Lilian Ladouys, Saint Estephe, 2000
Jammy cranberry fruit on the nose with notes of smoke and spices. Spicier on the palate than I first expected, long but not obviously Bordeaux, quite new World. Medium-bodied, not quite as balanced as I'd like and not quite up to expectations for such a vintage. Time does work its wonders as the nose gains greater details and nuances, those cranberries turning into currants and strawberries, the palate also growing more elegant. But even then it's not a very convincing wine. (Nov. 4, 2009)
Imported by WineRoute, sold for about 120 NIS four years ago.
Domaine le Couroulu, Vacqueyras, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, 2003
Dark, young purple hue and very young as well on both nose and palate. With ripe, almost jammy aromas, this is just about as ripe as a nose can get and retain any red fruit characteristics. It is tempered by initially subtle mineral and pepper notes that gain complexity and presence with airing. The palate is (considering the nose and the hot vintage) surprisingly structured with good acidity, soft yet delineating tannins and a saline, savoury finish. Parker says drink until 2009 but I beg to differ. Though I know what it means because it is a very compelling wine right now, despite a certain lack of stuffing on the mid-palate, but I think it has about four years left. (Nov. 12, 2008)
Imported by Giaconda for 135 NIS.
Francois Jobard, Bourgogne Blanc, 2005
Comes flying out of the gate with sigh-inducing pear and flint aromatics with a touch of oak that is also present on the palate. However, it is well balanced by the saline finish. How saline? My five year old son said "it's a salty wine, abba". Exactly. I could pick out other faults besides the oak, like a certain greenness and lack of concentration, but this is just a Bourgogne and as such packs a lot of quality, almost village level and if I were to be too harsh on it, I'd have nothing to drink while I wait for Jobard's bigger wines to mature. (Nov. 20, 2008)
Sold by Tomer Gal for about 150 NIS.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Kalstadter Steinacker, Gewurztraminer Spatlese, 2005
Saumgen is Koehler-Ruprecht's great vineyard, but as it is devoted solely to Riesling, if you want to see how the magic plays out with other varieties, you need to go to Steinacker. A worthwhile pursuit in this case, as you get the classic Gewurztraminer traits - lychee, spices, a certain headiness no matter what the alcohol level is, the feeling that your palate is heavily coated with spices - with a certain German restraint. And there are a a couple of contradictions in place to beguile the innocent. Although the acidity feels as low keyed as its Alsatian counterparts - it's not, really, just concentrate and you'll find it but its obscured by all those spices - the wine as a whole feels cooler. Although the label does not say "trocken", it feels very dry except for a burst of sweetness on the end. It's almost at the start of its drinking window, with the fruit somewhat submerged in mid-palate, and I would give it five more years of life (Nov. 22, 2008).
Imported by Giaconda, sold for 106 NIS.
Domaine de la Mordoree, Lirac, La Reine Des Bois, 2005
Arguably one of the benchmark Liracs, this very young wine as deep a colored a wine as I've ever seen and it's quite monolithic at this point, with black fruit and licorice melding with hints of pepper on both nose and palate. The ripe fruit starts out sweetish before being clobbered by the persistent, yet smooth, tannins and throughout the evening, the wine displays a juggling act between sweetness, size and structure. I'd like to say it finesses this juggling act but I have to admit it's not very consistent and loses grasp of the structure more often than not towards the end. Needs air right now or, better yet, more cellar time, as patience is rewarded by lovely aromatics that recall an Oriental bazaar. My other bottle will wait some four years. (Nov. 29, 2008)
Imported by WineRoute. Old age is catching up with me so I don't remember exactly how much it cost, but I think it was about 130 NIS on discount.