Fourny et Fils, Vertus Premier Cru, Rose Vinotheque, Extra Brut, n.v. (2012 based)
This is made of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, a portion of the Pinot coming from still juice for color and flavor. It captures both the autumnal essence of Pinot Noir as well as the bracing chalkiness of Vertus. Ripe without flab or sweetness, complex and elegant but at the same time youthful and powerful, all freshness with not a hint of brioche or mushrooms. I like it as is. I’m sure it will age but it’s really a point for me. (Nov. 9, 2018)
Albarinho sauteed with mushrooms. (Nov. 5, 2018)
Feldstein, Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, 2014
Discrete aromas of rainwater, gunpowder and roasted almonds, even more demure aromas and flavors of melons and peaches and a gentle sensation of sauteed herbs in the background. A wine of complexity and nigh regal finesse. (Nov. 13, 2018)
Feldstein, Shalem, 2016
Avi's legacy white grape blend is predominantly Viognier (35%), with Rousanne, Sauvignon Blanc and Dabuki making up the balance. This isn't a wine aiming at an expression of terroir or grape, but rather a wine where Avi maps his vision of what an Israeli wine should taste like, by piecing together components drawn from across the country. The result is as a refined and flinty as any other white he makes. (Nov. 17, 2018)
Pierre Gaillard, Côte-Rôtie, 2010
The 45 GBP I paid for this is almost a silly price. Sometimes a fine wine, like a fine dish, only needs 2-3 components handled with a deft hand. Here, nature offered violets and smoked bacon to complement the lithe fruit. The succulent depth and captivating finesse showcase the feminine side of Côte-Rôtie. (Nov. 10, 2018)
Moccagatta, Barbaresco, Bric Balin, 2011
Moccagatta is a likable modernist. a moderate modernist judging by my limited experience, but I fear I opened this too soon, at a phase where the Nebbiolo's telltale aromas (roses, tar) are still overshadowed by a whiff of oak. The oak adds vanilla on the palate, too, softening, to some extent, the typical savoriness of the Nebbiolo. This showing saddens me, because I loved the 2008, and I'll have to live with the results of my haste. (Nov. 15, 2018)
40 euros in Rome, not a bad price.
Louie Jadot, Bourgogne, Domaine Gagey, La Chapitre, 2015
La Chapitre is one of three vineyard in the Cote d'Or whose name may be legally mentioned on the label, despite being a lowly Bourgogne AOC. Apparently, the entire Chenove commune, where it resides, was left out of the Burgundy ranking because its vineyards were untended at the time the Burgundy appellations were given legal stature. However, La Chapitre had enough historical significance for the legal exemption and there are at least two single vineyard bottlings from the La Chapitre that take advantage of the law. The Bizot bottling from the vineyard would help make a case that it could have been a Premier Cru, Jadot's version is not quite as convincing as that, but damn if it isn't a fine wine and you might peg it as a village Marsannay in a blind tasting, what with its black cherries and autumnal, leafy aromas and flavors adorning a firm structure. It has much more depth and grip than a mere regional wine. Except for a slight astringency on the finish, it's the first Jadot I've had in ages that I like as much as the stuff coming in from the Young Turks small growers. (Nov. 17, 2018)
Wine Route, 170 NIS.
Bestheim, Marckrain Grand Cru, Gewurztraminer, 2015
I'm a guy who doesn't drink more than two or three Gewurztraminers a year, so my experience isn't very wide, but I have been drinking the stuff for 12 years and I have spent some time analyzing what I like and dislike about the grape. I think there's a sweet spot in Gewurztraminers where their elusive magic lies. The dry versions are the most aromatic, because they tend to show the full palate of the grape: litchi, rose petals, white pepper, ginger. But they dry versions can be aggressively spicy. The sweeter ones temper the spiciness but seem to highlight the exotic fruit and flowers. The middle ground between the two extremes is what I'm always looking for, but even the ones that hit that fulcrum point aren't necessarily great, they're just the half-tame, half-wildlings that I can appreciate and enjoy drinking. The Bestheim Mackrain , for example, isn't a great wine in the overall scheme of things, but it does balance sweet and spicy flavors, it's not aggressive or over the top and it's decently complex . It's well priced and can age 3-5 years. (Nov. 18, 2018)
TL;DR There's no need to drink more than two or three Gewurztraminers a year and the Bestheim Mackrain is a well priced candidate for being one of them.
Wine Route, 130 NIS.
Barbeito, Madeira, Malvasia Single Cask, 2005
A truly fine Madeira, whose filigree is evidenced by the subtle complexity of its aromas - a nuts, caramel and dried fruits - and the way pungent flavors and an angular frame are contained within a light, creamy envelope. The acidity is remarkable for a wine matured in warm and humid cellars.(Nov. 22, 2018)
About 40 euros for a 500 cc bottle (in Lisbon).
Tzora, Judean Hills, 2016
Surprisingly, this is less approachable than the 2016 Shoresh red, which is the greatest Shoresh Eran Pick has come up with so far (and which would be a flagship wine at any local property that didn't have a Misty Hills to sell). Like just about every Tozra red, the fruit is amply red for my tastes, with an overlay that suggest to me pines and dusty earth. But you need to give it a very long airing. Or age it - and one day, I will. (Nov. 24, 2018)
Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre, 2017
One thing people don't often notice or comment on Sauvignon Blanc is its versatility. Depending on where and how it's grown, it can be leafy, tropical or mineral-ish. The Vacheron version manages to touch on all bases. Vacheron is a great house and I wish the single vineyards were a little cheaper or at least easier to find, but even so, it's one of the stars in the Wine Route portfolio. (Nov. 24, 2018)
Guimaro, Ribeira Sacra, Finca Meixeman, 2015
Finally got what I was looking for in Guimaro: fresh, supple floral fruit that goes a long way to explain why Mencia isn't just another grape heralded as a would-be Pinot Noir. (Nov. 27, 2018)
Eldad Levy, about 190 NIS - your mileage may vary.
Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello, Barolo, Villero, 2009
When old timers talk about the delicacy of Nebbiolo, this is what they mean, I guess. Of course, they refer to mature Nebbiolo, not a ten year old youngster, but then 2009 is not considered a vintage for long cellaring. I get subtle, nuanced aromas of dried cherries, exotic spices and tea leaves, as well as hints of forest floor, and savory, chewy tannins that are balanced by an almost feline softness of fruit. Here is a Barolo with a Barbaresco, nigh Burgundian character. (Nov. 30, 2018)