A killer to spell, a delight to drink due to its freshness, deft balance, mineral cut and decent complexity. (Feb. 1, 2011)
Giaconda, about 100 NIS.
Domaine des Hauts Chassis, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Galets, 2007
A very nice wine - not especially complex or unique, but quite charming. The aromatics start out where red fruit meets black and resolve unto: cranberry, backed by black pepper, smoke, iron fillings. The palate is quite lovely, with soft tannins, tangy acidity and plump fruit. (Feb. 10, 2011)
Berry Bros, 17 GBP
Montecastro, Ribera Del Duero, 2004
A deeply colored wine, with a modern, highly-extracted, sweet nose and saline nuances that soothe a passing, initial discomfort on my part. The palate shows underlying acidity that pokes through the sweetish fruit and is abetted in its efforts to cleanse the palate with a tannic, grainy, lightly minerally finish. This is good, but although I never actually tasted the 2004 and 2005 versions side by side, I think the 2005 is the better wine and the one that warrants the longer cellaring. (Feb. 12, 2011)
Giaconda, 160 NIS.
Perrin et Fils, Vacqueyras, Les Christins, 2007
Ripe, mineral-laden, spicy/peppery fruit. Friendly. (Feb. 13, 2011)
WineRoute, 90 NIS.
Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, Cuvee Gaby, Rouge, 2006
This, then, completes my survey of the various Colombier Crozes. This offers greater complexity, ripeness and presence than the lower-end reds, while retaining a similar fingerprint. The nose has a similar brett-y attack at first, but wields it more elegantly and combines with with enough tobacco leaf-infused black fruit to put it in the background and paint an aromatic picture that would not be out of place in more prestigious AOC's. While not much more tannic than the regular, it has more of a youthful zest, and finer balance, so although it is already as ready to drink as the regular, I think it will last and improve over three-five years, whereas I'm ready to drink up the regular now. (Feb. 18, 2011)
Giaconda, about 150 NIS. Having tasted through all the Crozes now, I realize that they all have a smooth tannic structure that verges on sweetness and I need to see whether age tempers that smoothness. Although, as I said, I feel only the Gaby can quite muster the capacity for going any distance.
Chateau de Villeneuve, Saumur-Champigny, 2008
This is virtually my first Loire Cabernet Franc. Flowery, earthy, red fruit on the nose. Later, there is also a tinge of Bordeaux-like cedar. The palate is savory and lithe, with a mineral cut. Uncomplicated, a little tart and of no more than medium length, it is still very nice and tasty for what it is. I'm sure glad I bought it and I'd buy more were it available locally. Wifey really liked it as well. (Feb. 19, 2011)
About 12 GBP at Fortnum and Mason.
Alain Graillot, St. Joseph, 2007
Once again, I return to this wine a few months earlier than I had planned. My excuse this time was a slab of roast beef that begged for black-pepper infused Syrah. As always, there is something languid and sensual about the fruit, which is ripe to the point where it presents yellow - almost tropical - fruit characteristics. But the ripeness is never over-done and never feels over-extracted, while the fruit is well complemented by saline, iron notes; crunchy, supple tannins; and refreshing acidity. I've never quite known how to keep my hands off this, but I've recently Googled upon a statement by the winery that it's best enjoyed in its fruity stage, so that's the end of my dilemma. Well done. (Feb. 26, 2011)
WineRoute, 150 NIS.