Taking Care Of Business (Mar. 2012)

Donnhoff jams econo! See below...
Emrich-Schonleber, Nahe, Monzinger Halenberg, Riesling Spatlese, Trocken, 2006

Although I don't score wines anymore, I'll make an exception and state that this is a 90-pointer. The reason I'm going to all this trouble is for context. This wine stands at the gate of comfortable excellence, which it can reach or exceed in other vintages, and it makes a good case for trocken Rieslings. The nose shows a mineral-laden sense of identity and terroir; you sense its Riesling-ness in the melange of minerals, spices and even a hint of petrol and you can sense a focus that strives to describe its place of origin. And then there's an echo of mango and passion-fruit that possibly reflect the vintage. The palate is crisp and dry, but with a sense of sweetness of fruit (echoing the summer fruits from the nose) and a long, spicy finish - and it unfolds in an interesting yet reserved manner. It says stuff, lots of stuff, but it doesn't make an issue of elaborating too much about what it's saying. Finally, it's becoming more refined each time I drink it, although I'm not sure I regret finishing off my stash with this bottle (Mar. 1, 2012)

Giaconda, 170 NIS.

A. Et. P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Rouge, La Digoine, 2008

Ah, sous bois! It's a always a good sign when rotting forest leaves jump out of your Burgundy glass and greet you with a warm hello.

This is a lighter wine than the previous vintages I've tried, with delicate, demure aromatics, but it manages to impress my taste buds nonetheless. In fact, I suspect maturity would actually refine the delicacy, while the emerging purity of fruit would render it more powerful somehow. Contradiction can be the greatest expression of truth. (Mar. 8, 2012)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

Donnhoff, Nahe, Norheimer Kirschheck, Riesling Spatlese, 2008

This is brilliant. The aromatics already display complexity and depth, and a pretty interplay of apples and minerals that impresses with a sense of identity. And the palate, wow, the palate shows a lithe body, laser-like focus and juicy, succulent fruit and acidity. As usual, the Donnhoff elegance is amazing - maybe if I drank it with the products of Donnhoff's better vineyards, some of the cracks in the veneer would show, but on its own, it makes the evening sparkle. (Mar. 9, 2012)

Giaconda, 180 NIS.

Bouchard, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2007

I drank this last year and was struck by its enjoyability, and great QPR, as it was sold on a two-for-150 NIS discount at WineRoute. I was surprised how well it was drinking, given that Meadows, for instance, predicted a drinking window starting in 2014. Looking at the mediocre type of cork on the bottle I've just opened, I don't think Bouchard were as optimistic about its staying powers, although perhaps the Burghound tasted a different bottling than I have. Whatever, at first impression anyway, this bottle is less vibrant, the nose less forthcoming, the palate less finely delineated. Little by little, it blooms, displaying its Gevrey-ness, such as it is, but even at its peak, tasty as it is, its bloom is nowhere as good as last year's and I've been drinking better Bourgognes lately at this price point. (Mar. 17, 2012)

Bouchard, Nuit-St.Georges, 2007

This, on the other hand, is an improvement on the previous showing and a much better wine than the Gevrey. It's feral and earthy, with a mushroom-y note over fragrant red Pinot fruit, perhaps on the light and acidic side at first, but the soft red fruit buoys quite well with air to offset any undue astringency. There are some raspy tannins in the background, but the fruit is soft enough that I probably wouldn't have called this as a Nuits in a blind tasting. (Mar. 22, 2012)

WineRoute, a different two-for-150 NIS deal.

"When something is wrong with my baby, something is wrong with me"
Typically, I find solace is a German Riesling.
Emrich-Schonleber, Nahe, Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen, Riesling Spatlese, Trocken, 2006

I find apples in the Nahe, but they're never as intrinsically and intensely apple-ish as in the Mosel, and besides, I find them to be to be red rather than green, as in this case, and tempered by summer fruits, also in this case. To continue with the current sample, on the non-fruity side of the spectrum, there's petrol and sea breeze and other mineral aspects that continually unfold and add detail twists to the tale. On the palate, there's purity, grip and depth, but only decent complexity and length and while the acidity is not exactly shy, neither is the baby fat that I don't intuit is just a matter of adolescence. But I've been known to be wrong. I miss the ethereal elegance of the Halenbergs, but this is a good drop. (Mar. 23, 2012)

Giaconda, about 170 NIS.

Shvo Vineyards, Red, 2009

The current trend in Israeli wine circles is to promote the cultivation of Rhone grape varieties. A close inspection reveals they don't mean just Syrah, but also white Rhone varieties and GSM blends. Oddly, some of the people who preach this have cut down on their GSM purchases (me among them) and have virtually never even strayed into white Rhone realms (I have made a few forays into fairly marquee names; Condrieu? I find it gaudy at best, flabby in other cases; white Hermitage and CdP? Interesting in youth and full maturity, peanut soup in between and a gamble in any case). Gaby Sadan adds Barbera to the classic formula, although I'm not a good enough taster to discern it - all I get is something between a CdR and a Gigondas, tasty and approachable, with a dusty/peppery nose and a tannic structure that seems to mock the usual jammy local idiom. Given that I'd rather drink a dozen St. Josephs or Crozes for each Gigondas or Vacqueyras, I still like this. (Mar. 25, 2012)

95 NIS. This could serve as a companion-piece to Recanati's Syrah-Viognier and it's really, really cool that it's about a third cheaper. On the other hand, I have to honestly say it doesn't have the Recanati's wow factor, either.

And speaking of the devil...

Recanati, Syrah-Viognier, Reserve, 2010

At first, this is so brooding it reminds me of the Wild Carignan's somber earthiness, unlike the 2009 S-V, which sang of sunshine. The fruit is blacker this year, but is not over ripe and is vibrant with typical Syrah pepperiness, and besides the black pepper, there's a bit of meatiness. Maybe someone's going after Cornas this year (the 2009 had a more immediate, Saint Joseph kind of approachability, at a roughly similar stage)? Whatever, the tannins are dusty and even now lend the wine a savory appeal.  (Mar. 26, 2012)

The price, as always in Israel, falls into the Your Mileage May Vary category. Let's just say anywhere between 120 and 150 NIS.

Domaine Henri Gouges, Nuits-Saint-Georges, 2006

Even the initial pour, even while the wine is still relatively closed, is very Nuits in its earthiness. It's a deceptively simple wine, whose soft fruit belies its dusty tannins; yet despite the relative simplicity, I enjoy its purity of red fruit - and my faith pays off, because the nose develops greater nuances and depth, and the earthy aromas gain an almost tactile presence and a slightly meaty background; while the tannins lend the cheerful red cherries a pungent bite. At this point, though, the appeal is largely intellectual, and I'd wait a few more years for my next bottle. (Mar. 28, 2012)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 200 NIS.