Taking Care Of Business (Feb. 2013)

A great discovery from Traisental, Austria.
Of course, whoever is in charge of the wine
list at NOPI found it before I did.

Chateau Lascombes, Margaux 2me Cru, 2003

2003 certainly has its faults, but in this case, hardly the ones I'd expected. The fruit is ripe, but far from being a blockbuster; and with its 12.5 % ABV, it might have been picked on the early side, if a certain greenness in the tannins is any indication. Other than that, there's a lot of claret here: a perfumed nose redolent of cedar wood, a touch of minerals, suave currant fruit; and a palate with a solid backbone of acidity.

WineRoute, about 250 NIS seven years ago.

Midbar Winery, Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

This feels even more like a Graves white than before, with its summer fruits infused with an ever intensifying mineral overlay. Still in a shell at this point, with a sensation of bitter peels at the end. This should be left alone for a year. (Feb. 8, 2013)

Contrada Michelle, Taurasi, Hirpus, 2005

It's nice to find an Italian with some bottle age on it on the local market, especially one that's not one of the "usual suspects". This is Aglianico, from Campania, and it's a tasty, rustic treat, displaying a very Italian nose of chives and earth, red cherries and tobacco leaves; a nose that leaves me anticipating, and finding, similar enjoyment on the palate - where the highlight is a saline, juicy finish. (Feb. 9, 2013)

Giaconda, 120 NIS.

Ecker-Eckhof, Wagram, Schlossberg, Gruner Veltliner, 2011

This is a work horse, mellow and deep, with loads of minerals and pepper, deftly framed by apples and apricots. The fruit seems to have sucked every second of sunlight without becoming overripe in any way. (Feb. 11, 2013)

Wine Domains Of Austria, 100 NIS.

Vitkin, Carignan, 2009

The best yet. The leathery, peppery lift framing the blackcurrants on the nose is a cross between Bordeaux and the Rhone, while the palate retains a fair measure of elegance despite the sweet fruit, with a delicious, saline finish. (Feb. 16, 2013)

In the great Land Of German Riesling, Donnhoff is King.

Dönnhoff, Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg, Riesling Spätlese, 2004

Apples and slate, a hint of petrol , bound together in a cocoon of focused and racy acidity. The saline finish is all about finesse. This delicious wine doesn't wow so much as soothe. (Feb. 19, 2013)

Giaconda, about 180 NIS once upon a time.

Deux Montilles, Meursault Premier Cru, Poruzots, 2006

Very much a Meursault, roasted nuts and pears, with a light overlay of minerals and a hint of mushrooms. The palate is on the honeyed, fat side, but healthy dose of acidity gives it a semblance of elegance, at the very least. Decent, but I expect more from Alix Montille.(Feb. 22, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 300 NIS.

Domaine du Pegau, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvee Reserve, 2004

I suspect that when I finally drink my last bottle of Chateauneuf, my fondest memories will be of Pegau. This bottle is as close to my ideal of elegant, old school wines that as the Southern Rhone idiom manages to come. First of all, because it's still really old school. As dense and ripe as the best - or worst - of the appellation, it still manages to pack a savory, mineral-laden punch, with rusty tannins and trademark notes of iron and garrigue. Just freakin' yummy! (Feb. 23, 2013)

WineRoute, about 300 NIS.

Nicola Joly, Savennieres, Roche Aux Moines, Clos de la Bergerie, 2006

Fascinating. This has a complex,"old wood furniture" musk of a mature red, and yet beneath that, are aromas  of clementines and baked apples, and, to throw yet another spanner or two into the works, there is also a funky note a la botrytis, as well a bit of ash. The palate is taut, yet lush at the same time, dry, yet with a ripeness that hints at sweetness. Very well proportioned, this is a wine that doesn't really fit into any pedestrian sort of niche. I figured it out in the end, though. This is an orange wine. (Feb. 24, 2013)

Giaconda, 283 NIS.

Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Macon-Milly-Lamartine, Clos du Four, 2011

This is the third vintage I've had of this wine and it's always remarkably consistent. Oranges and green apples, spiced up by pungent notes of flint and dry grass, with ripe acidity. A pretty little classic. (Feb. 25, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 150 NIS.

Stepping outside my jurisdiction, here are a couple of wines from London. The Gruner is a minor gem.

Rivera, Apulia, Castle Del Monte DOC, Rupicolo, 2010

70% Montepulciano, 30% Nero di Troia from Apulia in Puglia. Red fruit, chives, tobacco leaves, soft tannins. The sort of mellow, slightly spicy red that Italy can produce and should produce more of. About 23 GBP by the bottle at Ciccheti.

Huber, Austria, Traisental, Gruner Veltliner, "Obere Steigen", 2010

Very pure GV, peas, melons, red apples, earthy spiciness, and aromas reminiscent of rain water, broad and ripe. Too fat to be a Grand Cru, but excellent, no matter where it came from. 10 GBP by the glass at Nopi.