Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, Gershon, 2011
This is further proof of my pet doctrine, that Sauvignon Blanc is the signature Israeli white grape. The Gershon is a special edition that Gaby Sadan makes from a special sub-plot of his vineyard and has matured surprisingly well, with decent complexity, very good acidity driven length and a detailed nose redolent with mineral funk.
Dönnhoff, Nahe, Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg, Riesling trocken, 2007
To some extent, this came under criticism, due to, in equal parts, the relatively warm serving temperature and the fact that Donnhoff, being Donnhoff, is always placed under great scrutiny. I like it and find it intriguing, for the sherbet taste/feel that is deftly counterpointed by piercing, surreal minerality that blends with the sweetness of the fruit. I admit the palate is challenging in spots, in a way that the classic, off dry style probably would not be. The nose is lovely, with smoke, sweet white fruit and cold rock.
Joseph Drouhin, Pommard Premier Cru, Rugiens, 2010
I tend to consider Drouhin one of the 'good' negociants (yes, there's a grower bias here), but this is underwhelming, mostly because I find it too ripe for the vintage. The nose is of Premier Cru breed, intense with iron and spices, easily identifiable as Pommard, it's only the palate that disappoints.
Dominique Laurent, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2002
This is an excellent, classic Charmes with red cherries, forest floor, exotic spices. Laurent is usually derided for his excessive barrel regime. Looking back at my notes, it looks like I'm not a particularly ardent follower, but this wine survived the oak with age and grew way beyond it. It doesn't hurt that 2002 was such a great vintage, either.
Marqués de Murrieta, Castillo Ygay, Rioja Gran Reserva Especial, 1994
There is a reason I like my Riojas very mature and this twenty-three year old shows that even two decades is not enough to shed enough baby fat to suit me (Ygay used to be placed on the market in the past after decades in barrel and bottle). Even the nose is not completely in harmony, although it does already show a funky, vegetative aspect of old Rioja.
Oddero, Barolo, Vigna Rionda, 1998
What a visceral disappointment... I tried to be charitable, because I brought it and it wasn't cheap, but at best I would say this is not a good bottle, a more objective taster might even say a bad one. The nose barely shows some dust and iron. The palate is looser, but still mean and grungy. You look at the label and consider the producer, the vineyard and vintage and you just think, aw shit. The lesson here is be very careful where you shop.
Clos du Marquis, Saint Julien, 1996
As usual, a good claret, but hardly very exciting, even with bottle age. At that period, Clos du Marquis was truly a second wine and not the independent property it later became.