Experiment #1: Meyer-Nakel, Ahr, Dernauer Pfarrwingert, Spätburgunder, Großes Gewächs, 2005
Because I don't have much experience with German Pinot Noir, because this is a famous estate, and because the top cuvees are said to be rather oak-ish and I figured I might as well find out already whether they appeal to me.
The color is very worrying, with too brown a tint for a six year old plus Pinot. Two hours after opening, the nose has a metallic bent to it, but there's a decent whiff of cherries underneath. A further hour shows some interesting, earthy aromatics with decent complexity. The palate is low in acidity with bitter tannins. But at least it's not over-extracted, and grows palatable in time, so it just about passes muster. (Jan. 19, 2012)
This cost me about 50 GBP in London a couple of years ago, which in itself is a bad buy. What makes it worse is thinking about the bottles that competed with it for baggage space and lost out.
Experiment #2: Domaine Des Remizieres, Hermitage, Cuvee Emilie, 2004
Because I wanted to spoil myself with a Hermitage. Actually, since I'd bought this bottle for 30 USD, it was like opening a house wine, almost. So, although I knew this wine can be oaky in its youth and that Hermitages in general need at least a decade to show well, I decided to take the Emilie out for a spin.
The plan was to have a couple of glasses with a beef stew Efrat made for lunch and then finish it off over dinner, tracking its progress. The first glass displays very intense black fruit and iron, with dusty, bitter tannins that overwhelm the fruit flavors, even if they're at the stage where they've stopped puckering. There's obvious structure and complexity in there but I think it's still under the influence of the barrels; but at least they're only constricting the fruit as opposed to artificially flattering the palate. After about six hours and a few pours for samples that aired the bottle, I start to get a sense of the potential. The nose becomes earthier and finally shows signature black pepper and the powerful allure of Hermitage, while the palate develops a savory essence over solid acidity. Even then it's still disjointed so this should be left for another five-ten years. (Jan. 21, 2012)
Experiment #3: Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Les Vergers, 2006
Because it really sucked at Daniel Lifshitz tasting, which naturally raised some concerns about my personal holdings.
Much better. Citrus, dried grass, flint, a whisper of oak.There's some sweetness on the palate, but enough structure this time to contain it, so the whole thing finishes with the wry savoriness I love in white Burgundies - when they work. That having been said, I think I've drunk villages at this same level of quality. Comparisons are a bitch. (Jan. 25, 2012)
WineRoute, about 250 NIS at the time.
Experiment #4: Peteglia, Montecucco, 2008
Because I wanted to dip my feet into Italian waters. Meaning non-Piedmonte, non-Nebbiolo, Italy. Giaconda's new Italian catalog seemed a nice way to plan my return after several year's abstinence.
So, first of all this, is really a curiousity. The DOC is hardly an household name and the winery is low beneath the radar, with only this sole wine (and some olive oil, apparently) in their portfolio. And their site doesn't even have an English version.
The wine, then, is surprisingly light on the palate for 14% ABV (14%! I really wanted a lighter wine for my experiment!), slightly bitter with good acidity and some savoriness, and a fairly expressive nose of roasted Mediterranean herbs and red cherries. Quite nice for what it is, but marred by by increasing aromatic sweetness and dwindling complexity on the palate. 100 NIS. (Jan. 28, 2012)
Experiment #5: Roberto Anselmi, Capitel Croce, Veneto IGT, 2008
I've hardly ever had Soave, but I'm not even sure this actually counts as a typical sample. Hell, Anselmi even eschews the DOC.
The nose is oddly familiar: that melange of citrus fruit, nuts and mushrooms wouldn't be out of place in Champagne. The palate is a bit low in acidity, but manages to keep its balance anyway on sheer spicy flavor - it works, just like Rocky Marcciano worked. (Jan. 29, 2012)
Giaconda, 120 NIS. Good value.