Friday, May 30, 2014

With A Little Help From My Rieslings

There's a place, where I can go

Weingut Hirsch, Kampta, DAC Reserve  Zobinger Gaisberg 1er Lage, Riesling, 2009

The initial reductive stink clears up to show a typically Austrian melange of sauteed herbs and spices over green apples and cold slate - what's less typical, I think, is the overlay of Atlantic salt. This is very much a 1er Lage, as the aromatic complexity and intensity is followed up by excellent depht, purity and freshness on the palate, and the wine as a whole simply unfolds and blossoms beautifully over the course of the evening. (May 3, 2014)

Fat Guy, 225 NIS.


Donnhoff, Nahe, Oberhäuser Brücke, Riesling Spätlese, 2006

This is a really great wine, because when you break it down to its components, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on, yet it's just full to the brim with magic. Starting with the the complex aromatics of peaches and apples  awash with a touch of petrol and minerals and exuding an elegant, persistent, vaguely saline presence - and leading to, and culminating with, a great, clear purity. Tasty as hell, longer than waiting in line at Sea World, yet almost as light as brook water. (May. 15, 2014)

Giaconda, 250 NIS?

Spreitzer, Rheingau, Oestricher Lenchen, Riesling Spätlese "303", 2005

Just as great and complex as the Donnhoff Brücke, in a totally different style. First of all, this Spatlese is famous (among German Riesling geeks) for its 105º,  placing it on the threshold of beerenauslese in terms of ripeness. Therefore, it's much richer and more extroverted than the Donnhoff, almost tropical, with a zany note of ginger, and no less of a geology seminar. If the Brücke is the warmth of early autumn, this is a midsummer night picnic. (May 16, 2014)

Friday, May 23, 2014

And All The Crus Come Rolling Out For You (Apr. 27, 2014)

Echezeaux - just one of the wonderful that Crus Daniel opened
A Premier and Grand Cru tasting, chez Daniel Lifshitz' Bourgogne Crown, for hardcore Burgundy lovers on the hunt for purity, clarity and nuances.

Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Clos St. Jean Blanc, 2011

An impressive, mineral laden nose, if a bit one dimensional at first, and savory palate. A good start to the main body of the tasting. 300 NIS.

Domaine Hubert Lamy, St. Aubin Premier Cru, Clos de la Chateniere, 2011

Similar aromatics, a little fresher and more complex, livelier fruit and acidity. Very tasty with a saline finish a la Chablis.360 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Meursault-Blagny Premier Cru, 2011

Daniel really likes wines with minerals. This shows just enough pears and honey to place it as Meursault, though there is more focus and cut than I'd expect from Meursault. 350 NIS.

Domaine Chauvenet, Nuits St. Georges Premier Cru, Les Vaucrains, 2010

Both flowery and earthy, a little gamy, with red fruit. Flashy on the palate, yet with no little depth, super tasty with great tannin management. 430 NIS.

Domaine Amiot-Servelle, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Charmes, 2011

I miss the intensely floral character of the 2010 (?) although it is certainly flowery as Chambolle should be, especially after some time in glass - thought you all should be aware that Daniel opened it 12 hours ahead of time and then decanted it. Fine and elegant and the extensive airing lends it a very silky texture. 500 NIS.

Domaine Alain Burguet, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Les Rouges du Dessus, 2005

I wanted to like it more, but for me, this was a gap in an otherwise excellent line-up. On the one hand, full and friendly, sweet with decent balance and a saline finish. But on the other, not very suggestive of Vosne. Nor very long. 850 NIS.

Domaine Olivier Guyot, Clos St. Denis Grand Cru, 2010

Too much black liqueur on the nose at first, then calms down to show a finessed completeness. Young in its simplicity, but very clean cut and drinkable. Very elegant. Grows on me as it develops in glass, shedding the youthful over-vigor and developing complexity and Cote de Nuits exotic spices. 600 NIS.

Domaine Alain Chavy, Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru, 2011

Ultra elegant, cool and mentholated. Doesn't put out like the Premier Crus, until suddenly it blossoms with finely laced minerals - as though to signal, "anything a lesser vineyard can do, I can do with greater finesse". 1300 NIS.

Domaine Bizot, Echezeaux Grand Cru, 2011

Spicy, leathery, very elegant and balanced. It arguably has the deepest nose of the evening and is maybe the tastiest in the way the sweetness of the fruit complements the savory, saline finish. Lovely. 1100 NIS.

Domaine Taupenot Merme, Mazoyeres Chambertin Grand Cru, 2007

Intense and funky, with Grand Cru power, a complex, deep, detailed nose I could sniff forever with intense spices and roasted earth. The palate is tasty, but still sulky, if not outright growling. This and the Bizot are obvious candidates for making the connoisseurs very happy one day. 900 NIS.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Taking Care Of Business (Apr. 2014)

Domaine Robert Chevillon, Nuits-St.-Georges, 2006

One of the best 2006's I've had, complex and deep, another wine deserving of my coined phrase, "Bourgogne for Barolo lovers". The nose shows a strain of focused pungent earth, enveloped by sexy, spicy red fruit. The palate is long and tasty, foursquare in its way, but with enough old school charm to offset that. (Apr. 2, 2014)

About 50 USD.

Recanati, Marselan Reserve, 2012

Spicy black and blue berries, with obvious crowd pleasing potential, sweet tannins tempered by a grainy texture. An interesting wine I looked forward to tasting, but unless it develops in the cellar or with future vintages, not a wine likely to be a household name in my household. (Apr. 3, 2014)

138 NIS.

Jean-Paul Thevenet, Morgon Vieilles Vignes, 2012

Once again a Thevent that starts out with a catatonic nose and almost no trace of tannins, before details slowly start to emerge: pungent earth, black pepper and red fruit on the nose, a tannic backbone on the palate. The final effect pretty and lovely but it's the kind of effect I expect to get shortly after pouring, I really don't think I need to wait three hours for a Beaujolais Cru to open. (Apr. 4, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

Pierre Gimonnet, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, 1er Cru, Cuvee Gastronome, 2008

Fantastic, once again, with brioche and mushrooms interlocking with sea shells to produce complex aromas and flavors as well as a wonderfully tasty finish. This bottling is probably the point in the Gimonnet food chain where his wines start to flirt with profound - and the amazing thing is, he doesn't stop there!. (Apr. 5, 2014)

Fat Guy, 279 NIS.

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, Bel Air, 2005

As befits a cru abutting the Clos-de-Beze Grand Cru, this offers a very intense nose, smoky, gamy and stony. The palate, despite the sweet richness of the fruit, offers good acidity and a savory finish. However, overall, this kind of turns me off. It's not obviously unbalanced or over-extracted, but its core is grainy and harsh and counter-productive to true finesse, so only its intrinsic pedigree would have me cellar it for a few more years hopefully to let it uncoil. (Apr. 6, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 350 NIS.

Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2012

Floral, earthy red fruit, but nothing much more complex or deep at this time - which is weird, it looked like it was going places a few months ago, without any sign that it might ever shut down. (Apr. 7, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

A man and his horse - responsible for the following highlights
 La Maison Romane, Eaux Vives, 2011

This is a young-vines Macon, meaning it's 100% Gamay, and it smells and tastes like sour cherries with a funky, earthy strain. It's saline and savory, with sweet, friendly fruit to back that up, more about Bourgogne than Gamay (or Beaujolais for that matter) - and true to the house style, which is right at the center of my universe, with its funk and rusty, angular tannic structure. (Apr. 16, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 110 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Macon Rouge, Chateau de Berze, 2011

The older vines version is more of the earthy same and, quite understandably, bigger and deeper. Nonetheless, it is more Gamay in character, which is arguably less understandable - unless you reckon the more mature vines allow the varietal personality to overshadow the winemaker's style. In fact, it could well be a Beaujolais Cru, and one of the better ones. And the fruit is downhome gorgeous. (Apr. 18, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 160 NIS.

Alain Burguet, Bourgone, Les Pince Vins, 2008

Clives Coates wrote that pere Alain was one of the best  producers in Gevrey back when all he was village crus. By now his sons have expanded their holdings up to Grand Cru and they're one of Daniel Lifshitz' prized 'children' in his portfolio, he says. This is a declassified village wine, but vinified as lesser wine, according to Daniel, whatever that means. I get light red fruit, with a spicy/dusty/flowery tint, but not a whole lot of Gevrey character. More of a Volnay, actually. But quite lovely, either way. (Apr. 20, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 160 NIS.

Olivier Guyot, Marsannay, Rose, 2011

A first for me, a rose from Burgundy. There's really not a lot going here, besides fresh, tasty red fruit, and surprising aromatic complexity. And now for the requisite pretentious wine forensics: it's as much Bourgogne as it is rose. (Apr. 21, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 80 NIS.

Alion, Ribera del Duero, 2006

Smells just like I'd expect a modern Ribera to smell: black fruit, a grainy/saline mineral overlay, toasted/roasted oak, quite a charming sniff. The palate starts out on the muscular, over-extracted side, then mellowing to reveal savoriness and some elegance - in the end, impressive in the same way a WWE fight is - or a Chateauneuf. (Apr. 24, 2014)

I purchased this for about 200 NIS through a friend's discount, but I see it's selling for 400 these crazy days.

William Fevre, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2006

After a disappointing showing six months ago, this is almost making a Grand Cru performance, with a nutty salinity on the nose a la Champagne. Even Grand Crus don't always show both power and intensity as well as finesse, depth and complexity - and if I have to choose, I go with the latter group of traits, which this Les Clos sure displays. There's also an ever growing, ever expanding, complex, savory finish. (Apr. 26, 2014)

Wine Route, this was on sale at 190 NIS, but the price is usually 350 NIS or so.

Domaine Ballorin, Cote de Nuits Villages, "Le Village", 2011

Another fun bistro wine from the Bourgogne Crown catalog, just languid, fresh red fruit, with a pronounced floral note and impressive complexity for the level. A wine that really builds up body and definition in glass.

I googled them. The domaine is operated by a young couple who picked up one square foot after another of vineyards in regional and village crus and make good value, bio dynamic wines. This is a cru from the commune of Comblanchien. (Apr. 28, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 150 NIS.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bourgogne Crown Red Tasting (Apr. 1, 2014)


Red Burgundy - it's complicated.

This the third Bourgogne Crown tasting orchestrated by my friend Daniel Lifshitz - and now that I've got the due diligence bit out of the way, I want to say that while he's obviously not in this to lose money, it's always an intellectual pleasure drinking Burgundies with the dude - he knows his stuff and his approach and tastes are uncannily similar to mine. Which is one reason why the 2GrandCru blog has been bloated with Burgundy themes lately.

We started off this primarily red tasting with with a white.

Domaine Matrot, Saint Romain, 2008

Dry grass, apples, citrus. Very pretty, sort of an land bound Chablis. Good QPR village wine that is a very welcome followup to the 2007 version, which was also simply barrels of fun. 180 NIS.

Alain Burguet, Bourgogne, Les Pince Vin, 2008

Light, ephemeral with aromas of red fruit complemented by leather, spices, dusty carpet. Light to middle bodied, well balanced, very 2008 in its delicate fruit, going for low keyed elegance rather than power. 160 NIS.

Domaine Pavelot, Savigny-Les-Beaune Premier Cru, Aux Guettes, 2011

Aromas of minerals, clay and red fruit combine to produce a very taut, suggestive complexity. The grainy tannins on the palate are starting to integrate, but the overall effect is still nubile. Lovely for all that. 260 NIS.

Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Clos St. Jean Rouge, 2011

Both the nose with its black pepper personality and the elegant palate register an impact that is not so much a "wow" than it is a "what the! This is good". Complex and interesting, for the aromatics and for the way the soft, yet persistent tannic lattice forces the palate to pay close attention. 235 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Marsannay "Langeroies", 2011

Monolithic and concentrated, with a warm yet reserved, sweaty, mineral-laden friendliness that hints at complex potential some two, three years (Daniel says more) down the road. 260 NIS.

Domaine Amiot Servelle, Chambolle-Musigny, 2011

A just okay nose that is spicy and floral with hints of clay, while sweet fruit that overwhelms the tannins on the palate. An interesting wine but rather humdrum in the context of the tasting. Observation: the 2010 Servelle Charmes was freakin' amazing, whereas the village of that year also failed to impress me. A pattern, perhaps? 320 NIS.

Domaine Alain Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin, "Mes Favorites", 2011

Decent-plus aromatic complexity, with Vosnee spices, as well as minerals, flowers, sweat. Starts tannic and ends fruity and sweet, without an interesting middle ground, for which I blame Daniel's decision to decant. 310 NIS.

Domaine Bizot, Vosnee-Romanee, 2011

Very Vosnee, spicy and floral as well. Black fruit, sweet, elegant, with a soft yet persistent tannic background. Good potential. 460 NIS.

Domaine Marquis d'Angerville, Volnay Premier Cru, 2011

Rich, yet structured, complex spiciness on the nose; languid and tasty on the palate, with sour red fruit with savory tannins. Just good, thus far. 400 NIS.

Domaine Chauvenet, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Les Perrieres, 2008

Elegant and harmonic, yet embryonic. Stoney and gamey, with sweet, succulent fruit and a saline finish. A class act. 350 NIS.

Domaine Olivier Guyot, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Fuees, 2010

Primary, nubile red fruit, with notes of blood and just a hint of flowers. Balanced, saline, tasty. Ach, this is good. 450 NIS.

Domaine Taupenot Merme, Mazoyeres-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2010

Sweaty, spicy, Chambertin ripeness on the nose. Full, funky and powerful. Doesn't yet show Grand Cru finesse or mystique, but there is depth and breadth of appropriate dimensions. 900 NIS.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Night Ygay Let Me Down (Apr. 17, 2014)


When life offers you lemons in the form of dismally performing top-flight Riojas, the only way to turn them into lemonade is to to enjoy the company of friends and the tasty dishes offered by the current incarnation of Nahalat Benyamin's Wine Bar. Pork terrine, Sicilian beef tartare brochettes, stuff like that.

Domdechant Werner, Rheingau, Hochheimer Domdechaney, Riesling trocken, Erstes Gewaches, 2009

Green apples, herbs, decent to good acidity, a little grassy. The alcohol on the finish conjures up all I disapprove of in Alsace, which isn't surprising, seeing as I rarely find decent balance in dry Rheingaus. Not great by any means.

Arnot-Roberts, Syrah, North Coast,  2012

A producer I'd been waiting to taste. Black, slightly bretty fruit. Tannic, a little hot, balanced by solid, warm fruit. Unfolds and works out the kinks. A good wine, even though it's hard to tell how typical the Syrah is here, but I do hope age will bring out the languid, peppery fruit I enjoy in good examples of the grape.

Marqués de Murrieta, Castillo Ygay, Rioja Gran Reserva Especial, 2000

Balsamic vinegar, moldy furniture, tobacco leaves, good acidity. Not great, just interesting, performing much like an over the hill Rioja from an indifferent producer. And even though 2000 wasn't a great year in Rioja, I look for more from a fourteen year old Ygay.

Artadi, Pagos Viejos, 2001

The first impression is of a tannic, old world classic, earthy and spicy with hints of leather. Then, at the point in the evolution in the glass where a good wine pulls itself together and shows its stuff, the Pago Viejos loses its footing and its balance, displaying high acidity that doesn't adequately balance the sweet fruit. A wannabe that ends up being too modern at the end - and the last thing you expect Artadi to be is a wannabe.

Duijn, Baden, Spatburgender, 2003

Languid, warm fruit, with notes of black pepper, that starts out tasty only to turn sweet and monolithic. Pass.