Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bourgogne Crown Whites (Apr. 2, 2013)

Alain Chavy -
who made the tasting's wine of the night

This just about completes my overview of this boutique importer. Due diligence time again: co-owners Daniel Lifshitz and Dan Roman are good friends (but I've already written that in the past). Having said that: guys, this is the fourth post I've devoted to you over the last few months. I'm giving it a rest now.

But I'm always open to bribes...

This tasting had more misses than its red counterpart. I've stated my mistrust of white Burgundy before, so you could say I'm biased.

Of course, you could also say this proves me right.

Domaine Hubert Lamy St. Aubin, La Princee, 2011

Opens slowly to show lime, grass, nuts, some hints of oak. Good acidity on the palate but the fruit is still dromant. Lovely potential, but I rather liked it more at home. 190 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Meursault, 2010

Typical Meursault on the nose, with notes of chalk, clay and citrus taking it in in a less classical direction. Elegant on the palate, yet taut and edgy. Very young and not really approachable. 280 NIS.

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Meursault Vieilles Vignes, 2010

Interesting. A hint of guayava and citrus, subtler and deeper minerality. Purity of fruit on both nose and palate. Like all the wines so far, there is a fine bedrock of acidity in here. 300 NIS.

Domaine Hubert Lamy, St. Aubin Premier Cru, Clos du Meix, 2010

Enter the true Bourgogne. Lovely reductive stink and notes of Atlantic salt on both nose and palate. Energetic grip. I fervently checked my emails to Daniel on my iPhone during the tasting to make sure I'd ordered a bottle - how's that for an informal score? 280 NIS.

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

Like the previous wine, this proves how obvious the inherent quality of a Premier Cru can be. Restrained tropical fruit and a stinky mineral note not unlike the Clos du Meix. A winner, this is a white Bourgogne that I'd buy. 360 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Meursault Premier Cru, Charmes, 2010

Slightly oxidized on the nose, yet the palate is almost surprisingly fresh. Still, disappointing. 400 NIS.

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Meursault Premier Cru, Goutte d'Or, 2010

Corky. 500 NIS FWIW.

Domaine Rapet, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2010

Restrained yet mineral laden (sea salt to be preciset). Balanced and elegant. Sweet  fruit on the nose, yet saline on the palate (that sea salt again). A wine that thrives on innuendo. And delicious too! 600 NIS.

Domaine Alain Chavy, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, 2009

Subtle minerals. Very restrained. A wine to sip slowly. The Platonic ideal of Bourgogne whites. 1300 NIS.

Domaine Hubert Lamy, Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, 2008

Opens slowly. Still burdened by oak, but there's a solid bedrock of fruit and minerals. The domaine only make half a barrel of this, so I should be grateful for a taste, I suppose, but it's still a disappointment coming after the Chavy Chevalier. And Daniel did open both hours and hours in advance. Not for sale, no price given.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Family Vacation In France

2GrandCru Jr. Flying High In Paris
When Efrat and I took the kids for a vacation in France, just about everyone I know expected me to have a lavish, wine-drenched tour. The harsh reality is it wasn't that kind of trip. I tasted only a handful of wines, in un-inspiring stemware to say the least, and the most enjoyable drink wound up being a cider from Normandy.

Nicolas Potel, Mercurey, 2011

Large producer, low rung appellation, good year, bad stemware, a blasé hotel dinner - yet I can still get earthy red fruit with a grainy mouthfeel and surprising purity. Decent plus, a serviceable generic Bourgogne without a lot of personality, which did a good job under mediocre circumstances. (Mar. 25, 2013)

10 Euro.

Langois-Chateau, Sumaur-Champigny, Vieilles Vignes, 2009

Closed, even from a bottle opened earlier in the morning (and bad stemware again). I get raspberries and tobacco leaves and a grainy mouthfeel. Rustic now, with a potential for medium plus complexity. (Mar. 28, 2013)

20 Euro.

Domaine Sylvain Gaudron, Voucray Demi-Sec 2009 and Moelleux 2011

Same bad stemware as the Langlois-Chateau, damn those tourist traps! Both are very much Vouvray and typical of their respective styles - albeit I'm concerned that the acidity is on the low side - and showing tropical fruit. Fun stuff, though, with decent depth. (Mar. 28, 2013)

About 10 Euros each.

Christophe et Anne Couturier, le Verger de Giverny, Cidre Fermier, Brut

The thing is that, while wine offers more than (and usually anything but) grape aromas and flavors, ciders are too heavily grounded in apples to inspire much contemplation or very wordy tasting notes. Or so I would guess. My experience is highly limited, and while the plan was to use our one day excursion to Normandy to somewhat expand my horizons, this one specimen is all I got around to trying. But it's a nice specimen, expanding upon and complexifying the apple aromatics with a lightly funky overlay. Nothing very deep or complex on the palate, just hearty fun. (Mar. 29, 2013)

Dominique Percereau, Touraine-Amboise, Prestige des Poupelines, 2008

According to the AOC rules, this should be a blend of Caberent Frnac, Gamay and maybe some Malbec: so, fresh raspberries from the Gamay and a hint of tobacco leaves from the Cabernet Franc is how it breaks down, I guess. Virtually no tannins to speak of at this point, just a silky mouthfeel and a spicy finish. Nice. (Mar. 29, 2013)

8-10 Euros.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Back At The Scene Of The Crime (Mar. 21, 2013)


The last time I was at Bertie, the evening was terribly fun, with great wines - but I had to pay the piper the next day, and the next, and the next, for months on. In short, my last visit was a short, blissful reverie before I discovered the terrible price of moving up into management.

I learned to cope with the position. I learned you sort of have to be the Fonz even when you're fucking up like Potsie.

Never mind. This one night, almost half a year later, was the closing of a circle. Even if I did spend a third of the time reading and answering work related emails.

Weingut Wittmann, Rheinhessen, Morstein GC, 2008

Dry Riesling? Yes! Minerals, lots of them, spices, apples, summer fruit and pits of all the former.  An intense wine, offering compelling grip and complexity. Ready to go, with a little air, and since I personally don't approve of cellaring whites with 14% ABV and above, I would open any of this that I have sooner rather than later.

Etienne Sauzet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Les Perrieres, 2005

At first I thought this proves my bias against buying, let alone aging, expensive white Burgundies, but this is an excellent, pleasurable wine, given enough air. It starts tight and oaky, then shows dried grass, flowers and minerals. Damned elegant.

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac 5me Cru, 1995

This registers as a savory Left Banker from the first sniff: Cedar, minerals, very light brett, black fruit. The palate is still tannic and I rather expected more of it, but this offers plenty of reserved claret charm.

Fontebuoa, Brunello do Montalcino,  Riserva, 1997

I would have loved the GPL in its own right, and I would have thought I would have preferred a claret over a Brunello on any given day, but I found this a step up, or at least it proved a more immediate pleasure. There's nothing earth-shattering here, and in its way, it's a rather generic Brunello, but it's a succulent food wine with an interesting nose that shows cigar box, carpet dust, chives.

Poderi Luigi Einaudi, Barolo, Nei Cannubi, 2001

Italy again? Indeed. Rusty tannins. Dusty nose. A classic winner and a very archetypical Barolo.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Mar. 2013)

Another eclectic collection of mostly good, fun stuff
Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfalz, Kallstadter Samaugen, Riesling Auslese, 2001

There's a compelling, complex aromatic richness (quince, apples, a hint of kerosene and an even lighter trace of botrytis), that belies the finesse and elegance offered by both the bouquet and the palate. The sweetness is starting to recede, allowing a savory note to complement the finish. A convincing, idiosyncratic statement of vineyard and winemaker, that deftly balances sweetness and salinity. (Mar. 1, 2013)

Giaconda, about 160 NIS.

Avidan, Fringe, Pinot Noir, 2009

Ex-territorial Pinot fruit that someone had the good sense not to over-manipulate, so you get mellow red and black raspberries, with soft tannins that seem to disappear and re-appear on a whim. There's a trace of earthy herbs, and beyond that it's not really a very serious wine, but it's a tasty, handy wine to have around. (Mar. 2, 2013)

A. et P. de Villaine, Cote Chalonaise Rouge, La Digoine, 2008

A quite fragrant nose. Red fruit, flowers and sous de bois. This is a wine that needs time and air to fill out and come into focus, and so it's quite a while before the palate makes its proper impression on the taste buds: which is about sweet (but not cloying) Pinot fruit and a lean frame robed in silk that culminates in a fairly long, saline finish. (Mar. 2, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 140 NIS.

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Bourgogne, Terres de Famille, 2010

Even Tomer Gal's catalog says this is a wine for uncomplicated, fun drinking. And it's true, there's nothing very serious about it - just a fun and tasty drop, offering both an introduction to Burgundy and to the Vougeraie house style: crunchy, savory fruit with a mineral vein, a ripe, balanced acidity and a clean, saline finish. (Mar. 3, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 120 NIS.

La Bastide Blanche, Bandol, 2010

This is a hearty, old school wine, bold fruit with a touch of barnyard that morphs into meat and charcoal, with its 14.5% ABV thankfully not obvious. Its grainy, rusty tannins are balanced by the fat fruit - fat, not ripe - and I know I should have waited four-five more years, had my curiosity not gotten the best of me. (Mar. 4, 2013)

About 20 GBP.

A.F. Gros, Pommard Premier Cru, Pezzeroles, 2002

With its dark color and intense length, this is more of a showcase of extracting a decent cop out of Pinot Noir than it is about Bourgogne. Not the most terrible thing, but something in the makeup and flavors leaves me longing for a bit more of the profound, and this just isn't open-ended enough for that. (Mar. 8, 2013)

WineRoute, about 200 NIS.

Midbar Winery, 55, Red, 2008

The ripe currants and cranberries on the nose are nicely complemented by a pungent mineral streak, almost akin to gunpowder. Similarly, the palate keeps the 14.5% ABV and any ripeness in check. This cute Bordeaux blend is dominated by its 57% Merlot, coming across almost like a lean Right Banker. (Mar. 10, 2013)

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Cote de Beaune, Les Pierres Blanches, 2010

Ahhhh... this is why I love Bourgogne. Even at a relatively simple level of breed, depth and complexity, a good producer can produce such lovely results! This has black dainty black raspberries complemented by a lovely note of pungent earth. The palate is sappy and savory, well balanced by the acidity and silky tannins. The end result is eminently drinkable, and likable with not a hint of sycophancy. (Mar. 14, 2013)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 140 NIS.

Emrich-Schonleber, Nahe, Monzinger Halenberg, Riesling Spatlese, 2007

Starting out mute aromatically and overly broad on the palate (but even then, utterly delicious), it quickly shows mint, slate, chalk, apples  - the usual suspects, in other words. I shouldn't have yielded to temptation; as it emerges from its shell, it shows enough purity and finesse beneath the baby fat, as well as juicy, focused acidity, to hint at a promising future a few years down the road. (Mar. 15, 2013)

Giaconda, 160 NIS.

Recanti, Wild Carignan Reserve, 2010

Beneath a dense facade, laden with mineral, sanguine notes, is tasty, earthy black fruit, with meaty, savory tannins and lively acidity. I'm a fan, but judging by the indifferent reaction on the part of the neophytes round the table, I would cellar it for a couple of years before serving it to the uninitiated. (Mar. 16, 2013)

140-150 NIS.