Fridge Delights

Emilio Hidalgo, Fino Especial, La Panesa
If a Fino is the Chablis of Jerez, this is a Chassagne. It’s a Fino on the cusp of becoming an Amontillado, that is, it’s been in the solera for a long while (15 years) but the flor has only started to die out. So you get something half way: the dried out orange marmalade and roasted cashews of a Fino and a bucket full of iodine and the weight and richness of an Amontillado. The fun part is when the cashews assert themselves and the wine grows saltier. Because what you want from a Fino is that salty finish. A very special Sherry, indeed.

Giuseppe Cortese, Langhe, Chardonnay Scapulin, 2018
This isn't a great wine, but it is a wine I've loved since I tasted it at the winery two and a half years ago. It captures Chardonnay's ability to mirror the land it comes from, here showing white peaches, a clean funk, flint, rainwater and a touch of dust and truffles. It's not quite as focused as I'd like (at the price, though, I can't complain) but it resolves its blemishes on a finish that balances sour lemons and the sweetness of peaches and red apples.

Domaine Des Roches Neuves, Saumur-Champigny, 2019
Once upon a time, Loire Cabs were hard to find, both locally and abroad, and an entry level red was the best I could hope to find. I treasured their small scale charms: juicy, red fruit, lithe tannins, aromas of lead pencil and earth. It’s really great to find I still enjoy their pleasures so much. I haven’t tasted the entire Neuves Roches range, but based on samples in the low, mid and top tiers, their reputation is well deserved.

Domaine de Fa, Fleurie, Roche Guillon, 2018
The domaine is owned by the Graillot family of Crozes-Hermitage. I’ve been drinking Graillot for almost twenty years. I’ve been drinking Beaujolais Cru for a long time, too, albeit less than twenty years. Beaujolais is enjoying a renaissance in Israel. When I started drinking Beaujolais, you could find one really good name in Israel, Lapierre, which Tomer Gal imported. I asked why his didn’t carry his peers, such Theveneaut and he said, no, Lapierre is the only good one. A couple of years later, he was carrying Theveneaut, Foillard and lots of other good stuff. Then Giaconda got in on the game, then Bourgogne Crown. Haidu and Gleitman are probably plotting a move, too, for all I know.

2018 was a hot, ripe vintage, and it shows in the 14.2% ABV and the fleshy, unctuous texture. But this single vineyard bottling holds up the weight. There’s an initial hint of funk on the nose, but mostly red fruit, rocks, some pepper and iron. The fat doesn’t feel flabby, but there’s enough of it that I wouldn’t gamble on a long hibernation period in the fridge. It's very tasty right now. It may not be profound, but it's very tasty. Despite the ripeness, it feels like a Beaujolais Cru, just not necessarily a Fleurie.