June Bugs (June, 2019)

First evening of June was the Champions League Finals and a simply brilliant wine to accompany it.

Zarate, Rías Baixas, Albariño,  El Palomar, 2016

The Grand Cru of Albariños, with aromas of shells and flint superimposed over flavors of lime, closer to the vibrancy, precision and power of a young Blanc de Blancs champagne than it is to any Rías Baixas or Vinho Verde that I've ever had. An amazing wine with an extremely vibrant backbone of acidity and a very long, saline finish. (June 1, 2019)

Eldad Levy, 155 NIS. 150 year old vines! That's almost a shekel a year!

Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Clos St. Jean, Rouge, 2014

This has always been one of my favorite 'value' red Bourgognes, a relatively lightweight Premier Cru that embodies that Burgundy ideal of fragrant, nuanced Pinot. The nose and palate both show sour cherries, wet forest leaves (you're just at the border of the forest, you can smell the leaves but you're not in the woods yet so you're not overwhelmed by the scent of the undergrowth) and hints of exotic spices .The saline finish makes for a versatile food match for just about anything with a bit of umami that's not too oily or too chewy. (June 30, 2019)

Bourgogne Crown, about 200 NIS.

Markus Molitor, Mosel, Riesling Alte Reben, 2015

Ideally, I would have more to write about this, but it's only a good dry Mosel, not the outstanding wine I'd hoped it would become, with only fair complexity and depth. (June 2, 2019)

Wine Route, 160 NIS.

Feldstein, Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, 2016

The blend has been dominated by Semillon every year since the inaugural 2014, but its presence was never as dominating as it is this year, which espouses the French principle: "the fruit is the frame, not the picture". So the fruit is there, but the gist of the wine is nut oil and herbs and flint, apricot and melon providing the groundwork and walls. Drinking great now, with a more refined form than its predecessors. (June 4, 2019)

Lewinsohn, Vendage Entière, 2016

The clean purity of the black and red fruit, adorned as it is by black pepper, is still obscured by a bitterness that is half espresso and half stems. It’s a really fine wine that is only going to get better but it still needs time to develop the intriguing meaty/herbal note I already enjoy in the finish. (June 8, 2019)

The 'regular' Lewinsohn, Rouge, 2017 is, as usual, a tasty early drinker. The cliche is that a red wine as 'serious' as this shouldn't be this tasty in the flush of youth, but this feels like someone sauteed red grapes in olive oil and marinade. It's a treat. (June 15, 2019)

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, 2017

A classic, serious wine starting to hit its stride, coming out of the shell it was in half a year ago, to show a youthful, fruity aspect, as well as hints of nuts and minerals. (June 10, 2019)

149 NIS.

Château Montlabert, St. Émilion Grand Cru, 2012

Seems like a dependable Right Bank for people who like oaky Merlot, decently priced, basically spicy fruitcake with too much oak. Not for me, though. Definitely not for me. (June 22, 2019)

Israco, 190 NIS.

Prunotto, Barbaresco, 2015

Piedmont, the only place where a glass of light, muddy red wine makes you optimistic about the outcome. The recent Produttori dei Barbaresco tasting sparked an itch I needed to scratch. This needs coaxing. The start is very mute, red cherries and flowers - the tar so closely identified with Nebbiolo starts to show after two hours. I very rarely run into a truly dumb wine, but this nails the definition. I suspect it will turn into a lovely, elegant, yet grippy\ing, feminine beauty in three-five years. (June 29, 2019)

Hakerem, 155 NIS.