Porterhouse (Aug. 8, 2009)

Bourillon d'Orleans, Vouvray, Brut, n.v.

A very Chablis-like nose of flint, sea shells and oranges. There is a crisp, chalky mouthfeel but there is also an underlying sensation of sweetness that doesn't really thrive on its own but begs for food to subsume it. A nice bubbly, good value, not very memorable but quite charming for what it is and what it costs.

Giaconda, 117 NIS.

Delas, Hermitage, Marquise de la Tourette, 1999

The nose is all about pepper and earth, and, while there are also plenty of black fruit - and some red too - it's a fairly hardcore Old World wine, meaning the fruit is not at center stage. The aromas follow through on the palate, which is balanced and has good acidity and a rusty finish.

A rusty finish can only get you so far, to be truly high class, a wine has to show elegance as well; having said that, this is, to my tastes, a very good sample of a heartwarming second-tier wine, worth about 92 points.

Improrted by Anavim, years ago, purchased for about 250 NIS. I'd drink it within the next three years, even though the critics make it a twenty year wine, because I was never overwhelmed by the climate conditions of the Anavim stores.

Chateau d'Armailhac, Pauillac, 5me Cru, 2000

The fruit profile is riper and friendlier than the Delas, leaning towards black cherries but with a touch of red fruit as well. The nose has a smoky-minerally personality, which I think is terribly appealing. Bordeaux, folks, remember that name!

Imported by WineRoute, costing less than 200 NIS when the 2000's hit the shelves.

Ishmael Arroyo, Vol Sotillo, Riber Del Duero, Gran Reserva, 1995

There is a currant-y kick on the nose which might be misleading in a blind tasting, but other than that, no complaints at all. Good concentration and ripe acidity on the deftly balanced, nicely knitted palate and a complex overlay of spices on the nose.

Giaconda, 350 NIS.