Sourced from 60+year old vines, this is not even the flagship wine. But it's good enough to fool me. The top dog, the El Palomar, is sourced from 150 year old vines. It probably needs more time that I gave it to show its best, which is why the bottle I had in May was less spectacular than this beauty, which explodes with minerals and acidity. This is what Sauvignon Blanc would taste like if it drove a pink Cadillac. (Oct. 22, 2018)
Fat Guy, 120 NIS.
Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin, Blanc de Blancs, 2007
I'm a fan of the GHW sparkling wines - and of little else in the portfolio. So this is the first Katzrin, of any kind, that I've bought in almost fifteen years. Running through the technical details, this is 100% Chardonnay from the northern Golan Heights, it is brut nature (so virtually no dosage) and recently disgorged (I assume 1-2 years ago). Its Champagne peers would be a mid tier vintages - not the blue chip cuvees or the Special Clubs. There's a backbone of fine acidity with excellent focus, but the substance atop of that backbone is too clunky for blue chip filigree. However, given that backbone of acidity, I feel comfortable letting it cellar for at least 1-2 years and see what happens. At any rate, easily one of the best 10 local whites released this year. (Oct. 5, 2018)
About 250 NIS.
Flam, Syrah, Reserve, 2016
An excellent nose, peppery and sexy, very much Syrah, almost Rhône: riper than Saint Joseph, less complex that Cote Rotie. Needs a couple of hours of air before its sweet and bitter flavors to come into balance. (Oct. 1, 2018)
About 140 NIS.
Harashim, Black Bird, 2016
Another Syrah (from the Galilee, just like the Flam), from a small, bio-dynamic boutique this time. The Syrah character is less obvious, on the sweet side, rather than the savory, peppery side. Just okay.
Domaine Geantet-Pansiot, Chambolle-Musigny, Vieilles Vignes, 2012
The floral character of the village is here, but I admit that, were I to taste it blind, I might confuse this for a Gevrey. Well, this is probably appropriate given that this is a Gevrey domaine. The complexity and depth are on par for an upper tier village wine, while the black fruit is a tad rustic. Very good, with a tasty, saline finish. (Oct. 2, 2018)
Lahat, White, 2013
Mute at first, we put the bottle aside and by the time we returned to it two hours later, this Rhône white blend opened up to show funky minerality and persistent presence a la Burgundy. Lovely! (Oct. 4, 2018)
Chateau de Hureau, Saumur-Champigny, Lisagathe, 2010
With a cedar streak and subtle minerals, this is clean and easily one of the best Loire reds I’ve had. Good form and potential, potential it is already living up to. (Oct. 4, 2018)
Bar-Maor Winery, Chardonnay, 2017
This isn't bad, showing a tropical side of Chardonnay that is almost Sauvignon in character. It's a bit sweet and limpid, perhaps rather short and simple, but its clean and pure flavors are very refreshing. However, I think Chardonnay needs more tensile strength to show best. (Oct. 7, 2018)
About 100 NIS.
For the same price, and a similar approach (elevage in stainless steel), Sphera, Chardonnay, 2017 is a wine with greater focus and verve. I don't know if it's due to better terroir or a more confident hand in the winery, but Doron Rav-Hon has again crafted an elegant marriage of apples, chalk and salt, with the tensile strength I missed in the Bar-Maor.
Muga, Rioja Blanco, 2017
What my recent experience with Iberian whites as taught me is that they can be some of the most mineral laden of wines, in a sense more so than Burgundy. Maybe it's because the specific character of the minerals they evoke can be more sulfurous and saltier. This is a good example of that, especially since it retained a lot of freshness after a mere three months in barrel, so that it shows limey, citrusy flavors complemented by salt. (Oct. 15, 2018)
Selbach-Oster, Mosel, Zeltinger Sonnenuh, Riesling Spätlese, Ur Alte Reben, 2012
Drier than an average spätlese without being outright dry, this is a well measured and balanced cocktail of green apples, pears, pink grapefruit and slate aromas and flavors. (Oct. 19, 2018)
Fat Guy, 169 NIS.