Alzinger In Israel At Last (Feb. 5, 2012)

Once upon a time, Eldad Levy and Iggy Aloni had a bright idea. Import dry, white Austrian wines to Israel.

Arguably, Alzinger is the culmination of that bright idea: the winemakers' winemaker from Wachau, Austria's most famous wine district. Personally, because I have fond memories of this winery, I came to this tasting with great expectations and returned content for the most part.

The winery ferments only estate-grown grapes and produces only single-vineyard bottlings. The prices listed below are still tentative, but they shouldn't change significantly.

A champagne for starters.

Margaine, Brut Traditionelle, Premier Cru, nv

A bit fruitier and sweeter, and arguably less complex, than the last time I had this, with Eldad at Thai House. Still fun, though, especially once the brioche asserts itself with air. 229 NIS.

Frauenweingarten Federspiel, Gruner Veltliner, 2010

From a flat vineyard. Very much GV. Sweet peas, lightly peppery and spicy. Ripe yet crisp. A fruity, friendly wine. 120 NIS.

Muhlpoint Federspiel, Gruner Veltliner, 2010

The difference between this and the former on the nose is subtle yet pronounced: more precise and focused minerality; but the palate is where it trounces the Frauenweingarten due to its tighter grip. 135 NIS.

Muhlpoint Smaragd, Gruner Veltliner, 2010

The nose is deeper yet more reserved, with a hint of clay (?). Deeper and sweeter on the palate, as well. The aromas and flavors are cut from the same typical GruVe cloth.155 NIS.

Steinertal Smaragd, Gruner Veltliner, 2010

Corked. With the limited number of bottles Eldad and Iggy import from this esteemed vineyard, I hope this accounts for all the TCA we'll see from this wine in Israel. 250 NIS.

Loibenberg Smaragd, Riesling, 2010

Closer to a Gruner than to a Riesling from any other place that I know (well, I suppose there's also a resemblance to Australian Rieslings). Peppery, fiercely minerally. Focused, intense. 230 NIS.  Knowing from experience what this can turn to in time, the price is very competitive with local prices for German Grosse Gewachs, which is the my reference point for its level of quality.

Liebenberg Smaragd, Riesling, 2010

Again, closer to GV, showing spicy lemons, but softer and friendlier than the Loibenberg. Exotic and tropical, but in the way a pineapple is exotic and tropical - which isn't the same as kiwis and mangos, if you get my drift. About 230 NIS.

Hirsch, Heiligenstein, Riesling, 2009

Very minerally, with hints of petrol, even, which I can sense on the palate as well. The reduction stifles the fruit, though, and this wine should show better with air. 225 NIS.

Salomon-Undhof, Pfaffenberg, Riesling, 1996,

A strange, mysterious nose; honey, petrol, light botrytis. The palate feels stretched out, lemony, as though the fruit is starting to fall apart but is glued together by the acidity.

From the winery's library and thus not imported.

Iggy is the distributor for Bravdo Winery, so he brought some reds for the post-tasting asado. I forgot to ask about prices.

Bravdo, Merlot, 2009

Fairly elegant with a touch of green that I was okay with, but which might offend others.

Bravdo, Shiraz, 2009

Nice, better than the Merlot - but where's the Shiraz?

Lastly, Eldad pulled a nice 'digestif' from his cellar.

Dominique Laurent, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Les Beaumonts, 1999

What an attractive context switch! Murky color, sous de bois, fragrant red fruit. A lightly tannic bite, tasty even if it's not as complex as I'd expect it to be, given the vineyard and vintage.

Not imported, price unknown.