This Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend blasts off with a mineral-infused cranberry note, a dash of spices and jammy overtones. The palate has lively acidity but is not altogether integrated, the influences of the barrel (or something, anyway) making for an unappetizing flavor, even two hours after opening. (May 12, 2009)
Domaine du Closel, Savennieres, Caillardieres, 2003
There's so much going for this wine, despite it being something of a bullying brute and it is simply fascinating to peel off its monolithic layers. The nose has an intriguing character that reminds me of a hot waters bath on one hand and honeyed apples on the other; while the the palate, the palate feels like there's a Hummer driving around on it. But in the end, the big alcoholic punch, combined with a mineral streak, gets my guard down and I find it both tasty and a great companion for an evening of hanging around doing nothing. (May 17, 2009)
Giaconda, 135 NIS.
Francois Jobard, Bourgogne Blanc, 2005
One of my favorite of the relatively inexpensive Bourgognes, the nose is utterly classic, with pears, nuts and, above all, f...f...flint! The palate, alas, is too green in mid-palate but still offers vary handsome acidity and a savoury, saline finish. (May 18, 2009).
Tomer Gal, 140 NIS or so.
Domaine Jacques Prieur, Beaune Premier Cru, Greves, 2002
The color is more mature than I'd expected, while some caramel notes on the nose at first worry me about premature aging. But it really only needs some time to show its Pinot aromatics: wild red fruit, herbal notes, a hint of underbush and some chocolate in the background as well. The palate has solid acidity and a saline finish and is fairly tasty once an initially unappetizing note through the mid-palate fades away with air. A solidly good wine, though it's too foursquare and ripe to be highly memorable.
Imported and sold by WineRoute three years ago for about 170 NIS.
Jean Durup, Chablis Premier Cru, Vau De Vey, 2005
My ol' Chablis "go to guy" is slowly being replaced in my heart by recent arrivals on the local scene, I guess, but it's still a good bargain and a charmer, with green apples, citrus skins and a mildly pungent minerality. I don't try very hard to cellar it any more but I think this bottle would have been better off resting for another year. It's hard to get these things right. (May 24, 2009)
Tomer Gal, about 120 NIS.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfalz, Kalstadter Steinacker, Scheurebe Spatlese, 2005
The guayava aromatics and flavors are more obvious this time and there's also a fascinating note of ginger. The palate starts off round and winds up with a chalky texture on the finish that reflects a certain herbaceousness that is present on the nose. The roundness of fruit and the lively, refreshing acidity makes this a summer pleasure but there is also an intellectual pleasure in it. However, as refreshing as the acidity is, there's a certain harshness to it that I worry will never quite soften, so I would wait a couple of years with my remaining bottles and see. I'd still like it if it doesn't soften, it could just be a teeny weeby bit better. (May 26, 2009)
Giaconda, 117 NIS.
Domaine les Pallieres, Gigondas, 2004
This is the kind of nose only the Southern Rhone can produce, herbal and dusty with aromas of scorched earth overlaid with dried cherries. And it really screams "MEAT"! The palate is tasty, although the acidity is on the high side at this time while the meaty tannins make for a rusty finish. Give it two-three years to smooth out a little? (May 27, 2009)
WineRoute, 150 NIS.
d'Arenberg, Sticks And Stones, 2002
Even though I'm no longer on the market for too many Australian wines, I still have a soft spot for d'Arenberg and I still think they make good-value wines that are savoury and not too sweet (at least not north of the 100 NIS mark). The nose displays has a somewhat exotic facet - as though d'Arenberg had rendered its own version of a New Wave Rioja or Priorat - with a core of black cherries and raspberries overlaid with notes of tobacco leaves, earth, meat. The palate is over-extracted for my tastes but well structured with good acidity and crisp tannins that almost manage to balance the sensations of sweetness created by the alcohol. (May 30, 2009)
WineRoute, about 150 NIS. If I were to compare this wine to a Priorat or to a Super Rioja like Artadi, then it's a very good price. But for my personal taste, I know I can get a good Rioja Reserva for less money and trade off some alcohol for elegance.