Friday, October 25, 2013

Lifshitz Up To Some Surprises (Oct. 9, 2013)

What if I told you of a Georgian dinner, paired with Bourgognes, served by an Israeli/Swede goalie? Daniel Lifshitz and his wife Ani put together a very fun event at Tel Aviv's Bin 281 (which Daniel calls his second home). The guy's a class act and a walking fountain of Burgundy lore and passion.

Bagrationi, Finest nv

A Georgian bubblie quaffer, offering adequate pleasure and a mineral cut.

Does the price point matter here?

Domaine d'Arlaud, Bourgogne Aligote, 2008

Light bodied, grapefruit, clay - proving once again that Aligote at the hands of a good producer can be quite fun.

Wine Route, probably around 50 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Saint Romain, 2007

Wonderful, funky aromatics, direct yet complex. At six years post- harvest, this has plenty of jism for a relatively lowly, backwoods appellation and offers the experience of a mature white B without, so far, any signs of premoxed bottles.

Bourgogne Crown, 160 NIS.

Dugat-Py, Bourgogne, 2009

Ripe, veering towards black fruit, spicy. I prefer the 2008, which had a much more idiosyncratic personality.

Burgundy Wine Collection, 170 NIS.

Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Les Beaux Monts, 2008

Perfumed red fruit with some black - spicy, long, structured and tasty, even if there is something unyielding about it. Daniel claims Grivot's Nuits bottlings are better than his Vosnes and I have to agree, especially if I compare this to the village Aux Lavieres that we had recently and that clearly outmatches this Premier Cru.

Burgundy Wine Collection, 520 NIS.

Rene Engel, Clos De Vogeout, 2002

Complex earthy/spicy funk. Deep with subtle sweetness. With Engel gone, I just don't know how many more bottles I'll get to drink in the future, which is such a shame, this stuff being so great.

You can't buy these any more, obviously. Burgundy Wine Collections sells recent vintages from Eugenie, who bought up the estate after Rene's death, for 1200+ NIS, but I think this cost about 800 NIS back in the days.

Etienne  Sauzet, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, 2009

Starts out closed, with a hint of tropical fruit, and a vein of spicy minerals. With air, the minerals become more prominent. But it still lacks the focused power I expect from a Grand Cru. To paraphrase Daniel, this is a good wine but not a very good Chevalier.

Burgundy Wine Colelction, about 1700 NIS.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Riesling and Thai food (Sept. 28, 2013)

Lilach Raveh guest starred at the Halutzim 3 bistro this weekend, which served as a good excuse to drag Efrat along to taste her terrific Thai ware.

Donnhoff, Nahe, Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle, Riesling Spatlese, 2001

This is one of the purest expressions of Rieslings you can find (and would actually belong in my Autumn Of Riesling post, if I hadn't already posted it by the time we made it to the Thai event): one of the greatest sites in Germany, one of the greatest producers of Germany and one of the greatest vintages in Germany over the last two or three decades at least. Everything here is insinuated and delicate, the mineral backbone in particular sketching an echo of a memory that scratches at the consciousness rather than speaking at any louder than a low conversational volume. Sometimes a murmur can express a mouthful - and the amazing thing is it that the Hermannshöhle's whispers more than stand up to the spicy Thai food Lilach served at Halutzim 3 this night, probably because the green apples/citrus/tropical fruit coasts on a pipeline of juicy acidity to a very long, saline finish that easily finesses the food.

Giaconda, about 300 NIS.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not Quite Exotic Peripheries

Does Pinot Blanc play Nancy Drew to Pinot Gris' Hardy Boys?
Or is it the other way around?

San Michele Appiano, Alto Adige, Südtirol, Weissburgunder, Schulthauser, 2012

Every now and then, Wine Route pitches a curve ball. The other day, as I was heading to browse through the Bordeaux and Burgundies in the basement, Marcello intercepted me to tell me they had started importing quote single vineyards from Alto Adige unquote. Dismissing the Geurztraminer and Muller-Thurgau from the same co-op producer, I headed for the Pinot Bianco (labelled Weissburgunder due to the cultural proximity to Germany).

The book on Pinot Blanc says "Chardonnay sibling", but to me this seems more in a Semillon vein, what with its cantaloup core framed by light notes of rainwater and mud. Schulthauser is indeed the name of the vineyard, which doesn't in any way intimate that it's anything along the lines of a Grand Cru - this is just an elegant, charming drink, lean, refreshing and and utterly drinkable and I would be interested to lay down a specimen or two for a couple of years. (Sept. 22, 3013)

This is priced at 120 NIS, meaning you're probably going to see excited sommeliers hawking it at 200 plus NIS. Because it would make a lovely house wine, and a Pinot Blanc from a region unknown to most Israelis makes for a story good enough to charge 200 plus NIS for.

Now, you figure out what this has in common with the next wine.

Cantina di Santadi, Sardinia, Carignano del Sulcis Riserva, Rocca Rubia, 2010

A friend of a friend brought this for me from Sardinia.I didn't ask for it specifically, just asked for a "luck of the draw" purchase, and this is an interesting example of blind luck, one of the few appellations anywhere to be dedicated solely to Carignan, perhaps the only one. This has solid, earthy black fruit, with decent acidity, just enough complexity to provide interest and personality. A simple, honest wine, it ain't a Vitkin or a Recanati, but a glass or two at a local restaurant would hit the spot, I believe. (Sept. 23, 2013)

About 20 Euro.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Taking Care Of Business (Sept. 2013)

This month's winner

Faustino, Rioja Gran Reserva I, 1999

Classic nose of red raspberries with earthy/vanilla overtones, with a hint of violets. Best showing yet. Aromatically, it's close to the Rioja sweet spot, where the mineral and vegetative aspects are playing a pretty counterpoint to the fruit. The palate shows fresh, succulent fruit with integrated tannins and a lingering, saline finish. Balanced and tasty with only moderate complexity. (Sept. 5, 2013)

Wine Route, about 150 NIS on discount.

Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, Cuvee Gaby, 2011

I knew this would be young, arguably very young, but it'd been a couple of years since I last had a serious Crozes (Graillot and Colombier are probably the most serious producers in Crozes town). Ripe black fruit, black pepper, violets and raw meat on the nose. Succulent fruit whose length is driven by acidity rather than its tannins, which seem as though they could use a few years to integrate. This need for time is bolstered, in my opinion, by the eventual emergence of a haphazard, limpid monolithic ripeness that offers an annoying dissonance with my expectations from a Northern Syrah. (Sept. 7, 2013)

Giaconda, 150 NIS.

Hirsch, Kammerner Lamm, Erste Lage, Gruner Veltliner, 2009

This makes me happy, with a mineral-laden stink that reveals how enticing sweaty socks in a hot water bath can be. Tasty, with less complexity on the palate, sort of a Chablis with GruVe melons and baby fat - but the nose is enough to evoke all kinds of images, as my first sentence has probably made quite obvious. What a beauty of a stink on the nose!  (Sept. 13, 2013)
Fat Guy, 225 NIS.

Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin, Aux Echezeaux Vieille Vigne, 2006

The other Bourgogne fans and I were discussing how disenchanted we'd become with the 2006 vintage, which we'd thought would be a classic vintage (in Burgundy terms, that means lean and lithe, driven by acidity rather than by tannins), but which has turned out to be pinched and stingy. So I decided to take one for the team. This has a very appealing and deep nose, redolent of strawberries, forest floor and a touch of Gevrey sweat/gaminess. And while the palate seems limpid at first, it slowly builds up a tannic backbone and a savory finish that lend context, complexity and depth to the sensual fruit. This is really what I'd imagined the 2006's would evolve into. (Feb. 14, 2013)

Wine Route, about 150 NIS on discount.

Louis Jadot, Pommard Premier Cru, Les Rugiens, 2005

I'm not a fan of the Jadot style, but this is tasty. It's a bit too candied and oaky for my tastes, and lacks the rugged punch of Pommard, or the focus of any Bourgogne aspiring to greatness - but there's enough minerals to keep my interest, an expansive, detailed nose, and a saline finish to complement my dinner. (Sept. 17, 2013)

Wine Route - this is probably a 300-400 NIS wine these days, but I think I bought it for about 200 NIS.

Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2009

Quite good. With classic aromas of lead pencil, this is much more Saint Emilon than it is Loire. There are obvious signs of oak, but nothing too unbearable. (Sept. 21, 2013)

188 at Adora restaurant (a little over twice retail).

Moreau-Naudet, Chablis Grand Cru, Valmur, 2006

The last bottle was so disappointing that I decided to open my second and, thankfully, last bottle ASAP, just to get past this disappointment. I must say if you favor your Chablis resembling very mature, carmelized and slightly oxidized Champagnes sans bubbles, you'll probably enjoy it. As for me, I personally don't have the time or money and liver to waste on wannabes, as by the time this eked out a meager hint of marine Chablis character and an almost redeeming saline finish, may patience had run very, very thin. (Sept. 28, 2013)

Giaconda, 320 NIS.

Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon, 2010

This has become a house wine this year, so it's a challenge to find something new to say about it. A lucky man's hardship. There's a languid backdrop of red and black raspberries here, hints of earth, tobacco leaves and black pepper, juicy acidity, sleek tannins - akin to a feminine Crozes, in a way. Tasty, albeit simple fare, but great fun. (Sept. 29, 2013)

Wine Route, 85 NIS.