November 2019

La Maison Romane, Pommard Premier Cru, Largillere, 2010

I haven't tasted this since the very first Bourgogne Crown tasting, almost seven years ago, when I purchased it. Back then, it showed Pommad iron and rust and earth and that insinuation of muscular power. Because Oronce de Beler ferments and matures his wines in his house in Vosne-Romanee, and because he only uses wild yeasts, some of the ambient yeasts around the cellar seem to have made their way into all his wines and can show as the exotic spices typical of Vosne. This was more obvious during the Largillere's youth. I sense it now only because I actively looked for it.

Largillere is an obscure cru and rarely seen (which is why I always felt uneasy with the 350 NIS price tag, back in the day). Beler doesn't own any vines and offers his vineyard tending skills (and his famous horse) to growers in exchange for a portion of the grapes he tended to in the first place. For whatever reasons, he no longer has access to any Premier and grand Crus, as far as I can tell.

Beler's version here doesn't show the power of the big Pommard vineyards, but is rather a feminine wine, almost a Volnay. The acidity is more dominant than the tannins until the very finish, and the wine will appeal more to lovers of the more nuanced and ethereal styles of Burgundy. Although, as is often the case with wines of this style, air triggers an almost alchemical process of growth and expansion.

Because Oronce had zero track record when he started out, we had no idea how his initial releases would age. As it turned out, the aromatic and textural development are enough to fill my heart and senses with joy. (Nov. 2, 2019)

Domaine Robert Chevillon, Nuits St. Georges, Vieilles Vignes, 2010

So this finally came into its own, full of black fruit, underbrush, damp earth, even hints of exotic spices - in short, everything that has always set Burgundy apart from Pinots elsewhere. Not quality, you know, because the competition can be excellent, just the specific character of the golden Cote. (Nov. 20, 2019)

Domaine Olivier Guyot, Chambolle-Musigny, Vieilles Vignes, 2014

Guyot was for years one of my steadfast, favorite purchases from Bourgogne Crown. Over the years, I've bought and drank through their entire lineup. Except for the Chambolles, so this is a first for me. I am surprised at its masculine character. While the palate eloquates with precision, carrying black fruit and saline notes over elegant, nonintrusive tannins, the nose is earthy and iron-laden, as though it were a Morey or a Marsannay, with the beautifully evocative floral notes typical of Chambolle showing as deep background flourishes and only after a couple of hours. Could be the house style, though, the product of whatever ambient yeasts inhabit their cellars in Marsannay. (Nov. 9, 2019)

About 350 NIS.

Domaine Gérard Julien et Fils, Côte de Nuits Villages, 2015

The best candidate for a 100 NIS house Bourgogne, with exceptional aromatic complexity (black cherries and forest floor) and palate richness for its price and classification. (Nov. 27, 2019)

Weingut Keller, Rheinhessen, Monsheimer Silberberg, Rieslaner Auslese, 2005

A rich, hedonistic nose, honeyed passion fruit flavored with caramelized cashews as well as spices courtesy of the botrytis. The palate is surprisingly and deceptively light-footed - it start out mellow before exploding on the finish, the flavors closely echoing the aromas. What I look for in mortal dessert wines: richness and complexity in a lithe framework. (Nov. 13, 2019)

R. Lopez de Heredia, Tondonia, Rioja Grand Reserva, 1994

I'm surprised to find this less stellar than the 1991 was a few years ago. Now, that was a marvel of sauteed fruit and acidity combining for a very evocative wine. This is very good, even excellent, with a richness to the nose and fruit, but it's one-dimensional and there is less lift from the acidity. The cork was very wet, so I'll chalk it up to bottle variation. (Nov. 1, 2019)

Olivier Rivière, Rioja, Gabaxo, 2016

Rivière is a young winemaker with road experience in Bordreaux and Burgundy. He gets a lot of accolades for the fresh air he and his peers have brought to the classic Spanish classics. This is a  totally different Rioja. A blend comprised of 50% Garnacha, 50% Tempranillo, fermented in cement tanks and matured in 6000 liter foudres. The result, in the case of this entry level wine (sourced from 'young' 20-65 year old vines), is a forward wine, black cherries with hints of spices, picking up meaty notes with exposure to air. Interesting aromatics for the entry level red, though the palate is fairly straightforward.
 (Nov. 23, 2019)

Domaine Vincent Paris, Cornas, Granit 60, 2014

The mid-range Paris Cornas from an underrated vintage shows succulent black fruit, rare meat, black pepper, smoke, a bit of rust - a portrait of Syrah as a young Cornas, still fresh, vibrant and juicy, but with enough balance of acidity and fruit backing up the sandpaper tannins for a promising mid-term cellaring period.. (Nov. 7, 2019).

Shvo, Mourvedre, 2014

A monolith of fruit and tannins, it only begins to show some interesting dusty notes the next day. If the best-selling, regular red is Gavy Sadan's "Rumours", the Mourvedre is his "Tusk". (Nov. 16, 2019)