During my trip to Taieb last year, the topic of wines making their way to Israel came up. Only three of the wines that I tasted on that trip – the Joseph Mellot Sancere, the Chateau Castelbruck, and Chateau La Naud. Of those, the Mellot and Castelbruck are still on back (and inferior) vintages here, with the Mellot being the ‘16 here (with the ‘18 out in France) and Castelbruck is the ‘13 here (with the ‘16 current in France). If the current vintages make their way here, I’ll be stocking up. The remaining wine – the La Naude – is on the same vintage, but it’s not a very good wine.
In all, there are about seventeen Taieb wines that make their way to Israel. Of the fourteen remaining, the list includes four rosés, a few lower end table wines and two low end champagnes. Of the more interesting wines that remain, I was able to find three bottles – two vintages of Chateau Rigaud (current 2016 plus the 2015) and the current vintage of the La Colonne. Even those aren’t easy to find. The importer seems to only sell to French owned small wine shops. Of these, some have questionable storage, others have very spotty selection. The storage issue is one to be careful of as I had gotten a La Colonne previously, but the bottle was obviously heat damaged – and the wine was way off. Luckily, I gave it another chance from a different store. The 2016 Rigaud that I reviewed here also may have had a storage issue, the cork looked to have absorbed wine up to the top – but without any cork imperfections – which could have indicated poor storage. But it did not seem to negatively impact the wine. So be careful where you get these wines from here in Israel.
One thing uniform about all of these stores, besides being of French ownership and primary clientele, is the pricing. It’s odd and seems to have little to no relation to the pricing in France. The La Naude goes for about 9 Euro in France, the Rigaud for 14 and the La Colonne at 22 – and they all seem to be priced in 100 shekel range here, by all of the stores. Not sure what the rational is – and quite honestly some of these wines do not have a shelf life. So importing them and keeping them at high prices where they will just sit on the shelves dying doesn’t seem to the smartest strategy. Hopefully this is just a matter of the importer learning the wines and the market and it will adjust in the future.
In any event, I found the three wines and have been waiting to taste them for a while, perhaps with some friends from the neighborhood, but the opportunity just never came up. So I decided to bring them to work yesterday and have them with my friend and co-worker Moshe, who also appreciates wine. We ordered a late lunch in and got to work. Here are the notes:
2015 Chateau Tour Rigaud, Puisseguin-Saint Emilion – Red Raspberry on the nose with a hint of earth in the background. In the mouth, flat as a pancake with no acid. There is a hint of dark fruit, but it’s barely there. All you have is tannin, and that’s about it. No finish to speak of. Basically this wine is dead. Lesson learned – only buy current vintage of these lower end wines.
2016 Chateau Tour Rigaud, Puisseguin-Saint Emilion – On the nose, a touch of Brett and overall much dirtier with great mushroom and earth. In the mouth, these notes follow through on this medium bodied wine, where you have great dirt and mushroom, with some soy and black fruit. Really nice. Nothing too deep here, and the finish is a little abrupt – but at 14 euro it’s an easy buy in France. In Israel at NIS 100-110 it’s nice as a change of pace as the profile is not really something you find here anymore, and its one that I enjoy. But is it really worth that price? Probably not. Based on the 2015, I would drink now over the next year only.
2016 La Collone, Lalande-de-Pomerol – Nose here is nice with shades of both blue and red fruit and a little earth. In the mouth, this wine shows a bit of depth and elegance. Mostly mineral driven and green with some nice charcoal and a hit of tart berry that comes right in the mid palate. The finish is really nice with toasted herb, menthol, and ultimately rich earth. The core here is adequate to hold three years or so. In France this goes for about 22 Euro. In Israel it’s about NIS 100-110 and a wine I would buy.