Friday, June 27, 2014

Jurassic Park - Andre et Mireille (now Stephane) Tissot

My playground this week

The thing is, I'm really quite a potato couch adventurer, and the world of wine allows me to explore the world from the safety of my home, sipping a bottle wine, reading up on it and writing my tasting notes.

Jura had fascinated me years before I ever actually tasted any of its wines. The notion of those remote, mountain vineyards really captured my imagination and appealed to my notions of romance. I finally tried a Tissot Poulsard last year, so consider me a pioneer at last finding his homestead. I can't say I really came to grips with it - it was too tart, pungent and funky even for my catholic tastes - but at least the experience allowed me to recognize the name when Giaconda started importing them.

Just saying I was looking forward to drinking my way through a few bottles.

Cremant du Jura, Rose, Extra Brut, n.v.

Comprised of Pinot Noir, Polusard and Trousseau, this isn't overly complex or anything like that, but shows very pretty aromas of strawberries, citrus fruit, chalk and brioche, and very dry, palate cleansing flavors. Really not the type of sparkling wine for anyone looking for a sweetish lounge drink, so you can guess I like it, the saline enfant terrible. Passes the "how does it compare to a decent non-vintage Champagne" test, except it's leaner. (Jun. 19, 2014)

130 NIS.

Arbois, Traminer, 2012

I'm not familiar with the Traminer grape. If the name implies any relationship with Gewurztraminer, then the affinity is only apparent in a certain spiciness on both nose and palate. Otherwise, it makes a small scale, albeit pretty, impression with a meager tool set, just grapefruit and said spiciness. (Jun. 21, 2014)

130 NIS. Pricey for what it is, and not compelling enough for a full evening's worth of entertainment.

Cremant du Jura, Blanc de Blanc Cleve en Fue, n.v.

100% Chardonnay, 2007 vintage, 75% aged in oak, aged on its lees in bottle for four years. I'm going a bit anal on the details because the final result is such a fine, nutty, saline Champagne lookalike that the wine making trivia might be insightful. Not that I think the merits of this lovely sparkler hinge solely on how close it nears the idiom, but more on how tasty, complex and interesting it is (citrus, orange blossom accompanying the nuts I have mentioned). (Jun. 21, 2014)

170 NIS. Totally worth it.

Cotes du Jura, En Barberon, 2011

The nose is ashes and salted nuts, baked apples, mushrooms, lightly oxidative. It's provocatively interesting, but rough and not for the faint of heart, and the palate continues in the same vein. It reminds me more of a Savennieres a la Nicolas Joly than any Chardonnay mindful of the Burgundian ideal - well, it's also reminiscent of Meursault, but a Meursault directed by Terrentino. (Jun. 22, 2014)

220 NIS.

Executive Summary

  1. Like.
  2. Okay.
  3. Love.
  4. An interesting date  - but not my type.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Guys And Dolls (May 25, 2014)

Another Bourgogne Crown tasting, this time loosely based around the theme of feminine Cote de Nuits (Chambolle, Vosne) versus the more masculine ones (Gevrey, Morey). Except for the Chassagne appertif and the the Chapitre, these wines were opened in the morning of the tasting, so you have to figure they all need a few years of cellaring.

Chapitre, the Bourgogne that walks like a Premier

Domaine Morey-Coffinet, Chassagne-Montrachet, 2011

Chassagne spiciness, with the four squared frame sand-papered smooth. 190 NIS.

Domaine Serafin, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2010

The Gevrey-ness perfume jumps out of the glass, gamy and earthy, lightly floral, quite tannic despite the lengthy airing, yet with no little elegance. The airing also brings out a lot of detail. Lovely. 280 NIS.

Domaine Olivier Guyot, Gevrey-Chambertin "Les Champs", 2010

A 'heavier' nose than the Serafin, not as giving or complex now either. The fruit is present, but with little detail. Aired as much as the Serafin, so perhaps the air was too much in this case. At any rate, in need of time. 270 NIS.

La Maison Romane, Gevrey-Chambertin "La Justice", 2011

The manliest of the Gevreys, without any loss of finesse and elegance. A deep wine. Gamy, sweaty and mineral laden. Full of flavors, yet the backbone is streamlined and focused. A good example of why I love the Maison. 340 NIS.

Domaine Bizot, Bourgogne "Le Chapitre", 2011

Intense mildew over the red fruit, yet that pungency is handled with a light touch and sheer elegance. Very long. This is famous for being one of three 'generic' Bourgognes legally allowed to use a single vineyard designation and it drinks like a Premier Cru. 375 NIS.

Domaine Amiot-Servelle, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Charmes, 2011

Heady, like sticking your head into a bouquet, yet delicate and feminine for all that. Very fresh with a very good backbone. 500 NIS.

Domaine Serafin, Morey St. Denis Premier Cru, Les Millandes, 2010

Not feminine so much as hedonistic, although when I say that I mean Roman Empire hedonistic as opposed to Wall Street hedonistic, since the character of 2010 gives the liqueur driven hedonism a Jedi Knight mystique. Fantastic acidity, too. 435 NIS.

Domaine Bizot, Vosne-Romanee "Les Jachees", 2011

Very Vosne, very 2011. Yet there is also a flowery Chambolle essence. Very layered, but like all the Bizots I've tasted, the low ABV creates a somewhat alient impact. Even my palate is not quite used to such low alcohol content. Yet the acidity and fruit are so savory, I love it without quite knowing why. 560 NIS.

Domain Alain Burguet, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, Les Rouges du Dessus, 3011

The first impression is that of great length. And that's all there is for a while until the Vosne character takes time to show. It's very Burguet, yet true to Vosne. Very tart with a soft yet controlled backbone. 590 NIS.

Domaine Amiot-Servelle, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Les Amoureuses, 2011

Languid Chambolle florality, with exotic spices. Complex and long, focused. And oh yeah, tasty as hell. 1050 NIS.

Domaine Serafin, Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, 2008

TCA tainted. There's great stuff in there, a great wine in the making, but the TCA ruins it, which isn't the wine's fault fault, of course. Although the concentration of the fruit does manage to do a very admirable job in covering up the cork taint. 790 NIS.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Northern Lights (May 19, 2014)

The thing about vacations is, sometimes you drink wines you pass by back home. Necessity is the mother of inventions, y'all. Bear with me as I walk you through some snapshots from a romantic getaway up north.

First, a very nice wine I should have tried at home, had I taken the trouble.

Pelter, Gewürztraminer, 2012

The local depiction of the grape is, happily, not as intense as the Alsatian version. There is bitter grapefruit and rose petals and a well measured pinch of spice, all without the crushing backbone of mustard-like extract that time never manages to temper in the aristocratic Alsace crus.

Then, a bottle from a winery I've been avoiding for the last half decade.

Sea Horse, Hemingway, 2011

70% Petit Syrah, 20% Sauvignon and 5% Syrah probably approximate Hemingway's personality, as the wine is sturdy, yet soft, with a faux pas manliness delineated by sweet black cherries and leather. Impressive at first, then gets on my nerves.

Finally, this is one wine I actively sought out and it's spellbindingly unique.

Ashkar, Iqrit, Sauvignon Blanc, 2013

Like the cat piss without the gooseberry bush at first, until the fruit starts to bloom, saline and intense, to welcome effect. There is nothing like it locally, if indeed anywhere. I truly loved it, and while I'm sure afficionados of correct wines would disapprove, I totally welcome it into my world.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Taking Care Of Business (May, 2014)

Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal DAC Reserve, Kammerner Renner 1er Lage, Gruner Veltliner, 2011

A broad, rich, peppery nose, gaining nuances of minerals in time, with fruit across the street from mango and right next door to lime. The aromas are echoed on the palate, which is also broad and rich; and - while tasty with a long, persistent, complex finish - doesn't have the wow factor or finesse I look for in a 1er Lage . Worth the price, though. (May 1, 2014)

Fat Guy, 185 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Saint Romain, 2008

I don't own a lot of Matrot whites, but even if I did own a whole bunch of them, I wouldn't open any in a hurry - because if a simple Saint Romain plays so well at five-six years post harvest, then the entire lineup is probably very cellar worthy. It could be performing better, mind (and I do believe the '07 would leave it choking on its exhaust fumes) but this is  what a subtly mature white Bourogne is all about, one aspect anyway: green apples, flint and dry grass on the nose - savory acidity to complement your meal on the palate. (May 4, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 180 NIS.

Meo-Camuzet, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Aux Murgers, 2007

Expansive, detailed and rich, while still within the classic Bourgogne paradigm of lithe, supple wines - this is the Meo-Camuzet style (when it works!), as I've  come to know it over the past five years. There's more black fruit than I find in my usual go-to producers, but this is hardly over-ripe and there's plenty of Nuits earthiness and Vosne spices to keep me happy. The tannins are bitter but almost seamless, which for me is a drawback, as I like my Burgundies to snap with love bites, but this is a worthy Premier Cru. (May 6, 2014)

Burgundy Wine Collection, about 500 NIS.

Yannic Amirault,  Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, La Mine, 2011

This is the sister cuvee to Amirault's Bourgeuil La Coudraye, and it seems deeper and more serious. It shows red fruit, violets, earth and lead pencil, a very classic little wine, still stern, and not quite as easy going and tasty as the Coudraye. (May 8, 2014)

17 GBP.

Jean Lallement, Champagne Brut, Verzenay Grand Cru, n.v.

Ooh la la, Lallement again. I just love this wine, with its funky character, all chicken broth and cashews framing vaguely citrusy fruit, with more depth and complexity than a non-vintage has a right to possess. I love it so much that I went through my entire, not-in expensive, three bottle stash within half a year. And would do so again, just as soon as Eldad Levy brings in more. (May 9, 2014)

Fat Guy, about 300 NIS.

Domaine Matrot, Blagny Premier Cru, La Piece Sous Le Bois, 2009

This is very Cote de Beaune in character, friendly red fruit with a pungent, earthy note. Due to the bass toned acidity of the 2009 vintage, most of the freshness and charm lies in the complex aromatics, and the previous bottle was livelier, but all in all, this is a lovely effort and I have great expectations of the 2010. (May 10, 2014)

70 USD.

Shvo, Chenin Blanc, 2011

Basically, it almost figures Gabi Sadan would come up with a spicy, kick-ass Chenin that leans more towards the dry, combustive minerality of Savennieres rather than the more fluid Vouvray. I hope he tames it enough in a few years just so the palate is a little softer and rounder, but even today, that's a mighty interesting, unique and complex nose. (May 11, 2014)

Pierre Gaillard, Saint Joseph, 2005

Going back to the stash of 2005 Gaillards I found at Futnam And Mason for twenty odd pounds, this is still remarkably vibrant for a nine year old Saint Joseph - and not even one of the premium, single vineyard cuvees. The nose is earthy and peppery, with hints of bacon, utterly typical for a north Rhone, less typical in the sense that it would convince many in a blind tasting that it's actually an entry level Hermitage or a Cornas. Starting to dry out, though, and a little hard to wade through. (May 17, 2014)

Domaine Ballorin, Cote de Nuits Villages, "Le Village", 2011

I loved this so much when I had it last month that it was the one wine I wanted most to return to ever since. This is such an over-achieving little wine, driven by fantastic acidity and supple fruit that conjures earthy red fruit flavors and aromas that imply very non-interventionist wine making. (May 20, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 150 NIS.

Vilmart & Cie, Cuvee Rubis, nv.

This is simply gorgeous. While the bottling is a Premier Cru, this has all the complexity, grace, finesse and elegance of a Cote d'Or Grand Cru. But don't dare think this is just a Pinot Noir in a sparkling idiom, it's pure Champagne, an amazing one. (May 24, 2014)

Fat Guy, 359 NIS.

Domaine Marquis d'Angerville, Bourgogne, 2011

I misplaced my note, but anyway, this is an excellent Bourgogne, actually declassified Volnay, showing the mineral aspects of the village rather than the stereotypical femininity. Took long enough to open for me to dismiss it at first, but i wound up liking it a lot. Daniel Lifshitz sure picked some overachieving Bourgognes for his portfolio. (May 28, 2014)

Bourgogne Crown, 160 NIS.

Vincent Paris, Cornas, Granit 30, 2009

This is a young vines from relatively moderate inclination (the "30" represents both the age of the vines and degree of inclination). It's typical of modest Syrah, with aromas of peppery black fruit, smooth and fruity on the palate, with soft tannins and low acidity. A nice wine, but even though I knew it was basically an entry level Cornas, I expected more out of it. (May 31, 2014)

27.5 GBP.