Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Taking Care Of Business (Jun. 2016)

This month: the story of a horse and a tasting note of an oxidized wine.
Bonus: I detail my Gewurztraminer purchasing strategy.
La Maison Romane, Macon, Aux Vives, 2013.

I'm not sure what vintage(s) make this up. The Bourgogne Crown catalog says 2013, the  bottle says non-vintage. I'm going with 2013. Anyway, the style is the same as the previous vintages, a lot of brett on the nose, very pure fruit. Go figure. As always with the Maison's wines, a lot of jism and attitude. (Jun. 4, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 110 NIS. 

Château de Villeneuve, Saumur-Champigny, Le Grand Clos, 2009

Pungently earthy, with a light, unobtrusive layer of sauvage (as opposed to brett). While the complexity takes time to show, there is good balance and persistence and an enjoyable finish and I simply love the way it develops. Very lithe and refreshing and well worth the effort and storage space to age further. (Jun. 6, 2016)

20 euros in a wine shop in the Loire, three years ago. What great value!

Vitkin, Grenache Blanc, 2014

This is Vitkin's best white, in my opinion, and one of the most unique whites produced in Israel. It packs a lot of compact yellow fruit in a reserved frame with aromas of dried grass and subtle minerals and flowers. The biggest compliment I can give it is, if you had bought a bottle on a trip abroad, you'd open it with friends and go, "hey, look what I found" - I'm not comparing it to foreign wines per se, I'm talking about the thrill of discovering a great little wine. Just loads of fun and very moreish, and I wonder what will come of it in a couple of years. (Jun. 8, 2016)

125 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Marsannay, Les Longeroies, 2013

It's amazing how much the style of the wine is preserved across 2012 and 2013. Both are joyful in their youth, open and vibrant, with tart fruit and fresh acidity, while the aromas speak of flowers and the typical Cote de Nuits spices. And like the 2012, the earthy aromas and the soft tannins become more pungent with time, without impinging on the overall harmony. This sparks two observations. Firstly, the bretty character of the Maison's Macons so far seems to be limited to those wines only, so it doesn't reflect Oronce de Beler's general approach. Secondly, I'm almost surprised the Marsannays are so fetching at this age. I just never though his style would be so flattering to infants, but it is. I need to buy a pair at least of future vintages. (Jun. 10, 2016)

Bourgogne Crown, 280 NIS.

Tzora, Or, 2014

A dessert wine made of Gewurztraminer grapes frozen in the winery. I'm just enough of an indifferent fan of the grape to buy a few bottles a year and I always buy two of these, so I guess it's one of my favorite renditions. The way I see it, dry Gewurtz is interesting but not always an easily palatable proposition, one bottle a year of of  a dry one suffices. The off dry versions from Alsace are probably my favorite, but they're hard to shop for because you don't always know the level of sweetness unless you're very familiar with the producer. With anything sweeter than that, the acidity is suspect, but using frozen grapes preserves the acidity. Natural ice wine made of Gewurztraminer is rare, so you're left with countries where artificial ice wine is allowed. To wind down the long story, this is the reason why the bulk of my Gewurztraminer turn out to be the Or, which usually comes off as liquid litchi toffee, with the viscosity balanced by the acidity. (Jun. 11, 2016)

Coudert, Fleurie, Clos de la Roilette, Griffe du Marquis, 2014

Well, finally! I've tried a couple of vintages of this famous estate and they never lived up to my expectations. But this bottle does. The story is the original owner was so pissed off in the 1920's when the vagaries of the AOC laws forced him to sell his wines Fleurie instead of Moulin-a-Vent, that he labeled his wines Clos de Roilette, after his racehorse, and sold all his wines outside of France. Decades later, new ownership, and the name "Fleurie" is back on the label. This bottling is meant to be drunk with some age (like the aptly named Cuvee Tardive, where  the term tardive refers to late drinking, not late harvest), but I was impatient. There nose is pungently earthy and spicy, lightly meaty, and you get a sense of oak as a frame, not the picture in the foreground. The palate is charmingly rustic, with very good length, and best of all, very lively acidity. The downside, it's rather brooding and really does need a few years in the fridge. (Jun. 16, 2016)

37 USD.

Château d'Epiré, Savennières, 2009

Even though I love the Loire and Chenin Blanc, I've shied away from Savennières, mainly because the producers imported to Israel (Joly, Clusel, Baumard) are the kind that make better copy than food pairing, interesting to observe but often mixing ripeness, high alcohol and intense minerality for an almost psychedelic effect that I find too tiresome to pursue on a regular basis. So I probably haven't had a Savennières in five years. Château d'Epiré is one of American importer Kermit Lynch's pet finds, and for the US market, he selects a special, unfiltered cuvee. This, however, is the regular bottling distributed in Europe, annd it's oxidized, too, God fuck it! So much for the artisanal hype, I'll keep on looking for a Savennières to love. (Jun. 18, 2016)

About 25 GBP.

Chablis saved the evening. Chablis, when it's on, when it's really great, takes you over like a pipeline.

Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils, Chablis Grand Cru, Le Clos, Clos des Hospices, 2007

I always have such high expectations and hopes for Le Clos, that I invariable wind up being disappointed. But this, although initially reticent, is exquisitely refined, with a complex and elegant veil of saline shells, citrus and pungent lime. Great length and moreish acidity. (Jun. 18, 2016)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 360 NIS.



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