Taking Care Of Business (Jan. 2018)

Luis Pato, Bairrada, Vina Formal, Parcel Candido, Cercial, 2015

This is pure Cercial - another of those weird Portugese grapes grown nowhere else, and honestly, it doesn't taste a lot like anything else. It's unique without being too weird, not a hipster wine which makes too much effort to be a challenge. It's very mineral laden, but I couldn't tell you which minerals exactly without breaking into a geology exhibit and licking every rock. The balance of fruit and acidity is such that I wouldn't wager on long aging, but it's really perfect right now, a savory treat whose flavors would perfectly complement a spicy sea food dish. (Jan. 1, 2018)

Eyal Mermelstein (Tchernichovsky)

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, La Crau, 2005

I can never really go back to loving Châteauneuf, but I have to admit this was so stony and stern I actually liked it. I can appreciate the richness and it's much more structured that I'd hoped. Still, it's a bit one-dimensional. (Jan. 2, 2018)

Wine Route, 250 NIS, back in the day - y'know, the day when I was actually buying the stuff.

I'm here to once again clue you in on a winery very likely to have slipped under your radar

Kishor, GSM, 2015

Dusty and peppery, with a lithe tenderness and cool, vibrant, blue fruit you wouldn't usually expect to get from a wine with 14% ABV. (Jan. 4, 2018)

70-80 NIS.

Kishor, Savant, Riesling, 2016

Just because a Riesling is off dry and lean doesn't make it a Mosel Kabinett ripoff. I think the style isn't an artistic choice but dictated by the how balanced the wine is at this level of sweetness. It's too languid and salty to be a copycat, anyway. As always, the modesty of the Kishor wines is quite fetching. (Jan. 7, 2018)

About 100 NIS.

Kishor, Savant, Red, 2014

Modesty - and restraint - are also the keywords with the Kishor flagship red, which is a Bordeaux blend that ignores the fashionable "Mediterranean grapes" trend. Modesty and restraint also make it a hard sell and hard to write up. Because if you don't want to waste space and time on aromas and tastes, then all I can really say about it is that it's a compact claret, ready from the start to put out currants and iron and finesse your palate with a rusty, old school finish. It doesn't try to be flashy, it will just get you because it's so user and food friendly - and it gets me, because I buy it every year. I think the Kishor philosophy is that the star wine doesn't have to get as many points as it can, it just has to be the most complete wine. (Jan. 12, 2018)

About 100-120 NIS.

Bourgogne on through to the other side

La Maison Romane, Gevrey-Chambertin, La Justice, 2013

Oronce de Beler understands Gevrey. I didn't drink this blind, but I don't imagine it would be hard to nail Gevrey in a blind tasting. It has the typical thumbprint of animal hide and iron. The body has ample weight, yet with a silky texture, and a very tasty tart/sour finish, almost like pomegranate juice. (Jan. 5, 2018)

Bourgogne Crown - recent vintages are close to 400, due to the house's cult status.

Domaine Rossignol-Trapet, Bourgogne, 2014 

This is another product of Burgundian in-breeding. There are at least three Rossignol domaines as well as a Trapet. Think that's confusing? The domaine has holdings in Gevrey, Beaune and Savigny, so where does this come from? Turns out it comes from the Pressonier and La Grand Champs lieux-dits around Gevrey. La Grand Champs is just outside the village AOC, with no visible geographical reason for it to be a plain Bourgogne. In fact, it's bordered by three village crus. Pressonier is an even more mysterious story. There are three adjoining Pressonier plots, two of which are village Crus. I have no idea what was used here and the Rossignol-Trapet site is just about as useless as parochial France ever gets. As for the wine, it's very tasty, not very weighty, long or complex, with a dash of iron - and it's just what I expect from an entry level wine from a family domaine: a wine that shows a bit of terroir and a bit of the house style and won't make you feel like you got suckered into buying a wine designed to create a little cash flow, which is what you might get from a bigger house.  (Jan. 16, 2018)

30 GBP.

Chateau Lafleur-Gazin, Pomerol, 2011

A Bordeaux for variety's sake. This is more or less what I expected, oak-spiced fruitcake, modern, yet restrained -  a touch hollow, which I did not expect, or anyway had hoped not to get.
 At 200 NIS - at a discount! - this is a great example of how overpriced Bordeaux - which was never cheap in the first place - has become. (Jan. 19, 2018)

Wine Route.

Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet et Fils, Saint-Aubin Premuer Cru, Derrière la Tour, 2014 

Here's why I love Burgundy. You think you got a lot of it down and then you discover a little corner that's a totally new experience. The little I know of Saint-Aubin reds is the Lamy Derrière chez Edouard, Vieilles Vignes,. This is not on that order of intensity or quality, but it shows a specific aspect of Bourgogne terroir I haven't tasted yet. A lot of earthy forest floor,  but the earth is packed and dense, and it shows a vein of flint that you'll find the village's white wines. Finally there's even a touch of black pepper. It's only medium bodied, but it's lithely robust, and fills out, deepens and lengthens as the fruit gains black shadings and floral notes. It's an everyday house wine, but one I'd love to drink, well, every day. (Jan. 22, 2018)

Bourgogne Crown, 155 NIS.

Well, then, I did mention Lamy...
Domaine Hubert Lamy, Saint Aubin Premier Cru, Derrière chez Edouard, Vieilles Vignes, Rouge, 2013

It's no surprise that this is the better wine, even though it expresses its quality in rather reserved terms. Lamy is a killer winemaker and the vines here are half a century old. Derrière chez Edouard is earthy and floral and you notice the vibrancy, depth, length and silky filigree of the red and blue fruit from the first sip. The complexity comes later. If you must score a wine, you might as well score for how good it tastes - this would be a 95 pointer. (Jan. 25, 2018)

Bourgogne Crown, 290 NIS.

A few wines from a short trip to Budapest

Lenkey Human, Tokay-Hegyalja, Feher, Furmint, 2011

A terrific hipster house wine with a funky/mineral /reduction thing going. And what a name for a winery!

Kreinbacher Birtok, Prestige, Brut, n.v.

A Hungarian sparkler with the traits that speak to me - mushrooms, baked apples - and, in addition, really nails the Champagne core value of placing the mushrooms and minerals upfront, albeit with less finesse than Champagne. Plenty of character, though. My first impression was a Pinot Meunier heavy Chanpagne.

Gilvesy Pinceszet, Badacsony, Taranyi Rajnai Rizling, 2016

A complex and interesting wine and I’d return to it for sure. Honeyed and spicy with residual sweetness. I can’t really find a parallel to contextualize it. Maybe old school Austria?

Gunzer Zoltan, Villany, Kekfrankos Selection, 2012

I’m lost. A spicy/dusty red, I would have guessed something much closer to the Mediterranean basin. On reflection, I can also find parallels with a Merlot based petit Bordeaux. Not bad, quite good actually, clean, modern, yet not made by someone out for points,but I have no way of understanding what voice it’s trying to find. I