Ironically enough, given my un-patriotic palate, the first wine I opened in 2010 was a local red.
Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2005
This has 12% Petit Verdot and almost 15% ABV. The nose has a very nice herbal/leathery tinge and the varietal green pepper signature is obvious as well. Meanwhile, the fruit is, kindly enough, oriented towards the red end of the spectrum. The palate is sweetish and round, but underlined by grainy, slightly bitter tannins and a dollop of minerals on the finish. It won't win any points for elegance, but it has a polished sort of rusticity and becomes leaner and more focused as it opens. (Jan. 2, 2010)
About 100 NIS.
Dujac Fils et Freres, Meursault, 2004
If there's a Platonian ideal of fat, buttery Meursault laden with smokey, spicy pear fruit, then this wine is a good candidate for that role, even if at times it escapes the paradigm. Let's see, there are no hazelnuts on the nose, which isn't a bad thing, it only detracts from its ability to fully fulfill the Meursault style. Then, the palate is fat and creamy, too semi-sweet for me in the middle, even though I must say the finish has enough lip-smacking salinity to satisfy me. But the overall effect is rather simple and obvious, and although I didn't set my sights on greatness when I bought this negociant bottling, I'm a bit disappointed. (Jan. 7, 2010)
About 150 NIS on discount at WineRoute, two years ago.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfalz, Kalstadter Steinacker, Gewurztraminer Spatlese, 2005
This wine captures the essence of Gewurtz, in its telltale signature of lychee, rose petals and spices - as well as being archetypical Koehler-Ruprecht in its aromatic complexity, edgy acidity and bitter-cum-bitter undertow. And since the K-H style implies a certain austerity, that serves to rein in the headiness of the variety. So the combination works very well indeed and creates a very balanced, delicious wine of a low-key nature that I prefer to a lot of big-scale Alsatian versions. (Jan. 8, 2010)
Giaconda sold this two years ago for 117 NIS.
Bourillon d'Orleans, Vouvray, Art Monia Moeulleux, 2003
The nose shows yet another facet of Chenin Blanc, showing cantaloup this time and a pungent, yet light minerality over laid with sweet spices. On the palate, the acidity balances the sweetness so the fruit comes off as fleshy yet light and crisp. Let me quote my dinner partner, bless her soul: "this is delicious and unique". After just over a year of drinking Loire Chenin in all its permutations, it's easy to lose track of how idiosyncratically yummy it is. (Jan. 14, 2010)
Giaconda, 130 NIS.
Vitkin, Carignan, 2006
I feel vindicated yet again. If the local idiom is ripe fruit with sweet tannins, best it be based on a grape best suited for it. Here, the fruit is ripe yet still mainly red with leathery nuances and enough tannic bite to balance the sweetness. I'll try aging it this time. (Jan. 15, 2009)
About 90 NIS.
Domaine du Closel, Savennieres, Clos du Paillon Moelleux, 2003
It's hard to be indifferent towards the wines of this Domaine. Two years ago, I was almost repelled by roughly-hewn, vaguely whiskey-like power, but learned to find a rough elegance beneath the near-alcoholic brawn. The nose is idiosyncratic, even for an appellation renowned for its mineral quirkiness, with a sweetness reminiscent of carmelized apples, overlain with an ashy minerality and perhaps a whiff of cumin. The sweetness carries on to the palate, where it is tempered by a liquid-rock cut and subtle salinity. In all, this wine is multi-layered and fascinating, even if you need to be in a certain mood to approach it, and it offers a lot of interest for its price. (Jan. 22, 2010)
Giaconda, about 150 NIS.
Chateau du Seuil, Graves Blanc, 2005
Any traces of oak have finally been integrated. No baby fat remains and the wine is seamlessly crisp and mineral-laden now. In short, a 2GrandCru wine for the masses, assuming the masses can cope with such a low-key, elegant bastard. (Jan. 23, 2010)
Giaconda, 117 NIS.