|Henri and Madeleine Laroche of Domaine d'Henri|
The other Chablis in the Bourgogne Crown portfolio, this is the family estate Michel Laroche started after selling off his negociant business. This has the typical intense delivery of sea shell aromas and the Fourchaume elegance and the racy finish is all apples, chalk and plankton. A keeper. (Aug. 3, 2016)
Chapoutier, Hermitage, La Sizeranne, 2005
I think La Sizeranne is probably the easiest Hermitage to find. The Hermitage hill is small, and I believe Chapoutier is the biggest producer, with the Sizeranne the house's largest Hermitage cuvee. It's usually overpriced in Israel, at 400 NIS, but if you search long enough, you should be able to find it at a decent 200 NIS. It might not knock you out, but it's quite typical, and let's face it, even a typical, just-good Hermitage is a treat. There's iron and black pepper on the nose, broad hints of bacon, with plenty of tannic brawn in this eleven year old, that is well balanced by the plump fruit. It's in a good place, complex and flavorsome, arguably the best Sizeranne I've ever had, with a decade's worth of life at least. (Aug. 4, 2016)
Domaine Gerard Julien, Côte de Nuits Villages, 2013
This is more elegant and smoother than the Guyot Bourgogne I had recently, although less complex - no real reason to compare them except they are almost within the same price bracket and I had them a few days apart. Quite floral and, like the Guyot, surprisingly long. (Aug. 5, 2016)
Bourgogne Crown, 170 NIS.
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne, Dizy, Brut Rosé, n.v.
There are Rosé Champagnes where the Pinot only adds color, but Eldad doesn't really import Rosés like that. This is lovely, very precise in the way it carries the autumnal spices of Pinot Noir and hints of strawberries, even more precise in how effortlessly it carries its weight. (Aug. 10, 2016)
Fat Guy, 299 NIS.
Quinta da Pellada, Dao, Primus, 2014
Tropical fruits and minerals, a veil of oak. Good balance behind that veil and very promising. (Aug. 12, 2016)
Tshernichovsky Porto Wine Bar, about 200 NIS.
Álvaro Castro, Quinta da Pellada, Dão Tounot, 2011
I don't have enough experience with Touriga Nacional to pigeonhole it into masculine/feminine stereotypes, but, despite a brambly wildness that recalls forest fruit and flowers, there's elegant softness and an exotic lushness a la Chambolle (probably because there's Pinot Noir in the blend, as odd as that might sound). It's a young wine, only starting to shed off the barrel regime (the wine-making apparently sensitive enough so that the oak, while obvious, is integrated enough to make the wine approachable even now), this is probably the best wine I've had from Castro so far. It may not exactly flirt with greatness, but it certainly acknowledges it in the way it offers constantly changing and conflicting impressions and vantage points. (Aug. 13, 2016)
Tshernichovsky Porto Wine Bar, about 300 NIS.
Lahat, White, 2014
A typical Rhone blend (Rousanne and Marsanne). A herbal, rock dry white, showcasing white fruits and nuts and a taste of honey. (Aug. 14, 2016)
Domaine de la Vougeraie, Côte de Beaune, Les Pierres Blanches Blanc, 2013
Much more integrated, in better form, than the last bottle. A lovely wine, compactly putting together pears, citrus fruit, dried grass and flint on the nose - salivating acidity and a saline finish on the palate. (Aug. 15, 2016)
Burgundy Wine Collection, 180 NIS.
Chéreau-Carré, Comte Leloup de Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Cuvée des Ceps Centenaires, 2010
It's impossible to reconcile the notion of aging a wine with a shelf price of 90 NIS, especially when it's already six years old when you buy it. Even more so when there is already so much pleasure in its mineral cut and a palate defined by salivating acidity, lime juice and sea weed. (Aug. 20, 2016)
Wine Route, 90 NIS.
Château de Beru, Chablis, Cotes Aux Pretes, 2014
For a domain deep in the heartland of the appellation system, Beru does a good job of breaking the lines and rules of the system. Most of the Château's holdings are, on paper, lowly, basic Chablis, yet their purity and breed shine above their class. Like the somewhat less expensive and leaner Terroirs De Béru, this is also a textbook Chablis, albeit purer than many textbook samples, its marine bouquet adorned with both sweet and leafy notes. And finally, here's a challenge for you all: try to figure out how the acidity wraps itself around your palate like the first day of spring. (Aug. 21, 2016).
Bourgogne Crown, 155 NIS.
Michel and Stéphane Ogier, Côte-Rôtie Reserve, 2012
The 2001, at ten years of age, was lovely, complex and deceptively soft, rife with black pepper and bacon fat nuances. This is cut from the same cloth, but at least at this stage, it's just not coming together quite as well. The nose does recall the elder sibling, but the palate is not yet managing that juggling trick of balancing a firm backbone with languid, succulent fruit. What is there, for the time being, is soft fruit with an excellent acidic backbone, yet without enough density or length. I hope the fruit is dormant and in need of time, because I really loved that ten year old 2001. And, also, this would be a terrible value if it doesn't come around. (Aug. 26, 2016)
Wine Route, about 400 NIS. (I kinda suspect it will improve but never live up to the price)
Giuseppe Quintarelli, Valpolicella, 2003
This is no simple Valpolicella. This would be an Amarone under any other label but the near-mythical Quintarelli - not a style I like, but I can appreciate the quality here. It comes off as very porty and sweet on the nose, while the palate is much more savory, masking quite well its 15% ABV. In all, a warm maturity in a wine much more suited to a cold winter night than to a summer brunch, where it was served. (Aug. 27, 2016)
Michel Redde et fils, Pouilly-Fumé, Les Champs des Billons, 2011
Redde was one of Uri Kaftori's master coups, but I haven't refilled my stocks in some time, so this is the last bottle of my purchases of 2-3 years ago. This has always been of Chablis Grand Cru depth and complexity, with a similar saline/marine quality, but this specific bottle comes off as mute and lightly oxidized. So, even though it gains presence and definition, and while the finish is focused and persistent - the overall impression is not up to the standard raised by previous bottles. (Aug. 27, 2016)
Giacomo Fenocchio, Langhe Freisa, 2014
A Beaujolais Cru born out of Piedmont. On the one hand, it has a meaty, leathery aspect- on the other, a warm, tarry/dusty vibe a la big brother Nebbiolo. The acidity carries the fruit and I'd say it's tangier than what you get in Nebbiolo. (Aug. 30, 2016)
Fat Guy, 95 NIS.
Domaine Weinbach, Gewurztraminer, Cuvée Théo, 2013
I don't understand the internal hierarchy of the domaine's wines, and the fact that its site is in French doesn't help. I think that the entry level wines are the Reserve series, then the Cuvée Théo. After that, you have the Cuvées Laurence, Sainte Catherine and Colette, the Altenbourg single vineyard varietal wines, then the Grand Crus. And, of course, the various Vendage Tardive and Selection Grains Nobles wines and some labelled Quintessence and l'Inedit.
Are you all still hanging in there?
I haven't tried any Weinbach in years. They were always pricey, especially under the former importer, but what I distinctly recall is that the higher Cuvées were too high octane for my tastes. That's why I bought the Théo, at 13.5% ABV and not the Altenbourg at 14. This is actually a very good example of why I keep coming back to Geuwrtz a couple of times a year. The bouquet is lovely, with that exotic, gingery spiciness and rose petals. The residual sugar on the palate is just enough to temper that zany spiciness in mid-palate and quinine on the finish, keeping me alert and interested without undue fatigue. (Aug. 31, 2016)
190 NIS. I'm willing to accede the price.