Taking Care Of Business (Mar. 2016)

Through a glass, darkly
Burguet at Basta
Domaine de Clovallon, Vin de Pays Haute Vallee de l’Orb, Pinot Noir, 2014

This is a fantastic selection in the Uri Kaftori portfolio, and is an example of the experimental side of the new wave Languedoc producers. The wine comes from Bedarieux, in the northern part of the Faugeres appellation, but this, and other Clovallon wines, are made of varieties not allowed by the AOC regulations, and so it is labelled a Vin de Pays. The vineyards are very high and cool, allowing the Pinot to thrive, and, indeed it does, in this case. The vines are fifteen years old, so it is not the most complex of wines, but it is so fresh, so lively, simply and utterly charming, that I fell in love in it from the first sip. It has all the traits of a 'generic' Cote d'Or Bourgogne or a Cote Chalonnaise village wine: forest floor, fresh red fruit, floral, light and lithe. (Mar. 2, 2016)

IPVinum, 109 NIS.

Tzora Vineyards, Shoresh Red, 2011

This is a Bordeaux-plus blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, a little Merlot, Syrah), that, while still showing some oak-derived charcoal aromas, also shows enough minerals to convince me. It's still bitter and tannic, but the fruit is very lithe. I drank one glass and returned to the bottle a day later. It was still tannic, but the fruit is coming to the fore, as well as a hints of leather and iron. Need more years than I'd expect from a red wine costing what it does. (Mar. 3, 2016)

100 NIS.

Gaston Chiquet, Tradition, Premier Cru, n.v.

Eldad Levy's selection of grower champagnes is of such high quality, there are few bottlings I don't enjoy, even at the non-vintage entry level. This is one I hadn't had in a long, long time, until we tasted it at a recent event. So naturally, I had to get another bottle and fortuitously, I opened it just when Efrat was serving home-made gravlax. This is an exquisite concoction of apples, brioche and roasted nuts, and, leaving precise descriptors aside, everything Champagne is all about. If I were to pin down, though, what characterizes the Tradition, it would be this: forward friendliness that does not come at the cost of inarguable depth, a roundness that is rendered with enough precision to retain a mineral cut. (Mar. 5, 2016)

Fat Guy,  239 NIS.

Sphera, Chardonnay, 2014

More floral than I remembered the previous bottle to be, and gently reminiscent of sea water, in that sense as close to Chablis as we are likely to get around here. But that's mostly the aromatics, the palate is less tense that most Bourgogne would be, much less a Chablis. Thumbs up for the discrete use of oak. (Mar,7, 2016)

About 100 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Gevrey-Chambertin, La Justice, 2011

Oronce de Beler captures the spirit and heart of Gevrey perfectly here: with intense, yet elegant, earthy, sweaty, animal aromas (ornamented by exotic spices) and a palate wrought of rusty, albeit soft, tannins and juicy acidity. Intense and complex for a village wine. (Mar. 9, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 340 NIS.

Domaine Fourrey, Chablis Premier Cru, Côte de Léchet, 2014

I wanted another look at this, as I drank my first bottle way too warm. This isn't a great Premier Cru, at least not now. It shows a lot of typicity - that fossil and kelp thing on the nose, limey acidity and salinity that beg to be matched with oysters - but not  great deal of intensity or depth. But it lingers for a good stretch, unencumbered by oak or pretension. (Mar. 10, 2016)

Wine Route, 130 NIS.

Alain Burguet, Bourgogne, "Les Pinces Vin", 2012

Floral and elegant, with the Gevrey sauvage in the backdrop. Spices emerge in time, as well as surprising ripeness on the nose that is a little out of place. Always an excellent Bourgogne, and at Gevrey village quality, but I have to admit that past vintages made me expect a sharper bite. (Mar. 11, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 230 NIS.

Sphera, White Signature, 2013

This was backwards when I tasted two month ago, and it's even more backwards now. I think it's because it's a blend of Chardonnay and Semillon and they need time to settle and find a common ground. There's a mineral streak running through a fat, honeyed background and the end result comes off like an awkward, pubescent Chenin Blanc. (Mar. 11, 2016)

160 NIS.

Vitkin Petite Sirah, 2008

The winery calls this the best vintage of the wine, and it's surely a strong contender for the designation, by any means. It has all the qualities the wine brings to the table - black pepper embroidered by black pepper and graphite and meaty notes, rustic power tempered by decent elegance - with arguably more balance and sustain than usual. The fruit is certainly more focused, with less fat than the other vintages. (Mar. 12, 2016)

Chateau d'Aqueria, Tavel, 2012

Tavel - the only Southern Rhone appellation I can still stomach, because it's all rose! And Chateau d'Aqueria was probably the first Tavel I ever tasted. I still like it, a lot, and I should buy more, but there's always other priorities, it seems. I should buy more roses, period, but, again, those priorities. Anyway, this has a lot of strawberries, though I'm always psychologically inclined to find them in roses anyway - but there's an interesting, fairly complex, lattice of minerals, a hint of garrigue even. As though someone figured out the best way to rein in the excessive indulgences of those sturdy southern reds was to cool them down and wash them down. And, just like every wine I love, it has a tasty, moreish, saline finish. (Mar. 14, 2016)

Giaconda, 90 NIS.

Wild thing
Recanati, Wild Carignan Reserve, Judean Hills, 2013

I had seriously forgotten I'd already drunk a bottle and was sure I had another to age. I was starting to compose the rough outline of the note in my head. I was going to say this is always the most massive, yet refined, of the local Carignans. Then I suddenly realized I had, in fact, drunk it a few months ago and looked up the note. I shouldn't use Rogov's "consistent notes" verbiage, because I always suspected the true reason his notes were always so consistent. Yet, this wine is very consistent, a true marriage of meticulous craft, great material and individual  expression. So, read this:

"This manages to somehow be the most massive of the local Carignans I've tasted, while also the most refined, as though the rocky core was chiseled with mean intent. Spicy/peppery black fruit, good acidity, roasted meat. Very impressive."

(Mar. 17, 2016)

149 NIS.

Bestheim, Mambourg Grand Cru, Gewurztraminer, 2013

Gewurtz! What is it good for? It's always distinctive, rarely shows a lot of finesse, or the mineral cut that makes me salivate. There's a debate on how sweet it should be and a fair point can be made that it can be too effusive when sweet. Me, I feel that at its core runs a spicy extract that reminds me of mustard that I feel needs to be tempered by sugar (and, all other things being equal, I prefer less alcohol and more sugar in these aromatic grapes). So, a relatively balanced specimen will keep me coming back to the frey once or twice a year, because I do love the aromatics - lychee, roses, that unique spicy kick with a dash of white pepper - as long as I can avoid palate fatigue. Long story short, this is a good example of the kind of Gewurtz that I love. It's not a great wine in the grand scheme of things, but it's fresh and interesting enough, and, like the Bestheim Schlossberg Riesling, avoids needless pretensions without being bland. (Mar. 18, 2016)

Wine Route, 109 NIS.

Chéreau-Carré, Comte Leloup de Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Cuvée des Ceps Centenaires , 2010

Muscadet is a wine I want to explore, but we don't get a lot here, except for Chéreau-Carré. Which I love with age, so I think I keep doing these an injustice drinking them young. This just hints at complexity and minerality - but even though those hints do become more daring after an hour, I'd still age further bottles for two years at least. (Mar. 20, 2016)

Wine Route, 90 NIS.

Carmel, Kayumi, Riesling, 2013

Nice enough, but it doesn't really have the electric verve of even its Alsatian cousins - and I'm not a big Alsace fan. Although the nose is very fine, with citrus, red apples, slate and petrol. (Mar. 21, 2016)

90-100 NIS.

Bestheim, Alsace Grand Cru, Schlossberg, Riesling, 2013

I'm not big on Alsace, like I said, yet the Kayumi drove me back to the arms of a wine I had drunk the previous month. It's priced the same, and a much better wine and bargain. This really has verve, and the typical Alsace food-friendly spiciness. Just as good as an Austrian - fantastic acidity. (Mar. 22, 2016)

Wine Route, 110 NIS.

Mia Luce, Rosso, 2014

This year, it's all Syrah, and, cleaner than the Carignan-based 2012, but without being technical at the expense of spirit. Absolutely not, as is evidenced by the way it reveals typical Syrah black pepper as the wine unfolds. There's a lot of baby fat that it needs to shed, but there's a lovely substance of velvety blackberry fruit within. (Mar. 24, 2016)

Guy Breton, Morgon, Vieilles Vignes, 2013

I think this is the only Beaujolais Cru  imported to Israel that I haven't tried yet. It's earthy, cleanly funky , lightly floral, hinting at bacon - and very succulent, with languid, yet very fresh fruit. A terrific, complex Morgon, deceptively delicate, close to being the best I've ever had, well worth following and buying. (Mar. 30, 2016)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Côte de Beaune, Les Pierres Blanches, 2012

I've been buying this wine for a few years now. It's always a friendly little wine, its red fruit bordering on black, with an earthy bent and easy going grace and drinkability. It always seems very ready to drink, fleshed out and detailed from the start. Sexy - in a mundane way, but sexy nonetheless - languid and saline. (Mar. 31, 2016)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 180 NIS.