one of the clasic names in Ribera, and, allowing for the fact that like most Israeli wine collectors I've only had encounters with four-five other names from the area, I'd say it's very typical. Forward fruit tempered with an animalisic essance on the nose and a mineral streak on the palate. Back in the days when a wine like Condado de Haza was the pinacle of my wine drinking aspirations, I'd have bought a case of these but these days I just see it as a nice enough wine though I'd rather pay more for the Reservas or Gran Reservas and get more stuffing and structure. I might buy a couple for entertaining laymen friends and I'm sure it should go great in restaurants. 108 NIS.
Montecastro, 2005 is a much more modern winery but while it is made in a different style then the Val Sotillo Crianza, I don't see the differences in terms of Old vs. New World. It has the sweeter fruit but a finer structure and is much less forward. It should obviously be compared to the Val Sotillo's Reservas and upwards, but since it was presented side by side with the Crianza, it's hard to avoid comparisons and in that context, the Montecastro comes off as a much more interesting and idiosyncratic wine.