Taking Care Of Business (Aug. 2015)

Let's start off this monthly potpourri with a trio of wines accompanying a family dinner at Tel Aviv's Herbert Samuel (Aug. 8, 2015)

I planned the meal so that we could do with just a white, and chose the Salomon, Kremstal DAC Reserve, Lindberg, Gruner Veltliner, 2012 as I felt I'd been deprived of Austrian whites for the last couple of months. This should be accompanied by a short user's guide: Wait for the reductive stink to settle and you'll get lime, melons, chalk, ensconced in a leafy, mentholated envelope. Since the bottle didn't last the whole dinner, and since my sister wanted a red with her pork chops, I ordered her and myself a glass of Michele Chiarlo, Barbera d'Asti, l'Orme, 2011 each. This is full of friendly, leathery black fruit - musky, dusty and spicy like Nebbiolo without as much tannic palate pressure. And it somehow managed to pair decently with my coquilles saint jacques on black risotto. As an appertif, I had a glass of Williams and Humbert, Pedro Ximinez, 12 años. I hadn't had this ages. This was always fun, and it still is, dark chocolate with that typical grease oil and chili you either hate or love.

Château du Hureau, Saumur Blanc, Argile, 2013

My favorite red Loire producer also makes a white wine, as I found out last year when Eldad Levy treated us to a sample. This is a Chenin Blanc, of course, and it's a fun concoction of melon and flint, nothing too complex or too deep, just a tasty summer wine. (Aug. 12, 2015)

Fat Guy, 118 NIS.

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

Buisson's Aligote always, always, shows as fine as any Chardonnay from a good village. In fact, if there was an Aligote Premier Cru, this would be it. It smells and tastes of lime, flint, Atlantic salt and truffles and, true to the character of the grape, is lithe and racy. Unique is the word that immediately springs to mind. (Aug. 13, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 120 NIS. This is just as good as the Leroy Aligote, which costs twice as much. Different, but just as good.

Schaefer-Frolich, Nahe, Blanc de Noir, trocken, 2013

This is described on the Giaconda site as a Provence-like rose, but the color in the bottle we had was nothing like the online image. It rather came off as a non-aromatic white and had I tasted it blind, I'd have guessed a Chenin or one of the weird Italian grapes. It's just slightly off dry, earthy, savory, with hints of strawberries and mandarin oranges. (Aug. 14, 2015)

Giaconda, 120 NIS.

Moric, Blaufrankisch, 2013

An excellent, floral lightweight now, fresh cherries, white pepper, chalk. Very good acidity and balance. (Aug. 15, 2015)

Fat Guy, about 120 NIS.

Sebastien Dampt, Chablis Premier Cru, Côte de Léchet, 2013

This is a new producer carried by Wine Route, and I was concerned it might be modern and not very typical, but this is actually classic and outstanding, even if it does have a rough and almost outrageous personality. It's made of fifty year old vines, sees only stainless steel, is lean and vigorous with a marked bouquet of lime, shells and sea sand. It's already drinking very well but with that generous, intense acidity, I have no doubt it will thrive and develop for three to five years at least. (Aug. 16, 2015)

Wine Route, 200 NIS (2 for 300 on discount).

Domaine Matrot, Meursault, 2011

An awkward start, lemon with a metal streak, which I mention only in case you try this at home without proper airing. It works out the kinks into something quite special, roasted sesame and scorched bread, along with more typical pears. Its nuances are dirty and unusual enough that it still might challenge the casual drinker, but I never drink Bourgognes casually, so I'm totally fine with that. (Aug. 20, 2015)

Bourgogne Crown, 290 NIS.

Larmandier-Bernier, Latitude, n.v.

I could smell the brioche even as the I popped the cork, and further scrutiny revealed baked apples and chalk. In short, typical for what is actually a blanc de blancs - 100% from Vertus, with relatively mature years in the blend - and I find nearly the focus and elegance of vintage Champagne, at a lighter weight, with a dollop of salty nuts at the end. For some reason, I hadn't followed Larmandier-Bernier as deeply as other producers in the catalog, and I need to rectify that. (Aug. 21, 2015)

Fat Guy, 309 NIS.

Louis Roederer, Reims, Brut Premier, n.v.

The nose has a green apples/dried grass/flint/toast personality going that reminds of an elegant Chassagne or Saint-Aubin. In short, one of my favorite expressions of Chardonnay, despite the 40% Pinot Noir and 40% Meunier. The mousse isn't that persistent, which I think is more about this being an off bottle, since the cork popped open as soon as I undid the muselet. A solid non-vintage, maybe too solid and dignified. Except when, by the last last third of the bottle, it shows Pinot spices and presence that burst the bubble of refinement. Then it goes downhill, with weird flavors on the finish. Bad bottle, like I thought. (Aug. 26, 2015)

Wine Route, 370 NIS (250 on discount).

Bernard Baudry, Chinon, Le Clos Guillot, 2011

It was a great thrill, for me, when Wine Route started carrying Baudry with the 2010 vintage. Baudry is a fine producer with a stellar reputation, but this might prove to be more challenging than the 2010, at least based on this bottle, which starts out just as fun, only to eventually sink into a sulk in a dumb phase that the 2010 never went through. There's black fruit and black pepper with a hint of barnyard and leather on the nose, tart fruit and savory tannins in the mouth. So it needs time at the very least - it's at the quite annoying stage where a few hours of air bring out the oak rather than the fruit; which is good and pure, by the way, once you get to it. (Aug 27, 2015)

Wine Route, 120 NIS.

Argiolas, Isola Dei Nuraghi IGT, Is Solinas, 2010

Intense, ripe black fruit, olives, dusty and spicy a la Nebbiolo. Rusty tannins. Saline finish. Good value at store prices (about 220 at Pronto). (Aug. 29, 2015)

Wine Route.

Jean Lallament, Verzenay Grand Cru, Réserve Rosé, n.v.

A gift to modern lovers from the Old World. This plays a sleight of hand where the Pinot fruit seems distilled through a veil of roasted nuts and chalk, and Lallement's trademark chicken broth, all laid out in a very complex, yet subtle, texture. (Aug. 30, 2015)

Fat Guy, 319 NIS.