Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Beware The Wines Of March (March, 2019)


Domaine Du Jaugaret, 2011

The story is well known in trendy Manhattan wine circles: a small domaine in Saint Julien - you can't even call it a family domaine as it is run and maintained by childless octogenarian Jean-François Fillastre, hanging on to his family heritage for as long as his body will hold out - that was booted out of the appellation for lack of typicality. It's true that it's more masculine and earthy than what most would consider appropriate for the village, but no one ever kicked out Chateau Talbot for being foursquare and stodgy. When I first sniffed the graphite, iron and earth I thought of a cross between Haut-Medoc, Saint Estephe and Pessac-Leognan. And yet, the red fruits, velvety body and juicy acidity are classy and, indeed, very much in the Saint Julien mold. It's lovely, gorgeous, tasty, better than the 2012 we had a few months ago, and the world would be better off with more wines like this. A craving for claret coupled with news of 2011 mediocrity made me open it now, but this could have stayed in the fridge another decade and, at the very least, have held very well. (Mar. 30, 2019)

Selbach-Oster, Mosel, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spätlese, 2012

In order to convey the beauty of Mosel Rieslings, I need to go a little Zen on you. It's all in the simplicity of their complexity, in the lightness of their depth. In the way they express so much more than the sum of their aromas and flavors. And this is a spectacularly expressive and tantalizing rendition, with a texture both gripping and nuanced, light yet lingering, limpid yet buoyed by a swath of electrifying acidity; all the while the bouquet (apples and green mint, flowers and mossy cold chalk) carries a stamp of place that will convert anyone to the lore of terroir. (Mar. 10, 2019)

Eldad Levy, 155 NIS.

Tulip, Winemaker Series, Chardonnay, Mata, 2017

David Bar-Ilan writes on the back label that it took him a few years to learn to love Chardonnay and then a few more to settle on his own approach to the variety. Formally, that turned to be a single vineyard bottling (Mata is the name of the vineyard) and a relatively light barrel regime, 6 months. It's a clean, focused, savory wine, not thin or scrawny, ripe pears rubbed with baking spices, minerals hidden deep beneath the surface. Cote Chalonnaise. rather than Cote d'Or, would be a good reference point. It's a good, promising debut, and although there's still a ways to go, I'm happy David opted for clarity rather than flash. (Mar. 15, 2019)

Joseph Drouhin, Pommard, 2011

The blood-and-iron beauty of Pommard, with just a hint of flowers, wonderful clarity of fruit and surprising freshness for a village wine of this vintage. Sometimes Burgundy gives your a surprise French kiss. Although, to be honest, one that ends somewhat abruptly, in this case. (Mar. 17, 2019)

Lahat, White, 2017

Rousanne, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc - must be an Israeli wine because few other countries can boast of blends like this. What it has is yellow summer fruits with a streak of earth and dust. If it evolves like the 2013 I had a few months ago, expect that earthiness to morph into flint. For now, enjoy the spicy finish. (Mar. 19, 2019)

Sphera, Sauvignon Blanc, 2018

This is a style I pigeonhole as New Zealand. Because of the guayavas and the other tropical fruits in the mix that I can't make out. And the green freshness that transports you to a postcard picture of grassy hills and bright skies. Because of the way it's both taut and broad at the same time. But a lot of that is because Sauvignon Blanc is just so vivid and tangy in its youth that it overwhelms the sense of terroir. Like most of its peers in the Israeli top class, this Sauvignon should expose layers of minerals in a year or two. Enjoyable at any age, really. (Mar. 20, 2019)

Sphera, Riesling, 2017

The book on Riesling is it shouldn't thrive in Israel's warm climate, yet, for the second straight vintage, Sphera virtually rewrites the book. Apples seared in tarragon and garrigue and a long, spicy finish. (May. 21, 2019)

J.L. Chave Sélection, St. Joseph, Offerus, 2015

Is it till late to submit a Winter of Syrah post? I only drink this lovely wine, that Chave make in their role as neogicant, once every few vintages, but it's always a sexy example of the appellation, succulent fruit that manages to be broad and focused at the same time, with tasty nuances of bacon, olives and pepper. 2015 is a bit on the fat, sweet side, due to the generous weather, but it's still a good wine. (Mar. 23, 2019)

Wine Route usually sells it at around the 150 NIS price point, in one of their various discount permutations.

Sea Horse Winery, Antoine, Tete de Cuvee, 2013

A lovely country wine, with fairly complex aromatics (herbs, iron, iodine), a sweet/savory finish and tons of personality. A craftsman's work. (May 25, 2019)


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