Misc Notes (Dec. 2009)

A. Et P. Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise, La Digoine, 2006

I wasn't going to open any more of these for a while, but I found a cache of 2006 leftovers in the Tel-Aviv branch of Hinawi so I can afford to open a bottle now for, uh, educational purposes. For me, this is the perfect house Bourgogne, as I prefer wines that build up body and presence with time and air - such as this one does - as opposed to wines that start big and mellow out. The nose has gorgeous red fruit, with a hint of black cherries, earthy and meaty notes and those quintessential exotic spices that are present to a lesser or fuller degree throughout Burgundy. Very elegant. The palate is delicate yet assertive even if a previous bottle had greater focus. Right now the tannins, fine as they are, overshadow the fruit, but they leave a pungent impression on the palate that I adore and there is enough balance to keep me faithful. What can I say, I'm a sucker for this wine. (Dec. 3, 2009)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 130-140 NIS.

A. Et. P. Villaine, Bouzeron, 2007

This is always a light wine, but in this vintage it seems a bit lighter than usual, which is a good thing because I think that why it's readier than usual, the mineral cut on the palate already in harmony with the citrus-y acidity. Other than that, there's lime and chalk on the nose and a bit of green grass and some toasted bread, although the last is not oaky toast - maybe it's terroir as I always spot it once this wine hits its stride. Anyway, a lovely little wine, and 2GrandCru doesn't use "little" as a calumnious descriptor. (Dec. 9, 2009)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 80 NIS.

Bott-Geyl, Gewurztraminer, les Elements, 2006

Classic Gewurztraminer, from the golden color, to the lychee and spices on the nose, and finally the off-dry juice enveloping a spicy core. Very nice acidity, too! Well balanced and will drink well over the next three-four years.

Imported by IPV, 150 NIS.

Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, Primavera, 2006

This is one of my house wines and once again it delivers the goods, with flavors and aromas of black fruit, pepper, raw meat and a hint of lemon. Deftly balanced for its modest price, with succulent fruit, gorgeous acidity and a saline finish, it has gained focus in the three months since I last crossed its path. Lovely and I would thrive on it over the next two-three years, if I don't devour all my bottles much sooner. (Dec. 18, 2009)

Imported by Giaconda, 110 NIS.

And now, for something completely different...

Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, Cuvee Gaby, 2007

This is the first white Rhone I've really enjoyed in a long while. The nose reminds me of a Closel Savannieres because the first thing I pick up is a similarly intense and heady mixture of spices and minerals. Then the initial impression disperses, however, as I note a light hint of oxidation against a background of honey and almonds. The palate seems light, almost ephemeral, compared to the nose, and is very refreshing, sleek and graceful by any account. It is very mineral-y, but if the usual suspects in other wines of a mineral-y nature are chalk, slate, flint, then the Cuvee Gaby introduces a rock unknown to me, perhaps a hybrid of granite and calcium. I found the regular Blanc an interesting wine, but not quite fulfilling; this one, however, has jism and is a serious contender. (Dec. 24, 2009)

Giaconda again, 157 NIS.

Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Mussbacher Eselshaut, Riesling Kabinett, Trocken, 2005

The youthful exuberance here proves my thesis that drinking young German Rieslings is as pleasurable, and as necessary, as drinking mature ones. The palate is driven by a green apple acidity that will mellow over the years, while the nose has sweet dough nuances that I imagine will fade away at the expense of the chalky streak that is already present. I imagine I'd love it as much in a few years, but I don't have the money or space and since these Kabinetts just don't have the fullness and richness of the Spatleses and Ausleses, they're the ones I utilize to enjoy the youthful version of the paradigm. In this case, it helps that the Eselshaut has already started developing hints of petrol. (Dec. 19, 2009)

Giaconda, 117 NIS.

Perrin et Fils, Gigondas, La Gille, 2006

The nose is almost North Rhone, as it is at first dominated by barnyard and black pepper, which then make some room for a blast of more typical garrigue. The palate does have South Rhone warmth and roundness in its red fruit and, although on the tannic side, it seems to me to be meant for relatively early drinking, for the freshness of the fruit complements the tannic crunch as it leads into a saline finish. I love Gigondas and for my money this is a delightful, minor-key example. (Dec. 25, 2009)

WineRoute, about 150 NIS.

Marques de Riscal, Rioja Reserva, 2004

Only three months have passed since I last posted about this wine and little has changed. So, I'd like to use this space to discuss why this wine makes me uneasy. I don't want to be too harsh with this wine - quite obviously, as my previous note is positive, even fairly loving - but as enjoyable as this young Reserva is, it only hints at the mature Rioja style I love, yet doesn't seem to have the capability to age and fully embody that style. Not that a Reserva should have the same benchmark capacity for cellaring as a Gran Reserva, but the Riscal feels as though it will never age to smooth out its rustic graininess. Maybe I ought to start stocking up on Gran Reservas again. (Dec. 26, 2009)

WineRoute, about 100 NIS on sale.