Thursday, August 20, 2015

Taking Care Of Business (July, 2015)

Orence de Beler - a legend in the making
Domaine Gerard Julien, Côte de Nuits Villages, 2012

The best buying strategy in Burgundy is to find an up and coming, hard working, new kid in the block - and this is true whether you're buying retail or importing. Daniel Lifshitz has a good nose for producers like that, and this is a case in point, because even though this is a venerable old estate, over a hundred years old, it was hardly on anyone's map and 2012 is the first vintage by Etienne, the founder's great-grandson. He did a good job. This wine comes from plots around the hamlet of Comblanchien. You've probably never heard of it, but the Côte de Nuits Villages that Daniel had in last year's catalog, the Domaine Ballorin, also came from the same village, and both have similar languid red fruit with floral trappings and hints of sweat. This is earthier, though, with somewhat more scrappy tannins. (July 8, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 165 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Macon Rouge, Chateau de Berze, 2012

I could be coy and write that I'd forgotten how good this is, but the truth is, I could never forget how good Orence de Beler's wines are. The nose is very detailed and hypnotically sniffable, leaves rotting on the forest floor with a touch of exotic spices, while the palate has fine grip and length, with a core of supple fruit. Even if you placed it in the company of the finest Beaujolais Crus, this Gamay would easily lead the pack. (July 9, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 200 NIS. The price has gone up, but it's still worth it.

Domaine Buisson-Charles, Aligote, Sous Le Chemin, 2011

We don't get that many classy Aligotes in Israel, but the few we do have, such as this one, along with the Benoit Ente and Domaine Leroy versions, are top-notch whites that highlight Bourgogne as much as they do the grape. This, and the Ente as well, won't dent the wallet. There's flint, dry grass and savory/sour/salty citrus fruit. (July 11, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 115 NIS.

Potel-Aviron, Morgon, Côte du Py, Vieilles Vignes, 2011

A fine, elegant Beaujolais Cru, with a fair degree of rusticity, a floral nose reminiscent of a claret, fresh, earthy red fruit, and fine-grained, savory tannins building to a long, focused finish. Gains weight and intensity in glass, until it becomes overbearing, actually, but it still manages to keep the Burgundy streak going. (July 12, 2015)

Giaconda, 120 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, St. Romain Blanc, 2009

This is one of the most useful whites in Daniel's catalog, just a simple white from arguably the most unpretentious village in the cote. It gets the job done, it's tasty, and it's a great introduction to all that Bourgogne whites should aspire to - clean pure fruit with a touch of minerals and dried grass, very good acidity, savory saltiness on the finish - that repays return visits for any lover of Burgundy. And as a bonus, Daniel always brings in these Saint Romains at a sweet spot in their drinking plateau. (July 14, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 180 NIS.

Tzora, Shoresh, Blanc, 2014

This has been one of the best Israeli whites since it was introduced a couple of years back. It starts off with a lot of tropical fruits before settling down and showing chalk. The slew of sweet/sour flavors can't obscure the cut and acidity-driven structure. (July 15, 2015)

129 NIS.

Villa Russiz, Collio, Sauvignon de La Tour, 2012

Now this is a Sauvignon Blanc from the Collio DOC in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The DOC borders on Slovenia and I picked this up on an excursion to Trieste when I was in Slovenia a few weeks ago. The wine shop was a very decent one, with a wide selection of Italian wines from all over the country, but I decided that if I'm in northeast Italy, I'm going to buy wines from the region and consulted my latest edition of Hugh Johnson's Wine Pocketbook for a shortlist. This appeared to be a classic from a venerable house and I didn't notice the 14.5% ABC, which would have put me off. But the alcohol is actually quite unobtrusive, no sense of overbearing  heat or sweetness, it simply seems to lend more weight to the tropical fruit that lurks under a bedrock of chalk and herbs. I won't say it's half way between the Loire and New Zealand, which is a tempting cliche when discussing SB's and rarely accurate - I'd rather say it's different enough from these two paradigms which tend to define the range of the grape and dominate the discussions of it. (July 22, 2015)

32 euros.

G. D. Vajra, Nebbiolo, 2013

(Really lovely wine that highlights the best of Nebbiolo without the tannic heaviness of Barolo that takes years to tame. Red fruit, iron and spices, soft body backed by good acidity and great drinkability. (July 25, 2015)

Dani Galil, 90 NIS.

One more Italian this month.

Livio Felluga, Colli Orientali del Friuli, illivio, 2012

This is another of the Trieste purchases and I think it's typical of Italy when try to model themselves after an oaky Chassagne/Meursault style. The grapes fit that style - Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and local variety Picolit - and while I would have preferred less obvious oak, the fruit (mandarin oranges and apples, with a veil of roasted nuts) carries it well. So technically, nice enough, but there are thousands like it out there and what idiosyncratic quirks it has (and it does have an interesting finish that you would only notice when it warms up) are given an anonymous face lift. (July 26, 2015)

28 euros.

Vitkin, Petit Sirah, 2010

The recent tasting at Vitkin prompted this revisit of what I think will turn out to be a local classic. As always, I adore the way it juggles the red fruit against the leather/iodine/clay bouquet and the rusty tannins. Maybe I'll even manage to curb my enthusiasm enough to age it. (July 29, 2015)

110 NIS.

Delamotte, Le Mensil-Sur-Oger, Blanc de Blancs, 2002

This is very fresh and young, still reserved, almost backward, just green apples and mushrooms. This is thirteen years already and could easily coast to its thirtieth birthday. (July 30, 2015)

About 50 GBP.

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