Taking Care Of Business (Dec. 2012)

Final stash for 2012
Domaine le Sang Des Cailloux, Vacqueyras, Cuvee Lopy, 2005

One of the benefits of having a wine collection of any depth is the ability to pick a wine that matches not only the food selection, but a mood. And I was in the mood for a taste of garrigue, and I preferred to go to Vacqueyras, rather than Chateauneuf, thinking they mature a little earlier. Maybe so and maybe not, the garrigue here hides in murky, almost impenetrable aromatic depths and the palate is chewy and oblique, with a tannic, dusty finish that obscures the fruit at first. Well, fruit is not what this wine is about anyway, so even when it fans out in time, what you get  liquid earth and a surprising streak of acidity (surprising because I never expect it in the Southern Rhone). And a distinct sense of place, which is what makes a wine memorable for me. (Dec. 1, 2012)

Giaconda, 220 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise, La Digoine, 2009

This is the most backward of the lower end 2009 reds I've tasted yet, with just a hint of violets and pungent earth adding complexity to the red fruit that borders on black, and with a tannic finish that buries the silky fruit. In dire need of cellaring, as its blossom late in the evening makes clear - La Digoine usually seems like a wine to drink in its fifth or sixth year, but this seems to have more upside. (Dec. 3, 2012)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 140 NIS.

Domaine de la Vieille Julienne, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2004

There's a reason I stopped buying CdPs. Their ripe fruit and their depth can be unfathomable, but I miss the interplay of structure and expression that made me fall for  Bordeaux and Burgundy. Case in point: here the aromatics barely register at first as prunes, mildew and maybe a touch of garrigue, while the palate tries to pass off an impression of Amarone. Air improves things: the aromatics gain focus, while a leathery feel on the finish makes things more interesting on the palate - but not pleasing enough to bring me back to the fold. (Dec. 8, 2012)

WineRoute, 250 NIS.

Midbar Winery, Semillon, 2009

More about purity and charm than about any great complexity at this point, vaguely hinting at Chablis with its citrus and minerals. While it's just a little too one-dimensional on the palate right now, if there's one local wine that deserves faith in its potential, this one is it. (Dec. 20, 2012)

Ecker-Eckhof, Landwein, Gruner Veltliner, 2011

Ripe fruit that is never cloying or fat, with the typical GV pea-soup aromatics. (Dec. 12, 2012)

Fat Guy, 89 NIS for a liter.

Shvo, Red, 2010

Pepper, minerals, herbs, red fruits, with the typical local ripeness present, yet quite restrained, with fine, non-obstrusive acidity. A Bistro wine extraordinaire, one that hides it's 14.5% ABV better than some wines hide their 13.5. (Dec. 15, 2012)

95 NIS was a good price for it on the store shelves this summer, Toto sells it for 160 NIS in the restaurant, which in today's market is a relatively low markup for such a posh establishment.

Contrada Michelle, Campagnia, Linea Top Fiano di Avellino, 2010

I'm not a huge fan of Italian whites, but sometimes I like to pretend that I am and go looking for one. And inevitably, they seem to be of the same mold, no matter what the grape or origin: nutty, spicy, with the fruit leaning towards the sweeter fruits: pears, mandarins. So this is nice and tasty, just not what I usually hunt for.(Dec. 16, 2012)

Giaconda, 100 NIS.

Bouchard, Vosne-Romanee, 2007

A lovely nose, intoxicating yet reserved at the same time, showing bright red fruit, exotic spices, musk. A marriage of austerity and elegance, on the palate, that earns its payday for its sappy fruit and gentle acidity, rather than any obvious tannic structure. There's a fine touch salinity on the finish, as well. (Dec. 18, 2012)

WineRoute, 250 NIS. Nice but the price tag sets high expectations. If this had been offered on a two for 300 NIS deal, I'd been okay with the price.

Masseria Felicia, Falerno del Messico DOC, Ariapetrina, 2007

This is my kind of red Italian (well, outside of Piedmont, which I sort of view as a separate state). Powerful black fruit, with savory tannins and a saline finish, and somehow the punch and the relatively high ABV (14%) don't obscure the tasty effect on the taste buds. And there's a dusty layer of chives on the nose that is simply lovely. I think this is a blend of Aglianico and Piedirosso and I believe it will improve after three-five years in the cellar. (Dec. 19, 2012)

Giaconda,  140 NIS.