Friday, January 13, 2012

TNweets (Dec. 2011)

A wine blogger's work is never-ending

Dr. Loosen, "L", 2008

I treated my colleagues to a bottle after lunch at work, drunk out of plastic glasses. Democracy at work. Actually, this wine drinks the same out of any type of container. I plan on taking it to the gym in a plastic bottle one day, in fact. (Dec. 1, 2011)

WineRoute, two for 50 NIS.

Albert Mann, Furstentum Grand Cru, Gewurztraminer, Vieilles Vignes, 2007

My favorite Gewurtz, utterly textbook (spices, lychee), yet with a foray into elegance that is not quite common for this slutty grape. I must say the variety's typical quinine bitterness is way more prominent than it had ever been in my past encounters with this wine, making me wonder whether this is meant to teach me something about its maturity curve. Finally, there's a hot-waters/clay stench I've also found in Mann's Pinot Gris from this vineyard, all you geology fiends take note. (Dec. 1, 2011)

Giaconda, about 200 NIS.

Muller-Catoir, Pfalz, Mussbacher Eselshaut, Rieslaner Spatlese, 2005

A tough note to write up. I know Rieslaner is one of those Teutonic crosses with Riesling in the mix, but the more I drink it, the less obvious do I find the family resemblance. And the less am I able to fathom how this grape behaves. This time, I find a spicy kick resembling a Pinot Gris from Alsace, while the body starts out with the feathery lightness of Riesling,without quite the noble forebear's verve and exquisite balance of sweet fruit and acidity. Instead it has a luscious sex appeal reminiscent of Scheurbe. The aromatics are complex enough to make it a wine to contemplate for hours, especially as it never really gives a straight answer to anything. Was that mint in there? Is there a red tint to the fruit? Or was that mango? Is this the white wine equivalent of brett??!! It does taste really good. That's about the only answer it's willing to eke out. (Dec. 3, 2011)

Giaconda, about 200 NIS.

Astrolabe, Sauvignon Blanc, Voyage, 2010

Ah, I think I actually get the cat's pee this time, and the gooseberries are so lush, I can almost smell the bloom of whatever flowers these bushes sport (assuming they do, botany is not exactly my strong suit). I love this, I mean, I've liked Kiwi SB's before, and I've flirted with the Astrolabe, but I'm smitten this time by the combination of flowers and salinity, and the mineral depths that are softly delineated on such a light framework. (Dec. 5, 2011)

Mersch, 147 NIS (I paid less).

Donnhoff, Nahe, Norheimer Kirschheck, Riesling Spätlese, 2004

I just love Donnhoff so much, and I was excited all day at the prospect of ending my Friday evening sipping this wine as a digestif - I'd gone too long without a German Riesling and now I feel replenished. This is all about purity, finesse and elegance, as nature, God or Helmut seem to have applied a measured dose of minerals to the fresh, lively fruit with laser-sharp precision. The playful touch of salinity on the finish, at the crest of the vibrant acidity that lends the fruit such great length, is especially sublime. (Dec. 9, 2011)

Giaconda, current releases are about 170-180 NIS.

Domaine des Lambrays, Morey St. Denis Premier Cru, 2002

Here's the lowdown on the contents of this juice: a blend of two premiers crus, La Riotte and Le Village, plus 50% young vines Clos des Lambrays. While it does possess enough complexity on both nose and palate to prove the mettle of its pedigree, it doesn't really have Premier Cru body and presence, let alone Grand Cru. However, there is plenty of blood, earth and Cote de Nuits spices and good interplay of fruit and structure. A nice wine to enjoy at home, even if I've had a number of Bourgognes that gave my palate a more sensual massage. I'm not sure I want sensual every time, but I admit I got more pleasure out of the Deux Montillles Bourgogne recently; less challenges, more pleasure - at this level of quality, pleasure is more important than a challenge, methinks. (Dec. 10, 2011)

WineRoute sold it for 200 NIS a while back, which would have been a good deal, had this lived up to the label.

Huet, Vouvray, Pétillant Brut, 2005

I just had to know what flavors and textures Chenin Blanc brings to a sparkling wine - or is it the other way around?

At first, this is remarkably yeasty - almost unbearingly so, and I love yeasty! Thirty minutes on, the yeasts start to calm down, transforming into more palatable toast and brioche, the fruit comes out to play, and I get citrus, chalk and vaguely marine notes. This is very tasty, with refreshing acidity and a subtly saline finish. I'm not an expert on sparkling wines, but this being Huet, I'd say it's a no-brainer candidate for cellaring for a few years. (Dec. 16, 2011)

Giaconda, 140 NIS.

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

The cork is totally wet, with a big glob of gunk on the outer end, and the color is on the wrong side of promising. The contents don't lack acidity per se - if you relax, it comes out to say hello - but the overall effect is almost that of a dessert wine, and thus at odds with the body of this Spatlese, making for a cloying effect. It's a testament to Riesling's noble pedigree that it shows just enough liveliness to exhibit classic Pfalz spiciness, but other than that, this bottle kinda sucks. (Dec. 18, 2011)

Giaconda, 130 NIS.

Marcel Deiss, Grasberg Bergheim Premier Cru, 2004

This is made of equal (?) parts of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, which seem to have melded into a seamless whole on the palate, where the sweetness is balanced by the salinity. Sometimes I find the quinine bitterness of Alsatians off-putting, but here it's just a background note that lends interest. The nose has a smoky character that seems to have been equally contributed by the Riesling and the Pinot Gris. In addition, there's spices and a hint of petrol. All in all, the nose, which grows ever more complex, offers decent finesse and charm, moreso than the palate. As the wine opens, the  Gewurztraminer asserts itself more and more, so you get a sense of the basic essence of Gewurtz without its overt characteristics. (Dec. 21, 2011)

A very good, ineteresting buy at 200 NIS from Giaconda.

Bouchard, Nuits-Saint-Georges, 2007

In the latter-day perception of Bourgogne, the big negociants are not held in the same esteem and regard as the smaller, artisan producers. But Bouchard is one of the better of the 'biggies' and this is good stuff. The nose is an intoxicating depiction of down-home Burgundy - fresh red fruit, minerals, a little sauvage - while the palate is at an intersection, where savory red fruit cuts a swath across brooding, slightly dusty tannins. There's a solid backbone of acidity and it makes for solid drinking right now. I'm not that sure about the future, though. (Dec. 22, 2012)

God bless the WineRoute two-fer-300 NIS deals. Because at that price, I can ignore the lack of flair and my doubts about its aging potential.

Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2009

At first, this bottle seems to be more about Gamay than about Morgon, then its breed shows as a pungent mineral streak that is even more powerful and complex than in previous appearances. And there's the icing on the cake: a note of blood and iron that is graceful and rustic at the same time. Hmmmm, for a wine that sees so little sulphur - this is about my tenth bottle across three different vintages and not a bad bottle among the lot. (Dec. 23, 2011)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, 2006

A rainy winter evening, roast beef and this, my haven wine. Totally North Rhone: loads of black pepper on the nose, juicy red fruit on the palate, with silky, slightly dusty, tannins, and a hint of olive tapenade on the finish. I have guests over and I'm kinda loath to share this, even though I'm generous with other, more expensive wines: this is my secret mistress and now I have only one bottle left. (Dec. 24, 2011).

WineRoute, about 130 NIS.

Dr. Loosen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Urziger Wurzgarten, Riesling Spatlese, 2009

I needed to wash the traces of a half glass of Blue Nun from earlier in the evening off my suffering lips, so I turned to this blatantly more worthwhile specimen. The signature "apples on frosty slate" itself is worth the price of entry, before the bracing acidity and the typical Wurzgarten aromatics (spicy, baked apples) make me keel over with pleasure. It would be a waste not to let it age for at least three more years. (Dec. 26, 2011)

WineRoute, 160 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Blanc, Les Clous, 2007

It's just great when you wait and wait and cellar a wine and finally your patience pays off (and it didn't hurt that I opened the bottle two hours before the first pour). The awkwardness that I've seen in the former bottles and vintages during the wine's puberty has vanished and instead I get aromas of citrus fruit, citrus blossom - and a melange of spicy pears and light earthiness that is like a cross between Cote Chalonnaise, Meursault and Champagne. The palate is light, yet vibrant, mildly spicy with a solic backbone of acidity and salinity. It captures that zest that made the Rully my favorite Villaine white in previous vintages, yet with the 'seriousness' of maturity. So now I know how long to hold on to my Les Clous 2008's and will start buying the Les Clous again and not just the Rully. (Dec. 29, 2011)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 110 NIS.

Peter Jakob Kuhn, Rheingau, Oestricher Lenchen, Riesling Spatlese, 2004

This is a rather heavier, candied style of German Riesling, the apples on both nose and palate leaning towards baked apples rather than fresh red and green ones. I'd have expected racier acidity from a 2004, but this is very lush and hedonistic, which fits New Year's Eve, but not always what I have in mind from Germany. Having said that, it is tasty in its buxom way and there are hints of petrol on the nose, which is always nice. (Dec. 31, 2011)

This comes from the initial shipment when Giaconda started, six or sever years ago, and I'd like to think they wouldn't charge 220 NIS for a Rheingau Spatlese these days, even if the producer is bio-dynamic.

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