Lost In The Stars - Saturday Night Tasting (Jun. 28, 2008)

Just one of those nights where almost everyone's guess was totally off the mark, for various, unrelated reasons.

Only the Croix de Bois is imported to Israel but I'm not sure whether the Scottish Company imports it regularly and if so, what the prices are.

Weingut Johann Ruck Iphofen, Franken, Scheurebe Trocken, Estheria, 2001

A Scheurebe whose label obscures - indeed actually hides - both the predikat and the varietal. The telltale guayava notes should have clued me in but I was sure none of my friends had ever bought a Scheurebe so I guessed an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Just one fallacy of blind tasting with friends, you can't help but second guess the contents of their fridges. The nose kept developing and showing earthy and citrus note while the palate lagged behind, thus a good wine but not really inspiring.

Gigi Rosso, Barolo, Arione, 2000

An excellent nose, earthy and leathery, with a soft palate that had the entire company but yours truly guessing Tuscan Sangiovese. And what clued me in? Well, I had brought the wine... Anyway, I wish I could say I had unearthed a hidden gem but if this producer is relatively unknown, then there are solid reasons. A nice, charming wine but no big shakes.

Chapoutier, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Croix de Bois, 1998

The closest guesses were northern Rhone. I guessed southern Rhone but only because it vaguely reminded of the 2000 version Ran Shapira brought last year, only where the 2000's ripeness made for an interesting extrovertion, here everything was too much over the top, from the sweetness of the nose - almost a cross between a Pedro Ximinez and an Amarone - to the Über unrelentingness of the palate. This is a unique wine but whether Chateauneuf fans will like it is not a wager I'd place serious money on. But it's long and generous and if you like a certain kind of wine that hits well with Parker, you'll adore it.

Francois Gaunoux, Pommard Premier Cru, Les Rugiens, 1999

A neat wine that would be the staple of people who like, well, well-made wines, but again, not a wine that yells out "Bourgogne", let alone "Pommard". But it does have a certain typical forest floor aroma once you're clued in, with a New World forwardness.

Domaine Weinbach, Grand Cru Altenbourg, Pinot Gris, Vendanges Tardives, 2003

Inarguably the best Pinot Gris I've had so far, with a minerally nose that just crosses the line into salinity. The palate is just as good, hedonistic yet with a structure that belies the warmth of the vintage, reining in the slutty wildness of the varietal. If you don't like this one, Pinot Gris just isn't for you.