Taking Care Of Business (Jan. 2016)

Holy Durif! Two Petite Sirahs in the same month!
La Maison Romane, Macon, Eaux Vives, 2012

This Macon sourced from young Gamay vines carries on with the style of the 2011 version - sour cherries laced with funky earthiness - and presents an example of good use of brett (assuming it's something one actually plans for rather than allows to happen). Which pisses me off a bit, as I've been coming up with arguments why brett is always wrong. But here it just conjures romantic images of horses and farmland, rather than that of festering germs. Which I think has to do with how the light brett is just one more detail of aromatic landscape, in which it finds a rustic affinity. And, mmm, that acidity is very refreshing and savory. (Jan. 3, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 120 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Macon, Chateau de Berze, 2012

It surprised me to find brett in the Eaux Vives, because I'd assume brett is the product of a hygienic condition and thus would show up in other wines from a given property, and it doesn't in this case, in my experience. To wit, this higher tier Macon. While the house style is dirty and funky, it has more to do with a generic funk and rust, and mud, supplemented by spices - and this is a showcase of that style, with juicy, saline acidity complementing the plump Gamay fruit. I've said it before, this could beat the best Beaujolais Cru I've had. (Jan. 6, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 200 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2013

This is a soft and silky wine that yet manages to convey the Gevrey character. Again, this has a funky stink that makes me consider the possibility of brett. In the context of Gevrey, it's appropriate, because we expect a certain animalism.  (Jan. 15, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 430 NIS.

Domaine Benoit Ente, Aligote, 2013

Look, Daniel really brings in great Aligotes, that usually punch above their weight. This is so full of minerals and dried grass that it would be a dead ringer for a good Chassagne, only the lithe, limey character of the grape giving it away. That, and the acidity that would cleanse your palate even if you were eating a uranium sandwich. (Jan. 11, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 125 NIS.

I attended a very enlightening tasting presented by Itay Lahat. Itay was one of the wave of winemakers that came on the scene in the late 90's, early 2000's and worked at Barkan before becoming a consultant winemaker at various local establishments. He talked about his approach and philosophy and we tasted some of the wines he felt presented his beliefs. If that sounds stuffy, then you obviously don't know the people in attendance and have never dined at the private room at Brut. The best of the lot were the Kishor, Riesling, 2012 and the Kishor, Savant Red, 2013. Kishor is a winery where the workforce is people with special needs, but the reason I'm recommending them is that they're just plain good. The Savant is tannic and focused, while the Riesling is very special indeed, steely, chalky and off dry, almost a ringer for Pfaltz Spatlese, yet a hint of wet fur (which might put some people off, but which I liked) adds an original  touch. The Ortal, Ga'ash, 2012 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a touch of Syrah, and is muscular, yet lovely, with an appealing overlay of minerals and smoke.

Giuseppe Cortese, Barbaresco, Rabajà, 2005

This is one of my favorite Barbarescos. This is one of the few times that a Nebbiolo actually reminded me of Bourgogne, as along with the typical spicy/dusty tar and iron I also find a lot of forest floor. It's only 13.5% ABV and I feel it in its lithe, mellow structure. The relative lightness also allows the saline favors to come to the fore and meld with the rusty tannins. When I want to explain to people why I love wine (as opposed, I guess, to people who just casually date wines), this is the kind of wine I'd have them taste. (Jan. 14, 2016)

Dani Galil (Gene Proof), 220 NIS. A very good bargain.

Lewinsohn, Petite Sirah, 2014

This is single barrel that Ido made of whole cluster grapes. It doesn't have a name yet and the labeling hasn't been finalized yet, but it already hold great promise for being a very special wine, and one of the best made in Israel. One the one hand, it is sweet and very Israeli, yet it shows a focus few local reds show. The nose is intense and infused with green tea and herbs. It's still tannic, whereas the regular Lewinsohn red is already user friendly. (Jan. 15, 2016)

Vincent Paris, Cornas, Granit 30, 2010

This cuvee comes from young vines and a modest inclination. It's well made and amply displays the characteristics of Northern Rhone Syrah - suave black fruit, black pepper, bacon and juicy acidity. It also shows the rocky grunge and rusty tannins I expect from Cornas. A very good introduction to Cornas, I'm quite happy with it, as would any lover of old school Rhone. (Jan. 16, 2015)

28 GBP.

Fratelli Brovia, Barolo, 2011

A classic Barolo I liked a lot, admired and loved, when I first drank it last month - so much I chased down a few more bottles, so much I couldn't keep my hands off. The nose is intriguing and evocative of the Old World - cherries, dried petals and earth, iron, tar - and even though the palate seems a little oxidized, the acidity is lively enough and the tannins savory enough to hold it together. (Jan. 21, 2016)

Dani Galil, 175 NIS. Great value.

Vitkin, Grenache Blanc, 2014

A leafy, minty greenness a la Gruner Veltliner, a blend of sweet and saline flavors. I shy away from Rhone whites because of their low acidity, but this is very fresh and bright, which, combined with a certain earthy fat, makes for an intriguing wine. (Jan. 22, 2016)

Sold out, cost 125 NIS.

Kalleske, Barossa, Clarry's GSM, 2013

A friendly showing, with spicy, ripe, yet fresh, black fruit. (Jan. 28, 2016)

Mersch, 169 NIS.

Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2005

There's a post about a recent Vitkin Petite Sirah vertical tasting in the pipeline, so consider this a preview. The 2005 was one of the stars of that tasting, tied with the 2008 for first place, but it stood out for being a robustly mature ten year old Israeli red, that not only retained the vigor of its youth, but also showcased how the Petite Sirah can evolve into something resembling its namesake Syrah. In this case, the black fruit emboldened by graphite and black pepper and driven by dusrty tannins is, for me, Cornas crossed with Bairrada. There's enough brett to lend character, not enough to detract per se, although I do think the fruit has enough substance to be just a interesting without it. (Jan. 30, 2016)

Latter-day vintages sell for about 120 NIS, your mileage may vary.