Corona Days - Weeks 1 and 2

Nicolas Chiquet in saner times
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne, Dizy, Brut Rosé, n.v.
This smells fantastic - autumn leaves, freshly baked brioche, strawberries - is there any wine at all more evocative than Champagne? The palate is plump and admittedly not as complex as the nose, but the umami finish will pair with anything lighter than prime ribs. We visited chez Chiquet a couple of years ago and while Nicolas is obviously quite confident of his personal charms, there is no pretense or pomp in the wines his family makes and they always serve to remind me just how good and wonderful life can be. (Mar. 23, 2020)
Eldad Levy, about 270 NIS.

Sphera, Sauvignon Blanc, 2018
Guayava and grapefruit on an oyster shell. (Mar. 27, 2020)

Château Puygueraud, Francs-Côtes de Bordeaux, Blanc, 2017
(Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris from limestone slopes.) If you're like me, just about every white Bordeaux you've ever drunk came from Graves and Pessac-Leognan, maybe a couple of Entre-des-Meres. This is a charming alternative from a small appellation to the east of Saint Émilion, with a subtle melon and chalk character that takes time to grow on you. Worth investing, since the price is nice (120 NIS) and it's the kind of wine that Wine Route loves to discount. (Mar. 15, 2020)

Raziel Winery (Castel), RAZI'EL, Judean Hills, 2017
The Syrah-Carignan blend from Castel's new project is true to the varieties and fashions them along Old World lines, by which I mean it's almost understated. The blends shows white pepper over slightly candied red fruit, as though the marriage had turned them into a Grenache, and there's a lovely fresh lift to the fruity aromas. (Mar. 20, 2020) 

Bouchard Père et Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2015
At an age when the quality of the artisanal growers is so high and consistent, there's really no reason to follow more than one or two negociants. Mine are Drouhin and Domaine de la Vougeraie, but some of my friends swear by Bouchard. I haven't ventured enough Bouchard's way to buy a red in years, but this is quite good. It's arguably a little too tame and mannered, but it shows the floral character of the cooler vineyards of Gevrey, which is pretty neat considering 2015 was a warm vintage. Other than that, the fruit is as fresh as if the strawberries it flaunts  were freshly picked, laced with packed earth, and the savory tannins build up to a clean, classy finish. (Mar. 24, 2020)

Borja Peres, Tenerife, Ignios Orígenes, Baboso Negro, 2016
Last year, I wrote that I'd age this for 5-10 years, but I reneged. It's a floral wine, with an initial whiff of annoying barnyard dirt that morphs into a decently complex earthy/stemmy personality that is echoed on the palate as a pungent bite. It's very good and, more than that, very original, but it lacks just enough of the unique, one-of-a-kind brilliance I remembered that I'm glad I erred on the early side. (Mar. 26, 2020)

Chateau Citran, Haut Medoc, 2017
Typical basic Haut Medoc claret, earthy, tart, iron fillings, good acidity, a modicum of complexity and intensity, decent finish. A bit anonymous, but decent. (Mar. 28, 2020)

Domaine Pierre Duroche, Bourgogne Blanc, 2017
Sourced from the Gevrey village lieux-dit of Grand Champs, this stands in stark contrast with just about any white Burgundy you can think of from either the Cote de Beaune or Chablis up north. The fruit is more yellow apples than green, and, wrapped as it is in an umami sheath, it almost comes off as a still Champagne. At 100 NIS or so, this is both a bargain Burgundy and a great house wine. (Mar. 29, 2020)

Feldstein, Anu, 2014
This turned out richer than I remembered or expected, ripe and heady yet also earthy and herbal with a touch of jam. The fruit is propped by tannins that start out deceptively soft and ripe yet lend the finish a touch of iron that balances nicely the plush texture of the fruit. (Mar. 30, 2020)