Ente No Mountain High Enough

Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso, Guardiola, 2018

Guardiola isn't Terre Nere's best vineyard, but it's supposedly their slowest to open. Not really a wine to be opened at three years of age, I decided to drink it in honor of the Champions League Cup Finals, because of, well, Pep. Naturally, I opened it many hours in advance. Not unexpectedly, it still took its own sweet time to open - it's not tough, just shut. As is sometimes the case, Guardiola reminds me of Nebbiolo, for the tar and iron on the nose. Later, some roses as well, as the fragrances become more and more complex and evocative. At the end of the day, the palate is savory and friendly, without sucking up - Mencia would be a valid reference point. A wine for royalty and a sensual breeze of autumnal love - I'd love to follow its development. (May 29, 2021)

Benoit Ente, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Champ Gain, 2012

Opened to celebrate Macabbi Haifa's first championship in ten years - Champ Gain, Champs Again, get it? Then the cork broke - twice! - forcing me to push half an inch of it inside and then I thought I sensed light oxidation. Fortunately, the wine fought back like a true champ and in a matter of minutes I was overwhelmed by the drop-dead gorgeous nose of an excellent white Bourgogne in its prime maturity: pears, a touch of mushrooms and, most and best of all, the captivating combo of dry grass and flint that totally owns us lovers of Burgundy. The palate is savory, dry and wry, the broad, flavorsome mid-palate fanning out on a long finish. This isn't the most focused, acidity-driven white, but I assume that's the vintage. Whatever, Ente is a class act. (May 31, 2021)

Before the championship was secured on the final game of the season, we almost nailed it in the penultimate game, where we dropped the lead a minute before end of injury time. Not one to risk tempt fate, I had selected a loved, but humble wine. Fate was not fooled.

Guiseppe Cortese, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2018

Made from young Rabaja vines and aged for a far shorter period than a proper Barbaresco, this is always a treat for its level and cost, tempting with freshly picked red cherries and roses on the nose, elegant, almost Pinot-like fruit and moreish, palate-cleansing acidity. (May 26, 2021)

Sphera, White Signature, 2017

This is always one of the great Israeli whites, but damn if this didn't rattle my kneecaps! The nose jabs with flashes of ashy intensity, cantaloupes and apricots layered with flint and Himalayan salt. The palate is a mix of savory flavors (sheep fat, perhaps) and the fleshy texture of said fruit when they are on the cusp of maturity. (June 1, 2021) 

A. Margaine, Special Club, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Premier Cru, 2008

Margaine was there when Eldad Levy started importing Champagnes. My first tasting was thirteen years ago (OMG! No way! It feels like yesterday) and while Margaine was never a big star, here or abroad, I always bought a fair stake. I had a few 2008 Special Clubs. The last one I drank on my birthday four years ago. It was very vital and I thought, well, it's still a baby, let's hang on to my last bottle. Truth to tell, I couldn't bear to let it go. I tried, to no avail, to set up a visit in Champagne three years ago, but I think Margaine was already off Eldad's radar. I may have held on to my last bottle too long, but I'm terrible at saying goodbye to love. And I did love Margaine while we still had the pleasure of keeping company. Anyway, with the farewell bottle, the mousse is fading but the aromas and, moreso, the flavors, sure are persistent. The fruit is a little anonymous, but there's a wonderful wash of roasted mushrooms and flint, lending the wine a golden, liquid savoriness only a long ageing can provide.