|The ongoing tale of the man who was heavily into Bourgogne|
2011 is considered a user-friendly vintage, with little aspirations of longevity. So, despite the age of the vines, and the quality of the domaine in general, this is already very enjoyable. There's a herbal, earthy pungency on the nose and a focused, palate-cleansing, tannic finish, that are so gastronomical and French. What I love in the domaine's wines is the floral freshness, which only signs in after the slight initial murkiness clears and the red fruit is highlighted. At which point you also get iron and animal musk. This is the kind of wine that convinces you early on it has breed past Village Cru level, but it takes almost three hours for me to figure out that pedigree carries it, in 2011, as far as a footstep or two away from Premier Cru tier, but no closer. (Nov. 4, 2016)
Bourgogne Crown, 310 NIS.
Charles Joguet, Chinon, Les Varennes du Grand Clos, 2009
As dense as a latter day Bordeaux, hints of lead pencil giving away its origins, this broadcasts the use of oak, but I definitely get the feeling that it will integrate nicely. Opened a decade too early, although a few hours are enough to signal its potential. (Oct. 8, 2016)
Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Uchizy, Maranches, 2008
Ordered by the glass at Habasta, this surprised me for its youthful vibrancy. It's been so long since I drank an eight year old Burgundy white this vital, and this is but a village wine from the Macon. It's flinty with decent complexity, green apples seguing into peaches. (Nov. 9, 2016)
Burgundy Wine Collection, 198 for a bottle at the restaurant, 140 NIS for a latterday vintage.
Domaine Pierre Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2014
Maoz, owner of Habsta, treated me to a tasting glassful from the remains of a bottle opened for 6 days. The oxygen apparently did it negligible harm, and my glass showed the same floral character I remembered from a tasting in May (a common feature for many of the domaine's wines), backed by elegant, yet persistent tannins. (Nov. 9, 2016)
Burgundy Crown, list price, 205 NIS.
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne, Dizy, Brut Rosé, n.v.
Refreshing, while packing a lot of saline-delineated flavors into a lithe frame, with autumnal red fruit and nuts on the nose. A good rosé Champagne should capture the essence of both Champagne and Pinot, and this one does with style. (Nov. 9, 2016)
Fat Guy, 299 NIS.
Weingut Hirsch, Kamptal, DAC Reserve, Zöbinger Heiligenstein 1er Lage, Riesling, 2011
Riesling often wears a spicy veil in Austria. Here for instance, where it also adorns a rocky corset, which is also quite typical. Beyond that, there are variations on that theme. For one thing, the body wearing the veil and corset is lithe and fluid, the fruit savorily dry, ranging from green apples to red apples and beyond, flirtingly evoking redcurrants. (Nov. 10, 2016)
Fat Guy, 229 NIS.
Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils, Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos, des Hospices, 2008
Wine poses no real aesthetic value to me without romance, and no wine is more romantic than Chablis, because Chablis evokes the sea - and the sea is the essence of romance. Chablis should offer a breath of marine breezes, sea weeds washed ashore, rainwater, shells and fossils, but sometimes the purest and most complex expressions of Chablis are found in the Premier Crus, and not necessarily the Grand Crus. It's almost as though the producers try too hard to impress, are too generous with the oak. And some Grand Crus are just too... grand, their character and breadth more akin to Chassagne and Puligny than to their Premier Cru neighbors. Especially Le Clos, which usually appeals to me less than, say, Valmur. I always hope a mature Grand Cru will combine the best of all worlds, but the premox curse seems to have hit Chablis has hard as it has the Cote d'Or. At eight years of age, this bottle, a monopole within the Le Clos vineyard, nails a sweet spot where the Chablis character is coming to terms with the size of Le Clos and all signs of oak are gone or so deeply submerged within the chalky, limey acidity that they might as well be gone, allowing for great length and a truly wonderful complexity of flavors. (Nov. 12, 2016)
Burgundy Wine Collection, 390 for recent vintages (the straight Le CLos and the other Grand Crus are 290 NIS).
Feldstein, Syrah Rose, 2014
I didn't write about this wine in my write-up of the launch, because Avi never released it, concerned that three roses was too much for the local market. I say, releasing two roses was not enough. Releasing three would have been a momentous, historical statement and Avi will regret his decision. Especially since this seems like the most interesting of the lot, with a hint of meat on the nose and a long finish that evokes salted cashews. There's even a hint of black pepper eventually - Syrah, you know. (Nov. 13, 2016)
By the way, this inspired a revisit to Avi's Carignan Rose, where I now notice a similar meaty salinity, as well as, surprisingly, a hint of apricots.
Yannick Amirault, Bourgueil, La Petite Cave, 2010
The 2006 taught me that this wine is slow to mature, but with the 2010, I figured I'd drink it over the course of a long evening and aerate it ahead of time. At first, I get dirt and graphite, and not a whole lot of depth or complexity. But that is a deceptive impression, just as the seeming softness is misleading. These is depth here, with a core of juicy fruit still dormant. (Nov. 17, 2016)
Fat Guy, 189 NIS.
Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2008
Further proof that this is a signature Israeli grape (never mind its actual origin), this has matured wonderfully, showing black fruit, even blue, that is succulent and fresh, the fruit not overripe but balanced with juicy acidity. Maturity has rendered the graphite notes, that are always the telltale stamp of this wine, with greater nuances and depth. (Nov. 19, 2016)
Domaine Chavy-Chouet, Bourgogne Blanc, Les Femelottes, 2014
From the fringes of Puligny proper, this is a precise, classic rendering of the village style, infused with green apples and flint. I don't know whether this needs the same keeping time as a bona fide village wine, but there's a cool aggressiveness about it that I think needs a year or two to soften up. (Nov. 19, 2016)
Bourgogne Crown, 105 NIS - to grab!
Abaya, Red, 2011
The lithe freshness of the fruit managed to surprise me, even though I didn't approach the wine expecting a ripe, muscle-bound Cabernet. Quite the contrary, having read of Yossi Yodfat's philosophy and goals. This is a Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon-Petite Sirah blend, that has been discontinued. I think many wine lovers don't appreciate the magic in a light wine such this, that drinks like fermented juice, a wine you can drink to quench your thirst, which is what wine was originally made for. It's short and simple, thriving on the interplay of black pepper and berries. (Nov. 27, 2016)
Margalit, Enigma, 2013
On the other hand, we have this Bordeaux blend from the former leader of the pack. I say 'former' because Margalit seems to be hanging on to the style of the previous decade, with grainy, dusty tannins and sweet oak not quite counteracted by minerals. The fight turns the next day, as the nose blossoms into a charming lattice of earth and olives. The grainy tannins, and the oak, are still too distracting for me, but then, it's really not a style I favor in the first place. (Nov. 29, 2016)
About 200 NIS.
Domaine de Bila-Haut (Chapoutier) , Côtes du Roussillon Villages, L'Esquerda, 2013
A bit unusual for the region, this is a Syrah dominated blend, with some Grenache and Cairgnan. It's softly tannic, red fruit and white pepper, becoming more complex and structured with air. (Nov. 30, 2016)
Hakerem, 100 NIS.