Saturday, August 20, 2011

Austria/Israel - white & red

This defines a great evening: warm, smart and funny friends along with excellent food accompanied by great wines from Israel and Austria. Starting with the elegant GV von den terassen 2006 from FX Pichler then Margalit Cabernet Franc 2007. Common theme: spicy elegance. Both wines showed very well and were a very good match to Mediterranean food.

FX Pichler is among the most celebrated Austrian winemakers and is definitely a great producer. The quality of this wine was a surprise for me as it's a "standard" Smargad, but proved to be among the best I've had from this winery. Aroma and mouth wise, this is a very typical Smargad (highest quality level) Wachau Gruner Veltliner (GV).

Pichler GV Smargad von den terrassen 2006
Very elegant wine, starts with white flowers blossom and tropical fruits. Then you get the spices: pepper & vanilla. Everything works together towards a rounded and smooth mouth. Long elegant finish, 95

Margalit continues to produce the best red wines (unfortunately they stopped producing whites around 2000) in Israel. I voluntarily participated in producing the wines in 2007 - that was a birthday surprise, arranged by my wife. However, the wine tasted here was put into fermentation at another day. So, no personal interest here. This is mostly Cabernet Franc, with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon wine, from the upper Galilee.

Margalit, Cabernet Franc 2007
Deep, lively color. Very elegant, with black currents, black cherries and a note of blackberries along with black and green peppers. This is a very well integrated wines, with a smooth mouth feel and light tannin. Ready for drinking, but with years ahead. Great, long finish. 92

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good, cheap Bordeaux still exists!

The sky-rocketing price of Bordeaux in recent years has left many wine-lovers with the impression that it simply isn't possible to get good, well-made Bordeaux for a reaonable price. But this simply isn't true. The perception arrises, in my mind, from a mistaken impression of what Bordeaux truly is. I'm acquainted (via the internet) with an American ex-Patriot who lives in Bordeaux, who made an very astute observation about the situation: the problem is that the American Bordeaux market equates Bordeaux with the Classified Growths, i.e., the Grand Crus. But stop and think: there are, if we include the Medoc, Pessac-Leognan, and St.-Emilion classifications, about 100 Grand Crus in Bordeaux. But there are about 5000 producers overall - it is the largest premier wine region on the planet. But the Amerian market thinks Bordeaux is supposed to some kind of block-buster, and the Grand Crus do deliver that in their youth, so that is what the market demands, and what sells. But a fine claret, as the English would say, is a beverage, not a cocktail - a sophisticated drink to accompany a fine meal. And if you still believe in traditional Bordeaux, there are still good deals to be found, no where more so than in Graves. Here's a fine, well-made, attractive, meat-friendly $11 Bordeaux I enjoyed with dinner last night.

Chateau Des Proms, Cuvee Bellevue, Graves 2008
Dark ruby red. Wonderful, classic Graves nose of earthy gravel, dark fruit, and hints of flowers. On the palate, blackberry and dark cherry, attractive by not overstated, with abundant gravel and stoney earth, hints of violets, and hint of herbs/tobacco leaf on the finish, with just the right touch of oak. Medium bodied with nice aromatic accentuation, good tone, and respectable density. Very classy. Needs a little while in the glass to show its best. Approachable now with air, but should age nicely over the 5 - 10 years. Excellent value at $11. * * (2 stars) = 88 points

Friday, July 22, 2011

William Fevre Chablis 2009

Chablis is my favorite Chardonnay growing area. It produces good to great wines at a much more reasonable price than any other burgundy whites or the high end California chardonnay. Even more importantly, Chablis wines have a precise combination of richness, fine minerals and acidity that can't be found elsewhere. William Fevre is an excellent producer, this wine sets a very good example to basic Chablis, great value for money (approx. $20).

William Fevre Chablis 2009
Flowers blossom with melon, apricot a bit pears and slight butter aroma. All are integrated into a great nose. The flavor is smooth balanced with delicate acidity and minerals. Medium finish. All translates into a very good to excellent wine, Score: 90

Friday, June 24, 2011

Portteus Zinfandel

Washington state wines are in many cases my preference when it comes to US wines. But when it comes to the beloved Zin wines, California wines are usually the best. Surprise! An excellent Zinfandel from Washington. Jumps immediately to the top of the list for Zins.

Portteus Zinfandel 2008
Dark color, very Zinfandel character: bold, ripe and Masculine. Starts with ripe plums and dark cherries which are balanced by good acidity and a medium/full body. The tannins are nicely integrated in the wine and the finish is long and tasty. Excellent: 90