All Giaconda imports this month.
Domaine de Font-Sane, Gigondas, Tradition, 2005
This is surely not a great wine, nor within its drinking window, but recently, Gigondas has become my personal favorite amongst the Southern Rhone villages, so I like it beyond its current or even potential worth. Tight on both nose and, especially, palate, it still offers enough intellectual puzzles to wade through to be an interesting experience even now. The nose is dusty in a way that suggests influences of both barrel and terroir, with hints of flint, then it picks up that Provencal herb essence we all love, while sweet black fruit lies dormant underneath. Dormant is the operative word on the palate as well, which is so tannic it doesn't only pucker, it floods the palate with bitter flavors. There is good acidity, too, and, with some effort, the fruit can be discerned, but every element floats apart from its compatriots, in what I would like to call a tempting manner, but which right now is simply annoying. The nose, on the other hand, eventually blossoms in full and gets good marks and I believe in time the palate will as well.
PS. The back label makes a claim for 15% alcohol which is very well contained, not an easy trick. (Oct. 8, 2009)
F.X. Pichler, Wachau, Federspiel Loibner Klostersatz, Gruner Veltliner, 2007
The book on Gruner Veltliner says peas and lentils, and I can see that notion reflected in the sweet and fragrant, yet pungent, aromatics, that frame a core of lemon drops, apples and minerals. The palate is intense yet somehow limpid at the same time, drilling through the palate as though it carried more than the 13% ABV listed on the label, winding up in a rough, spicy finish that mellows right before it would have broken my tolerance for kink. Overall, an interesting wine but one I have to try too hard to like. Maybe time will mellow it. (Oct. 11, 2009)
I'd been neglecting German Rieslings at home for a while, so time to correct that lapse.
Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Mussbacher Eselshaut, Riesling Kabinett, Trocken, 2005
This is one of those wines where the nose and palate are almost totally in synch. Both show fresh apples, sweet herbs and chalk, with a touch of sweet dough. The acidity is very racy, lending it great verve. A lovely Kabinett, typical Pfalz, which I'll probably drink sooner than later - it's not going to fade soon but I like to drink a fresh, young Riesling and I'd prefer to use a Kabinett for that pleasure, while laying down the bigger girls. (Oct. 23, 2009)
Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, Blanc, 2006
I haven't tasted a white Crozes since a Rhone tasting at WineRoute, December 2002 (and I was so new to wine at the time of that tasting that I wouldn't trust my recollections - even if I could actually remember anything). Since then, I've been disappointed in a few Condrieus and white CdP's, so white Rhone is not a style I am eager to investigate further and thus I approached this wine out of intellectual curiosity more than anything else. Whatever, the wine itself has apricots and honey on the nose, tempered by a welcome earthiness, and is bitter and a little alcoholic on the palate. Although it is aromatically complex and intriguing and simple tastes unique (unoxidized Fino Sherry is the closest description I can conjure)- it's hard for me to actually sit down and enjoy it outright. So I guess I'm not convinced yet, although I will reserve my final judgment until I taste Colombier's white Cuvee Gaby(Oct. 24, 2009)
Emrich-Schonleber, Nahe, Riesling QBA, Mineral, 2007
I love Schonleber and while this unassuming QBA has no pretense at greatness, it at least lives up to its moniker, with notes of flint framing the peaches and flowers on the nose and flecks of minerals subtly touching up the rough spots on the quinine finish. I don't want to leave this as a one sentence tasting note, so I'll add that it's exactly what most people have in mind when they call a wine 'crisp'. (Oct. 28, 2009)
120 NIS, which I have to say is expensive for a QBA, especially as I preferred the Monzinger Fruhlingsplatzchen Kabinett, the 2004 version of which was sold for a few shekels less.
Leitz, Rheingau, Dragonstone, 2005
This is always a very yummy wine but four years post-vintage, it is subtly less fruity and more minerally than I remembered, sizzingly green apples complemented by chalk on both nose and palate. Easy to drink while offering its share of intellectual pleasures as well, with enough vitality and balance to cellar for the better part of a decade. Yet it's so irresistible now... which is what I always seem to say about it. (Oct 30, 2009)
98 NIS. The label is an Americanized version of the German Rudesheimer Drachenstein and is picked at 90 degrees Oechsle, enough to make it an Auslese, then chaptalized to 95, the chaptalizatiion robbing it of its legal right to be anything but a QBA.