There's a story behind how Roie, Amit and I once again became a minority in a group of winemakers drinking fermented grape juice. But the bottom line is we ate some yummy white pizzas topped by truffles at Nono at Hod Hasharon; and we tasted, by my count, at least three memorable wines.
Delamotte, Blanc de Blancs, 2002
I wish I had more 2002's because the better ones feel like they could go on forever. This is steely and refined and, just coming out of adolescence, proves how fresh Champagnes can be. Then there's the usual Champagne checklist: pungently green apples, baked dough, mushrooms. This cost about 55 GBP in London and fuck, fuck, fuck, I should have bought more.
Clemens Busch, Mosel, Punderlicher Marienburg, Grosses Gewaches, 2008
Style counts as much as quality: this is one of those dry Rieslings that create inner conflicts for me - it's obviously excellent, complex and long, but the oxidative winemaking produces a wine that appeals to my brain much more than to my heart. There's enough slate and apples and dill to point at the Mosel, yet enough petrol to convey an age older than six years old.
Domaine Roy Marc, Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos Prieur, 2008
I proselytize 2008 Bourgogne, so this embarrasses me. The aromatics have potential, with black pepper and hide that point at other regions and grapes, but the palate, ugh, is an uneasy blend of sweet fruit and sour.
Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Volnay Premier Cru, Champans, 2008
An interesting nose but off putting, where Burgundy should really make at least an honest attempt to seduce. The palate is better than the nose, though. What a shame, as I loved the Blain Gagnard red Clos St. Jean in 2011.
Alain Graillot, Crozes Hermitage, 2000
Back to Elegance-Land. This is earthy and appealing, with languid fruit cloaked by meat, pepper, flowers, rust. Great to know how effortlessly Graillot can age.
Scarpa, Barbaresco, Tettineive, 2004
Let's face it, with most good Nebbiolo, you spend half the time admiring the aromas and half the time trying to get past the tannins. Until you've aged it for quite a bit. Fortunately, Barbaresco comes around earlier than Barolo, so this is tasty and friendly.
G. D. Vajra, Langhe, Freisa, "Kye", 2008
This is my first encounter with the Freisa grape and it comes off as hard as Nebbiolo, but with arguably less appealing aromatics. Especially here, where the nose is tinged with modern-ish vanilla.
Domaine Georges Noellat, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Lea Petits Monts, 2012
Basically, what you want from a Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru is a lush and exotic effect, buffeted by velvety, yet restrained trappings. And you get that here, once the wine brushes off an initially modern and oaky disposition and starts to discourse on its potential.
Broc Cellars, Luna Matta Vineyard, Mourvèdre, 2011
Funky and meaty, even exotic, with persistent yet mellow acidity, this is very, very interesting and I'd love to run into it again. I've been doing this for twelve years, so you'd think I'd stop thinking in Old World/New World terms, and yet... I'd call this an Old World style with a New World veneer. A revelation for showing what California can produce.
Castello do Argiano, Brunello di Montalcino, Sesti, 2009
Even funkier than the Broc, with acidity almost as fine. A fine performance, although I have to wonder what the world is coming to that a five year old Brunello is this drinkable, without at the same time being a modern-styled harlot.
Walter Quint (?), Mosel, Klufferather (?) St. Michael, Auslese, 1976
This is what I was able to decipher of the label, but Google can't find a trace of the name. Hmmmm, a charitable man would call this very mature, one of nastier mettle would say it's over the hill.
Clonakilla, Riesling, Auslese, 2011
Oh, my! This is quite nice. There's luscious breadth and length of fruit here, and I'm almost sure some botrytis. Winner of the dessert wine flight.
Fattoria Corzano e Paterno, Il Passito, 1999
And the loser of the dessert wine flight is this, a Vin Santo by any other name - it's not allowed to use the DOCG as the alcohol level is below the mandatory 13% ABV. Vin Santo is quite possibly an acquired taste, one I have no intention of acquiring.