TNweets (Oct. 2011)

"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy,
growing heavy for the vintage."
Meanwhile, 2GrandCru had another good month.

Sang des Cailloux, Vacqueyras, Cuvee de Doucinello, 2005

What a lovely surprise! The nose is gritty Old World, redolent with roasted coffee and meat, and also a hint of brine, over a backdrop of sour cherries. The palate is along the same lines, big and fleshy but not over-ripe or sweet. In fact, the tannins are still downright oaky-bitter, so it's more of a challenge than a tasty drop (and I intuit that it will retain this characteristic as it ages), but that's fine, sometimes all I look for is a memorable puzzle. (Oct. 1, 2011')

Giaconda, about 170 NIS.

Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Macon Villages, Milly-Lamartine “Clos du Four”, 2008

Lively and lovely. Not particularly challenging but delicious. Oranges, with a touch of marmalade, on the nose, complemented by dry grass and a hint of flint, and the pungency of citrus peels. The palate is sweet and succulent, without being even in the slightest bit flabby thanks to its quite juicy acidity, and of decent complexity and finesse. That touch of sweetness is why these wines come around earlier than the big boys up north. As always, a good white from the deep south of Bourgogne always appears, to me, to be a mirror image of Chablis, as though the same ingredients were turns inside out to conjure the image of a sun-bathed grove, instead of the brooding ocean. Just fanciful imagery, but they do serve to place the wine, for me. (Oct. 5, 2011)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 150 NIS. I bought a sampler of every 2008 and 2007 Heritiers that Tomer had imported and now regret not having bought more.

William Fevre, Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillons, 2007

I'm sure this will age well and gain additional user-friendliness, but it's already complex and I love Chablis Premier Crus at about four years post-vintage, when they're on the cusp of trading the intensity for finesse. And this has the marine/fossils/pungent citrus peel thing that I love in Chablis going full-throttle. Plus, that delicious, green-apple acidity never did me no harm. (Oct. 13, 2011)

WineRoute, this is usually sold on discount at about 130 NIS or at a similar price for multi-bottles.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Vineyard's Choice, Merlot, 2003

Yes, I know it's an odd choice for me (eight year old Israeli Merlot, mama!), but trusted sources liked the 2003 and 2004, so I thought I'd give it a try, when Wine Depot had it on discount. The color was surprisingly deep ,and both palate and (especially) nose showed signs of life, albeit a bit alarmingly mature. So I sat and waited.

And this is what I got.

The nose is interesting and is what I often term Mediterranean, due to a herbal streak, which sometimes flirts with green here, but not so much as to be off-putting. It's complemented by a musky, earthy note. The nose also shows typical Merlot fruitiness, yet isn't very forward or ripe at this point, which is a big plus for me, and the palate shows similar restraint. Ah, the palate. The palate is what has me worried. It's tasty and elegant for sure, but it initially feels frayed and bitter. But it pulls itself together nicely and its refreshed composure is quite impressive for what it is. So the initial weariness resolves into a dried fruit effect, which I think is appropriate for an eight year old Israeli red. Finally, it does contain its 14.5% ABV quite well. (Oct. 15, 2011).

All in all, a nice experience for the 119 NIS it cost me and better than I'd have thought, but not a re-purchase (for this specific vintage at this point; I would try more recent ones).

As much as I can objectively examine my mental innards, I think I was impartial in my study of the wine and my emotional state. But I do confess that if people I like didn't like both wine and winemaker so much, I might have dismissed the wine within the first thirty minutes. Having said that, this was probably better two years ago.

Recanati, Reserve, Wild Carignan, 2009

I think the showing at the Recanati tasting was better, which leads me to ponder how objective I'd been at the event. Well, even if the Wild One had worked some strange hoodoo and charmed me with its mysterioso, the mystery was certainly present at the time and is missing now. So why am I still a fan? Because of the fine, savory tannins on the finish, which amplify the spiciness of the black fruit (which from my limited experience typifies the variety). And because the ripe fruit is warm, rather than flabby or overwrought - which is probably those savory tannins again, anyway, along with some juicy acidity. (Oct. 20, 2011)

Usually this sells for 145 NIS, WineDepot sold it over the holidays for 119 NIS.

Leitz, Rheingau, Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck, Riesling, Spatlese, 2004

While reserved at first - showing talc and slate, sauteed apples and peaches, red apples - the sheer essence of its personality grows more intense until you can get lost sniffing it, studying the understated interplay of fruit and minerals. On the palate, the way the joyous acidity complements the sweetness creates an impression of the Platonic ideal of fresh fruit, while its light touch hammers again the Teutonic claim to fame: no one else makes delicate beauties like this. (Oct. 22, 1011)

Giaconda, 150 NIS.

Marc Tempe, Alsace, Burgreben, Riesling, 2001

As always, the honeyed apples on the nose, along with some botrytis funk, make me anticipate a dessert wine and belie the dryness of the palate. An overlay of minerals and an additional layer reminiscent of green tea add further aromatic complexity, while a delicately saline finish completes the game, set and match. I don't have much experience with mature Alsatians but this is a very lovely sample, even if it doesn't appear to have changed a lot over the last couple of years. (Oct. 28, 2011)

Giaconda, 160 NIS.

Recanati, Reserve, Syrah/Viognier, 2009

Nothing more to add to my previous observations. A properly peppery Syrah, with sun-drenched ripeness typical of Israel, yet with great vibrancy and focus, as well as, dare I say, savory tannins. Well, it could use more acidity, but what the hell, this is Israel, it's time I started accepting that. Even so, although I do like it a lot, a whole bottle is still a lot more fatiguing than a Crozes or a Loire red (which were the bottles it had contended with tonight as a possible roast beef match). On the other hand, I don't have to drink them all alone. (Oct. 29, 2011)

Usually this sells for 145 NIS, WineDepot sold it over the holidays for 119 NIS.