Friday, December 27, 2013

There's A Place (Nov. 25, 2013)

The Secret Place Restaurant is a project by chef Uri Levy, inspired by 'underground' Manhattan jazz shows, whose location is revealed to the audience by SMS a few hours before curtain time. Similarly, the Secret Place is a wandering restaurant with an ever changing locale. I actually didn't even know I was going there. A Gevrey tasting put together by Daniel Lifshitz fell through and he suggested we hang out at Tshernichovsky 6, a small Tel Aviv bistro, without mentioning it was taken over for the evening by the Secret Place.

It was a fun evening, meeting Uri, catching up with friends, meeting a couple of Facebook friends I'd never met in person, in addition to enjoying the dinner (I would donate a kidney for some the sea fare, arguably even my own!) and the wines below - since it was a night out with Daniel, we stuck to Bourgogne.

Expect the unexpected in Burgundy. The first time I ever tasted a white Boillot, I was sure it was one of the lesser lights of Burgundy. It created such a bad impression that it ruined Boillot for me for life, even though the second encounter knocked me out. Louis Carillon, on the other hand, is such a revered name that, looking at the labels, I was sure I knew who my favorite would be.

Well, the underdog won.

Domaine Henri Boillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Les Embrazees, 2009

What a lovely nose, a little honeyed, with flint and dry grass and dem apples. Elegant without the four-squareness we usually find in Chassagne, and oak is only obvious, not intrusive. Tasty stuff.

Domaine Louis Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet  Premier Cru, Les Champs Canet, 2007

An elegant wave of minerals promise a salinity the palate doesn't deliver. I know Carillon is the classic name, but this wine, at this stage, just doesn't work for me. In all fairness, I think it spent too much time in the cooler - or else not enough time resting after a very recent flight.

De Montille, Volnay Premier Cru, Les Taillpieds, 2002

This is very complete and strikes a balance between power and finesse, such that it manages to show enough intensity to push the envelope of elegance without rupturing it. A complex nose, very deep, red fruit and minerals with a generous helping of garrigue. The palate is arguably even better and it is a true pleasure to drink such a classic wine at this point in its plateau of maturity.

Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Premier Cru, Grand Clos des Epenots, 1999

A classic name, this requires more time to approach the younger Montille's state of drinkability. Darker than the Volnay, although not necessarily blacker, with a touch of flower, it is also more monolithic and backward. The potential is there, as this is meaty without being coarse, framed by fine tannins.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pinot Noir 101 With Romana Echensperger (Nov. 22, 2013)

Who wants to learn about Pinot with Romana Echensperger?

All we had to do was make our way through three blind flights of German, Bourgogne and New World Pinot Noir - and the only test was trying to guess which was which.

A sparkler to break the ice.

Jean-Louis Denois, Limoux, Extra Brut Classique, nv

Good nose, citrus, green apples, earthy/spicy notes. Light frame, not very deep, but nice and tasty. This is Eldad Levy's latest magic trick, a sparkler from the Languedoc made by a sixth generation Champenois.

Fat-Guy, 90 NIS.

 The tasting itself was comprised of three flights, each of which included a German Spatburgunder, a Bourgogne of fine pedigree and a New World Pinot.

Flight 1

Ata Rangi, Martinborough, 2011

Rudolf Furst, Franken, Hunsruck GG, 2009

Jacques Fredric Mugnier, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos de la Marchelle, 2008

The New Zealander an attractive nose, with an intriguing pungency, a friendly attack on the palate and a rough finish. Frankly, not that interesting. Upon first tasting the Furst, my impression was that it's very Burgundian in style, but sniffing and tasting it side by side with the Clos de la Marchelle, the stylistic differences become more pronounced. The Furst has different aromatic hues, with an herbal aspect that is totally new to me and that take time to wrap my senses and brain around. The palate is shaped differently. While both are more or less equally complex and multi-layered, the Marchelle is more fluid and sexy.

Flight 2

Candidate for wine of the night
 Rippon, Central Otago, Lake Wanaka, 2010

Jean Stodden, Ahr, Recher Herrenberg, GG, 2008

Jacques Fredric Mugnier, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos de la Marchelle, 2010

The Kiwi of this flight also fails to make the cut; while the nose tries very hard to flatter and almost succeeds, the palate is too modern and too sweet to serve the variety and for my money, applying the same wine making to any grape variety would make for the same dull effect.

Now, the Burgudnian fan-boy in me would love to say that the Spatburgender only won the flight because of the Marchelle was too young to compete, but it basically won the night as well, and was surely the most interesting and impressive wine we tasted, with a very deep and complex nose with a lemon tint to the red fruit and herbal tinged complexity. Mind you, the Marchelle is young and what a shame it is to drink such a young 2010, as it shows such nubile, monolithic fruit, with a primary nose barely hinting at complexity, but no matter how much allowance I make, it is just so shallow compared to the German.

Flight 3

Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, 2005

Bernhard Huber, Baden, 2002

Jean Grivot, Clos de Vogeout, 2001

The Californian manages to set the score at zero out of three for the New World: thick, sweet, disgusting to drink. The Huber (I think we were drinking his entry cuvee from young vines) has an interesting nose, sweet on the palate, but that sweetness recedes in glass as the wine gains body and complexity. The Grivot is puzzling. Grivot makes a terrific Clos de Vogeout, but while this is interesting and slightly funky and bretty, the brett kind of overwhelms the Pinot.

We went on for a few dishes at the Officers Club, accompanied by the following:

J. J. Prum, Mosel, Graacher Himmelreich, Riesling Spatlese, 2004

A delicate, airy, balanced, refreshing wine, with the typical Mosel signature of apples and slate.

Yannick Amirault, Bourgueil, La Coudraye, 2012

Another fun wrinkle that Eldad Levy's portfolio is making in the fabric of the local scene - the entry wine from Loire specialist Yannick Amirault sports is a young, simple, fun wine that sports pure red fruit. At about 90 NIS a bottle, I bought enough for a less haphazard encounter.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Nov. 2013)

Recanati, Reserve, Petit Syrah - Zinfandel, 2011

This is the wine (yes, not the Special Reserve) that put Recanati on the map, about nine years ago. Because it was the first time the winery made a unique statement, going outside the Bordeaux mold, making it the forerunner of the contemporary trend of using so-called Mediterranean varieties. Nowadays, it pales besides the Carignan and Syrah/Viognier, seemingly a throwback to Lewis Pasco days, when the reds were rather riper and sweeter than they are today. That is to say, this is rather a local crowd pleaser due to its jamminess. But it's fine in its way, and the ripeness of the cranberry inflected fruit is nicely complemented by a peppery overlay. All of which is probably representative of the grapes involved rather than the winemakers' stylistic choices, and it's a tasty wine anyways. (Nov. 1, 2013)

About 110 NIS.

Hugel, Jubilee Riesling, 2001

Hugel is more or less my favorite producer in Alsace, these days. Case in point is this complex, purebred Grand Cru, which marries clarity and depth with mature complexity and still-youthful vigor. At this point, the fruit plays barely second fiddle. Petrol dominates the nose at first, then makes way to dill, sea air and quartz. The palate is long and spicy, and the typical Alsatian quinine backbone leaves enough room for the complexity of the fruit to assert itself on the light, airy frame. (Nov. 2, 2013)

Wine Route, about 200 NIS.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Malbec, 2010

Nice nose, showing charred meat and black fruit; it's almost Old World in a way, and makes me wish the palate was as intriguing. However, the palate is ripe and thick, like most GWH wines, but saline, unlike most of them; and even though it contains its high alcohol content decently well, as the GHW wines usually do, it lacks breed and freshness. Having said all that, despite the constraints of the house style, this is an interesting expansion of the lineup and might repay further experiments, should the ABV ever go down to a more manageable and palatable level. (Nov. 8, 2013)

Probably about 100 NIS.

For my love's birthday:

J. J. Prum, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Auslese, 1999

Mature and elegant, with deep aromas of chalk and slate, apples morphing into peaches, mint, a hint of Atlantic salt. The aromas are echoed on the palate, which is finely and harmonically wrought. Perhaps it lacks some intensity, but it's very pure and true to its origin, and time only brings out its breed and class. (Nov. 9, 2013)

Giaconda, about 300 NIS.

Chateau Ormes de Pez, St. Estephe, Cru Bourgeois, 2007

2007 was a mediocre vintage, while Ormes de Pez hasn't been a household name since it was Hugh Johnson's father's household wine, so likely this is now as good as it will ever get, offering a typical St. Estephe experience. It's earthy, slightly bretty, and all grunge. While the nose is perfumed, detailed and decently complex, and the palate has a balanced mix of fair acidity, crunchy fruit and dusty tannins, there isn't a whole lot of high pedigree in it. Having said all that, Lynch-Bages owner Jean Michel Cazes' dollars show - in Hugh Johnson's father's time, it wouldn't have gotten even this far in a vintage of comparable climate. (Nov. 10, 2013)

Wine Route, three for 400 NIS, three years ago.

Carmel, Mediterranean, 2008

This blend of Syrah, Petit Syrah and Carignan is warm and friendly, the kind of mellow wines the wineries I follow aim for these days. Although I'd say it doesn't achieve the kind of balance between fruit and tannins my faves tend to reach, I still enjoyed having it on my table and drinking a couple of glasses. (Nov. 12, 2013)

About 260 NIS at Elba.

Vitkin, Riesling, 2011 

A crisp, slightly saline, bone-dry Riesling, with just a hint of sweetness on the finish, leaning towards the grapefruit end of the fruit spectrum, with an overlay of petrol. This won't ever cause me to break out in cold sweat, but it's just as good as any imported regional Riesling at a comparable price. (Nov. 29, 2013)

85 NIS.

Tzora Vineyards, Shoresh, 2010

Earth, leather. Sweet fruit, but elegant. The Syrah seems to lurk behind the Cabernet and the Merlot. I'm still going to wait a couple more years until I start digging into my own cache. (Nov. 30, 2013)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2011

Ripe and friendly, with a rather surprising tannic/saline bite. Delicate blue fruit, which I don't run into a lot. Not my style of Syrah, but an impressive expression of fruity, flowery Syrah. (Nov. 30, 2013)

A. et P. De Villaine, Mercurey, Les Montots, 2006

Ready at last, with excellent length and complexity, combining an earthy intensity with delicacy. A classic Bourgogne, the kind I really love, with a depth of fruit that belies the medium frame. Very tasty, especially the saline, palate-cleansing finish. (Nov. 30, 2013)

140 NIS.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Guy Fawkes Day, 2013

Another fun evening at Halutzim 3, Tel Aviv.

Rene Engel, Vosne-Romanee, 2004

A taut nose at first, showing red fruit and only hints of forest floor for decor. The red fruit is good, albeit limpid, fruit, but not really integrated with the acidity and tannins at first. It does develop nicely in glass, gaining languid complexity and a definition that scratches at the underbelly of the senses. I nailed the vintage, village and guessed the producer as well - because few Bourgognes were ever as non-conformist as the wines Engel had made.

Burgundy Wine Collection. Should I again lament the fact that, with Rene Engel's passing, at best I can buy the latest vintage from Domaine Eugenie for 350 NIS and fervently hope that Tomer Gal wasn't being polite when he wrote in the catalog that the new regime's wines are only 'somewhat' different in style than the wines Rene Engel made?

Hubert Lignier, Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Seuvrees, 2008

This has better definition and greater length than the Engel on the one hand, more obvious presence on the other. There's sweet red fruit with a touch of black, that for me really cried out "2008", with decent complexity defined by a mineral/animalistic character.

Wine Route. I will have to look this up. At 200-250 NIS, I'd buy.

Domaine Hubert Lamy, St. Aubin Premier Cru,  Derrière chez Edouard, Vieilles Vignes, 2010

Lots of depth, spices, earth, very complex and complete, even at this patently young age, with a saline finish. I like the whole package, even the obvious oak that is showing signs that it will integrate nicely a few years down the road.

Bourgogne Crown. About 200 NIS (but sold out).

Bouchard, Corton-Charlemagne, 2004

Honey, minerals and an intensity of fruit I find typical for Corton, as well as a touch of oak on the nose as well that is decently balanced. A wine that delivers mass at a loss of elegance, and which was better two years ago. At least it made it to its ninth birthday, which I'm not sure a lot of white Burgundies do these days, not even Grand Crus.

Wine Route, about 500 NIS in 2007, about 600 for recent vintages.

Domaine Alain Chavy, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Les Folatieres, 2010

Fruit redolent of lime, fresh and cheeky. An alternative lifestyle Puligny that is as lively as a Nahe Riesling.

Bourgogne Crown, 360 NIS.

Friday, November 29, 2013

With Eran and Yotam at Toto (Oct. 31, 2013)

Will any local importer be so kind as to bring this to Israel?
 An evening with winemakers Eran Pick (Tzora Vineyards) and Yotam Sharon (Trio) was a good opportunity to spread the word on an excellent, relatively inexpensive white Bourgogne, and to re-discover (sort of) two reds.

Domaine Hubert Lamy, Saint-Aubin Premier, Cru Clos de Meix, 2010

Flinty, fresh,  balanced, pure. Just what I expected, just what I remembered from previous encounters, with a juicy finish reminiscent of Riesling.

At about 200 NIS, this is one of the better values offered by Bourgogne Crown.

Pierre Gaillard, St. Joseph, 2005

This is only Gaillard's regular cuvee, not the single vineyard Clos de Cuminaille, and at eight years of age, it performs like a cross between Cote Rotie and Hermitage, with a nose redolent of black pepper, violets, wood shavings and bacon (and, of course, black fruit). Illegally tasty and a downright amazing value at 17 GBP.

Chateau La Grave, Trigant De Boiset, Pomerol, 2008

A young ,tasty, pungently earthy, Merlot-based claret, made by Eran's mentor Jean-Claude Berrouet. Actually, I had this at a tasting last year, but it plays better on a dinner table than on a tasting bench.

Wine Route, about 230 NIS.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Nightcap With Lifshitz (Oct. 21, 2013)

Daniel Lifshitz and I met up at Elba for a few drinks.

Matrot, Blagny Premier Cru, La Piece Sous Le Bois, 2009

A very detailed nose: red fruit, upturned earth, a hint of flowers. Drinking very smoothly with lightly raspy tannins. My kind of Bourgogne, with just the weight I'd expect from a red Meursault Premier - which is basically what this is - and what's more, it has the presence of a Cote de Nuits Premier Cru.

70 USD. Not imported. Although Daniel regrets deciding against it, and after drinking the bottle I bought at Waltham, I wanted to punch his face in (but didn't, because he has a better physique and you know how crazy goalies are).

Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Clos Saint-Jean, 2011

A fantastic mineral laden nose, detailed and complex, text book Chassagne, with no intrusive oak. The palate is still nubile and oak-bitter, with enough fat to warrant and require two-three years of cellaring. And thank God it doesn't seem like it will sour before then, as is made obvious when the acidity calmly asserts itself.
Not imported, price unknown.

Alain Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin, Cuvée  Mes Favorites, Vieilles Vignes, 2007

Animalistic with a touch of flowers, good savory length. There's purity and presence beyond a 'mere' villages (the grapes are sourced from a vineyard bordering on the Gevrey Grand Crus), and the character of the 2007 vintage makes it way beyond approachable.

Bourgogne Crown, about 350 NIS.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fun Times In Madrid

Some tasting notes from tapas bar and restaurant hopping on a short business trip to Madrid.

At a wine bar in the Mercado San Miguel (Oct. 27, 2013):

R. Lopez de Heredia, Tondonia, Rioja Reserva, 2002

Soft and velvety, old school. Fruity and a little one dimensional, and a decent portion only lasted 15 minutes in fairly decent stemware. Just what I'd expected from a 2002, from what I'd read. I assume there was no Gran Reserva in 2002, in which case perhaps better fruit than usual went into the Reserva, so it might flesh out with a little age.

Emilio Moro, Ribera de Duero, 2009

I'm not sure about the actual label. The wine menu offering is a fixed price for each region/designation combination. I paid for a Ribera Reserva but I don't see a Reserva listed on the winery's site, but it might only mean the winery is edging away from traditional labels. Anyway, the nose shows meat stink, and is more complex than the Tondonia, while the palate is lively and lovely, albeit ion need of time to gain focus. This is what I wanted to get in a Ribera: a mixture of old school and modern wine-making. Pretty much what I got, too, which seems to bode well for future purchases from Emilio Moro in general.

At El Brasero de Don Pedro (Oct. 28, 2013):

 Abadia Retuerta, Sardon de Duero, Seleccion Especial, 2009

Black, smokey, mineral laced fruit. Good balance and fine tannins. Fairly complex, especially the nose. I ordered it because its been ages since I last had an Abadia.  Based on the Seleccion's showing, as well as that of the Emilio Moro (which I preferred), 2009 sure seems like a good vintage in Ribera (Abadia, although technically in Sardon, is on the Ribera border).

Friday, November 8, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Oct. 2013)

Start the month off with a Chablis or two. Seems legit.

Christian Moreau, Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillons, 2010

Very typical, light marine air, chalk,  apples and citrus. Lovely acidity. Not great, or especially complex (I'm not a great fan of Vaillons, for some reason), but fun, with less oak influence than the book on Moreau led me to expect. The gritty, saline finish especially encapsulates all that is Chablis. (Oct. 3, 2013)

Buergundy Wine Collection, 160 NIS.

William Fevre, Chablis Grand Cru, Les  Clos, 2006

Very mute at first, to the point where the bottle is suspect, there is a saline, tangy core nonetheless. There's little to the glory I expect from Les Clos, rather it is more about weight and presence and painting the marine colors of Chablis in bold strokes, with even less finesse that I find in good Premier Crus. It doesn't really work as well as expected, but at least its relative failures are mitigated by its yumminess. (Oct. 4, 2013).

Wine Route, this was on sale at 190 NIS, but the price is usually 350 NIS or so.

Midbar Winery, Semillon, 2009

Light and refreshing, with subtle depths, like a Beach Boys song circa 1965, but it fits autumn very well with its suggestion of rainwater. (Oct. 5, 2013)

This month's discovery!

Two wonderful surprises that Efrat and I had by the glass at NOPI, London (Oct. 11).

Le Coste di Gradoli, Litrozzo Rosso, Gradoli, 2012

What a tasty revelation! This comes from Lazio and is a cross between a lean Italian, such as Etna Rosso, and a focused French, say Chinon. Minerals, sulphur, black fruit, tobacco tang. Fascinating.

10.5 GBP.

Savia Viva, Classico Blanco, Pendes, 2012

This serves the same niche as does a good, basic GruVe, with peas and tropical fruit and a dash of minerals.

6.5 GBP.

And back in Israel:

Domaine du Tunnel, Cornas, 2007

An austere, youthful Syrah. Black fruit, kirsch, olives bacon and black pepper. Lean and focused, and too monolithic right now, with flavor-blockading tannins. I might have opened it too early for its (and my) own good, but reading up on the 2010 vintage in the Northern Rhone had whetted my appetite. (Oct. 14, 2013)

Berry Bros., 40 GBP.

Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco, 2007

Grocery list first: red cherries, dried spices, earthy, chocolate. Really closed initially, and a tannic bitch even when it opens, this offers surprising depth and complexity, and a touch of that magical Nebbiolo mysterioso. (Oct. 17, 2013)

Wine Route, 250 NIS.

Continuing the classic Italian theme:

Poliziano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, 2010

Dark cherries, minerals, cedar, with savory tannins that leave an appropriately dry, yet salivating, effect. Quite lovely despite a helping of oak and 14% ABV, both of which are well cloaked, this is a solid wine that should improve with three-five years of cellar time. (Oct. 18, 2013)

Wine Route, 140 NIS.

Reverting to my infatuation/exploration of Loire reds - as I've said before, Loire reds are  relatively inexpensive claret substitutes. Well, perhaps not substitutes, but the real thing, as it was before the days of Parker influenced modernization and globalization.

Bernard Baudry, Chinon, Le Clos Guillot, 2010

Fleshing out aromatically to show depth and detail (raspberries, flowers, leather and earth), but the tannins are still in need of further integration; nonetheless, tasty and lovely due to to the clarity and prettiness of the fruit. This, like the other 2010 Loire Cabs I've tasted, seems to be very Burgundian in character. (Oct. 19, 2013)

Wine Route, 120 NIS.

Recanati, Reserve, Syrah-Viognier, 2011

Another year, another Recanati Syrah-Viognier Reserve, once again weighting in at 13.5% ABV. Seems more sombre than previous renditions, more Northern Rhone than Israeli, with sappy, savory, lightly saline fruit framed by back pepper and leather. (Oct. 24, 2013)

About 140 NIS.

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Meurault, Vieilles Vignes, 2010

Every elegant and pure,  minerals and citrus, with a Chablis like limpidness. (Oct. 25, 2013)

Bourgogne Crown, sold out but available at Elba for 320 NIS (a fair markup).

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

There's every possible reason to age German Rieslings. They last decades and offer abundant pleasures at every step of their evolution. They're almost impossible to keep away from, so my stocks wind up dwindling. This is my last bottle, which I opened because I was looking for a low alcohol wine to drink before an early morning flight. And I convinced myself it's lush, creamy, hedonistic pleasures are best experienced young, which is a defensible stance. (Oct. 26, 2013)

Wine Route, 160 NIS.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Annual Lewinsohn Launch (Oct. 25, 2013)

Ido Lewinsohn makes great wines both at Recanati and at his (literally) garage boutique winery at his parents' home, where he produces both a white (read: Chardonnay) wine and a red (read: varietal makeup subject to change) wine. This is the second year he's launched his his latest wines in the setting of a very generous cheese and sausage luncheon. I missed the inaugural happening last year due to work commitments, but made damn sure to get to this year's.

I'm glad I did. On a personal level, I appreciate and love Ido, he's an insightful guy to taste wines with and terrific company, just the kind of wine geek you dream of sharing bottles with when you first catch the bug (not to mention the kind of guy you wish would make the wines you buy). And it really was a fun event and I got a chance to meet loads of friends, virtual and less virtual.

On a professional level, while I've tasted past vintages of both wines, the output of the Garage de Papa's of both colors is so small that this is the closest I can get to a horizontal/vertical tasting. I know, a setting like this can be distracting, but I trust myself to somehow manage three tasting notes even within the havoc of a big luncheon.

On to the notes then.

The Garage de Papa, Blanc, 2012 shows that Chardonnay, in the proper hands, will eke out chalk and flint notes from every terroir. In other words, it is very Bourgogne, playing similar notes as would a comely Cotes de Beaune village, only with different instruments. 140 NIS - and well worth it (especially with the launch day discount).

The Garage de Papa, Rouge, 2010 is a very clearly delineated wine, showing spicy, earthy and lightly leathery notes, with typical Israeli ripeness, balanced by savory acidity. It is comprised of what is commonly termed around these parts a "Mediterranean blend", as it is comprised of Syrah, Petit Syrah and Carignan. I would question the verbiage, but I know what people mean: varieties better suited to the local climate. Which is in contrast with the Merlot-dominated blend of the Garage de Papa, Rouge, 2008, also offered for tasting and purchase, a wine I found more austere while less clearly defined. The Merlot is quite obvious here, in a velvet-gloved iron fist kind of way, although I find the total effect lacks the charm and deliciousness factor of the 2010. The 2010 might well improve, but even if it won't, it's quite a charmer today and I would give a nod to the asking price of 140 NIS. The 2008, on the other hand, will not get any better than it is now, and its current performance is not enough to convince me to buy it at 150 NIS.

Peggie says: "I'm the real brains of this outfit!"

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lifshitz Up To Some Surprises (Oct. 9, 2013)

What if I told you of a Georgian dinner, paired with Bourgognes, served by an Israeli/Swede goalie? Daniel Lifshitz and his wife Ani put together a very fun event at Tel Aviv's Bin 281 (which Daniel calls his second home). The guy's a class act and a walking fountain of Burgundy lore and passion.

Bagrationi, Finest nv

A Georgian bubblie quaffer, offering adequate pleasure and a mineral cut.

Does the price point matter here?

Domaine d'Arlaud, Bourgogne Aligote, 2008

Light bodied, grapefruit, clay - proving once again that Aligote at the hands of a good producer can be quite fun.

Wine Route, probably around 50 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Saint Romain, 2007

Wonderful, funky aromatics, direct yet complex. At six years post- harvest, this has plenty of jism for a relatively lowly, backwoods appellation and offers the experience of a mature white B without, so far, any signs of premoxed bottles.

Bourgogne Crown, 160 NIS.

Dugat-Py, Bourgogne, 2009

Ripe, veering towards black fruit, spicy. I prefer the 2008, which had a much more idiosyncratic personality.

Burgundy Wine Collection, 170 NIS.

Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Les Beaux Monts, 2008

Perfumed red fruit with some black - spicy, long, structured and tasty, even if there is something unyielding about it. Daniel claims Grivot's Nuits bottlings are better than his Vosnes and I have to agree, especially if I compare this to the village Aux Lavieres that we had recently and that clearly outmatches this Premier Cru.

Burgundy Wine Collection, 520 NIS.

Rene Engel, Clos De Vogeout, 2002

Complex earthy/spicy funk. Deep with subtle sweetness. With Engel gone, I just don't know how many more bottles I'll get to drink in the future, which is such a shame, this stuff being so great.

You can't buy these any more, obviously. Burgundy Wine Collections sells recent vintages from Eugenie, who bought up the estate after Rene's death, for 1200+ NIS, but I think this cost about 800 NIS back in the days.

Etienne  Sauzet, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, 2009

Starts out closed, with a hint of tropical fruit, and a vein of spicy minerals. With air, the minerals become more prominent. But it still lacks the focused power I expect from a Grand Cru. To paraphrase Daniel, this is a good wine but not a very good Chevalier.

Burgundy Wine Colelction, about 1700 NIS.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Riesling and Thai food (Sept. 28, 2013)

Lilach Raveh guest starred at the Halutzim 3 bistro this weekend, which served as a good excuse to drag Efrat along to taste her terrific Thai ware.

Donnhoff, Nahe, Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle, Riesling Spatlese, 2001

This is one of the purest expressions of Rieslings you can find (and would actually belong in my Autumn Of Riesling post, if I hadn't already posted it by the time we made it to the Thai event): one of the greatest sites in Germany, one of the greatest producers of Germany and one of the greatest vintages in Germany over the last two or three decades at least. Everything here is insinuated and delicate, the mineral backbone in particular sketching an echo of a memory that scratches at the consciousness rather than speaking at any louder than a low conversational volume. Sometimes a murmur can express a mouthful - and the amazing thing is it that the Hermannshöhle's whispers more than stand up to the spicy Thai food Lilach served at Halutzim 3 this night, probably because the green apples/citrus/tropical fruit coasts on a pipeline of juicy acidity to a very long, saline finish that easily finesses the food.

Giaconda, about 300 NIS.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not Quite Exotic Peripheries

Does Pinot Blanc play Nancy Drew to Pinot Gris' Hardy Boys?
Or is it the other way around?

San Michele Appiano, Alto Adige, Südtirol, Weissburgunder, Schulthauser, 2012

Every now and then, Wine Route pitches a curve ball. The other day, as I was heading to browse through the Bordeaux and Burgundies in the basement, Marcello intercepted me to tell me they had started importing quote single vineyards from Alto Adige unquote. Dismissing the Geurztraminer and Muller-Thurgau from the same co-op producer, I headed for the Pinot Bianco (labelled Weissburgunder due to the cultural proximity to Germany).

The book on Pinot Blanc says "Chardonnay sibling", but to me this seems more in a Semillon vein, what with its cantaloup core framed by light notes of rainwater and mud. Schulthauser is indeed the name of the vineyard, which doesn't in any way intimate that it's anything along the lines of a Grand Cru - this is just an elegant, charming drink, lean, refreshing and and utterly drinkable and I would be interested to lay down a specimen or two for a couple of years. (Sept. 22, 3013)

This is priced at 120 NIS, meaning you're probably going to see excited sommeliers hawking it at 200 plus NIS. Because it would make a lovely house wine, and a Pinot Blanc from a region unknown to most Israelis makes for a story good enough to charge 200 plus NIS for.

Now, you figure out what this has in common with the next wine.

Cantina di Santadi, Sardinia, Carignano del Sulcis Riserva, Rocca Rubia, 2010

A friend of a friend brought this for me from Sardinia.I didn't ask for it specifically, just asked for a "luck of the draw" purchase, and this is an interesting example of blind luck, one of the few appellations anywhere to be dedicated solely to Carignan, perhaps the only one. This has solid, earthy black fruit, with decent acidity, just enough complexity to provide interest and personality. A simple, honest wine, it ain't a Vitkin or a Recanati, but a glass or two at a local restaurant would hit the spot, I believe. (Sept. 23, 2013)

About 20 Euro.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Sept. 2013)

This month's winner

Faustino, Rioja Gran Reserva I, 1999

Classic nose of red raspberries with earthy/vanilla overtones, with a hint of violets. Best showing yet. Aromatically, it's close to the Rioja sweet spot, where the mineral and vegetative aspects are playing a pretty counterpoint to the fruit. The palate shows fresh, succulent fruit with integrated tannins and a lingering, saline finish. Balanced and tasty with only moderate complexity. (Sept. 5, 2013)

Wine Route, about 150 NIS on discount.

Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, Cuvee Gaby, 2011

I knew this would be young, arguably very young, but it'd been a couple of years since I last had a serious Crozes (Graillot and Colombier are probably the most serious producers in Crozes town). Ripe black fruit, black pepper, violets and raw meat on the nose. Succulent fruit whose length is driven by acidity rather than its tannins, which seem as though they could use a few years to integrate. This need for time is bolstered, in my opinion, by the eventual emergence of a haphazard, limpid monolithic ripeness that offers an annoying dissonance with my expectations from a Northern Syrah. (Sept. 7, 2013)

Giaconda, 150 NIS.

Hirsch, Kammerner Lamm, Erste Lage, Gruner Veltliner, 2009

This makes me happy, with a mineral-laden stink that reveals how enticing sweaty socks in a hot water bath can be. Tasty, with less complexity on the palate, sort of a Chablis with GruVe melons and baby fat - but the nose is enough to evoke all kinds of images, as my first sentence has probably made quite obvious. What a beauty of a stink on the nose!  (Sept. 13, 2013)
Fat Guy, 225 NIS.

Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin, Aux Echezeaux Vieille Vigne, 2006

The other Bourgogne fans and I were discussing how disenchanted we'd become with the 2006 vintage, which we'd thought would be a classic vintage (in Burgundy terms, that means lean and lithe, driven by acidity rather than by tannins), but which has turned out to be pinched and stingy. So I decided to take one for the team. This has a very appealing and deep nose, redolent of strawberries, forest floor and a touch of Gevrey sweat/gaminess. And while the palate seems limpid at first, it slowly builds up a tannic backbone and a savory finish that lend context, complexity and depth to the sensual fruit. This is really what I'd imagined the 2006's would evolve into. (Feb. 14, 2013)

Wine Route, about 150 NIS on discount.

Louis Jadot, Pommard Premier Cru, Les Rugiens, 2005

I'm not a fan of the Jadot style, but this is tasty. It's a bit too candied and oaky for my tastes, and lacks the rugged punch of Pommard, or the focus of any Bourgogne aspiring to greatness - but there's enough minerals to keep my interest, an expansive, detailed nose, and a saline finish to complement my dinner. (Sept. 17, 2013)

Wine Route - this is probably a 300-400 NIS wine these days, but I think I bought it for about 200 NIS.

Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2009

Quite good. With classic aromas of lead pencil, this is much more Saint Emilon than it is Loire. There are obvious signs of oak, but nothing too unbearable. (Sept. 21, 2013)

188 at Adora restaurant (a little over twice retail).

Moreau-Naudet, Chablis Grand Cru, Valmur, 2006

The last bottle was so disappointing that I decided to open my second and, thankfully, last bottle ASAP, just to get past this disappointment. I must say if you favor your Chablis resembling very mature, carmelized and slightly oxidized Champagnes sans bubbles, you'll probably enjoy it. As for me, I personally don't have the time or money and liver to waste on wannabes, as by the time this eked out a meager hint of marine Chablis character and an almost redeeming saline finish, may patience had run very, very thin. (Sept. 28, 2013)

Giaconda, 320 NIS.

Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon, 2010

This has become a house wine this year, so it's a challenge to find something new to say about it. A lucky man's hardship. There's a languid backdrop of red and black raspberries here, hints of earth, tobacco leaves and black pepper, juicy acidity, sleek tannins - akin to a feminine Crozes, in a way. Tasty, albeit simple fare, but great fun. (Sept. 29, 2013)

Wine Route, 85 NIS.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Autumn Of Riesling

Helmut is God
 Because every month should be Riesling Month!

Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal Reserve, Gainsberg 1er Lage, Riesling, 2010

The cork was extended dangerously out  which is why I decided to open a bottle a year or two ahead of schedule, but the color, nose and palate are just fine. Elegant and cool with trimming of the spices I associate with Austria, as well as tasty acidity leading up to a saline finish. The only complaint, and this might be an impact of the imperfect closure, is that this bottle doesn't blossom into a wonderfully crystalline expression of fruit, as previous bottles did. Still an excellent wine, just less unique. (Sept. 3, 2013)

Fat Guy, 159 NIS.

With the family at Taizu:

Weingut Wittman, Rheinhessen, Riesling Trocken, 2012

Sour apples and skins with quasi Austrian earthy spiciness. (Sept. 6, 2013)

J. J. Prum, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Riesling Kabinnet, 2011

Lighter, more fruit driven albeit in a reserved way, with a subtle backbone of slate. (Sept. 6, 2013)

Donnhoff, Nahe, Norheimer Kirshcheck, Riesling Spatlese, 2008

Even in the very highest peaks of the Riesling Olympus, Donnhoff rules, and whether young or old, his Spatleses are some of the wine world's most ethereal delights. This melds red apples and peaches with a light sprinkle of salt and weaves them into an breezy complexity that, even in a yet embryonic form, is challenging and delicious to come to terms with. So refreshing and yummy I was guzzling it down towards the end as though it was an ice cold Pepsi Max. (Sept. 10, 2013)

Giaconda, about 160 NIS.

Koehler-Ruprecht, Kallstadter Saumagen, Riesling Auslese Trocken, 2007

Koehler-Ruprecht should also be a star in the Riesling firmament, but often his work is as stable and puzzling as Robert Downey, Junior's rap sheet. This is lightly oxidized - a la Champagne, not so much in the way disappointing Cote de Beaunes can be - with spicy pears and low acidity, and a pleasant note of kerosene. The palate is still vibrant, even if it feels much more mature than a six year old Auslese, but winds up in a tasty, salty note. A good German Riesling should be full of jism, but this is more about drunken post-coital bliss, which is, in basic essence, a one-dimensional experience. (Sept. 12, 2013)

Giaconda, about 160 NIS.

Fritz Haag, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Brauneberger, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2011

This brings the same kind of saline delight as Chablis, Aligote. (Sept. 18, 2013)

Giaconda, 120 NIS.

Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal Reserve, Tradition Riesling, 2010   This is made in what the winemaker terms a "traditional style". I'm not sure what that means, but this is markedly different than the Gaisburg bottling, which is the vineyard this wine is sourced from. On the nose, I find apples and apricots and a spicy, botrytis-like funk. On the palate, fine acidity (obviously) and a saline finish, albeit less so than the bottle we drank at Eldad Levy's Thai dinner. I suspect every bottle is going to be a little different. (Sept. 19, 2013)  
Fat Guy, about 200 NIS.

And finally, the Israeli competitor.

Vitkin, Riesling, 2011   Dry, yet with enough refreshing fruit and acidity to make it as gulpable as an off-dry Kabinett. A crisp, mineral-laden wine, with a long finish and a veil of petrol. I have to call it saline, although I'm probably approaching the point where that descriptor overwhlems my tasting notes. (Sept. 20, 2013)   About 80 NIS.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bourgogne Pioneers (Sept. 16, 2013)

My fellow Bourgogne lovers and I met up at a very small bistro that opened last year in southern Tel Aviv, called Halutzim (Pioneers) 3. A lovely place, with owners who love and understand wine - and who serve tasty food that caters to the nose, palate and heart.

Chateau du Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Folatieres, 2007

Classy and tasty, with apples and citrus fruit well complemented by minerals and a light kiss of integrated oak. Sweet, but not overripe, with good structure. The best I've had from this otherwise annoying domaine, and very faithful to its terroir (I guessed Puligny, although I wasn't experienced enough to recognize the vineyard).

Simon Bize, Savigny-Les-Beaune Premier Cru, Les Talmettes, 2007

Sappy fruit with a prominent mineral overlay. Young and uncomplicated, albeit its complexity increases with air. A tasty wine with only a hint of frills that hovers at just the correct side of sweetness, although its indifferent structure works against any signifcant wow factor.

Jean Grivot, Nuits-St.-Georges, Aux Lavieres, 2008

Complex animalistic/mineralistic aromatics and a very tasty palate that impresses with its depth with quasi premier cru level complexity.

Etienne de Montille, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Aux Thorey, 2005

Game, roasted minerals with just a touch of spices. The red fruit turns into black fruit with air at a loss of enjoyment, to the point where it is strangely and surprisingly New World. Two tiers below the Grivot villages in quality and enjoyment. My bottle, and I'm not too proud of the fact, but in my defense, it seemed much more subtle and interesting when I tasted it four years ago.

Serafin, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2004

Complex, deep, fresh, with a tantalizing earthy vein as well as sweat and spices. A juicy acidity that doesn't overwhelm, instead caressing on the finish.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Aug. 2013)

Benoit Droin, my winemaker of the month
Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac 5me Cru, 2002

I was warned, by fans of 2002 Bordeaux, that this is a very austere wine, and certainly the first impressions confirmed the report. The nose is typical, cedary Pauillac, rendered with fine detail. The palate, as advised, is on the lean side, with metallic tannins, yet the fruit fans out with air and the tannins soften and sweeten. (Aug. 3, 2013)

Berry Bros, about 90 GBP.

Tzora Vineyards, Neve Ilan, Blanc, 2012

As always, this 100% Chardonnay needs time to show the varietal characteristics that I prefer, especially this year, when its 14% ABV makes for a spicy effect, masking the personality of the admittedly rather chameleon-like grape: this could almost be a local Chenin Blanc. Although a sneaky strand of flint and firestone redeems my faith. Somewhat resembling a mini Corton-Charlemagne, it will never be a very refined creature. (Aug. 9, 2013)

About 100 NIS.

Chateau Clerc-Milon, Pauillac 5me Cru, 2000

This is a very appropriate wine for celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. It's from the great Bordeaux 2000 vintage, and while Clerc-Milon is not the brightest star in the Bordeaux firmament, it is one of the of the first Bordeaux I ever owned and a birthday gift from Efrat, ten years ago. And it solidly fulfills all the requirements of an excellent claret: it's tasty, savory, elegant, and lightly muscular and earthy in the Pauillac vein. To sum, excellent, but not great or profound, just a wine that makes me happy, in the way the savory tannins and friendly acidity highlight the depths of the black fruit. (Aug. 10, 2013)

Imported by Wine Route, it cost about 250 NIS, way back in 2003.

Tzora Vineyards, Shoresh, Blanc, 2012

True to the Tzora philosophy, this is as much about terroir as it is about the grape, so the Sauvingon Blanc characteristics of this 100% varietal wine are only lightly hinted at, the final effect arguably closer to Pouilly-Fuisse than to Pouilly-Fume. This is an reserved wine, elegantly framed by oak,savory and creamy at the same time, with an undertow of chalk. Really tasty, one of the best local whites (although I admittedly only hunt out the ones cut out of this kind of cloth in the first place), (Aug. 15, 2013)

About 100 NIS.

Segal, Rehasim, Dovev Merlot, 2007

Typical Feldstein red, with a classic structure: grainy tannins, ripe acidity, ripe fruit that typifies Israeli reds without veering too sharply into surripe territory. A hint of vanilla that, after six years in bottle, is either the winemaker's signature or the vineyard's, but not the barrels', I believe. (Aug. 23, 2013)

Ella Valley, Estate, Chardonnay, 2010

Red apples, slightly tropical, almost no traces of oak. Good but not terribly exciting. (Aug. 23, 2013)

Jean Paul et Benoit Droin, Chablis Grand Cru, Vaudesir, 2007

A terrific, classic nose: iodine, fossils, wet stones, apples, citrus. A sly, saline finish. Descriptors aside, the judgement call here this is worthy of the Grand Cru label, and that's always a tough decision to make unless one is in the midst of of a comparitive tasting. So, making the necessary comparisons and cross-references inside my memory banks, hell, yeah, there's enough extract, finesse, weight and complexity as well as an ever-expanding sense of Chablis-ness. (Aug. 24, 2013)

Giaconda, 320 NIS.

That awkward moment when you realize your Grand Cru is DOA:

Moreau-Naudet, Chablis Grand Cru, Valmur, 2006

What happened to my Chablis? This is nutty and oxidised a la mature Bourgogne to the point where any and all mineral/marine signs of life have been eradicated. Good and tasty, and if it were a ten year old Meursault, Champagne or Rioja white I'd be very pleased. (Aug. 26, 2013)

Giaconda, 320 NIS.

A better Valmur, a great Valmur:

Jean Paul et Benoit Droin, Chablis Grand Cru, Valmur, 2007

Unlike the Vaudesir, this Valmur needs little time to unfurl its Chablis trappings, and that to a tantalizing effect that is somehow both reserved and explosive (such inconsistencies being the trademark of a great wine). The checklist of aromas and flavors is close to that of the Vaudesir, but there is greater finesse and sense of grandeur, the finish more complex and persistent, with a more convincing display of the Grand Cru Chablis essence of iodine and marine fossils. (Aug. 31, 2013)

Giaconda, 320 NIS.

Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2011

Reserved citrus and tropical fruit, giving just enough on the nose to tantalize, focusing its austere power on the mid-palate and saline finish. (Aug. 30, 2013)

75 NIS.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer Of Riesling

Riesling walk with me
Aviram Katz brought it to Tel Aviv and this year, the Summer Of Riesling was so trendy that the city was covered with "I Love Riesling" graffitis.

But you know what?

I don't need a @#$%-ing excuse to drink Riesling!

Eldad Levy put together a Thai dinner, crafted by the talented and energetic Lilach Raveh, and paired it with (mostly) Austrian Rieslings. My report on the affair, along with other Rieslings I had the pleasure of drinking during the month long festival, makes up my Summer Of Riesling post. Enjoy!

Dr. Loosen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Kabbinet, 2009

Spritzy and refreshing. A great poster boy for the Summer of Riesling.

Wine Route, typically about 120 NIS.

A. Margaine, Traditionelle Brut, Premier Cru, n.v. (2008)

Apples, crisp, saline, sour/sweet. Not especially refined but tasty.

229 NIS.

Salomon, Stein Terassen, 2012

Pure apples, light and very flowery.

110 NIS.

Ecker-Eckhof, Wagram, Riesling, 2012

More discrete and arguably more flowery. Slightly spritzy. Shows the earthy side of Riesling.

105 NIS.

Ecker-Eckhof, Scholsberg, Gruner Veltliner, 2012

Typical GruVe. I get it now. Riesling is Muhammad Ali, Gruner is Frazier. And I love Frazier as much as I do Ali.

100 NIS.

Ecker-Eckhof, Mordthal, Gruner Veltliner,2011

Refined and classy. There's added depth in there, along with the typical greenness of the grape. 

149 NIS.

Salomon, Undhof Kogl, Riesling, 2012

More about Austria than Riesling, with citrus, apples, flowers, chalk and flint. 

130 NIS.

Berger, Kremstal Reserve, Steingraben, Riesling, 2010

Wow! Petrol, sweet white fruit. Seems more mature than the age on the label, coming off as a seven to ten year old Spatlese, methinks. Need to get some.

150 NIS.

Schloss Gobelsburg, Tradition, Riesling, 2010

Almost Sauternes-like on the nose: same strain of funky spiciness. A bone-dry personality on the palate, that is a complete world unto itself, laced with a salinity that justifies the umami reference in US importer Terry Theise description of the wine. I suspect that the regular Gaisburg will cellar longer (or at least peak later), but this is a wow wine for sure.

210 NIS.

Thank you, Lilach!
With family at Bertie:

Peter Jakob Kuhn, Rheingau, Riesling Sekt Brut, 2010

This is still very young and unformed, all about green apples and chalk, without the brioche-led complexity that comes with bottle age. Nice and tasty, but I'd go for the 2007 if it's still available. (Aug. 16, 2013)

Giaconda, 130 NIS.

A nightcap back at home:

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

Complex and nuanced aromas and flavors of apples, nectarines, wet stones, ginger - stop  me if you've heard this one before, this shouldn't be about descriptors anyway, but rather in the aloof way it invites you to seduce it. The way it offers that elegant, airy yet intensive, mix of sweet and saline, who could resist? (Aug. 16, 2013)

Wine Route, 150-200 NIS for a half bottle.

Fritz Haag, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Brauneberger, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2011

Apples, peaches and a classy strand of marine funk - not unlike Chablis - tempered by ginger and menthol. The palate is tart, with a hint of sweetness, and works better than what I have experienced in the past with trokcen Mosels. Ready to come out and play, displaying yet another of the multitude of facets of the Riesling world: a lot of wine to sniff and drink, light Kabinett frame and all. (Aug. 17, 2013)

Giaconda, 120 NIS. Good buy.

Now for the Alsatian candidate:

Hugel, Jubilee, Riesling, 2005

This is a wine that uses only three colors - green apples, quartz and kerosene, and celery, make that four, shades of the Spanish Inquisition! - but fashions a complex tapestry out of them. Said tapestry grips the fruit in an iron glove, releasing the fruit just enough to insinuate and tantalize. (Aug. 18, 2013)

Wine Route, 

Friday, August 30, 2013


After years of occasionaly tasting Astrolabe, I finally got a chance to taste (most of) their full Sauvignon range at my leisure.

Imported by Mersch.

Marlborough, Durvillea, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

Tropical fruit cocktail with a light streak of minerals. A fun, bracing despite a sense of sweetness. (Aug. 2, 103)

I paid about 70 NIS.

Awatere Valley, 2012

An incredible twist on the paradigm: cat's piss on a guayava bush! I figured this might be wickedly tropical on the plate, but it's quite restrained and saline, although it riffs off the tropical fruit, as you'd expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon. (Aug. 5, 2013)

Kekerengu Coast, 2010

The aromatic and flavor profile are quite similar to the Awatere, although greater maturity has lent it more depth and restraint. This seems, to me, the better wine for food, but I prefer the vibrancy of the Awatere. (Aug. 6, 2013)

Both cost about 150 NIS.

Taihoa Vineyard, 2010

This takes the style to a higher level of intensity and depth, and you can get lost in the aromatic nuances in a way you can't, really, with the Awatere. For example, in the wisp of light smoke which morphs into sea breeze. Barrel-fermented with no hint of oak in the final product (unless that's where the smokiness came from), with a richness tightly contained inside its steely frame. Excellent. (Aug. 22, 2013)

About 300 NIS.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Other Recanati Reserves

I've been so hung up on the Recanati Carignan and Syrah-Viognier, I haven't had a chance to revisit the "other" wines in the Reserve series, the mainstream Bordeaux varietals.

Recanati, Reserve, Manara Vineyard, Merlot, 2010

A true claret, elegant with an earthy (almost clay-like) veneer over a backdrop of currants. Very good acidity, sweet, tasty fruit and dusty/savory tannins. Despite the 14.5% ABV, there's little heat and no sense of over-ripeness. The oak here is still obvious, but it's not more pronounced than what I'd expect to find in a Bordeaux of a similar age. With air, it grows fuller and more extroverted. Whatever, I do like it, before its barrel regine make itself too obvious. Give it two years to outgrow oak and I'll like it even more. (Aug. 1, 2013)

Recanati, Reserve, Lebanon Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010

A mediterranean Cab, with the oak less obvious than it was in the Merlot's case. They have a lot in common, the same earthy claret qualities, a similar coupling of sweet fruit and juicy acidity, with sweet tannins deeply embedded in the mix. To my palate and perception, it's the more elegant of the two, with just as much need for aging, if not moreso, judging by the tannins' progression from sweet to savory to bitter. (Aug. 8, 2013)

Both cost about 100 NIS. Both, from my perception and for my needs, would warrant a repeat purchase and some cellar age.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Jul. 2013)

Recanati, Reserve, Syrah-Viogner, 2010

This is, in my opinion, the wine that showcases what Israeli wines should aspire to be: ripe, yet structured; wild, yet elegant; true to the variety (well, to the Syrah, anyway) and tasty to the last drop. (Jul. 1, 2013)

140-150 NIS.

At Bertie, Jul. 2, 2013, with friends from the US, who really enjoyed the wines I ordered from the menu:

Tzora, Shoresh, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

Restrained tropical fruit with an overlay of chalk. Captures the warmth of the land while remaining cool and racy. Smells like New Zealand and tastes like the Loire.

Shoresh, 2010

Pungent earthy black fruit, still very young, with a touch of leather. As always, I'm reminded of St. Estephe, although the ripeness is very Israeli, even if it never becomes very offensive.

Terre Nere, Etna Rosato, 2011

This has the same fascination factor as do the rest of the wines in the Terre Nere line, thus elevating its appeal beyond its admittedly tasty charms. Firstly, the color - a pale  mahogany I've yet to encounter elsewhere. Then the nose, which somehow manages to sign in as Italian, with a bouquet of red fruit veering close to the borderderline of red wine proper, while also presenting a salinity I wouldn't find out of place in Chablis. And also a light sulphurous note, reminiscent of a hot water bath, which In itself defies any pigeon-holing. The palate has the structure of a Grand Cru, as applied to the lightweight frame of a rose, and sneaks a tasty uppercut of pure Atlantic salt right before it fades away. (Jul. 6, 2013)

Fat Guy, 115 NIS. A decent price for what it offers objectively, expensive in view of my take regarding what a rose should cost.

Weingut Hirsch, Kamptal, Zobing Riesling, 2010

I like this seemingly simple workhorse from the Hirsch table, even if it took me nearly two years to actually buy one for home consumption. It's not as complex or high class as the Hirsch grand crus, but it offers plenty of interest in its mix of spicy apples, chalk and a green herb/pea-like overlay reminiscent (quite appropriately) of Gruner Veltliner.(Jul. 7, 2013)

Fat Guy, 125 NIS.

Midbar Winery, Semillon, 2009

Once again, that understated menage of lime, melon and minerals shows how much subtle complexity a white wine can express in the hands of a sensitive winemaker. This is pungent, saline, tasty, with a light undertow rainwater and still needs time to flesh out its restrained spectrum of flavors.(Jul. 13, 2013)

Domaine Gobelsburg, Neiderosterreich Riesling, 2012

Young, pure Riesling fruit: green apples and with a light salinity. Perfect summer gear that hints at rain and flowers. It's not particularly complex but it's fun, and there's enough going on to arouse interest (such as an intensifying mineral essence of no small magnitude), and it's more palatable than more expensive Rieslings I've had recently. (Jul. 16, 2013)

Fat Guy, 89 NIS.

Segal, Kerem Dovev, Argaman, 2009

True to Avi Feldstein's vision, this is... different. I can't quite put my finger on fruit profile, but it sure isn't anything resembling a Bordeaux/Rhone/Piedmont variety. However, there's an appealing interplay in mineral based aromas a la Graves and a salty/sour undertow which I love. Juicy acidity and soft tannins make for a very friendly drink, with a high interest factor. (Jul. 24, 2013)

90 NIS.

Tzora, Judean Hills, 2011

A very nice drop as always, recalling to me St. Estephe - as always (see my note about the Shoresh above). Deep red and black fruit with a touch of earth and leather. (Jul. 27, 2013)

A Holy Place of Riesling
Emrich-Schonleber, Nahe, Mozinger Halenberg, Riesling Spatlese, 2007

An intuitively genius expression of the vineyard in very complex, delicate and elegant brushstrokes. Peaches, apples, nuances of petrol, minerals: everything is measured out in perfect harmony and balance. After over six years of drinking various permutations of the Emrich-Schonleber Halenberg, all I can say is I'm the vineyard's bitch. (Jul. 27, 2013)

Giaconda, 180 NIS.

Etienne de Montille, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Aux Saint Juliens, 2009

Of course, it's perfectly normal to name a lieux-dit in Nuits after a famous Bordeaux village... Further irony comes in the form of exotic spices on the nose that is arguably more in a Vosne vein. Irony aside, there's a facade of black fruit, with red fruit showing between the cracks, and a tint of green that resembles old school claret. Quite nice. (Jul. 31, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 260 NIS. Provides almost exactly the level of quality and enjoyment you'd expect from a village NSG at this price point.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Birthday Post (Jul. 29, 2013)

Not my birthday this time, but that of a much more generous gentleman, who hosted us rowdy lot at his home, dined and wined us, and presumably cleaned up after us as well.

Another wow night.

Decelle-Villa, Auxey-Duresses, 2011

Pears and dry grass. A savory/saline finish offsets the oak. A very pretty white that should drink young enough to avoid the usual Bourgogne premox fears.

Etienne Sauzet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Les Perrieres, 2008

Fine, discrete fruit, shut down enough that the kiss of oak is still blatant both nose and palate. I've drunk mature Sauzet so I know it should get better than this.

Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet, 2009

A gentler, subtler hand on the oak here, although it's obvious here as well. A hint of Atlantic on the nose and citrus. More balanced and detailed than the Sauzet, and the 2009 ripeness is well reined in.

Comte Lafon, Meursault, Clos de la Barre, 2008

Apples, slightly honeyed, with a vibrant streak of mineral. Very tasty and finessed, the lightest hand on the oak so far, with joyful acidity.

Alain Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin, Cuvee Place des Lois, 2007

Pungent minerals, a touch of gaminess. Bright red fruit.  Light and rather short but fun.

Robert Groffier, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Sentiers, 2007

A wonderful nose! forest floor deluxe.  Sweet red fruit. The tannins are harsh but the overall impact of the fruit makes for a very appealing impression. Likely the WOTN.

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillu, Saint Julien, 2me Cru, 1996

Green and earthy. A mean and lean claret, with savory tannins and acidity, with very low key fruit that gains better definition and deeper complexity in glass.

Chateau Angelus, Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru, 1999

A complex, sexy nose. Earthy, very claret. Friendlier, sexier. Ripe and sweet, compared  to the Ducru, yet with a similar backbone of tannins.

Domaine Jacques Prieur, Chevalier-Montrachet, 2007

Rainwater on the nose, limpid and sweet. Not the best representative of the Montrachet name, to say the least.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Birthday Wines, Part 2 - The Annual Co-Production With Rani (Jul. 24, 2013)

The Anne Gros was corky, read about the rest below
Rani Osnat's birthday is on the 18th, mine is on the 19th, so we wind up drinking each year with our mutual wine buddies. This year, we chose Elba as the venue, which Rani and I both love dearly.

Gaston Chiquet, Special Club, 1998

Sometimes my notes are terse, not because the wine in question doesn't deserve a lengthier exposition, but because the glass is drained too quickly. This terrific Champagne is a case study, so here we go, get your stopwatches ready: Yeast, citrus and nuts. Deep, saline and tasty. Special Clubs rock!

Donnhoff, Nahe, Niederhauser Hermenschole Trocken, 2007

Petrol, dill, slate on the nose: very complex and a virtual bedrock of minerals. The palate is vaguely Alsatian: green apples followed by spicy grapefruit on the finish. The acidity is very proper and well balanced, but it does lack the nervy fire of the best of Donnhoff and I believe it to be in a dumb phase.

Dominique Laurent, Pommard Premier Cru, Les Epernots, Vieilles Vignes, 2002

Gentle earthiness, slightly astringent tannins that make for a savory spicy finish when paired with food. An attractive nose that shows ever developing complexity. Tasty and classical.

Next a flight of Barolos, followed by yet another Barolo at its peak.

Aldo Conterno, Barolo, Bussia Soprana, 1999

Paolo Scavino, Barolo, Bric Del Fiasc, 1999

The Bric Del Fino is the more tannic wine, and still closed, very blatantly so.The Bussia has a warm, acid driven finish, very ready and typical.

Aldo Conterno, Barolo, Granbussia, 1997

Fresh and elegant, with silky fruit and rose petals. A top quality Barolo, showcasing the feminine side of Nebbiolo that is usually more up Barbaresco's alley.

Huet, Vouvray, Clos du Bourg, Molleux, Trie Speciale, 1996

Spicy honey on the nose. Fruit in the background, on the austere side, even. The nose is much, much better: complex and inspired. I'm not sure if the palate will improve, but the next day, a glass worth of leftovers show riper, vaguely quince inflected fruit. All in all, a lot of intellectual interest, less useful as a bona fide dessert wine.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Birthday Wines, Part 1 (the warm-up, basically)

August Clape, Cornas, Renaissance, 2007

I love Cornas, and while I've never encountered the really fiery, tannic, rustic versions, even the more modern versions I've drunk seemed to hint at the brute they labored to contain. Case in point: this is polished and a little generic in the sense it could have been a super-Tuscan as much as a Northern Rhone, but it's tasty in a languid, sweet way, with black pepper on the nose and rusty tannins. As it develops in glass, it shows a ripe claret vibe, but with a more haphazard structure. (Jul. 18, 2013)

Giaconda, about 300 NIS.

With the family at Bertie.

Terre Nere, Etna Rosso, 2010

Spicy cherries, medium bodied, a spicy/dusty nose a la Nebbiolo, whereas other wines in the Terre Nere lineup were more Pinot like. Soft tannins that in the context of the relatively light body serve as a nervy spine for a palate cleansing effect and a mineral like sensation. Quite nice, although for this price, I'd prefer to cough up a few more ingots and go for one of the producer's single vineyards. (Jul. 19, 2013)

Fat Guy, 140 NIS.

Slightly tipsy notes from a dinner with Efrat and friends at Toto:

Gimmonet, Cuvée Gastronome, 2008

Classic, refreshing. A hint of brioche is quite appealing, but this is mostly about young Chardonnay fruit right now: apples and oranges. Good cut, a wine made for food.

Fat Guy, 279 NIS.

Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal Reserve, Gainsberg 1er Lage, Riesling, 2010

Sherbet-like summer fruit, with a smoky, burned mineral edge. Wonderful clarity and purity of fruit and place.

Fat Guy,  159 NIS (the 2012 is now 185 NIS).

Chateau Lagrange, Saint Julien 3me Cru, 2003

Rich in keeping with the vintage, but not obscenely so. In fact, it's almost quintessentially classical. Cedar, earth. Slightly, pleasantly bretty. Opulent black fruit, classically delineated, like I said, archetypically Bordeaux, only a faint echo of fat sweetness betraying the oft maligned vintage.

Wine Route, 250 NIS, seven years ago.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Heymann-Lowenstein 2005 Erste Lages

The House That Reinhard Built
Heymann-Lowenstein was probably the first German wine I ever bought from Giaconda, when they brought their first shipments in late 2006. In fact, Reinhard Lowenstein was the first winemaker that Anat and Raphaella brought to Israel for a visit and the tasting that he held in their apartment was one of my earliest writeups.

The Erste Lages are trocken Mosel Rieslings, basically, and I have learned in the years since that tasting six years ago that it is not a style that works wonders for me, in the Mosel. So, at eight years post-vintage, I decided to open my meager stash and see how the three Uhlen Erste Lages that Reinhard vinifies get along with my palate.

As I wrote, these are dry wines. They come from different plots of the Uhlen vineyard, cost about 220 NIS and I drank them in the same order that we tasted them in 2006 (presumably according to the internal pecking order, as Reinhard and/or Anat and Rafaella see it).

Blaufusser Lay, 2005

The nose is a hybrid of the petrol notes you'd expect from a mature Riesling and the sauteed mushrooms found in mature white Burgundies, all with subdued hints of tropical fruit. The palate, while dry, is one-dimensional and suggests sweetness, and, more pronouncedly, green apples and quinine-led spiciness. While the nose is complex and intriguing, both the palate and the color suggest early maturity, and the overall effect is not much pleasing, to me, than a random Alsace Grand Cru - so at this point I'm happy I decided to drink up my remaining 2005's. (Jun. 29, 2013)

Uhlen Laubach, 2005

This is more like it, and exactly what I was expecting to get! The nose is all about granny apples and slate, while the palate offers presence without any undue weight, the dryness absolutely appropriate, both offering understated complexity and purity. Very focused and vital, with a pink grapefruit finish. (Jul. 3, 2013)

Roth Lay, 2005

This, again, is frustratingly early maturing. The nose is as complex as the Blaufusser Lay - to my aesthetic perception more interesting, with dill and parsley complementing notes of petrol, and a backdrop that hints of mushroom and sesame oil, making for a subtly expressive portrait. But the fruit has dried so that the wine  lacks vitality (and eight years should be young for a Riesling of this pedigree), and, as terrific as the nose is, the overall effect is disappointing. Much like the Blaufusser Lay, this is a wine that peaked before it could express its full potential. (Jul. 14, 2013)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Jun. 2013)

Albert Boxler, Alsace Grand Cru, Sommerberg D, Riesling 2007

It's always nice to start a summer month off with a Riesling, even if Alsace is third place on my list of Riesling regions. Boxler, though, is on my short list of enjoyable Alsatian producer,s and the "D" has a few commendable traits - mostly the petrol and spices on the nose, and a striking balance between sweetness of fruit and the quinine bitterness that sometimes overwhelms Rieslings from Alsace. On the debit side, the structure is on the vague side and, to the best of my recollection, this was better last year. (Jun. 1, 2013)

Giaconda, 186 NIS.

Vitkin, White Journey, 2012

Floral, crisp, refreshing. Lightly oily and spicy as well. I'd forgotten what an oddball blend this is: Gewürztraminer, Viognier, French Colombard and Roussane (in ascending order, it seems). Oddly enough, it reminds me of what I liked about Rhone whites before I kept running into crappy samples. I don't know whether Assaf Paz adjusted the acidity here, but this is remarkably fresh and crisp. (Jun. 2, 2013)

About 60 NIS.

Albert Mann, Grand Cru Schlossberg, Riesling, 2007

This bottle seems lighter, ergo better for me, than the last one. Granny apples, without the quinine bitterness I usually find in Alsatians; rather, I find the sour bitterness of apple skin. Despite its freshness and clarity, it does not articulate itself with Grand Cru poise, refinement or complexity. (Jun. 9, 2013)

Giaconda, 220 NIS.

Huet, Vouvray, Le Haut-Lieu, Demi-Sec, 2007

A gorgeous Vouvray with a mineral aroma that flickers between earthy and metallic, as well as notes of honey, summer fruits, roasted nuts. A very refined, light touch, where even the residual sugar is calmly buoyed by balanced acidity to produce a finish that recalls salted nuts. With a Chenin like this, who needs Chardonnay? (Jun. 10, 2013)

A whim purchase two years ago in San Francisco, 35 USD. Giaconda offer recent vintages for about 150 NIS.

Chateau Pezat, Bordeaux Superior, 2009

This is odd - I remember drinking this entry level from St. Emilion's Chateau Teyssier a few months ago (which actually heralds from the satellite commune  Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens), but I seem to have misplaced the note - which almost never happens to me! This seems very fine now, and better than I recall, muscular and full of earth and leather, and a balanced blend of red and black fruit that is poked and pierced by rustic tannins. This is a much more sensible, Old World wine than I expected from what I assumed to be a Right Bank carpetbagger. Tasty, too. (Jun. 13, 2013)

Giaconda, 130 NIS. Great value!

Shvo, Rose, 2011

This is one of the palest roses I've ever seen, echoing the understated purity of flavor it administers to the taste buds. (Jun. 14, 2013)

80 NIS.

Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2011

This is probably the most intriguing of Gaby Sadan's wines, if only for the vintage variations. The latest vintage seems more varietally correct than the 2010, with more pronounced, sweeter (yet not necessarily riper) fruit, with a focused, racy counterpoint as well as complex aromas of chalk.  The 2010 was brazen and unconventional, this is more tame and conservative, yet still offers an interesting take on the grape, coming off -to me - like a Sauvignon Blanc planted in Macon, with Old World reserve. (Jun. 15, 2013)

75 NIS.

Domaine Pavelot, Savigny-Les-Beaune, 2010

A lovely nose full of feminine wiles and charms - red fruit, rotting leaves, pungent spices - the works, in as much detail as a Village wine can offer. Tart, spicy Pinot fruit, with reserved warmth. (Jun. 16, 2013)

Bourgogne Crown, 160 NIS.

F.X. Pichler, Federspiel, Loibner Berg, Riesling Smaragd, 2007

I guess this month had "Riesling 2007" written all over it. This is lovely and classy, lithe and graceful on both nose and palate, displaying green apples and grapefruit and a light, yet complex, overlay of minerals, mint and dill. However astral F.X. Pichler's reputation is, this is the first time I've ever been moved by any of his wines. This is awesome in a sheerly elegant way, delivering a surprising intensity with great focus. (Jun. 18, 2013)

Giaconda, 234 NIS.

A. et P. de Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Blanc, Les Clous, 2010

Ripe, near sweet fruit, walking the razor's edge between limpid and languid. As its aromas and flavors coalesce, it shows a lovely mix of rainwater, flowers and citrus fruits. I've had several vintages of this, and it's always hard to guess at what age to open it - but this was unexpectedly gorgeous and tasteful at three years of age. (Jun. 19, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 110 NIS.

Bernard Baudry, Chinon, 2010

I can only say this reinforces my earlier impression: this crunchy, juicy Cab Franc is very typical, very focused and very yummy. A great value at 85 NIS and even our uninitiated guests loved it. (Jun. 20, 2013)

A study in contrast:

Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2009

Not as enticing as the Chinon, but will be a good drop, in a couple of year. For now, what you get is a typical nose for the variety, with trimmings of earth and pencil; the palate is heavier than any Chinon would ever be, and jammier too, requiring more time to settle and show. In all, it doesn't have the immediate likeability quotient of the Vitkin Carignan (which is a wine I think every local place that serves a good, bloody steak ought to stock up on), but that's comparing apples and oranges anyway. This is quite good. (Jun. 21, 2013)

About 90 NIS.

I took some of my colleagues out to Toto and here's what happened:

Chateau Haut Batailley, Pauillac 5me Cru, 2005

The oak cloaks the Pauillac personality so completely that you can barely glimpse the minerals and the currants. An off bottle, perhaps? (Jun. 27, 2013)

70 USD. My bottle.

Clos de Gat, Chardonnay, 2010

The mineral stink on the nose raises hopes that the low acidity quickly, almost eagerly, smashes to the ground. (Jun. 27, 2013)

Aviram the sommelier treated us to a taste.

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

Green apples with the lushness and creaminess of pineapple - this is tasty and refreshing, even if it does lack the focus I expect from a good Mosel. (Jun. 28, 2013)

WineRoute, 160 NIS.

A. et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise Rouge, La Digoine, 2009

 Unlike previous vintages, the 2009 doesn't show any sign of going into a slumber, making it very useful. The nose is lovely, with upturned earth, sour cherries, a touch of blood, red berries and flowers, with greater depth than you'd expect from a Village wine. Next, the palate offers rustic elegance and a pungently tannic finish. Charming. (Jun. 30, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 140 NIS.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Old Worlders

I'm grouping these three wines together to highlight the kind of foreign wines I enjoy drinking on what I like to call, for lack for a better term, non-events.

Terre Nere, Etna Rosso, Calderara Sottana, 2009

Stingy at first, with red cherries, band-aid funk on the nose and some forest floor, but opening up to present itself as wine to satisfy lovers of cool, level headed, distanced finesse. For a grape often compared to Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir (or, conversely, a DOC compared to both Barolo and Burgundy), it comes off this time as a Bourgogne on the lighter, elegant side of the scale. Quite a feat for 14% ABV. (Jun. 4, 2013)

Fat Guy, 230 NIS.

Chateau Bouscasse, Madiran, Vieilles Vignes, 2006

Earthy and meaty, with notes of iron, like a blackberry bush covered with dust and barbecue ashes. Viscous without being heavy or overbearing, powerful and tannic, yet nuanced enough to appeal to me. I've had the 2005 regular cuvee, and this is not as obviously friendly - and thus more appealing to me. (Jun. 6, 2013)

About 20 GBP at Fortnum and Mason.

Produttori di Barabresco, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2011

Dror Paz mentioned it was a very forward, fruity wine, but I found it borderline over mellow, with hardly a nose at all, at first, and even with air, just a sketchy hint of Nebbiolo spices over almost non-existent fruit. The color is almost as pale as a rose, yet the palate is decent and I can't find an indication of any obvious fault, such as oxidation or TCA. The fruit emerges in time and the entire effect is that of an Old World, food friendly, wine, not an oil painting but a postcard, quite nice in all, with a "drink now" imperative. Maybe it's just a rose in disguise. (Jun. 7, 2013)

WineRoute, 129 NIS.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Elba, Again (Jun. 24, 2013)

Once again, it was time for hearty food and tasty Bourgognes. I headed out to Elba with the goalkeeper/importer and his erstwhile business partner, the Man From Babylon and the diamond guy and his family.

Thevenet, Morgon Vieilles Vignes, 2010

The bottle I had in Bedford was just about Premier Cru in quality, while this seems like a vin natural that didn't survive the flight to Israel. No fruit, no structure. No fun.

35 USD.

Arlaud, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2004

This had such a discouragingly old brown color that I asked for it to be served as early as possible, and not tempt fate by letting it breathe too long, but it turned out I was over-cautious. The nose is complex and lively, with red fruit, bordering on black, spices, sous de bois. The palate is equally fresh, with decent-plus complexity and a raspy, tannic finish. Wonderful. A bargain Grand Cru that offers soothing finesse and breed, albeit without any great intensity.

130 USD, marked down to 90.

Arlot, Nuits-St.-Georges, le Petit Arlot, 2010

Young and ripe, and quite modern: there's a gamey, slightly pungent stink which I find appealing, but it's counterpointed by ripe, candy drop aromas and flavors, which I'm less enamored of. I'd let it lie for a few years and try again.

Burgundy Wine Collection, 190 NIS.

Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, Criots-Batard-Montrachet, 2005

An oaky and sweet facade quite effectively masks the mineral elements that lie underneath. A waste of Grand Cru juice, and what's worse, I suspect the winemaker intended the wine to be like this in order to court the American market (or, at least, Fontaine-Gagnard's notion of it).

Wine Route, about 700 NIS.

Olivier Guyot, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Les Champeaux, 2007

Mineral laden, lightly pungent and focused, with dusty, savory tannins. A coiled spring years from unfurling. This is very fine, and I salivate at the notion of buying the 2010.

Will be featured in the Bourgogne Crown catalog around December.

Domaine Matrot, Meursault Premier Cru, Charmes, 2010

A wacky mix of subtly fecal mineral stink and flowers, with visceral acidity. One of the better, more focused white Burgundies I've had recently.

Bourgogne Crown, 400 NIS.