2 September 2007
May - Israel. I made my first ever trip to Israel and despite my intention not to do much wine business, it happened anyway. I learned a few important points about this fascinating place. First, Israel is distinctly not paralyzed by the conflict with its neighbors. Life goes on, vibrantly. Wine-wise this tiny country has a burgeoning industry, with nearly 300 wineries. This should not be surprising given the ideal conditions for grape growing. It was a bit more surprising to find out that not all of those wineries are kosher. In fact, a couple of wineries I visited, known internationally for their terrific products, were adamantly non-kosher. As jews who are perceived by the orthodox as somehow less jewish, they simply refuse to abide by rules that require the hiring of "observant" jews to work in the vineyards and winery.
July - Paris. Instead of staying in a hotel, we rented an apartment in the Marais. It was a different experience living in a residential neighborhood, getting up every morning to do pick up fresh baguettes, patisserie, fromages. We visited a tiny wine shop called Julien, Caviste -- talking to Julien about wine was a little like talking to myself. Handpicked wines, many from producers we have met if not visited.
August - Baltimore. The current wine of the week:
Mikael Bouges Sauvignon Blanc '05 "La Pente de Chavigny" - Touraine, France
I was expecting something more classic in Mikael Bouges' Touraine Sauvignon Blanc because of the vintage '05 -- also excellent, but more typical. I was surprised by the first whiff -- a beautiful blast of apricot and melon -- but that was just the beginning of the surprise. In the mouth, all of this deliciously lively lime/herb/mineral stuff danced around. If I weren't tasting the wine again as I write this, three days after the first taste, I would have thought the sensation was limited to that first taste on Monday. Nope, it's just as wildly delicious today. I bet this would be incredible with a fresh slab of pan-roasted red snapper topped with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Tasting Notes: Apricot/melon/herb/citrus smells -- the lime, herbs and mineras explode in the mouth -- this is amazing -- dry and juicy and concentrated yet refreshing. Wow.