Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon, La Croix Boissée, 2011
I assumed that 2011 in the Loire was the equivalent of 2011 in Burgundy and the Rhone: a vintage you could approach early while waiting for the 2010's to start showing facial hair. And this is indeed approachable, but not quite. It impresses me as a nubile claret, much cleaner than other Baudry cuvees, which I'd grown just a bit disillusioned with lately. There's much potential here, natural fruit sweetness whose personality is rendered with notes of cedar and bell pepper and a sort of earthy, gritty, saline finish. Approachable my foot, it could age anywhere between five and fifteen years more. But it's really a great pleasure to follow it now, if you have more than one bottle. (Sept. 1, 2017)
Wine Route, 160 NIS.
Domaine Hubert Lamy, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru, Clos de Meix, 2013
There's always a sense of classicism with Lamy: class form, classic flavors, classic aromas. You'd think so much typicism and adherence to a paradigm would be boring, but the wines are so vivid and flavorsome they would escape any pigeon hole. Like just about any Lamy white, Clos de Meix displays the same kind of complexity and finesse I associate with Puligny and makes me very happy when I find it in the less expensive villages. Not that Lamy is cheap, exactly, but the wines are usually cheaper than Puligny, except for the flagship Haute Densité bottlings. (Sept. 4, 2017)
Bourgogne Crown, 270 NIS.
Sphera, First Page, 2016
This time it's a blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Semilon. However, it's hard for me to spot any of the components (not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just commenting on the fact). Aromatically, there is a sort of vaguely gray and muddy rainwater character, which I like, that reminds me of Muscadet, a bit. It's easy going on the palate: the fat comes from the Semilon, the sweetness from the Pinot and Riesling? Just a guess. Anyway, this is an interesting wine and there is both austerity and and an interplay between clarity and brittle, muddy bitterness that I take to be the winery's signature. (Sept. 5, 2017)
Sphera, Chardonnay, 2016
This is even better. It catches one fine aspect of Chardonnay: the fruit mostly apples with a touch of oranges, cloaked by flint; smoky, savory, almost salty, on the finish. It's actually the best aspect of Chardonnay and the reason people make those comparisons with Burgundy - before the grape became misused and abused, people looked to Bourgogne whites to showcase Chardonnay's ability to reflect changes in climate and field as nuances of savory, mineral drenched flavors. The flavor here is just a little more dilute than what you get in the Cote d'Or, at least, but there is a lithe structure and a fine sense of purity. Doron Rav Hon is a fine winemaker. (Sept. 6, 2017)
Both should be about 110 NIS, but this is Israel and your mileage might vary.
Francois Villard, Saint Joseph, Mairlant, 2013
A fun Syrah from an excellent practitioner: peppery and meaty, lithe and succulent, with persistent yet friendly tannins and iron on the nose. Deep, fulfilling nose, the palate a step behind. (Sept. 10, 2017)
Domaine Duroché, Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Jeunes Rois, 2014
It will age well - there's no way a wine with such balance of fruit and acidity could fail to age - but it's so unnervingly delicious and tasty I forgive myself for opening it now. This lieux-dit, like most of the domaine's wines, has a nose that shows a floral side of Gevrey with a touch of animal hide minerals. It's a lithe wine that makes me wonder how the hell a tart wine like that wound up with so many flavors without tiring my palate.
Cool fact to impress your friends: les jeunes rois means the young kings, but the vines are actually over sixty years old. (Sept, 18, 2017)
Bourgogne Crown, 240 NIS.
Benoit Ente, Aligote, 2014
I really have no idea how he does it, but all Benoit Ente's wines show filigreed purity and complexity and punch above their weight. In the case of the Aligote, make that way, way above their weight. It's probably my favorite Aligote, year in, year out, a prime showcase that it can be a world class grape. It has a very attractive flint and matchstick bouquet and a sour/sweet/salty melange on the finish. (Sept. 27, 2017)
Tabor, Shifon Vineyard, Tannat, 2013
Everyone seems to be planting everything, trying to carve out a niche while participating in the national hunt for the ideal local grape or grapes, hoping to nail one that can be marketed as "Mediterranean". One of Tabor's candidates is the Tannat grape. They've got a precedent, at least. Originating in southwest France, it's already the Uruguayan national grape. It's usually a tannic wine, appropriately enough given its name, and that is also the case here. It's not a very easy wine - it's not very friendly and it's certainly not elegant, it's actually rather awkward. (Sept. 29, 2017)