Taking Care Of Business (Feb. 2014)

My first go at a 2011 red Cote d'Or was the funnest wine I had at home this month

Alzinger, Wachau, Leibenberg, Riesling Smaragd, 2010

This struck me as exotic and tropical in the past, but now it plays in a more typical, classic Austrian style: green and baked apples with a mineral overlay, on a happy-natured, mentholated background. Very pure, but not uncommonly complex. (Feb. 3, 2014)

Fat-Guy, 209 NIS.

Recanati, Reserve, Syrah-Viognier, 2011

Very much a North Rhone ringer on the nose, a cross between Crozes and Cornas, with that tell-tale black pepper signature, while ripe, chocolate-y fruit betrays its true origin. The palate is deep and spicy, but too low on acidity - which saddens me, as this is my local favorite when the vintage and/or bottle is totally in tune. (Feb. 5, 2014)

140 NIS.

Another one of Ido's love children turn out to be even nicer than the one he turned out above in his day job.

Lewinsohn, Garage de Papa, Rouge, 2010

Lovely. Blind, I would have guessed Languedoc, and the varietal mix is not that far off, being a Syrah-Petit Syrah-Carignan blend. This is clean and elegant, developing an interesting mineral overlay: dry mud and a hint of garrigue even! (Feb. 6, 2014)

140 NIS.

A. Et P. De Villaine, Cote Chalonnaise, La Digoine, 2009

Villaine used to be one of my house reds, and I was buying loads from the 2006 vintage to the 2009. The only reason I stopped is there were other petit Bourgognes at the price point vying for my attention, and, besides, I never could figure out what the upside of aging both reds and whites was. This, however, is shining right now with strawberries and pine needles on the nose and light, elegant fruit buoyed by juicy acidity. I might need to re-think my buying strategy. (Feb. 7, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 140 NIS.

Hugel, Jubilee, Riesling, 2001

Just great, another Alsatian has gone to meet its maker, not before spending a few months in my fridge. Excessive kerosene on the nose, oxidized apple cider on the palate. (Feb. 8, 2014)

Wine Route, about 200 NIS.

Jean-Louis Denois, Limoux, Chardonnay Extra Brut, n.v.

This is a very refreshing sparkler from the Languedoc, with bright citrus fruit, chalk and sauteed mushrooms, that should appeal to newbies and afficionados both. (Feb. 12, 2014)

Fat Guy, 105 NIS.

Terre da Vino, Barbera d'Asti, San Nicolao, 2012 

A very basic Barbera, with tart cherries and strain of upturned earth - tasty with crunchy salinity, but not much besides that, rather boring in fact.(Feb. 14, 2014)

Wine Route, 90 NIS.

Louis Jadot, Pommard Premier Cru, Les Rugiens, 2005

A good Jadot at last! Funky, ripe, with a good balance of acidity and tannins; a hint of oak on both nose and palate that is mitigated by smoky/earthy spiciness and a touch of iron and blood. Gorgeous. (Feb. 15, 2014)

Wine Route - this is probably a 300-400 NIS wine these days, but I think I bought it for about 200 NIS.

Vietti, Langhe Nebbiolo, Perbacco, 2010

This is my first Vietti, actually, and it's a declassified, young-vines Barolo. And what you really do get here is a ready-to-drink, mini Barolo: that is, it's muscular and rusty/dusty like a Barolo (not the relative fluidity of a Barbaresco) and is resolved with a youthful complexity that is deprived of any nuances that come with bottle age. (Feb. 17, 2014)

Wine Route, 130 NIS.

Bernard Baudry, Chinon, 2010

Lovely, tangy fruit with trappings of lead pencil and pungent earthiness. I haven't had this in a few months, but I'm sure glad I bought more. (Feb. 18, 2014)

Wine Route, 85 NIS.

Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

Yo, Gabi Sadan! You got me following three vintages of the same Israeli white!

This is, once again, a very Burgundian Sauvignon, with a lot of flint, perhaps a hint of cat's pee. This ought to be an eye-opener to anyone brought up on New World samples. A class act. (Feb. 20, 2014)

80 NIS.

R. Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia, Rioja Reserva,  2001

This is, again, a very classical Rioja, drinking fresher than the tertiary aromas (balsam, dusty carpets, mildew) would have you think, due to the savory combination of mellow fruit, ripe acidity and soft tannins. (Feb. 21, 2014)

Fat Guy, 235 NIS.

Carmel, Single Vineyard Kayoumi, Riesling, 2012

This really is lovely, and worthy of the hype it has garnered since its release. It strikes a balance between green apples, stone fruit, lime peel and salty flavors, while the nose displays similar aromas, adding a touch of slate as well. (Feb. 22, 2014)

85 NIS.

Midbar Winery, Semillon, 2009

This finally wound up in a very sweet spot, after two years, with a flint overtone midway between Chassagne and Chablis, with the slightly fatter, melon-inclined fruit of Semillon. And the acidity is one of the best I've had in Israel - probably because the wine is an early harvest, which, as I wrote in the my first review of this wine, can be a positive distinction only in the Land Of Milk And Honey. It's a shame, though, that Yaakov Oryah left Midbar, because my intuition tells me that with a few more years of working with the vineyard, he'd have timed the harvest to get the same electric jism in the acidity, with a little more phenolic ripeness. (Feb. 23, 2014)

George Descombes, Fleurie, Vieilles Vignes, 2010

George Descombes was one of the first Beaujolais Cru producers that I drank and I found him wonderful. So, understandably, my expectations here were high. And initially not met. The nose is fine and typical, pungently earthy, but the palate starts out flat and short, growing considerably fuller and longer. At the end, it's not profound, but does repay my patience. (Feb. 25, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 130 NIS.

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Cote de Beaune, Les Pierres Blanches, 2011

Once again, a wonderfully scented, delightful village wine, with crunchy red fruit and exotic spices. At this level on the Bourgogne food chain, it's obviously not going to be the most complex, long or weighty of wines, but it has enough charm to transport you to the magical kingdom that is Burgundy, enough presence to hint at what treasures a fat wallet can buy you there, and it makes out with the palate with sweet fruit that is well balanced by savory acidity. I'm trying to split my Burgundy budget between the Tomer Gal and Daniel Lifshitz catalogs, otherwise I'd be buying multiples of this. (Feb. 27, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, 170 NIS.