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.