2GrandCru Turns 45 - Part 2 (July 16, 2011)

Stop me if you've heard this one. Two guys walk into a bistro with three bottles of wine...

Jobard, Mersault, En La Barre, 2004

Flint, nut oil, honey, but little in the way of overt fruit aromas, at first, which is how I like my French whites. Well, it seems citrusy, for sure (that is, no Meursault-ish pears) and even when it opens up a couple of hours later to show some green apples, there's plenty of citrus fruit in the mix. Not that it really matters, you know - it's tasty enough not to require pigeon-holing the specifics of the fruit. Good acidity, which is the Jobard trademark. If I had never tasted a great Bourgogne white and was handed this, I'd think it was the greatest white wine in the world - and even with prior knowledge of great whites, this is still a very impressive, expressive and enjoyable drop.

Tomer Gal, 280 NIS

La Rioja Alta, RIoja Gran Reserva, 904, 1997

Tempranillo in general, young Rioja in general, sits comfortably in that sub-range of the fruit spectrum where red fruit broaches black, and the way the acidity and tannins temper the fruit makes for a meaty, spicy effect. Toss in the Rioja penchant for light oxidation and you get an adolescent Rioja that hints at the mellow, lazy-cum-hedonistic style that we Rioja-heads adore. This ain't no Ygay or 890 but still - yummy and fun.

Hakerem, damn their evil hearts, sell this at upwards of 250 NIS. Thankfully, some lucky souls can get it for cheaper. Much cheaper.

Castel, Grand Vin, 2009

Jammy at first, then austere and tannic. Right now, no match for the 904 on any level. Four-five years from now, I think it will kick ass - but will I like it enough then to buy it now? Ido Galon brought it to prove a point vis a vis Israeli wines, but methinks he's nuts. If this is what one of the most balanced Israeli wines can offer, I'll continue to err on the side of un-patriotism.

What's this sell for these days? 220 NIS? 250?Aaagh...

By the way, the place Ido and I walked into was Rokah 73. And while I do think the level of execution has diminished, the recipes and ingredients themselves still make for a lovely effect. I just do wish Eyal Lavie would exert a little more quality control. Because I have a warm spot in my heart for the place.