Ah, terrific. That's exactly what I was thinking of, a white Bordeaux blend.
This is from the Midbar (desert) Winery, which used to be called Asif, until owner Yaacov Or'yah went bankrupt and it was taken over by new owners. He's still the head winemaker and his wines are very pure and clear. You can read about Yaacov and his winery on the other side of the Forum.
Anyway, this is the white B blend.
The classic white Bordeaux formula is divvied up here 70% in favor of the Semillon. This is such a precocious wine, painted in miniature strokes of aromas and flavors. There are flowers and wet rocks, and the fruit ranges from lime and mandarin oranges to mango. Lovely acidity that serves as a solid backbone and maintains harmony. A bitter finish reminiscent of peels. I think this could use a couple of years to flesh out - it certainly grew and changed a lot during the two hours Efrat and I gouged away at it.
100 NIS. Thumbs up. This works both as a Graves hommage and in its own right.
Yaacov also makes a pure Semilon, which might be only the second or third such attempt in Israel.
This low alcohol (11%), lightly colored wine is referred to on the winery's site as special early harvest - only in Israel would that be a point of distinction. It has such a fragrant nose of green apples and chalk and talc, with a an aromatic breed that is almost Riesling-like, yet that restraint comes alongside a vital intensity. The palate echoes that, with purity and understated depth. I've only had maybe one or two pure Semillon, so it's not that easy for me to place this wine, but I found it totally captivating, and its aromas and flavors don't so much change with air as modulate their pitch and volume. This is one of the best whites in Israel, a noble wine that presented myriad facets in its evening date with us.Yaacov plans to release this in 2014 and while I can see the point, the suspense is going to kill me.
No price yet. Hopefully, it, too, will be 100-120 NIS.
Yaacov also uses some Sauvignon Blanc in a blend which you might think is somwhat of a spoof until you taste the result.
White, 44, 2010
Let me sum up Yaakov's goal with this Gewurztraminer/Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay/Viognier/Semillon blend, as described in the winery's site: gain the intoxicating aromas of Gewurtz and fix its typical deficits on the palate by using the other varieties in the blend. And it works, for the most parts. The Gewurtz and Viognier battle it out on the nose, while the other three grapes, which are the more neutral aromatically, serve to tame them, so you get a somewhat less vocal version of the first's spicy lychee and rose petals, and of the second's luscious honey and flowers, and finally the Sauvignon Blanc lends its own hints of gooseberry and grass. On the palate, you get an echo of these two's hedonistic leanings, while the rest of the cast serves to fill in any holes and to lend structure where the two prima donnas prefer to coast. The label says this is off-dry, but it isn't any more off-dry than a Gruner Veltliner, the way it plays out on my palate, and that has to do with the great acidity once again, as well as with the tasty saline finish. Detailed analysis aside, I like this approach at utilizing Gewurztraminer and this is a very attractive package.
110 NIS. I can't make up my mind about the price. Objectively, it's on the high side, but when I consider how rare and hard it is to find a Gewurtz-based wine that makes good conversation before putting out...
Now I remember I do have a local SB to write about, although the style is a bit weird.
Shvo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010
I loved the Rose, I liked the Red, I found the Chenin Blanc weird (but I plan to re-visit) - so this now completes my tour of the Shvo portfolio (although I never got to taste the 2009 version of the SB, which I gather, from what I've read, was sweeter, with less alcohol - something about stuck fermentation). This, too, is very idiosyncratic, smelling and tasting like someone tried to make a Corton-Charlemagne out of Sauvignon grapes. The nose has dried grass, flint, rainwater and honey, some melon being an offhand clue to the variety. The palate is dense, almost sweet, with a hum of minerals reminiscent of Savennieres. It's initially rather aggressive, but calms down with air to show a saline finish. At no point is it very typical: at half way past this slow-drinking, brooding wine, I caught myself thinking: "maybe Chenin Blanc just isn't my thing anymore".
An interesting wine, and although I can't pledge I'll make any returns to this vintage, I'll gladly check the upcoming ones.
About 100 NIS.
Last edited by ChaimShraga
on Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Positive Discrimination For White Wines!