Quinta de Saes (Alvaro Castro), Dão, Reserva, Estagio Prologando, 2011
A sort of limited edition, with a long elevage, of the 'regular' field blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Alfro-Cheiro and other grapes. Just about the best Portugese red wine I've had so far, this hearty wine shows a very good balance of blue fruit, iron, acidity and tannins. (Mar. 2, 2018)
Dalton, Sémillon, Single Vineyard Elkosh, 2013
This is the oldest israeli white I've had in a long time and seems to be past its best. The nose is simple but interesting - sweet spices, ripe apricots, an almost sur-ripe character tempered by a hint of minerals - but the palate is short and bitter. I'm disappointed and that's a shame, as I'd heard good things about it and was looking forward. (Mar. 4, 2018)
Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2014
I'd like to turn DNA on its head and claim Cabernet Franc is what happens when you cross Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc: a green, spicy wine that needs years to show how the unholy marriage has added red shadings to the black fruit. Right now, you can drink the bottle over a couple of nights to allow the spiciness and the tannins to recede and let the red fruit shine. (Mar. 6, 2018)
Yaacov Oryah, Old Musketeer, n.v.
This is really a fine, unique wine, playing out like sherry sans flor, nutty and oxidized without sherry's cured meat paste and iodine. (Mar. 6, 2018)
Mia Luce, Syrah and Stems, 2015
I think this has lost some the initial, early charm and freshness. It's not exactly fat now, but it's not sprightly, either. On the plus side, it's deeper now than it used to be. It's tasty and balances sweet and salty flavors for a complex effect. (Mar. 6, 2018)
Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco, 2012
What I love about Produttori is this: mellow Old World - as opposed to hard Old World - clean, but not spotless, wines. They never fail to delight me, even when young and tongue-struck. This is tarry/dusty with salty/sour-cherry flavors and it carries across the flavors of the grape and the town without resorting to any extravagant gestures,. (Mar. 13, 2018)
About 200 NIS.
Domaines Ott, Bandol, Château Romassan, 2013
At the very least, this is interesting aromatically - I suppose Mourvedre always is - back fruit with meaty notes, as well as the mineral and herb suffused inflections that I tag as garrigue. The palate is a different matter. I hate having to contend with low acidity, and metallic tannins are even worse. This might be the price to pay for opening a Bandol so young. I've never had a mature one, actually, but my candidate for cellaring sure isn't going to be the arseheaded idea for a bottle the Romassan came in, that's for sure. The low acidity is the real deal breaker, but that bottle shape is as tacky as the old Chianti straw covers. (Mar. 23, 2019)
WineRoute, 210 NIS.
Simon Bize, Savigny-lès-Beaune Premier Cru, Aux Vergelesses, 2008
I like Bize, but I can't say he always knocks me out. This, though, is a beauty, the nose elegant and pure of fruit - and roughed up just right by the autumnal trappings typical of Pinot. Like many of the 2008's I've had, it thrives on lithe, well formed fruit, not very intense but not thin or unbalanced either, delineated by acidity and by rasping tannins. (Mar. 24, 2019)
Wind Gap Wines, Sonoma Coast, Syrah Armagh Vineyard, 2008
I drank the 2014 as an infant and it was very backward and brooding. This mature brother expresses the best of California - my expectations of it, anyway: clean black/blue fruit, a plump body buoyed by judicious acidity - and nods at the Rhone with hints of bacon and olives, all draped with black pepper. Lovely and classic. (Mar. 27, 2019)
K&L Wines, 50 USD.
Sphera, Sauvignon Blanc, 2015
All the varietal wines made by this white wine specialist are among the best local wines I drink and would fare well in a comparative tasting with international peers. This is no exception, with its restrained, Old World values and profile, favoring minerals and green herbs over overt fruitiness, with a warm ripeness that doesn't collapse or veer off to the tropical. (Mar. 29, 2019)
Château Bourgneuf, Pomerol, 2009
That Petrus and Lafleur are unranked is an annoyance that is not that hard to explain, given how the history of Bordeaux progressed, and for the most part it hasn't really bothered anyone in the last half century. But not every property is a Petrus, or even a Hosanna, and Bourgneuf would probably not rank higher than a Cru Bourgeois, although Hugh Johnson says the wines are savory and have improved since 2009. I think I got the "savory" part when I bought this wine about six years ago. Other than that, it's a rough wine that is almost tempered by the ripeness of the 2009 fruit - tempering by acidity would have worked out better and maybe brought out some complexity. As it is, this is rather pedestrian, almost - but not quite - redeemed by a suggestion of Pomerol lush. (Mar. 31, 2019)