Maps and Legends (March, 2019)

The more, the merrier
I restocked on the some of the wines from the debut Feldstein release , so I had enough bottles to drink my merry way through a sort of retrospective. I'll TL;DR the highlights for you. The Semillon-Sauvignon is iconic, the Grenache is idiosyncratic, the Cabernet is the heir of a beloved icon

Feldstein, Grenache, 2014

Grenache will probably never garner enough of a fan base to become the most popular grape among aficionados, no matter how much of it is grown and bottled. Important as it is, I doubt many, if at all, will ever vote for it as the best red grape. No surprise there, it really isn't. But it can suit some terroirs very well and, like I said, it's an important grape: in the South Rhone, Languedoc-Roussillon, Spain. Similarly, it might not strike everyone as the best red wine Feldstein makes, but it's an interesting one and I can understand why he made it. It's not the friendliest wine, it won't make you smack your lips, but it's a brain twister of a wine, and rewards the efforts needed to puzzle out its aromas and flavors. Despite the 14.8% ABV, it comes off as a lighter wine than that, with floral and herbal aromas and a lithe tannic structure. The challenge, for me, is placing the spicy note that shows up in the aromas and flavors. It's sort of garrigue-like, but there are hints of chocolate and cinnamon as well. (Mar. 1, 2019)

Feldstein, Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, 2015

This would be a great joker in a blind tasting. I don't drink a lot of white Bordeaux, which every Sauvignon-Semillon blend in the world echoes, but this reminds me of the few that I have. It has a flinty, nutty veneer, the fruit profile marrying the lean edge of the Sauvignon with the fatter, oilier texture of Semillon. The flavors, like the aromas, are a decently complex, subtle mix, peaches with a light layer of salt coating their skin. Like the French white classics, the fruit here flirts but never puts out. (Mar. 4, 2019)

Feldstein, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

The Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered that Avi crafted at Segal was an iconic wine from the late 90's until Avi left Segal in 2008. The old vintages held up and the ones I tasted had aged well, but I never bought enough. This is a resurrection of sorts, another unfiltered Cabernet (Avi also added "unfined" on the label) from his beloved Dishon vineyards in the Upper Galilee. It even has a similar aromatic profile, a rich tapestry of blackcurrants, herbs and a hint of iron, a touch of chocolate buried in dust. The palate has a lush texture, underpinned by excellent acidity, a lither frame than the more muscular Segal of old, reflecting the aromas, highlighting the spicy kick of a young Cabernet without smothering the impact. It's halfway to the age I intend to open my next bottle, if I could manage to bide my time. (Mar. 7, 2019)

Feldstein, Gilgamesh, 2014

Proprietary blends rarely come much more proprietary than this improbable, almost imponderable, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Argaman and Viognier blend. I think I know what to make of this - all kinds of grapes from all over the country, forming an overview or primer on Israeli reds. I get the dusty herbs of the Cabernet, the black cherries of the Argaman, the warm fruit of the Carignan - blackcurrants cooked into a spicy sauce - I get how they intertwine and play against each other. I get lost when I try to understand why Avi named the wine Gilgamesh. What historical or cultural context is he referring to? Gilgamesh was not even from here, here being C'naan. He was a Sumerian folk hero. But he was a precursor to many of the myths, legends and Biblical stories that inform the Western culture that was born in the Mediterranean basin, so maybe this is Avi's way of calling this a Mediterranean wine, without using this term, which he likes even less than I do? If so, it's a very fine Mediterranean wine, his friendliest red wine from day one, without the visceral punch of the Grenache. (Mar. 9, 2019)

Feldstein, Shalem, 2014

A Viognier dominated blend, aided and abetted by Rousanne, Sauvignon Blanc and Dabouki, it is infused with more flinty nuances than I'd ever expected from a wine than with Viognier in its payload. I've tasted every vintage of the Shalem, so far, but this is the first time I've drank it in maturity. Like the Semillon-Sauvignon, the form is classic French, latter-day technology serving the fine, clean craft that allows the fruit to shine through. It doesn't have the depth and balance of the Semillon-Sauvignon and there is a hint of bitter pips on the finish I could have done without  - I blame the Viognier, of course. (Mar. 12, 2019)