Domaine Pattes Loup, Chablis Premier Cru, Beauregard, 2014
A new Chablis in town. Even with the recent influx of new producers, but this is definitely a Chablis we need: intense with salty minerals on the nose, long and infused with limey acidity on the palate. Tightly focused and pure. (Aug. 3, 2017)
Bourgogne Crown, 210 NIS.
Maison Romane, Chateau de Berze, Macon, 2014
The intense iron-drenched minerality on the nose is almost reminiscent of Bordeaux, actually, while earthy cherries do pin it down in the vicinity of Bourgogne. Very tangy and succulent and tasty as always. (Aug. 5, 2017)
Bourgogne Crown, 185 NIS.
La Maison Romane, Fixin Le Clos, 2014
I'm infatuated with the Maison, but because I can usually spot Oronce de Beler's stylistic fingerprint from miles off, I had started to fret that the style might overwhelm the specifics of the terroirs he works. Ha! This is not only softer and more sensual than the Berthault Le Clos of the same year, it is also a much different creature than the Maison's Macon, Gevrey or Marsannay. So while I might not have a good notion yet of what Fixin is like, I know Oronce had let it have its voice. This is, as I said, soft. It's also floral and and so succulently and lightly red that it borders on orange and the fruits that come to mind are pomegranate and mandarin oranges. Very lovely aromatics - the red fruit is adorned by earth, clay, spices and a hint of meat - and a moreish palate, acidity driven, the tannins very tame and lithe. (Aug. 13, 2017)
Bourgogne Crown, 255 NIS.
La Maison Romane, Fixin Le Clos, 2013
More of the same, but more advanced and, at this point, tastier, with lithe, delectably sweet fruit. The clay and meat are still there, but there's a more pronounced presence of forest floor. This is really the kind of 'little' Bourgogne that keeps you coming back for more. (Aug. 20, 2017)
For some reason, it was more expensive than the 2014 - 305 NIS.
La Maison Romane, Gevrey-Chambertin, La Justice, 2012
If you want justice, go to Gevrey, where every producer seems to bottle a bunch of cases from the Justice lieux-dit. Joke aside, this is very typical of meaty, sauvage Gevrey and shows the complexity of a Premier Cru, albeit with less substance. The nose shows fine nuances of iron and sweat - as well as the exotic spices that permeate most of the Cote de Nuits to a lesser or greater extent - while the palate is charmingly rusty, the fluidity of the finish making up for any deficit in the weight of the body. The fruit is mostly red, with some blue - I don't know why it is that wines with red and blue fruit are more elegant than those with red and black, but they are usually quite lovely . (Aug. 23, 2017)
Expensive at 420 NIS.
Vitkin, Grenache Blanc, 2015
This is, as always, a classy and interesting wine, lithe and very food friendly, given its dry finish and good acidity. The grocery list includes apricots, flint and spices. (Aug. 12, 2017)
Vitkin, Grenache, 2014
Such a lovely wine, floral and spicy where most Vitkin reds are mineral and/or meaty. It always strikes me as Assaf Paz' labor of love, the flavors and aromas seeming to toy with the notion of bursting into a wild, outre cacophony, yet remaining respectable, but never tame. (Aug. 17, 2017)
Lewinsohn, Garage de Papa, 2015
Of all the candidates for best Israel red, this pulls it off with seemingly the least effort. Its graceful ease and comfort and generous helpings of black pepper make it an Israel Saint Joseph in style and kinship. (Aug. 12, 2017)
Chéreau-Carré, Comte Leloup de Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Cuvée des Ceps Centenaires, 2013
If you like Chablis, you'll like Muscadet. There must be enough people in Israel who feel the same way about it, because Wine Route have been importing Chéreau-Carré for six years now - and they're always very conscious of the bottom line. It's not a Chablis clone, of course. I'm just using Chablis as a reference for the salty aroma/flavor profile that strikes me, as well as a majority of writers, as marine-like. The Muscadets I've drunk were less steely in feel and texture than Chablis. You'll usually find Chéreau-Carré ranked among the recommended sources and rightly so. This is the flagship wine and it's a steal at 90 NIS. (Aug. 16, 2017)
Domaine des Lises (Maxime Graillot), Saint Joseph, 2013
I expected more, because I'm a fan of Maxime's dad, Alain, and I also enjoyed a Maxime Crozes last year. But this is softer and less impressive than either one, very correct and typical but not very exciting. (Aug. 19, 2017)
About 20 GBP.
The father, however, crafts a classic Crozes that can match any of the classic North Rhone wines.
Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, 2011
A fantastic nose, meaty and peppery, detailed and sensual. The palate is just as alluring, soft enough for any practical usage around the dinner table, at the same time fresh and lively, teeming with potential, the juicy acidity effortlessly guiding the whole thing to a long, splendidly saline finish that evokes olives. I've drunk ten year old Graillot, twelve year olds, I know they age well - but it still amazes me what a fresh wine he makes from this backwater AOC, even in a purportedly less than stellar vintage. (Aug. 25, 2017)
Wine Route, 190 NIS.
Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, Gershon, 2013
At least three other Israeli wineries make world-class candidates for best Israeli Sauvignon Blanc (Tzora, Sphera, Feldstein) and they all show distinctive, personal character. Where the Gershon stands apart stylistically is that it is the most Bourgogne. Some local pundits have lately made a hobbyhorse of the dogma that making comparisons with other wine regions is narrow minded and snobbish. Well, you can tuck it back in your pants. I like the best of the local fare and I make such comparisons all the time, from wines all over the world. It helps me understand a wine by seeing how well I can fit it into different molds. Or not. The Gershon starts out with a lean, funky mineral shimmer that is a cross between Chablis and Puligny. The the oak comes out with a little more force and the wine gains a spicy pear nose akin to Meursault. And it can definitely age, too; the 2011 is now hitting its stride and the 2013 appears to need 2-3 years to find a golden path between the different stylistic frameworks. But even now its intensity of flavors is impressive. (Aug. 22, 2017)
Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal, DAC Reserve, Grub Erste Lage, Grüner Veltliner, 2010
Gruner is a grape like no other. I suppose you could say the same about Gewurztraminer, except Gruner doesn't come chained to the same baggage as Gewurtz. The Grub's nose is bold in the way it lays out yellow fruit, smoke and spices, but it's not overbearing, and the palate is broad and ripe yet manages to balance its ripeness with a deep bottom of flavors. Which is a combination very much more suitable to spicy food, because it's robust enough to face up to it without being tiring in its own right. (Aug. 30, 2017)
Fat Guy, 211 NIS.