Annual Lewinsohn Launch (Oct. 25, 2013)

Ido Lewinsohn makes great wines both at Recanati and at his (literally) garage boutique winery at his parents' home, where he produces both a white (read: Chardonnay) wine and a red (read: varietal makeup subject to change) wine. This is the second year he's launched his his latest wines in the setting of a very generous cheese and sausage luncheon. I missed the inaugural happening last year due to work commitments, but made damn sure to get to this year's.

I'm glad I did. On a personal level, I appreciate and love Ido, he's an insightful guy to taste wines with and terrific company, just the kind of wine geek you dream of sharing bottles with when you first catch the bug (not to mention the kind of guy you wish would make the wines you buy). And it really was a fun event and I got a chance to meet loads of friends, virtual and less virtual.

On a professional level, while I've tasted past vintages of both wines, the output of the Garage de Papa's of both colors is so small that this is the closest I can get to a horizontal/vertical tasting. I know, a setting like this can be distracting, but I trust myself to somehow manage three tasting notes even within the havoc of a big luncheon.

On to the notes then.

The Garage de Papa, Blanc, 2012 shows that Chardonnay, in the proper hands, will eke out chalk and flint notes from every terroir. In other words, it is very Bourgogne, playing similar notes as would a comely Cotes de Beaune village, only with different instruments. 140 NIS - and well worth it (especially with the launch day discount).

The Garage de Papa, Rouge, 2010 is a very clearly delineated wine, showing spicy, earthy and lightly leathery notes, with typical Israeli ripeness, balanced by savory acidity. It is comprised of what is commonly termed around these parts a "Mediterranean blend", as it is comprised of Syrah, Petit Syrah and Carignan. I would question the verbiage, but I know what people mean: varieties better suited to the local climate. Which is in contrast with the Merlot-dominated blend of the Garage de Papa, Rouge, 2008, also offered for tasting and purchase, a wine I found more austere while less clearly defined. The Merlot is quite obvious here, in a velvet-gloved iron fist kind of way, although I find the total effect lacks the charm and deliciousness factor of the 2010. The 2010 might well improve, but even if it won't, it's quite a charmer today and I would give a nod to the asking price of 140 NIS. The 2008, on the other hand, will not get any better than it is now, and its current performance is not enough to convince me to buy it at 150 NIS.

Peggie says: "I'm the real brains of this outfit!"