Taking Care Of Business (Apr. 2012)

Any month with a good claret in it is a winner. This month it's the Cantemerle 2007.
I know what you're thinking: 2007?! Well, read on below
Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2009

I had a good run with my bottles of this wine, and it's hard to let go. This is still a fresh, fruity wine with silky tannins, a salty/earthy finish and lovely acidity, while the nose is typically pungent with a dusty, earthy appeal reminiscent of struck matches. I wish I could talk about this wine in fairly conventional tasting-notes qualifications of complexity and finesse and balance, but its charms are off on another plane, in the way it it riffs off a few simple themes (think of Neil Young as a reference point) that bring it close to to Nuits or Gevrey stylistically, without surrendering its grasp on its Gamay-ness. Very tasty, too.(Apr. 4, 2012)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

William Fevre, Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillons, 2008

It never fails. I open a Chablis and I'm home. This one is full of citrus skin,a bit of rain water and so much fossil/marine-air that it reminds me of the slab of salt our Science teacher passed around in 7th grade. I expected more intensity (which is what the 2007 was all about for the couple of years I managed to keep my hands off my meager stash), but this is in a very elegant place right now, which is even better as far as I'm concerned. I prefer just a bit of kinky in my Chablis, which this doesn't have, but its elegance is impressive for sure. (Apr. 5, 2012)

WineRoute, where you can usually get it for about 130 NIS, if you're smart - like me.

Golan Heights Winery, Gamla, Chardonnay, 2010

Served at the Passover feast. Someone ought to teach GHW the value of restraint, because even though it's probably been five-six years since I last drank a Gamla Chardonnay and my tastes have changed in that time, I still find it a much more drinkable and enjoyable wine than the oak-bombs in their upper echelons. I wish they'd treat the fruit destined for the Katzrin and the Yarden with as much discretion and let the sweetness of the fruit, rather than whatever the barrels impart, do the talking. (Apr. 6, 2012).

No idea what this costs these days. 50 NIS?

Dr. Loosen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Ürziger Würzgarten, Riesling Auslese, 2009

This is still a baby, with the acidity buried deep inside the core of the sweet, precocious fruit. As you'd expect from the Mosel, this feels like an extract of, a discourse on, apples and slate, but with this specimen there is also an unusually strong display (for such a young wine) of kerosene, and also hints of what I suspect are mandarin oranges. (Apr. 6, 2012)

WineRoute, 130 NIS for a half bottle on discount (250 NIS regular price).

Weingut Wittman, Weissburgunder, Trocken, 2009

So Giaconda had a Pinot Blanc special this month, which aroused my curiosity, but I didn't want to go for the more obvious suspects from Alsace or the Pfalz, and I wanted to check out Wittman (although I admit Pinot Blanc and Riesling - where my real interest lies - are worlds apart). On both nose and palate, this is very spicy with more elegance than I've found in its Alsatian brothers. Albeit you could count my encounters with the grape on two hands. Having said that, this is the kind of wine that could well change my mind - it's tasty and unpretentious, with decent complexity and a backdrop of marine minerals that made me a Chablis fan, and I'd probably choose it over the Vaillons above for sheer interest. (Apr. 7, 2012)

100 NIS.

Chateau Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc 5me Cru, 2007

2007 seems to be almost universally disparaged, but then on the face of it, 2002 also was stamped with a "be selective" warning and I admired the 2002's that I tasted. Not that I bought the Cantemerle based on optimistic faith, blind or informed, or any prior tasting experience - it was simply on sale last year (two 300 NIS at WineRoute). Recent purchases brought my Bordeaux stocks to a level where I felt I could spoil my claret craving on a child-less evening with a bottle I probably wouldn't risk opening with affluent afficiandos.

I don't know if the Haut-Medoc has a specific aromatic personality like, say Pauillac or Graves, but you couldn't mistake the nose for anything but Bordeaux: the fruit is mostly red, a little earthy, a little cedary. The palate is not very tasty at first, but a Bordeaux geek like me would enjoy the context. I guess 2007 is the kind of year that you don't pick apart for structural faults but rather for the (lack of) merits of flavors - but the acidity is promising and the tannins already show the kind of savoriness I look out for and I believe will grow even more savory as the wine ages. Better than I expected, and fairly tasty even now with enough air. Given the results of this tasting, I will cellar my remaining bottle and pick up a couple of 2008's. (Apr. 9, 2012)

My wife's aunt, Ahuva Kadouri, cooks in a style I've finally located on my wine map as befitting Burgundy (of both colors) and Austria. To wit...

Bouchard, Aligote, 2009

Classically taut (although with more body than I expected/remembered) and saline. Citrus, smoke, minerals. (Apr. 12, 2012)

WineRoute, about 50 NIS.

Ecker-Echof, Berg-Wagram, Gruner-Veltliner, 2010

Typicity again. Very GruVe. Green beans and somewhat tropical fruit over a reserved frame. A sweet finish tempered by a touch of salinity. (Apr. 12, 2012)

Wine Domains Of Austria, 119 NIS.

Clos Marie, Coteaux du Langedoc, Pic St. Loup, l’Olivette, 2008

While this is a very individualistic wine, it nods at various places that I love or, at the very least, like. If in the past I spotted a resemblance to the North Rhone, this time there's an offhand familiarity to the South Rhone at first, although no Chateaubeuf, Gigondas or Vacqueyras that I ever drank had quite this acidity. There's a pungent earthiness that is vaguely iodine-like on the nose that is echoed on the palate as well that, combined with the specifics of the fruit (but don't ask me to checklist the varieties), reminds me of Bordeaux. This is a tasty, very savory wine that I matched with roast beef and drank rather quickly, so it must be quite good. (Apr. 13, 2012)

IPVinum, about 140 NIS.

Salomon, Steiner Kogl, Riesling, 2009

The reason Eldad Levy managed to hook me into Austrian wines is stuff like this: a dry, lively Riesling in which the variety's tell-tale apple core combines with a swirl of spices that carry on at fair length on the finish, where they linger on, daring the saliva to drown them out.(Apr. 14, 2012)

129 NIS, from the Fat Guy.

Domaine Louis Dupont, Cidre Cuvve Reserve, 2009

Apples and brett, who'd have thought? (Apr. 15, 2012)

IPVinum again, about 70 NIS.

Jean Paul et Benoit Droin, Chablis Premier Cru, Cote de Lechet, 2007

Simply quintessential: the mineral cut, the green apples on the marine-air/fossil tapestry, the saline finish. On the other hand, the last bottle was more complex (Apr. 17, 2012)

Giaconda, 171 NIS.

Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, 2006

As much as I usually love this wine, I'm disappointed. Graillot makes ripe wines. That's the style. He does it well and elegant and there's a sexy languidness to the ripeness, which is why it works. But this time, or just this bottle, there's a loss of expression. Everything is in place - the black pepper, the dusty tannins, the juicy acidity - but it doesn't take off as I'd expected it to. And there's no elegance either. (Apr. 19, 2012)

WineRoute, 130 NIS.

Huet, Vouvray, Pettilant, Brut, 2005

With this revisit, I find it easier to place this in context. I can more easily discern the Chenin Blanc fruit beneath the mousse and I find the acidity and raciness required for the making of bubblies suit the grape. Beyond that, on the nose there's plenty of green apples, citrus fruit, chalk and various other rocks, as well as hints of brioche, making for fairly complex aromatics. The overtly yeasty character I noticed last time is gone, so this is really shining now. The palate has a wonderful cut and the freshness of sour apples, with an herbal, almost minty essence, but to be quite honest, if I compare it to the vintage Champagnes I've been drinking recently, it matches their elegance but not quite their depth. However, it competes quite nicely with non-vintage Champagnes, especially for its price, and the only reason I'm comparing it to vintage stuff is because it says Huet on the label - in its own right, it's an interesting, delicious, refreshing wine! Since Huet makes such age-worthy Vouvrays, I'll have to age my other bottles and see how much depth they gain and then play the Match Game again against the vintage Champagnes. (Apr. 20, 2012)

Giaconda, 150 NIS. Easily a no-brainer buy!

Hirsch, Kammerner Heiligenstein, Gruner Veltliner, 2010

Tart and refreshing, with the light sweetness that GV converys even when vinified dry, complemented by lime and herbal aromas and flavors and an overlay of overturned eart.Very yummy. (Apr. 21, 2012)

Wine Domains Of Austria, 129 NIS.

Recanati, Yasmin, Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot, 2011

Independence Day wine. Quite a nice, bistro-style wine, showing red fruit with a welcome tart edge and a lightly saline finish. (Apr. 26, 2012)

You can usually find this at three bottles for 100 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Rouge, La Digoine, 2007

Another Digoine, the last of my 2007's. Reserved richness on the nose: red fruit, sous bois, blood. Very 2007 in its leanness, yet there's a nice, mouth-filling shape on the palate which culminates in a saline finish. (Apr. 30, 2012)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 140 NIS.