Misc Notes (Aug. 2010)

Grata Vinum, Priorat, 2 Pi R, 2006

I like it, even though, on paper anyway, it's not really my style, being too round and too friendly. But it's got just enough tannic bite and acidity to pull through and there's enough in it to point to its origins in modern Spain and enough graphite to point me to Priorat. I suppose I'm just not feeling witty or perceptive enough to write up a solid reason why I liked it, so let me just say the two bottles I've drunk over the last six months were exactly the right amount for me. (Aug. 1, 2010)

The Scottish Company, 160 NIS.

Dr. Loosen, Mosel, "L" Riesling, 2009

You wouldn't expect a lot of complexity, depth or stuffing in such a "lowly" wine, and you'd be right, yet it's so tasty and refreshing, just like bobbing for apples in a a barrel of ice-water. (Aug. 12, 2010) A second bottle on the 24th just re-enforces my impression: this is the only wine I'd ever consider putting in my gym bottle!

Two for 100 NIS at WineRoute.

Henri Bourgeois, Vin De Pays Du Val De Loire, Petit Bourgeois, Sauvignon Blanc, 2009

Great value, with a quirky mineral vein on the nose and ripe, tropical fruit on the palate. (Aug. 13, 2010)

WineRoute, 53 NIS.

Domaine Les Pallieres, Gigondas, 2004

I was planning to open this wine again in a few years, but bad storage conditions made me panic. Let's see: cork is good shape, the color is fine, the aromatics are on the herbal side but that's what I have come to expect from this wine. The palate is tannic and medicinal at first, so I wait. But even the initial glass improves with food. Fast forward an hour or so ahead: the nose shows just hints of fruit (but I think that's the style of the wine, not the storage issue, thank god), herbal, slightly alcoholic, with notes of dust and iron, just what I expect from the southern lands. The palate is tannic and austere, with deeply submerged acidity showing up on the finish, as well as a pleasing, not-at-all-candied, sweetness, that gives the wine breadth despite the tannic grip. This is as good as it will get and like a lot of wines in this genre, it appeals to me as a passing fling, not a lifetime relationship. So I'd buy again, but not a whole lot. (Aug. 14, 2010)

WineRoute, 150 NIS

Chateau Ormes De Pez, St. Estephe, 2007

This is a wine that received some mediocre scores and I can understand why. At first it's so easy to drink, with soft tannins and mellow fruit, that I found myself wondering what manner of Bordeaux wimp I'd run into. Then I left it alone and, returning a couple of hours later, found that air brings out a green streak on the palate that detracts unless it's immediately followed by food and also highlights the tannins, which become rather puckering. On the other hand, the acidity is very effective and not over-done. The aromatics are lovely anyway, with subtle fruit behind a veil of tobacco leaves and earth. I've read in Hugh Johnson's autobiography that this was a household favorite even in bygone days pre-dating latter-day technology so maybe it's an old-school wine that needs more time? (Aug. 15, 2010)

Sold by WineRoute in a three for 400 NIS deal.

A. Et. P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise, Rouge, La Fortune, 2008

As much as I love this winery, I'll admit there's nothing very profound about this wine, just a little something I like to drink at home, offering, as it does, a glimpse of Burgundian class. Cheerful red fruit in a light frame, with a touch of blood, forest floor and typical Bourgogne spices. And that saline finish is a delight, which I hope might win over anyone who finds the proceedings a little tart.(Aug. 19, 2010)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 110 NIS.

Faustino, Rioja Gran Reserva, I, Black 75th Anniversary Label, 2001

One of the few times that I've opened a classic Rioja that needed time for the oak to melt away. Not that there's a lot of it, but for a region that built its style around the use of American barrels, I've never really noticed signs of blatant oak when I've drunk old school Riojas- but I do here. The oak isn't nasty and doesn't overwhelm the signature mellow red fruit but it does give the savory tannins a bitter overlay that that begs for cellar time to integrate and resolve it. The nose is already a warm embrace of red fruit, cedar, leather and spices, without the notes of mildew and stew that come with maturity. So a good start for what it still a very young wine. (Aug. 21, 2011)

Now imported by WineRoute and on sale, three for 400 NIS. Whereas the Ormes de Pez, which I bought at the same sale, gave me pause for thought, this is a no-brainer, as it will be a useful wine for drinking over the next five years if you're a conservative - and for a couple of decades if you believe this is one time Faustino has managed to dance with the big boys. Maybe only along the walls, but on the same ballroom anyway.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Rully, Les St. Jacques, 2007

Of the Villaine whites, I drink this one at the youngest of age - at about three years of age, as evidenced by this note. Maybe it's the age of the vines, but whatever, the Rully never seems to go into an austere, green phase like the Bouzeron or into a heavy, ungainly one like the Cote Chalonnaise. At present, the nose has citrus fruit with a light touch of minerals and nuts, while the palate is light with no trace of oak, with a lovely zest of acidity and a savory finish. (Aug. 22, 2010)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 130 NIS.

Alain Graillot, St. Joseph, 2007

Back when I started drinking and collecting, I was sure St. Joseph outranked Crozes-Hermitage because Graillot's St. Joseph was the more expensive cuvee. I'm still not sure what the pecking order is (Graillot is not the only producer whose St. Joseph out-prices their Crozes) and I'm definitely uncertain which is the better wine, never having tasted them together at the same. Having said that, inasmuch as comparing this to the 2006 Crozes has any validity at all, this comes off as the riper, more hedonistic wine

The nose has all the black pepper you'd expect from the Northern Rhone, with a touch of rubber. The palate has ample acidity, soft tannins and a saline finish and is so approachable I'd be tempted to drink a six-pack over the next two years - because the young fruit is so lovely right now and offers everything I love in a young red - being juicy, savory, tangy. And if this wine ever saw oak at all, then the barrel maker must have been named Griffin, so delicate is the hand of the wine maker. (Aug. 26, 2010)

WineRoute, about 160 NIS. Good value and I'd buy more.

Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2002

I adore this wine but it surprised me by showing more finesse than power, which is not what I anticipate in a Les Clos, much less what I had expected from the tasting notes I'd read. In fact, I've had quite a few premier crus that displayed a greater punch, although few wines of any breed were this effortlessly elegant. Another minor fault is that it doesn't really show any typical Chablis marine traits (sea shells, sea air). Whatever, this wine is delicate lace of minerals, and very savory, as a great Bourgogne should be. (Aug. 28, 2010).

O'Leary Walker, Barossa Valley, Polish Hill River Riesling, 2008

This was such a harsh wine last winter that my decision to open it now was practically an act of desperation - yet this Hail Mary worked as this wine has developed to a rather enjoyable and interesting place. The nose starts out subdued, opening up to show decent complexity, with lime-skin, rainwater and kerosene. The palate is better, austere and crisp, without a lot of fruit but with this saline streak that I find appealing. As good as a decent village Chablis. (Aug. 29, 2010)

Mersch, about 130 NIS.

Not imported to Israel, purchased abroad for about 50 USD.