Summer Is Only The Unfulfilled Promise of Spring (July, 2019)

Domaine Arlaud, Bourgogne, Oka, 2017

This is hardly your run of the mill generic Bourgogne, nor a simple declassified village wine. It's blend, half of it village wine from Morey St Denis, Chambolle-Musigny and Vougeot, the other half from Hautes Côtes de Nuits and Côtes de Nuits. Although this is actually from the house's negociant arm, it's sourced from biodynamic growers with close working relationship with the domaine, from 40+ year old vines and the Arlaud team is in charge of everything from the harvest on. I've drunk enough quality grower AOC Bourgognes to recognize this belongs to the high end of the class, quality and style-wise. It's more about roses and strawberries than earth, leaves or spices. It's silky, yet gripping, and the purity and depth make up for anything it lacks in length or complexity. (July 7, 2019)

Wine Route, 140 NIS.

Domaine Verget, Pouilly-Fuissé, Terroirs de F. - Les Vernays, 2017

Speaking of the folks who brought you Blue Nun, sometimes - this usually happens about once a year - Wine Route decide to think out of the box, and then they leap out of the box. Say in this case, where they brought in a boutique domaine from the Macon who don't even have a working site in English. The portfolio is priced like a mid-tier Chassagne house and the quality, if not the style, is on par, judging by the Terroirs de F. The nose has the same tempting aromas of flint and dry grass and is about as complex as any two year old Bourgogne ever gets. It's made of silkier cloth than Chassagne, but lighter as well, I'd judge. Best of all is the savory finish, the kind that has made white Burgundies such a delight. Expensive, but worth a try. (July 8, 2019)

259 NIS.

Ortal, Red, 2017

Is this the herald of a new revolution in the local industry? Moreish, food friendly reds made of Cabernet? Nicely priced, too, for a boutique. (July 2, 2019)

70 NIS.

Markus Molitor, Mosel, Bernkasteler Badstube, Riesling Kabinett (Green Capsule), 2016

Out of a couple of dozens (and more) of the wines in the Molitor portfolio, Wine Route import just one classic (i.e., off-dry) kabinett, the Bernkasteler Badstube. At least they chose one that tweaks the formula a bit. In 2015, the quintessential granny apples and slate were accompanied by notes of guayavas. This time, it's martzipan and pears. (July 11, 2019)

Wine Route, 150 NIS.

Markus Molitor, Mosel, Alte Reben, 2016

Wow. Lose any preconceptions about vintages. This is so much better than the 2015. It's racy and pure, taut as a drum skin, with a flinty veneer atop the typical granny apples. The filigree structure highlighting great finesse and complexity, this is one dry Mosel that is just as graceful as a classic Kabinett or Spatlese. (July 12, 2019)

Wine Route, 160 NIS.

Tzora, Or, 2017

The most concentrated version of this pseudo icewine Gewurztraminer I can recall comes off almost TBA-like, the acidity barely coming to surface, some mustard and white pepper providing varietal identity.. (July 12, 2019)

Chateau Grand Village, Bordeaux Superieur, 2014

The chateau lies just outside of the Fronsac appellation and is the home of Jacques and Sylvie Guinaudeau, owners of the famous Pomerol property, Lafleur. The name drives the price upwards (Wine Route lists it at 200 NIS, but it really is the kind of wine quickly marked down at every chance), but at least the price gets you a wine made by the Lafleur winemaking team. The craftsmanship is obvious even in the initial sniffs, a precise nose, nothing especially clever or complex about the aromas, but you get a sense of great care in the field and cellar without any overt unfurling of technological flash. (July 13, 2019)

Chateau Golan, Geshem, Rose, 2018

A rose with enough nuances and intellectual appeal to rise confidently above the maddening crowd. Those nuances recall both earth and oven, bread and spices, and come to fore in the finish in a very food complimentary way. (July 14, 2019)

About 100 NIS.

Feldstein, Sauvignon Blanc, 2016

An interesting comparison with the 2015, which at three years of age was a wine of mineral nuances, while this jabs with grapefruit aromas and flavors, before unfolding notes of chalk, never letting down its energetic verve. Unlike the 2016 Semillon-Sauvignon blend, here the fruit is the starring lead. (July 15, 2019)

Jacquesson & Fils, Cuvée n° 741, Extra-Brut, n.v.

The house stopped aiming for a consistent style in their non-vintage cuvée over a decade ago, making instead the best of the base year's grapes, which is 2013 in the case of the n° 741 (the number in the name of the cuvée advances each year). The reserve wines provide mellowness rather than forcing a house style. It's the common blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier - the Pinots, I suppose, providing the brothy flavors and aromas of mushrooms, the Chardonnay the dry, chalky texture. Jacquesson  is not a small house and at a quarter of a million bottles, this cuvée is virtually the entire production of the house (the premium wines make up for about 20,000 bottles), yet this is as complex, dry and wry as a very, very good grower's non-vintage. (July 19, 2019)

About 50 GBP.

Vietti, Barolo, Castiglione, 2009

This is imported by Wine Route, but a long time ago, it used to be carried by Anavim. Or Zamir. A long time ago, importers used to go for the venerable names, the household names, producers with a long history that buyers may have encountered in the Johnson and Robinson books. Which is kind of like investing in General Motors stocks in the early 90's based on their track record in the 50's. I kept meaning to buy Vietti back in the day, but movement was slow in the shops that carried the wines and I found out the hard way to make sure about how my sources ship and store their wines (my social peers probably remember decrepit bottles of Chapoutier Sizeranne). But I digress. Castiglione is Vietti's blended Barolo and 2009 was no more than a fair vintage, a very warm vintage one, from what I've read and heard. My expectations were for a fun wine, inasmuch as you can ever call Barolo fun. Maybe the word I'm looking for is approachable, but man it's great when Barolo cracks a smile. Anyway, approachable - that's pretty much what I got, but in a very high quality wine, despite being a multi-cru blend,  lovely complete and nuanced aromatics and flavors - tar and dried rose petals, tea and cherries marinated in olive oil - robust tannins with that kiss of rusticity that lends grit and muscles even to the most regal of Barolos. (July 25, 2019)

Blankbottle, Master Of None, 2017

The various articles (sample) and site make Pieter H. Walser sound like the world's most pretentious hipster. Which belies the facile purity, freshness, moreishness and solid craft shown by this unlikely blend (Syrah, Cinsault, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Rousanne). Young Syrah, Pinot and Grenache often show the floral elements I find here, so I'd guess they're the dominant varieties at this stage. I'm not sure I'd follow Waiser's consciously haphazard approach to wine production, and I'm even less enamored of "punk' winemakers who "break every rule in the book", but this is a lean and focused, charming wine. (July 27, 2019)

Domaine Pierre Amiot, Morey St. Denis, 2014

Still seriously underage and oblique, this is still at the stage where the potential quality and structure are clear even though the flavors and aromas are still mute. As they slowly unfold, the wine shows fresh fruit and moist flower, with just a touch of eastern spices. Probably a half notch above village level, if the dusty tannins integrate. (July 27, 2019)

Wine Route, about 300.

Hugel, Grossi Laue, 2011

A chiseled, spicy powerhouse of smokey petroleum, apples, and spices. A grand nose with a long, complex palate to match. (July 30, 2019)

Domaine Hubert Lamy, Saint Aubin Premier Cru, Derrière chez Edouard, Vieilles Vignes, 2010

A Pinto from a Chardonnay specialist, this is a true Premier Cru in both weight and complexity, with that slightly pungent earthiness I find typical of the Côte de Beaune. The nose is blend of forest floor, black cherries and flowers, with more presence than delicacy The palate mixes mellow sweetness and a fine, focused tannic bite and is a perfect meal wine, as the introduction of food highlights the  gorgeous purity of the flavors. (July 30, 2019)