A Man And A Bottle Of Rousanne Walk Into A Bar. (Jun. 1, 2017)

The evening played out like a bull fight. The picadors played around with Californian wines of varying pedigree. The pace picked up with classic French wines. Finally, matador Avi Feldstein waltzed in to deliver the coup de grace.

Feldstein , Rousanne, 2014

I wrote about this wine in the past. I liked it, I truly did (I don't think Avi could make a bad wine even if he really tried), but it's a white Rhone grape and I approached the wine with prejudice and trepidation. In fact, I actually went as far as to write:

"Jesus, Avi - Rousanne?"

But what an amazing wine it turned out to be.

Fresh and funky, sweet white fruit on the nose, a dry, flavorsome wine that proved much better than what previous bottles had led me to expect of it. Respect, Avi has conjured an all-star wine out of what I would normally consider a journeyman grape, especially in Israel.

Halutzim - not only is the food great, but it's the best place to photograph wines
Wind Gap Winery, Sonoma Coast, Nellessen Vineyard, Syrah,  2015

There is a surprising lack of consistency, as this bottle was not as good as the glass I drank at the winery a couple of months ago, which I thought excellent at the time. This bottle was simple and short and none of us thought greatly of it. So, this is either a case of bottle variation or too little air and cellar time, we'll never know.

Or just me, caught up in the atmosphere of the hipster winery.

Charles Joguet, Chinon, Clos de la Dioterie, 2011

I'm going to avoid drinking Loire reds from serious producers before they turn ten. That's the only tasting note you need here. Seriously. If you want to buy a bottle, I'd recommend it with suitable cellar time - because the structure and the producer's track record make this a good gamble - but a description of the current state of the wine is just not going to be very useful.

Wind Gap Winery, Alexander Valley, Sceales Vineyard, Grenache, 2015

I brought this because I thought it would be of professional interest to Avi Feldstein, who turned out to be the taster who enjoyed it the most. It's low keyed, fruity, candied with a layer of white pepper. Deceptively short and simple, I think it's a suggestion of what Grenache can be when it's not over-extracted. 

Rhys, Santa Cruz Mountains, Skyline Vineyard, 2008

This purports to be a stellar wine, but I find its monolithic stage presence quite boring and, despite its ripeness, it's a little hollow. 

Alain Voge, Cornas, VV, 2013

Unlike the Rhys, this is the real deal, dense and expressive, laced with black pepper and minerals. The palate is painfully, illegally young. 

Chateau Giscours, Margaux 3me Cru, 1996

I had an initial impression here, which ended up embarrassing me within ten minutes. I thought it was ripe for the vintage and on the simple side. Then it suddenly reveals a much more complex nose, mixing red and black fruit with espresso, as well as savory tannins. Turns out it's just what you'd expect of a twenty year old Margaux, that is, good balance and a lithe body.