Recanati, Reserve, Petit Syrah - Zinfandel, 2011
This is the wine (yes, not the
Special Reserve) that put Recanati on the map, about nine years ago.
Because it was the first time the winery made a unique statement, going
outside the Bordeaux mold, making it the forerunner of the contemporary
trend of using so-called Mediterranean varieties. Nowadays, it pales
besides the Carignan and Syrah/Viognier, seemingly a throwback to Lewis
Pasco days, when the reds were rather riper and sweeter than they are
today. That is to say, this is rather a local crowd pleaser due to its
jamminess. But it's fine in its way, and the ripeness of the cranberry
inflected fruit is nicely complemented by a peppery overlay. All of
which is probably representative of the grapes involved rather than the
winemakers' stylistic choices, and it's a tasty wine anyways. (Nov. 1,
About 110 NIS.
Hugel, Jubilee Riesling, 2001
is more or less my favorite producer in Alsace, these days. Case in
point is this complex, purebred Grand Cru, which marries clarity and
depth with mature complexity and still-youthful vigor. At this point,
the fruit plays barely second fiddle. Petrol dominates the nose at
first, then makes way to dill, sea air and quartz. The palate is long
and spicy, and the typical Alsatian quinine backbone leaves enough room
for the complexity of the fruit to assert itself on the light, airy
frame. (Nov. 2, 2013)
Wine Route, about 200 NIS.
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Malbec, 2010
nose, showing charred meat and black fruit; it's almost Old World in a
way, and makes me wish the palate was as intriguing. However, the palate
is ripe and thick, like most GWH wines, but saline, unlike most of
them; and even though it contains its high alcohol content decently well, as the GHW
wines usually do, it lacks breed and freshness. Having said all that,
despite the constraints of the house style, this is an interesting
expansion of the lineup and might repay further experiments, should the
ABV ever go down to a more manageable and palatable level. (Nov. 8,
Probably about 100 NIS.
For my love's birthday:
J. J. Prum, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Auslese, 1999
and elegant, with deep aromas of chalk and slate, apples morphing into
peaches, mint, a hint of Atlantic salt. The aromas are echoed on the
palate, which is finely and harmonically wrought. Perhaps it lacks some
intensity, but it's very pure and true to its origin, and time only
brings out its breed and class. (Nov. 9, 2013)
Giaconda, about 300 NIS.
Chateau Ormes de Pez, St. Estephe, Cru Bourgeois, 2007
was a mediocre vintage, while Ormes de Pez hasn't been a household name
since it was Hugh Johnson's father's household wine, so likely this is now
as good as it will ever get, offering a typical St. Estephe experience.
It's earthy, slightly bretty, and all grunge. While the nose is
perfumed, detailed and decently complex, and the palate has a balanced
mix of fair acidity, crunchy fruit and dusty tannins, there isn't a
whole lot of high pedigree in it. Having said all that, Lynch-Bages
owner Jean Michel Cazes' dollars show - in Hugh Johnson's father's time,
it wouldn't have gotten even this far in a vintage of comparable climate. (Nov. 10, 2013)
Wine Route, three for 400 NIS, three years ago.
Carmel, Mediterranean, 2008
This blend of Syrah, Petit Syrah and Carignan is warm and friendly, the kind of mellow wines the wineries I follow aim for these days. Although I'd say it doesn't achieve the kind of balance between fruit and tannins my faves tend to reach, I still enjoyed having it on my table and drinking a couple of glasses. (Nov. 12, 2013)
About 260 NIS at Elba.
Vitkin, Riesling, 2011
A crisp, slightly saline, bone-dry Riesling, with just a hint of sweetness on the finish, leaning towards the grapefruit end of the fruit spectrum, with an overlay of petrol. This won't ever cause me to break out in cold sweat, but it's just as good as any imported regional Riesling at a comparable price. (Nov. 29, 2013)
Tzora Vineyards, Shoresh, 2010
Earth, leather. Sweet fruit, but elegant. The Syrah seems to lurk behind the Cabernet and the Merlot. I'm still going to wait a couple more years until I start digging into my own cache. (Nov. 30, 2013)
Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2011
Ripe and friendly, with a rather surprising tannic/saline bite. Delicate blue fruit, which I don't run into a lot. Not my style of Syrah, but an impressive expression of fruity, flowery Syrah. (Nov. 30, 2013)
A. et P. De Villaine, Mercurey, Les Montots, 2006
Ready at last, with excellent length and complexity, combining an earthy intensity with delicacy. A classic Bourgogne, the kind I really love, with a depth of fruit that belies the medium frame. Very tasty, especially the saline, palate-cleansing finish. (Nov. 30, 2013)