House Wines

Les Poete, Touraine, "S" des Poete, 2015

A totally different Sauvignon Blanc than what you find elsewhere in the world, even in the more renowned Loire appellations. It's edgy, crisp and chalky, but that is where any similarities end. The difference is in the aromatic and flavor profile, everything a wine's structure is laid out to highlight: apricots, quince, seared pineapples, a hint of crème fraîche. It may sound like I'm describing a New Zealand Sauvignon but I'm not. It's much more restrained and composed and its components interact in unexpected ways that can't easily be transcribed. (Jan. 19, 2020)

Bourgogne Crown, about 100 NIS.

Château du Hureau, Saumur-Champigny, Tuffe, 2016

This was a lovely 'house' wine that I returned to on a regular basis six-seven years ago, its red fruit lifted and defined by juicy acidity rather than tannins. This latter-day versions seems to be more hygienic and it's all the better for it, the fruit adorned by earth and pencil shavings rather than brett. I wonder whether that has anything to do with the fact that the label says "Philippe et Agathe Vatan", rather than just "Philippe Vatan". Agathe is Philippe's daughter, one half of "Lisagathe", the name of Hureau's flagship wine. Anyway, by "hygienic" I don't mean "sterile". The nose has a bit of sweaty funk, but it's the sweat of a healthy human being, relaxing in the summer evening after a cool shower.

Benanti, Etna Rosso, Rosso di Verzella, 2013

This blend of Nerello Mascelese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio is an interesting display of cherries and tar and is a good example why the Etna D.O.C. is called the Barolo of Sicily. The integrated tannins and ripe acidity make it a good food match and a very moreish drink. (Jan. 18, 2020)

About 100 NIS. I'm not sure if recent vintages are available but I've seen bottles of the 2013, which is in prime shape and has matured very nicely.

Château Haut-Bergey, Pessdac-Leognan, 2008

It's a little too steeply-priced for a house wine. 150 NIS in futures. Plus you need to age it 10-15 years even in a friendly vintage like 2008. So let's just call it an everyday wine. It comes off as modern when young, but shows a lovely earthy umami character after a decade. (Feb. 2, 2020)

Simon Bize, Bourgogne, Les Perrières, 2015

The last vintage I had was 2010, which was oaky. This is better. A little rough, earthy and tannic, but already showing nuances, with a touch of sweetness to smooth out the herbal astringency on the finish. Better than the 2010 as far as I can recall. This, too, is too expensive to be a proper house wine. Let's just call it a weekday wine. (Feb. 8, 2020)

Prunotto, Barbaresco, 2015

This, too, is a little steep for a house wine, so I'll stop here. But at 150 NIS, it's a very good value and it's ready enough now, showing a lot of truffle character, with enough upside that I'd recommend a small stash to follow for 5-10 years. The big thrill right now is that as it opens, it shows deeper, blacker, more muscular fruit, but all the time, keeping a balance of savory fruit and lithe tannins. The best showing yet of this wine and this vintage. (Feb. 13, 2020)

Renato Ratti, Langhe Nebbiolo, Ochetti, 2015

Back to house wine prices. 110 NIS. It's quite good, not quite as good as the other Langhe Nebbiolos I've been posting about (Vajra, Cavallotto), but it's good to diversify. Ratti is a Barolo producer, so their Langhe naturally shows some Barolo characteristics, thus there is a large dollop of iron on the nose and broader tannins than in, say, the Prunotto. Decent grip, broad, flavorsome fruit, decent complexity, hints of flowers and truffles and a round, friendly texture. (Feb. 21, 2020)

Niepoort, Duoro, Redoma Rose, 2018

Fantastic and just as exotic as a Duoro white - smells and tastes like eating a watermelon in a hot waters spring. (Mar. 1, 2020)