With this kind of wine, geared as it is for upper-middle class neophytes looking for wines to flatter their newly-found perceptions of what fermented grape juice should taste like, it is actually easier for me to imagine the winery's press release than it is to formulate an interesting tasting note. Thank God I'm not a professional, but anyway, here 'tis: Sweet fruit with a spicy, minerally aftertaste. A good wine in the typical Israeli mold, ripe, alcoholic with green streaks. These traits are in enough of a balance to make this a successful wine but I just can't conjure the energy to write anything more about it. (July 4, 2009)
The next wine I had that same day is, thankfully, much easier for me to write about.
Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Haardter Herrenletten, Riesling Spatlese, 2006
Unlike other wines I've had this year from the Pfalz, this is an off-dry wine and the roundness of the fruit in this mold is so easily accessible and tasty that I might have a problem returning to drier wines from the region. The nose is lush, almost tropical, with a hint of botrytis funk, creating an impression of the dessert wine but that's not the way it functions on the palate, as it is more of an appertif or a food wine. Whatever, on the palate the dominant red apple notes are enveloped by more tropical fruits on the fringes and the whole package finishes with a long tasty blast that is all juicy, fruity acidity. This excellent wine should develop for over a decade. (July 4, 2009)
Giaconda, 135 NIS.
A. Et P. Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Blanc, Les Clous, 2006
I am obviously incapable of keeping away from this Chardonnay, even though I knew it was not quite ready. Still, I remembered how lovely the nose was and I needed to clear some fridge space. Plus, it really helps that I've got a few more bottles stashed away. Because, with this particular bottle, although the eloquent flint and spicy pears on nose just make me want cuddle up in bed with a smile, the solid fruit on the palate is overwhlemed by the oak and the overall effect is a choppy, blocky and ungainly. Damn. (July 7, 2009)
Imported by Tomer Gal, I was lucky enough to find it for about 120 NIS.
Albert Mann, Muscat, 2007
Since Albert Mann makes my favorite Alsatian renditions of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, it's only fitting that this is one of the few Muscats to arouse my interest. I dont think I'd buy an entire bottle but it seems like a good wine to buy by the glass, as its blend of white fruit, quinine and minerals seems like a good match for light summer fare.
Mann's importer, Giaconda, doesn't carry the Muscat, although it does import the more expensive Weinbach rendition, which, at slightly less than 200 NIS, simple doesn't fit into any ecological niche in my culinary life. There must be a strand of irony in there somewhere.
Albert Boxler, Pinot Blanc, 2005
Apricots with flint overtones on the nose. The palate is round and there is no lack of acidity, thankfully. There is, however, a bit of an alcoholic sting in mid-palate which carries through to a bitter finish. Overall, there's a rough feel to it that doesn't really appeals to me. (July 18, 2009)
Giaconda, 117 NIS.
Gaston Chiquet, Brut Blanc de Blancs D’Aÿ, n.v. (2004 based)
A sharp wine until the sweetness of the citrus fruit asserts itself, with a yeasty nose that bespeaks of chalk and baked apples. This is one of the best non-vintages that Eldad Levi imports and I'd be tempted to age it further if I had the room for it. Time to move on to the Special Club. (July 19, 2009)
About 230 NIS, Boutique des Champagnes.
Schafer-Frolich, Nahe, QBA, Riesling Trocken, 2007
The nose initially reminds me of Champagne, with its green apples laced with hints of oranges and yeast, but then the various elements blend together to produce a more typical apple-pie character. And then the minerals and baked apples start roaring and there you go, that German shit just smells so good, even when it's just QBA stuff. The palate is balanced and tasty, if not especially complex, with an elegant backbone of juicy acidity and a welcome salinity on the finish. (July 25, 2009)
Giaconda, 80 NIS. Decent value.
J.L. Chave, Cotes du Rhone, Mon Coeur, 2007
This initially has very 'southern' aromatics, with ripe plums and herbal/meaty notes. Then it develops a more peppery, Syrah personality, so I'm not sure whether it comes from the North or South Rhone (Chave, of course, hails from the North). Maybe it's just a Syrah-based CDR from the South. The palate has a heady, sweet, ripe feel to it, balanced by solid tannins and ends in a peppery, dusty finish. (July 30, 2009)
WineRoute, about 100 NIS, expensive for a Cotes du Rhone, but reasonable considering the overall quality. Personally, I prefer the Chave St. Joseph, and I'm sated with mid-priced Southern Rhones for now, anyway.