Corona - Weeks 3 and 4

Alona, Elegant Reserve, Taninim, Shiraz-Grenache, 2016
Close to two years ago, the Alona, Taninim, 2016, a Carignan-Shiraz blend, was the highlight of a disastrous birthday dinner. That's faint praise, now that I think of it - it would have held its own at many a tasting. I had planned to return to it and for all those months thought I actually had a second bottle when, in fact, what I had was the sibling. It's a very pretty wine, regardless, highlighting what Israeli reds at their best have to offer: ripe fruit well balanced by acidity and ripe (but not altogether sweet) tannins. The nose has a dusty, herbal, almost garrigue-like, feel to it, echoed on the fairly long finish, where I also get rusty, meaty tannins, sort of a cross between Mencia and a Beaujolais Cru. I'm not sure it's really built for a long haul, but its very moreish. (Apr. 1, 2020)

Lewinsohn, Garage de Papa, Blanc, 2018
Spicy pears and flint, a focused finish - a Chardonnay any winery in world would rightly be proud of for going up against Burgundy yet again. (Apr. 3, 2020)

Guy Farge, Cornas, Harmonie, 2016
This producer is unknown to me and I basically picked this up because I was looking for a North Rhone red at K and L Wines and the description seemed interesting (the price was okay, too). The first glasses turned out to be modern and velvety without loss of personality, succulent fruit with a touch of black pepper and olive tapenade. The big drawback seemed to be that the finish is short and limpid. And for the first hour, that was that - a well made wine and nothing more. But here's the funny thing about wine. You can't always predict how a wine will turn out over the course of an evening and this surprised and charmed in its evolution: firming up, growing longer, showing smoke-laced complexity, retaining its initial fresh fruit, as well as that tapenade thing that makes me long for a picnic in a grove. Sometimes, the very tastiness of a wine obscures any other details in the glass or the room. (Apr. 6, 2020)
40 USD.

Cavallotto, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2015
I called this a mini-Barolo half a year ago, and I'll still stand by that description, but it's receded a bit since then. The wonderful savory and umami overtones that make a good Barolo have taken a step back in  favor of ripe cherries - not ripe fruit with overblown flavors, just fruit that his flaccid enough that sucking on the skin is is more enjoyable than biting down on the core. It's still tarry and dusty enough for typicality's sake, but I liked it more a few months ago, and I suspect I'll like it more in a year or two. Its return to form with a couple of hours of air is such that I've made myself a mental note to buy another bottle. (Apr. 9, 2020)

Finca Allende, Rioja, Calvario, 2006
This is a wine I bought in Madrid seven years ago, for two reasons: I was intrigued by the notion of a single-vineyard Rioja, which is what the Calvario is; and I couldn't find anything better to buy, a few hours before my flight back home. I only really read up on the winery and wine when I got back home. It seemed like a very modern-styled Rioja, so I hung on to the bottle and waited, because it just didn't seem like the kind of wine I had any urgent need to try. Well, it turned out to be fairly modern-styled, but pretty good once you get past its lack of classic Rioja character. I might have guessed Syrah due to the healthy dose of black pepper on the nose, and even hints of bacon. The palate is very smooth and silky, lacking some density and flavors in mid-palate, the tannins integrated and asserting themselves on the finish. (Apr. 10, 2020)
77 euros.

Sphera, First Page, 2018
I was never a big fan of the First Page, considering it 'just' a restaurant wine (but then, aren't they all). With the blend now Semillon, Rousanne and Chenin Blanc, it has has become a captivating concoction of slightly honeyed yellow fruit and flint, the fleshy texture of the Semillon counterpointing a bitter-spicy finish, which is the Chenin, I think. (Apr. 4, 2020)