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.