Three years ago, I had guessed this village wine would be ready by 2010. I was wrong. It's still tight, holding its potential in reserve. Still, its Chablis character is obvious on the nose with its citrus skin aromas and hints of sea air, while the palate is classical in its crisp, nervy energy. (June 2, 2010)
Imported by Burgundy Wine Collection, about 150 NIS.
Chateau d'Or et de Gueules, Costieres de Nimes, Trassegum, 2003
60% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 15% Carignan. When I was originally investigating IPV's catalog, Ori Kaftory very broadly hinted this would be too modern for my tastes. Thus, timing and budget constraints prohibited my tasting it. This week I saw it on the shelves at Wine Depot and asked head honcho Ronen just how modern it was. "Well, it's pretty modern", he said. "Modern as in too sweet or too forward?", I inquired further. "It's forward, not too sweet, but it's got character and tastes good." Since my reading up on it seemed to hint it had a Provencal herbal thing going for it, it seemed to intersect my gastronomical plans for the weekend, i.e., entrecotes with a cardamon and rosemary based seasoning. In the event, I found a forward, fruity nose,with a neat herbal constituent that makes up for a slight alcoholic strain. Like the Les Cimels (and unlike the la Bolida), there's a tannic austerity on the palate which is at odds with the roundness of the fruit. Thus, it's not very balanced, even though it makes up for that by sheer personality - although without the brilliance of the la Bolida. (June 5, 2010)
Imported by IPV, about 110 NIS. A good, interesting one-off buy.
Flam, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2006
Back when I was still drinking Israeli wines regularly, I always preferred Flam to, say, GHW. And what a surprise, I still do, even though I probably don't drink more than three local reds a year. While the Reserve has its own share of faults, this is still good wine-making that leaves room for personality. There are, at four years of age, plenty of signs of oak and barrel, but they seem decently welded to the currant-y kick of the Cabernet. The fruit isn't too ripe on the nose, and while it's solidly entrenched on the black side of the spectrum, it is balanced by red notes and hints of earth. The tannins are drying on the palate (and there are green notes as well) while the effects of the barrel seem to grasp the fruit very harshly.But there is, at the core, something very homely and warm about this wine. Having said all that, I will confess that upon my first few sips I entertained notions of buying another bottle or two to lay down but these thoughts dissipated by the end of the bottle. So it's pretty good, just not good enough. (June, 12, 2010).
About 140 NIS.
Jean Paul et Benoit Droin, Chablis, 2007
It's interesting to compare this village Chablis with the more mature Dauvissat village. The nose is just as well realized, although, with notes of flint and dry grass serving as a foil to mellow citrus fruit, I find it somehow slightly less typical of Chablis and more representative of a more 'global' Bourgogne ideal. The palate is, one the one hand, friendlier and more fully realized than the Dauvissat; on the other hand, it is still youthfully vibrant with pungent, acid-driven citrus fruit. (June 20, 2010)
Giaconda, 126 NIS.
Gunderloch, Rheinessen, Riesling, Kabinett, Jean Baptiste, 2007
This is, for me, what a young German Riesling is all about (and why I make sure I have a sufficient supply of bottles around for early drinking - just because you can age them doesn't mean you always have to age them): juicy, zippy apple fruit, complexified enough - aromatically - by mineral tinged dough-y notes to arouse interest. And so yummy. (June 21, 2010)
Giaconda, 90 NIS.
A. Et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Blanc, Les Clous, 2006
Love the nose: textbook Bourgogne with pears and flint. The palate is initially rather disjointed and unformed, the acidity not properly welded to the fruit, thus leaving a bitter sensation from mid-palate to finish, which dissipates with warm air. The improvement in glass is actually so pronounced that it leaves plenty room for optimism. This wine needs to be served warmer than many village level whites to show its best at present - the initial coarseness really fades away once the wine warms up and the salinity on the finish starts to take off. (June 24, 2010)
Imported by Tomer Gal, my bottle cost me about 120 NIS. Good value.
Faustino, Rioja Gran Reserva, I, 1998
One of the best I've ever had from the I series, maybe because Faustino's new importer, WineRoute's Shaked family, has better storage facilities than the both the previous importer (the dreaded, dreadful France-Israel) and my foreign duty-free sources. The new importer is also responsible for finally matching this wine's foreign prices. France-Israel, quite frankly, played the local consumers for suckers, selling this at almost twice the price in Spain. Enough whining and back to the wine. The nose is not especially powerful or complex but commendable for being so utterly typical with its fresh red fruit and tobacco leaves - and who cannot help but love Rioja? The palate shows the best of old-fashioned, down-home Rioja: savoury, meaty tannins and ripe acidity in balance with the red fruit, with a delivery designed to cleanse the palate rather than impress. (June 26, 2010)
Two side notes:
- My wife said she remembers the Faustino's Gran Reservas but doesn't remember them tasting this fresh and powerful. Which is true, compared to imported bottles and ones purchased from France-Israel. I mean, this is still a relatively mellow wine but so full of life compared to any other Faustinos I've tasted, even the premium de Autor.
- So, on the one hand, we have a wine that's obviously meant to be paired with food rather than compete at tastings. On the other hand, a bottle that I hope is representative of a very vibrant and freshly styled batch. Does anyone else think this reads very much like a Bourgogne impostor?
WineRoute's list price is about 160 NIS, I believe; this was on sale at Wine Depot this month for about 130 NIS. So it's either a good value or a great bargain.
Domaine des Baumard, Coteaux Du Layon, Carte d'Or, 2005
Let me try to be specific about the mineral aromas for a change: there's both sculptor clay and flint, god knows how, making an intruiging frame around the ripe cantaloup. The palate is languid and hedonistic, the fruit ripe here, too, and somewhat more alcoholic than in the past. They make great sweeties in the Loire, that's for sure, even if the style of this wine doesn't limit it to dessert. (June 30, 2010)