Last Rites Of Summer (Sept. 2019)

Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2014

Unless you have a chance to drink a bottle from a perfectly balanced vintage like 2002 or 2010, I think it's always better to drink a red Burgundy from a white vintage than the other way around. Except for the rather short finish, this is an ideal village Gevrey, showing a scent that is a cross between roses and light sweat that is what I think the french term sauvage is all about. More about focus and clarity than complexity or intensity (although these, too, are the rewards of some patient airing), it shows such a quiet, confident winemaking hand that I wish the house's Premier and Grand Crus were a little easier to find in Israel. I always enjoy them and I'd gladly pay up. (Sept. 16, 2019)

285 NIS, imported by Israco.

Château Maucaillou, Moulis en Medoc, Cru Bourgeois 2010

It's nice to see a 2010 drinking so easily, even if it's only a Cru Bourgeois. Spicy red fruit, subtly framed by oak. There's no huge amount of fruit, depth, breadth or complexity, but it has great poise and cuts a very elegant figure. Tastes good, too. (Sept. 3, 2019)

Cellar Tracker says this was sold for 280 NIS at Wine Route, seven years ago. Then, as now, the Bourgeois would often be marked down considerably.

Feldstein, Semillon, 2016

If Chablis, Pouilly-Fume, Sancerre and Graves are the epitome of the pungent white defined by pungent, leafy/mineral aromas, saline flavors and oyster-shell personality, backed by firmed, balanced fruit - then each successful expatriate rendition serves as further evidence of the intrinsic greatness of the respective grapes (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon). And this is a very successful rendition. 

Netofa, Tel Qasser, Red, 2017

I've been following Netofa for a few years and this is the best red I've tasted yet, a wine that excites me. A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, it showcases what I think modern Grenache show display: vibrantly fresh red fruit that is a touch candied at the fringes, coupled with a pleasing herbaceous undertow and black and white pepper as topping. The tannins are drying and wrap around and through the fruit like mangled tree roots, forming an effect I find intellectually stimulating. I think a couple of hours of air or a few years in the fridge would make it more palatable, and flesh out the fruit, without depriving the cognoscenti of mental pleasure. (Sept. 6, 2019)

130 NIS.

Niepoort, Dao, Conciso, 2015

I don't know how Dirk Neipoort manages the logistics of making wine (or overseeing winemaking teams) across so many Portuguese regions, but the results are very consistent in quality and style. This for example, closely resembles Poeirinho, one of reds from Bairrada. Both aim for a fresh, aromatic wine, Burgundian in form and autumnal character.  Actually, Cur Beaujolais would me a closer comparison, due to the tart red fruit and rusty, rustic character. The Conciso is a blend of mostly Baga (40%) and Jaen (30%), from very old wines, close to a century old. (Sept. 12, 2019)

Tzora, Misty Hills, 2006

Eran Pick's inaugural vintage serves to showcase the durability of the Bordeaux template, showing the mineral and iron laden nose of Tzora's reds on the one hand, a lean palate - arguably past its best  - on the other. I've tasted it once before and it was more subtle and less ripe than its younger siblings, the most Bordeaux like of Eran's early vintages. (Sept. 10, 2019)

Selbach-Oster, Mosel, Zeltinger Sonenuhr, Auslese **, 2017

I've drunk so many Mosels, never enough to sate me, but enough to have gained some perspective. Here, for whatever reasons - be it vintage, terroir or the ripeness of the pradikat - the signature granny apples are so intense they morph into ice cold sherbert/lime pie, as deep and electric as the slopes of the vineyard are steep. (Sept. 10, 2019)

Dr. Loosen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Auslese, 2005

Its acidity buried beneath the fruit and sugar, the wine impresses as flabbier than it should be, without offering enough richness to compensate. Still, there's a very tasty concoction of honey, apple pie and dill that grows in breadth and intensity with air. I won't give up hope that my last bottle will reward all these years that I've been aging my six-pack. (Sept. 18, 2019)

Yaacov Oryah, Alpha Omega, Chardonnay, 2018

When I tasted through the range of Yaacov's orange wines, the Chardonnay was lightly corked, so I'm glad to have laid my hands on another bottle. Actually, that still doesn't get me through the entire range. He made at least three more orange wines in 2018. I admit I'm not a great lover of orange wines, but they interest me. They'd actually interest me more if there were less pretentious proselytizers of the style. Yaacov is not one of those by the way. Anyway, venting aside, this is interesting as a wine - fairly complex aromas, a raspy, gripping texture on the palate, a slightly metallic finish - but has little resemblance to the aromas and flavors of a Chardonnay that any of us has ever experienced. (Sept. 20, 2019)

Yaacov Oryah, Alpha Omega, Semillon, 2018

This shows a family resemblance to 'regular' Semillon - appropriately enough, given Yaacov's love of the grape - yellow fruit, a streak of dust and salt. The skin contact seems to have given the latter greater prominence and added some nutty and honeyed accents, in tandem with savory notes as well. A clash that adds interest and excitement. One of the best of the Alpha Omega orange wines, good enough that it would cannibalize the market for Yaacov's Semillon, if quantities weren't so small for either wine. Should develop for a few years. (Sept. 27, 2019)

Sea Horse, Oz, 2017

Ze'ev Dunie testifies that he aspired to approach this wine without overt references to any paradigms. I don't know what he meant by that, but the end result is a very interesting, complex and elegant wine that somehow marries the Southern Rhone with Burgundy. The flavors and aromas are of lightly candied red fruit, flowers, dust and leather, transposed over a lithe figure that masks the 15% ABV.  (Sept. 30, 2019)