Thursday, June 2, 2011

Misc Notes (May 2011)

Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Haardter Herrenletten, Riesling Spatlese, 2006

The nose is ripe without being tropical or fruit-cocktaily, mostly red apples and apricots, with a hint of kerosene and sweet dough. The palate is round, friendly and tasty, with perfectly appropriate sweetness and green apple acidity. Although it starts out simple and metallic on the finish, turns out it just needs time to pick up a spicy complexity as well as savory salinity. Nice and I'm tempted to just drink the last bottle up soon - I need some fine, young Rieslings. (May 6, 2011)

Giaconda, 130 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Mercurey, Les Montots, 2006

This is earthier and deeper than the La Digoine, and the two make for such a lovely yin-yang coupling that it's a shame Tomer Gal is not selling the Montots any more. This needs time to find its composure in order to show lovely purity on both nose and palate. It is the most complete showing from any Villaine red I've had so far, mellow, tasty and complex. Surprisingly delicate for its breadth, the Montots shows no rusticity, and, while the tannins rasp and block until they eventually yield the wine's innate gentle core, they have enough presence to hint that this could still use a few more years in the fridge, lovely as it is right now. (May 7, 2011)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 150 NIS.

Here's to life...

Guigal, Cote-Rotie, Brune et Blonde, 1999

It's been a while since I opened a 12 year old wine that needed time to open, and this is a pleasure to sip it as it slowly unfolds. At first, all I get is spicy black fruit, then earth, flowers and black pepper emerge. Then, tapenade and some mushrooms on the nose conjure a working kitchen. And you know what they say about the presence of bacon fat in Cote-Rotie? I don't pay much attention to bacon fat, don't get exposed that much to it in the first place, but there's a sweet essence here that is not fruity in nature that I imagine is bacon fat and I love it. It makes me salivate. Anyway, this is very tasty, with ripe acidity. This wine isn't a trophy to bring out among friends (although it's usually priced at the lower rungs of the "luxury wine" category), but more a wine to enjoy with food and rejoice that the Old World made a perfection of such a marriage. Not even the greenness that emerges after a while, damn it, mars the initial thrill. (May 5, 2011)

This is imported by the France Israel Group, which is notorious for over-pricing their wines, but I got this at Wine Depot for a very attractive 160 NIS, although the Colombier and Graillot wines offer more freshness and vividness at lower prices.

Domaine Guiberteau, Samaur, 2009

This is my kind of young red, chock full of strawberries, beets, flowers and minerals. Does it age? Dunno, but it seems to nicely fit within the same niche as my other new fave, the Beaujolais Crus, possessing, as it does, a sort of lean richness, backed by a spine of well-measured acidity and soft tannins. And the nose is a mother lode of minerals. Fresh, vivid and lovely. On further reflection, I believe a year or two will emphasize its mineral aspects and lend it further complexity. (May 10, 2011)

The winery doesn't have a site but a little googling shows that this is comprised of 75% grapes sourced from calcareous soil and the rest from argile. Aged in stainless steel tanks, which explains its singular purity.

Giaconda, about 120 NIS.

Chapoutier, Hermitage, La Sizeranne, 2005

The nose is terrific straight from the bottle, even if a little reticent at first, naturally, with sweet black fruit, black pepper and barnyard poop. The palate is backward, and rasps like a drill sargeant, but even so, the quality and character of its tannins make it very approachable in the first hour or so. Opening up, it then shows a mineral note and fruit of somewhat redder persuasion, while the poop morphs into roasted meat and olives. Feels modern at this stage, although I suspect it's because of its youth, rather than any overt move at modernism (although Chapoutier can make Parkerish fleshpots). Sadly, air only makes the tannins more bitter and grainy - okay, I'm trying to be nice, it's oaky as well - so in the end it really is somewhat of a waste to try this now. I'd lay it down for five years at least. (May 14, 2011)

200 NIS on discount at Wine Depot.

Emrich-Schonleber, Nahe, Riesling QBA, 2008

I don't always approach trocken QBA's with wild enthusiasm, but this is lovely and a demonstration of why I adore Emrich-Schonleber. The nose shows apples and a fiery minerality that turns earthier until it eventually evokes a rain-filled mud puddle. The palate is dry, but thankfully it doesn't feel bone-dry, rather refreshingly fruity. The finish is half-way between granny apple and grapefruit, with a touch of salinity. (May 16, 2011)

Giaconda, 100 NIS.

A. Et. P. De Villaine, Bouzeron, 2008

This aligote is always a good go-to when you want a light, saline wine. (May, 18, 2011)

Tomer Gal, about 80 NIS.

Chateau d'Aqueria, Tavel, 2009

Aromas of strawberries and watermelon with a pinch of minerals, the minerals more obvious with air. There's also candied fruit and underbrush I associate with young Bourgognes, although that underbrush hints at garrigue. The palate balances the natural sweetness of the fruit with a dry, mineral cut. Quite nice, refreshing and fun. (May 20, 2011)

Giaconda, about 80 NIS.

Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, Rouge, 2006

I loves me a fresh, fruity Rhone Syrah. In fact, I love this one so much that I went through a six-pack in two years. It was fun while it lasted. For those of you just joining, this is full of smoky black fruit, raw meat, tar and, as a recent addition, some herbs. The fruit is round and juicy with ample acidity and soft tannins; a little on the tart side, but more of a palate-cleansing tartness rather a green tartness, strictly speaking. And that's it. Not very complex but fun and honest. (May 21, 2011)

Giaconda, 126 NIS.

Grosset, Clare Valley, Polish Hill, Riesling, 2008

The nose is lovely, marrying the Mosel's slate and apples with peaches and Chablis-like fossils. A hint of petrol as well. The palate is a distant cousin to a Grosse Gewachs, powerful, yet inviting, bone dry - with a hint of sweetness that comes from the fruit and likely not any RS - and very, very saline. But what the hell am I doing, making comparisons? This is a stunner in its own right, with a long way to go. If I buy more in the future - and if Mersch ever offers the same discount again then I will - I will open the first bottle at five, six years post-vintage.

269 NIS.

3 comments:

Joel said...

Hi Chaim,

For the Hermitage, I have a question regarding your note. Can you describe what you mean by saying "the palate is backwards"? I can guess that you mean to say the tannins are forward and the fruit is in the back of the mouth, but I could be completely wrong.

For example, I had the 09 Fleurie by Deboeuf this past weekend and the tannins really dried out the front part of my mouth after the wine had some air, while the fruit sort of moved to the back of the mouth. In that case, I would say the palate was backwards, but I cannot be certain I've nailed it, or not.

If and when you taste that wine, perhaps you could adjust your response to it, but in the meantime, I would just like to hear what you have to say about palate being backward--and if that is a negative descriptor, as it implies by the way it sounds.

Also--I'm not sure if I like the use of 'poop'--though it's certainly better than funk, which is a great musical category.

Best,

Joel

2GrandCru said...

Hi Joel,

"Backward" is a descriptor used to describe a wine that is slow to develop (PC for retarded?).

I had the Fleurie yesterday and while it was more tannic than the Julienas, it wasn't tannic to the extent that you describe, although it wasn't as vibrant as the Julienas. Don't follow the Distinguished Reviewer's note, these wines are not two points apart. In fact, I am leaning towards the Julienas right now.

Have a nice holiday.

Joel said...

I would have never guessed that that was what was meant by 'backward'-though I've seen you use it a few times.

Had the Perrin & Fils Tavel with our Shavuot meal, and really enjoyed it.

I will have to try the Julienas. Fleurie wasn't strongly tannic, but compared to the Pierre, Morgon, it was a bit more rough, less classy. I think it's just a matter of expectation--and perhaps the fact that I tried foolishly to pair it with baked salmon, which did not pair well with the structure of the Fleurie at all.

Anyway, I'll get back to work and keep listening to the Dark Side of the Moon.

Joel