Chablis and Muscadet set the tone for this month's selection of crisp, mineral-laden wines.
At least, until the rain came.
Chereau Carre, Chateau du Chasseloir, Muscadet de Sevre et Maine, 2009
God, I hate typing the name of the wine - thank God I've drunk it before so I can just cut and paste. It's hard to write about a wine from a relatively new region for me, while trying to ignore what I've already read about it, except it's fairly true in this case. This is a very "marine" wine, like the textbooks say, stone, salty and crisp like a Chablis; limier than a Chablis, though, but like many Chablis, the fruit profiles offers plenty of fruit peel as well as fruit flesh. It's cheaper than even a village Chablis, and it's different, which is always a plus (and I think said difference originates with a lack of obvious apple-ness), and I like how it expands and empowers with air while retaining a nervy tension. So I think I should get more. (Sept. 1, 2011)
WineRoute, 50-60 NIS.
Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Haardter Burgergarten, Riesling Spatlese, Trocken, 2006
My inventory is immaculate until I get to Muller-Catoir. With so many vineyards and pradikats, I wound up ordering more trockens than I'd bargained for and entering them as "sweet" wines into my software, and now I really have no idea just what's waiting in the fridge until I re-organize the shelves. So I wasn't planning on a trocken today, but it was a nice one to wine up with. The nose has the minerally-spicy overtones that lay equal claim to Pflaz and Alsace, on a background reminiscent of apple cider. The palate has just a hint of sweetness and is as bold as a good Pfalz can be, with a stony complexity and a long finish, and sandpaper texture that wins me over. I'm just prejudiced enough against 2006 not to fret too much that I may have opened this on the early side, and a little lack of acidity seems to support my prejudice. (Sept. 3, 2011)
Giaconda, 153 NIS.
Bouchard Pere Et Fils, Meursault Premier Cru, Genevrieres, 2004
At first, this is overwhelmingly spicy pears and a wisp of sweetish oak, with a lode of minerals underneath that isn't emerging fast enough for me. I mean, there's a tasty salty, cured note but the palate is still cloaked by the oak. Then mother lode bursts open and the wine comes to life, or what I would call life, at any rate (my wife liked it from the start). There's a clearer sense and purity of fruit, and the initial sweetness of the oak becomes a rather honeyed sensation atop a stony texture. There's still something missing there, for me - and at this point I think that a good bottle of the Jobard En La Barre (a mere Villages wine, mind you) of the same year beats it, but I'm willing to guess a few years might bring more forth a more articulate expression of purity. (Sept. 7, 2011)
WineRoute, about 350 NIS.
Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2009
I had the munchies for it, and found this slightly more evolved on the nose this time, with a pungent note of freshly turned earth over fresh red fruit (not to say I hadn't gotten this earlier, only the refrain was more articulate and obvious this time). The tannins grow more savory with air, and its fruitiness is like a pair of soft slippers, and for the first time, I sense an old-vine intensity beneath the light elegance. I need to find out how old the Lapierre vines are. (Sept. 10, 2011)
Okay, according to the winery site, they're 45 years old on the average.
Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.
Moreau-Naudet, Chablis Premier Cru, Montmains, 2006
The nose is big and bold, rife with citrus fruit, wet sand and chalk, and the palate is more of the same. This is very good - not a lot of finesse, just a palate-staining extract of Chablis. And, yo! Pe-ople: Chablis is good for you! (Sept. 11, 2011)
Giaconda, 170 NIS.
Jean Paul et Benoit Droin, Chablis Premier Cru, Montee de Tonnerre, 2007
It ain't just oysters that go well with Chablis - 2GrundCru in general goes very well with Chablis! This is even better than the Sunday's Moreau-Naudet (but then I'm a bigger Droin fan in the first place, ever since I attended the kick-off tastings at Giaconda), with more aromatic nuances and better poise and finesse. As you'd expect, it has a very marine personality, yet not just iodine and sea-salt, but also a touch of sea weed. It's Chablis-ness is so redolent now, I don't see the point of aging it for too many years on down. Of course, it might pick up more nuances, but it won't be any more delicious and it won't be any more typical of the style. Or will it? It strikes me that the fact that I've never found a reason to age Premier Cru Chablis doesn't mean I may not be missing out on something. Well, maybe I'll keep the last bottle safe in the fridge and see. (Sept. 17, 2011)
Giaconda, 170 NIS.
Astrolabe, Marlborough, Sauvingon Blanc, 2010
Is this the quintessential formula of gooseberry over a mineral background, or what? This seems more complex, slightly richer and deeper than the Durvilea, given that there's a limit on the depth that an SB of this style can achieve. Plus its saline finish is exceptionally long. Recommended. (Sept. 22, 2011)
Imported by Mersch, this is supposed to cost 147 NIS, except I got it for about 100 NIS in Eilat and I'm quite pleased with that.
Guigal, Cote Rotie, Brune et Blonde, 1999
I originally planned to open another Chablis, but the first rainfall of autumn made a red more appropriate for the mood (even though I hardly have a problem drinking whites in winter and red in summer). This seems more mature than I'd expected, with a hint of caramelization and acetone obscuring the Cote Rotie character. Better on the palate, which is tastier and a little fresher than the nose would have let on. The fruit is sweet, but the body is lithe and smooth, and its relative delicacy certainly gives some expression to its origins. The nose inches its way forward in a snail pace, and is pleasant, if not terribly exciting, once it reaches the finish line. (Sept. 24, 2011)
This wine is not the equal of the first bottle, which I opened only a few months ago. It's always hard to judge whether a given wine was opened at the right age and whether it received enough air to show its best, but I believe I gave this a fair shot and in the end it proved its reputation for not being the most exciting Cote Rotie around. But the price was nice, for Israel.
Imported by the evil France-Israel Group, purchased at Wine Depot (who are always the good guys) for 160 NIS on discount.