Misc Notes (Apr. 2011)

Any wine can go with food, but not every wine can keep you happy while you're doing the dishes!

Moreau-Naudet, Chablis, Pargues, Vieilles Vignes, 2006

I'd read on Robin Garr's Wine Lovers Page that Pargues used to be a Premier Cru before the official classification, at which time it was devoid of vines and hence de-classified. I was not able to find anything to substantiate that claim, but nevertheless, this wine certainly has depth and presence beyond the village level, and a very typical Chablis nose: green apples, a hint of oranges, iodine, rainwater. There's a transparency on the palate that stimulates my intellect, as it seems to echo Chabli's mineral depths, but it lacks the finesse I find in the higher echelon of Premier Crus. However, the energetic vibe of the mineral-laced finish is engaging and thrilling. I like this characterful Chablis - it's as good as the Dauvissat villages wine, which is in the same price niche. (Apr. 2, 2011)

Giaconda, 148 NIS.

F.X. Pichler, Wachau, Urgestein Terrassen, Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, 2007

A very pleasant surprise, as this was the 2007 Pichler that least appealed to me when it was offered by Giaconda a couple of years ago. Kaleidoscopic and hedonistic, sort of like a Gewurtz, in a fashion. Honey, cantaloupe, peaches, red and baked apples on the nose. The palate is fat, tropical and bitter-sweet, which oddly enough works out - whereas I originally found the bitterness too obvious. After an hour or so, it picks up a note of mud on the nose and a spicy punch on the finish, both of which remind me of Chenin. (Apr. 4, 2011)

Giaconda, 126 NIS.

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

I don't know what further aging might bring (and this is my last bottle of the 2006, so I'll have to wait and see with other vintages), but this is exciting and expressive now, in the taut, nervy way of a good Cote de Beaune. The nose is laden with red fruit, beet and minerals. The palate, as always, is austere and crisp, and remarkably fresh, with the tannins lending a savory kick at the finish-line. And when the Pinot fruit expands to show its comely sweetness, the Digoine drinks so harmoniously well I start eyeing my 2007's. (Apr. 5, 2011)

Tomer Gal, 130 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Rully, Les St. Jacques, 2008

Zippy citrus fruit with trappings of flint, and a figure like a lithe, young woman - that is soft, but no flab. Given the imagery, perhaps it's understandable why I never manage to cellar this wine. (Apr. 6, 2011)

Tomer Gal, 120 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonaise Rouge, La Digoine, 2008

Since the Digoine can be approached young, if one is so inclined, I thought I'd sacrifice a bottle, since I didn't think the 2008 was a candidate for significant cellaring. This is a very juicy wine, reeking and tasting of raspberries, with a touch of beets. The aromatics show, besides the red fruit, minerals and a hint of underbrush. The palate, meanwhile, has soft, yet precise tannins and a very fruity acidity. Look, I could try to describe it in greater detail, but the thing is, I'm too hung up trying to gauge whether to age it and risk losing that brisk, sappy fruit that you just won't get in a more 'serious' Bourgogne. It seems lighter than 2006 and 2007 and I'm guessing 2009 will really be the one to lay down. So I'm tempted to drink this up rather earlier than the others, just give it a year to gain a little weight and some nuances without (hopefully) any loss of freshness. (Apr. 13, 2011)

Chivite, Navarra, Gran Feudo, Reserva, Vinas, Viejas, 2004

This is one of the few wines available in Israel that still serve as a reminder why Spain used to be considered such a great source for value-for-money wines. The nose shows mellow black fruit and spicy nuances that not only bespeak of old school Spain but conjure echoes of Tuscany. I could surely see this as a mid-range Super-Tuscan costing twice as much. The palate is soft and friendly - drinker friendly and food friendly - and is pleasurable enough to make up for a somewhat weak mid-palate and lack of any great profoundity. (Apr. 15, 2011)

Priced at 150 NIS on the wine list at Tapeo, this sells for 85 NIS at Wine Depot. QPR. I'm not sure how much it will age but Spaniards always surprise and this is already 7 fucking years old and only costs 85 fucking NIS.,

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

The 2004 was more or less my first foray into the world of German Rieslings and it was a damn good choice because, much like the 2005, it is rather a quintessential archetype. This has both apples and peaches, counterpointed by vague hints of flint and much more pronounced notes of apple pie. It has great purity and transparency and feels like someone bottled the first rays of sunrise and blended it with fresh dew on the juiciest granny apples. Yummy. (Apr. 15, 2011)

Giaconda, 117 NIS. This is one of my favorite Kabinetts in the portfolio.

Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfalz, Kalstadter Steinacker, Scheurebe Spatlese, 2007

This is almost always one of my favorite K-H bottlings (even if its Auslese counterpart has set my sights higher) and its telltale, guayava-driven signature is one I always look forward to. This year, its flavors are almost belligerently lush with guayava accents, which I love (despite hating the fruit itself, go figure) and, as they're complemented with very harmonious acidity, they make for a very poised wine. Oddly, there's a sort of tropical cocktail aspect to the nose that usually turns me off when I spot it New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but here it's very appropriate and comely and counter-pointed by a subtle herbal streak.(Apr. 16, 2011)

Giaconda, 117 NIS.

Alain Graillot, St. Joseph, 2007

Still a lovely drop, but it is even more languid than usual and, despite the juicy acidity, the fruit seems to have lost a little freshness. Yet I enjoyed every last drop, as usual. (Apr. 17, 2011)

WineRoute, about 150 NIS.

Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin, Aux Echezeaux, Vieilles Vignes, 2006

Smells damn good, redolent of fresh, sweet strawberries and forest floor, with no hints of Gevrey gaminess. The tannins are drying and sandy at first but the lush fruit underneath is promising. At least until a green herbal streak rears its head. At this point, I'm stymied and can't easily reconcile the conflict between my first and later impressions. I generally like 2006 a lot so maybe I just caught this young one at an awkward time? (Apr. 19, 2011)

WineRoute, list priced at 200+ NIS but bought at a two for 300 NIS deal.

Domaine Vincent Girardin, Chassagne Montrachet, Premier Cru Le Morgeot, 2004

No signs of oak on the grade A nose, just poached apples and piercing minerality, with overtones of gentle nuttiness. The palate does seem to be softened up by some oak, like strings on a soul ballad, and while the oak doesn't obscure the fruit or acidity, I think the wine loses an edge and some elegance as a result. However, it's impressive and packed with spicy Chardonnay flavors and not a bad buy by any means. (Apr. 21, 2011)

WineRoute, 239 NIS, for years ago.

Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Haardter Burgergarten, Riesling Spatlese, Trocken, 2007

Wow, the nose is so explosive and articulate, with green apples and a bedrock of minerals (later on, there's an interesting and welcome hint of mint and other herbs). The palate is a formidable follow-up, with a juicy, green apple acidity and some lingering sweetness. And a long, saline finish. I usually prefer a sweeter style of German Riesling, but this is really a mini Grosses Gewaches. Simply a tasty wine with plenty of potential, even if it is somewhat aggressive at this time. (Apr. 25, 2011)

Giaconda, 160 NIS.

A. Et. P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Blanc, Les Clous, 2006

I've waited for so long for its bloom. Now I finally get this mineral-laden expression of Burgundy. The nose shows orange blossom and flint, with a funky, sometimes heavy, overtone, that seems like it might overwhelm but never does. The palate is dry and savory, and quite long, but still more awkward than I'd like. Hedging my bets here, so let's just try and see what the 2007 is like. (Apr. 27, 2011)

Tomer Gal, 110 NIS.

Dauvissat, Chablis, 2005

At its peak, with classic pungent, citrus, marine aromas and a crisp palate that packs a ton of flavors, and never at the cost of the trademark Chablis steeliness. To my surprise - and pleasure, there's just a trace of sculptor's clay on the nose as well. Damn good. (Apr. 28, 2011)

Tomer Gal, used to cost about 150 NIS.

Chateau Charmail, Haut-Medoc, Bourgeois Cru, 2005

Right, a 2005, but Charmail is said to be an early drinker. The nose is textbook Bordeaux, with a balanced blend of both red and black fruit, licorice, minerals and a pungency that I peg as tobacco leaves. Initially, the palate roars with acidity and raspy tannins, but it is approachable even straight from the bottle. Certainly the fruit is very fresh and succulent. The acidity calms down after a while, leaving stage center to the ripe fruit, but then flares up on the long, savory finish. The texture is still a little grainy, despite the creaminess of the fruit, and if I weren't hard up for fridge space, I wouldn't open another bottle for three-four years. However, I certainly won't suffer if I'm forced to unscrew another one soon. (Apr. 30, 2011)

This was another WineRoute two-fer-300 NIS deal a few years ago.