The In Crowd (Dec. 3, 2015)

Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy. (Frank Sinatra)
Just another night at Halutzim 3.

Emidio Pepe, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, 2010

Having barely survived Emidio Pepe's iconic, brett-laden red, we upped the ante and went for the white. Well, one of us did, the rest of us were simply a captive audience. Actually, this is quite an interesting wine, its color and subtle hints of oxidation on the nose suggesting an orange wine, an impression belied by the freshness, flint and vital acidity of the palate.

Giaconda, 300 NIS.

Kir-Yianni, Diaporos, 2011

This is the first time I've tasted a Greek wine, and even detractors of the country's efforts called this a very worthy, fascinating wine. Comprised of 92% of the indigenous Xinomavro grape and 8% Syrah, it's dusty and peppery, lean and confident, coming off as a Syrah fornicating with a Nebbiolo after a hard session in the gym.

Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot, Vosne Romanee, 2011

I don't know whether its place in the lineup, immediately after the Diaporos, but the attack of black pepper was just too much and too atypical for me. Vosne should be more exotic, but this is too green and mean and was better earlier in the year.

At this point, we moved on to three safe bets,

Chateau Branaire-Ducru, Saint Julien 4m3 Cru Classe, 2008

This is still austere but starting to open up. Showing iron and minerals, it reminds me more of Pauillac than Saint Julien and will need five more years (which means my 2005 will need ten more).

Chateau Leoville-Barton, Saint Julien 2me Cru Classe, 2008

This is an even safer bet, and, before prices spiraled out of control, was one of the best buys in Bordeaux, given its quality and consistency. The fruit here is blacker and lusher, but well within the classic claret mold, with ample minerals. It needs even more time than the Branaire, but even now will convince you to vote French.

In various deal and configurations, I used to be able to buy these 2008's at 250-300 NIS a piece.

Giuseppe Cortese, Barbaresco, Rabaja, Riserva, 2006

Spices and tar embellished by tea leaves. Deep, complex, multi layered.  A moving impact.

Dani Galil sells other vintages for 350-370 NIS.

Castel, Grand Vin, 2008

Like Margalit, this is a venerable local name I haven't tried in years. it shows languid ripeness and a pleasant dusty/green claret character.

Gitot Diem, Petit Syrah, 2013

Now this, if I open this, Efrat will take a a sip and go to bed, leaving me with the entire bottle in front of the TV. I won't watch Fargo because the show is too complicated for me to figure out with a nasty headbanger like this, so I'd stick with Seinfeld re-runs. But this is really an academic dilemma as I won't ever drink it again.

And now, the hipsterest wine in the world:

Sami Odi, MCMXII, 2010

This old vine Barossa Syrah (yes, Syrah, not Shiraz) - packaged in Brandy shaped bottles with handmade labels that change with every vintage (and labeled with roman numerals to boot) - is a funky, freaky tapenade, tasting like sun-baked Hermitage without any loss of freshness. It's totally outre, like a virgin putting on garters to try to lure a sailor into popping her cherry. You can't really pin it down, yet you can't look away.

Mersch, 1117 NIS.