The regal kosher affair with the Sharpshooter, the Writer, the Winemaker, and the drinker
To start please excuse the obvious play on C. W. Lewis titles, as my ode to the wonderful Olympics that have just completed in Great Britain, and for Britain’s handling and medaling throughout the Olympic extravaganza. While, the games were closing down in London, a few of us were gathering for what can only be called the regal revelry in San Diego! No, we were not reveling over the medal haul of the United States or for anything related with the Olympics. Rather, it was a chance date that allowed the four of us to get down to San Diego and enjoy the insane hospitality of Andrew, the purveyor and manager of Liquid Kosher.
I arrived first and was treated to a glass of Pommery Champagne which was light with a beautiful mousse and notes that remind one of a summer orchard filled with perfume of apple, ripe lemon creme, along with a ribbon of peach and spice. This is not mevushal and it belongs side by side my other favorite sparkler, the Drappier that is mevushal. Well, as I was enjoying the atmosphere and Champagne the regal gastronomic revelry began! I could not believe the effort that both Andrew and his wife went through for the three or four guests that appeared. The haute cuisine, that was impeccably implemented, would have made Gordon Ramsay blush! The gourmet menu consisted of seven courses and each one was better, if that was possible, than the next! I started on the Toast of Caramelized Apple and Tarragon, which was a beautiful example of what one can do with bread, butter, and a few herbs! The baguette was toasted with butter and herbs and then topped with caramelized Pink Lady apple and tarragon! What a treat, as the caramelized pink ladies released their liquid gold and flavored the brioche with a mix of sweetness and bright acidity making for a well-balanced treat! The herb and cheese that topped the fruit brought with it salty earthiness that brought together the entire flavor profile.
Soon after I arrived the winemaker came, in this case, Jonathan Hajdu, the associate winemaker at Covenant Winery. With him came a whole bunch of wine, which we will discuss soon, and the insane knowledge that travels with him. However, at the same time, the sharpshooter’s targets also made an entrance, to what they would soon realize, was a shooting gallery death. You see, Andrew, besides being a very capable lawyer and a wine connoisseur, is also a man with a rare talent, the ability to shoot down flies with a rubber band! It was crazy to watch, the fly lands and there it died, quite impressive accuracy with a tool that is far from precision-based! The good news was that there were not too many targets for the sharpshooter and the main focus of the event was the epic food and wine.
Soon enough we took aim of a far more interesting and tasty target – that being a pair of Pinot Noir/Burgundy from France. The two wines were the 2004 Clos Vougeot, Chateau De La Tour, Grand Cru and the 2005 Domaine Gibourg, Louis Blanc, Pommard, A Cow jumped over the Moon. I recently had the chance to taste the 2003 Clos Vougeot, Chateau De La Tour, Grand Cru at the International Food and Wine Festival, in Herzog’s Oxnard winery this past week and I loved it to start but then it went sideways real fast! At first I thought that the 2003 may had been in a funk for all the times I did not appreciate it, but this one finally proved to us all that the 2003 vintage of this wine is not worth the cost, notwithstanding the potential that you may have bought a home run. However, this 2004 vintage was quite nice but was nowhere near the 2003 when it was on. The 2003 was full bodied, with deeply rooted mint and menthol, deep ribbons of espresso coffee, raspberry, and almost new world like sweet fruit. The mouth was equally striking with deep concentration, good extraction, and massive mouth coating tannin that makes you stand up and take notice. The 2004 vintage is comparison is a lightweight, with high acidity and green notes. That is NOT to say that the 2004 vintage was poor in any way, more that while the 2003 was meant to be long for the cellar (excepting my experiences with the kosher wines), the 2004 is not meant for the bottom of your cellar. Rather, this bottle is meant to be stored in a far more accessible location. That said, we returned to it twice and indeed it was tasting nicely, and Andrew emailed me later saying that the wine was showing even better later in the evening and the next day!
So, while it seems that Royal Wines may yet again have a Burgundy that is worthy of the high price they charge, the other Pinot was clearly not in the same zip code, which was a truly crying shame! Why? Simple, the 2005 Domaine Gibourg, Louis Blanc, Pommard, A Cow jumped over the Moon was meant to be the best kosher Burgundy on the market! At least according to the late Daniel Rogov. Unfortunately, the wine we tasted was brown and dead to the world, the score we could give it was a C at best, again a real shame. In the grand scheme of things, I think I can safely state that I have tasted the best kosher Burgs and while they are nice, it is still a stretch to call them reasonably priced. However, that is not a thing that I can state, ultimately that is up to the buyer, and all that wine writers and bloggers like myself can state, is what we think about it, ignoring price.
On another aside, the company that was once called – The cow jumped over the moon – has come and gone. The kosher wines they were selling were equally high-priced but of high quality indeed. One of the wines they sold, for 195 or so dollars, was the 2005 Domaine Gibourg, Louis Blanc, Pommard. I need to state a disclaimer here; I know nothing of the company or the people who ran it. All I have is the awesome thing called the internet and the waybackmachine.org. It looks like they started a cheese and jam online store in 2006. From there, in 2008, they added wine and then they started a wonderful cafe on Rodeo drive. There are a few reviews of the food and atmosphere of the restaurant on Rodeo Drive! Ironically, they took over the place of the by then defunct Prime Grill, which was a colossal disaster on the west coast. The restaurant seems to have existed in 2006 as well, but moved to a better location when Prime Grill went under, and they did not put the restaurant online till 2008, from what I can tell. In 2010 they updated the website and moved it to: acowonrodeo.com, but that too died in 2011. Another great tool, to search old websites is called screenshots.com, which here shows the evolution of acowonrodeo.com. A shame as the wine business is a cold and heartless mistress and it is a shame to see options fall off. Best wishes to them.
At this point anyone keeping tally would know that the three wines that were tasted retail for around 400 dollars! At this point a customer of Andrew joins us, sans flies entering their cool abyss inside the shooting gallery. The man liked his wine and coffee and it was enlightening to see other wine drinkers commenting on wine. Though he soon left and the drinker entered, this being Shimon Weiss, of the famed Weiss Brothers, who make fantastic Shirah wines, which we enjoyed later in the tasting. It was at this point that I must digress and discuss the soul crushing blind tasting that followed. So let us start with the definition of blind tasting – put simply you taste the wines with a where you may know a piece of information such as the country of origin or grape varietal. In our case we knew the four wines we were to taste were based on the Merlot varietal. I brought a bottle of the 2008 Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C., so I knew that one of them were a Benyo wine, the rest were unknown to me and played a large part of the soul crushing experience. As the four of us tasted through the wines we all came to a quick agreement, though I may have been to vocal on my opinion, which was that Benyo’s wine, which I knew existed was the best, and that the third or the fourth wine was Israeli, and that the fourth wine was really not enjoyable at all, lending to its light brick color and its overly sweet overtones.
So there you have it, we are faced with four glasses of wine, with the knowledge that they were all Merlot, and with our opinions officially noted down in indelible ink for posterity. I must admit that I always love blind tastings as they of course remove any bias but they also put you and leave you on edge until the official unveiling, where your kimono is opened wide and your soul is laid bare for all to see. Again, we all loved the first wine, the second was quite nice, the third was average, and the last was close to unbearable. So there you had it and now came the time of reckoning. In the end, we all liked the new 2008 Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C., well-balanced, tons of oak (very UnBenyo like), and deeply black in nature with good ribbons of red and earth. The second wine turned out to be the insanely acclaimed 2005 Domaine Roses Camille, a wine that was rated 95 and called one of the best ever kosher cuvees out of Bordeaux by the late Daniel Rogov! Rogov had scored kosher wines above 95, those being for a few Yarden wines, but this was his highest score for anything outside of Israel and US (yeah the Hagafen Melange scored a 95 as well). It was also a wine that was heavily acclaimed by the Wine Spectator and Decanter. The third wine was its younger brother, the 2006 Domaine Roses Camille, which was scored a 93 by Daniel Rogov, and also scored well with the Wine Spectator. The fourth wine was the 2004 Yarden Ortal Merlot, a wine we liked in our 2011 roundup, however, at this tasting the wine had turned brown, showing quite poorly, making me think the bottle (which Andrew got from the local Yarden distributor), was not handled with care before getting to Andrew.
A slight side note on the DRC (Domaine Roses Camille), joke OK just a joke – but a man can dream. I will be talking soon with the owner of the winery and will then post a more complete write-up on Domaine Roses Camille. The 2005 year in Bordeaux was a fantastic year and the 2005 was the first vintage for Domaine Roses Camille. The winery is not one of classic kosher Bordeaux stories, where an entrepreneur comes to a well-known or established non-kosher winery and makes a kosher run. The winery did not exist before 2005 and the first two vintages were made 100% kosher. The grapes of the plot from which Roses Camille is made, were previously harvested and blended with other grapes to make a non-kosher wine. The wine was OK, according to Nicholas Ranson, the co-producer of Domaine Roses Camille, but nothing spectacular. So, in 2005 Mr. Ranson decided to make a kosher wine with the vineyard, which is all Merlot along with a bit of Cabernet Franc. The carefully crafted wine is sourced from a premier parcel in the Pomerol region of Bordeaux. The winemaker is Christophe Bardeau, who was an associate winemaker at Pomerol’s legendary l’Eglise Clinet. Like all ventures, it comes in baby steps, so they sold part of the grapes as usual and made wine with the rest of the grapes. The wine came out so good that the next year they used all the grapes from the vineyard that they could get, which came to 3000 bottles (250 cases), which is the maximum amount of production they can get from their small vineyard. With 3000 bottles there really is not a lot of space to make a living. Therefore, the wine and its quality commands a high price. The 2005 Domaine Roses Camille goes for 380 dollars a pop, while the 2006 Domaine Roses Camille goes for 230 dollars a pop. Unfortunately, even though Mr. Ranson is an Orthodox Jew, the costs of keeping the subsequent vintages kosher were just too high, and the lack of sales stemming from the great world-wide recession of 2008/2009, forced Mr. Ranson to make the wines not kosher. However, the good news is that the 2011 vintage Domaine Roses Camille will again be kosher. The decision for Mr. Ranson was not an easy one, but it was completely a business decision and one that in the end did not affect the winery as much as it did affect the Bordeaux kosher wine market options. Still, the market for 230 to 380 dollar kosher wines is pretty small, though for the true kosher wine lovers out there, it was a loss. Soon after the release of the 2005 and 2006 vintages, the Decanter magazine selected Domaine Roses Camille as one among the 100 best Great Wines of Bordeaux, not caring about the kosher aspect of it. It also received the bronze medal of the 2008 World Wine Award published in October 2008 issue of the magazine. On March 2008, in a special report titled “Bordeaux to buy” on page 63, Wine Spectator mentioned Domaine Roses Camille as one of the fifty wines among hundreds of great wines that deserve special attention. Once again, not taking into account the kosher aspect, though mentioning it in the article.
Returning to the wine cornucopia, we were shocked once we saw the wines that were poured for a few reasons. One is the sheer value of the wine being poured. Secondly, for the fact that the wines did not taste up the standard by which they were being judged. Even Andrew conceded that the wines were closed and did not taste the way they did later in the day, when we re-tasted them. Thirdly, for the fact that we were so badly off on our scores and locations. Anyway, once we came back to the moment we all agreed that the Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C. was still tasting the best and that the bottle of Ortal Merlot was not and that we should decant the two Domaine Roses Camille and move on. Such is life, when you have the very tough job of drinking and tasting through a table full of wonderful and breath-taking wines.
At this point my attention moved to my stomach and I took a more focused approach to the bounty of food that covered the table. I was in need of starch and the Andrew came in with a massive serving dish of Pasta with Pesto and toasted Pignoli. However, before I could really target the pasta I tried a plate of some wonderful Grilled and Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Olive and Caper Tapenade. Please excuse my language, but this course/dish was absolutely filthy (in all the right ways)! The cauliflower was still firm to the fork, not mushy in any way, which when committed, to me, is an act of culinary treason and outright mischief. Besides being perfectly cooked, the cauliflower charred just right with nice thickness and topped with a lovely acidic tomato sauce, and capers that added the right amount of saltiness to bring the entire thing together. I vividly remember thanking Andrew and his wife countless, almost to the point of harassment instead of complimenting! Once the grumbling in my stomach had come to a dull murmur, I locked my focus unto the beautiful looking green pasta. The pasta’s cookery equaled that of the cauliflower, but if I may be so bold to say, the pine nuts were roasted to perfection and the combination was insane! The perfectly al-dente pasta, tossed with rich green fresh flavored pesto, and then topped with the roasted pine nuts brought all the flavor profiles into a single dish, salty, crunchy, oily, and sweet! The salty pasta and pesto combined with the crunch of the perfectly toasted pine nuts, along with the oily pesto, and the easily detectable sweet basil in the pesto. Quite a real treat.
At this point it was time to refocus on the wines and the next target came in the shape of a new wine from Jonathan Hajdu and Chef Yitzchok Bernstein who made a wine together, not under the Hajdu brand. For now the wine is being called the 2011 Makom, a wine made up of 100% Carignan, and a wine that was lovely and honest to its varietal in all the right ways. A richly floral nose along with red apple, cranberry, and good spice. The mouth is medium in weight and not yet integrated, with searing tannins, lovely ground cover, earthy notes, and a finish of boysenberry and espresso notes. Quite a lovely wine and one that we all agreed could be enjoyed throughout a meal, maybe excepting for with a massive chunk of venison or mutton.
From there we moved to serious power, with the 2010 Brobdingnagian Petite Sirah, a black and blue wine that left my palate black and blue! The wine is beyond muscular, more ripped and built like a safe than a linebacker, yet accessible when being enjoyed with a 30 oz. slab of cow! The wine is filled with lovely blue and black fruit that explodes with white chocolate, forest berries, and surprisingly nice green notes. The mouth is searing, inky, and massive, with blackcurrant, black cherry, and a black and blue haze induced by ripe fruit and the slightest hint of cedar. The finish is long and crazy with toast and anise on the rise.
At this point there was a duality shift of both my attention and the table’s attention, with all focusing on the newly arrived; Pan Grilled Wild Sockeye Salmon and the 2009 Shirah Syrah, McGinley Vineyard. The McGinley ripped through the Sockeye, but it worked perfectly with the second plate of pesto pasta with roasted pine nuts! The sweet blue and black fruit perfectly complemented the salty and crunchy nature of the pasta. We then moved on to the second Shirah wine, the 2009 Shirah Syrah, Thompson Vineyard. The two vineyards were blended into the fantastic Power to the People wine (P2P) which we loved a few months ago! Where the P2P was sweet and balanced, the Thompson is a brooding powerhouse, which if it had the opportunity, would be hearing the repeated pleadings of its shrink saying “Calm maestro Calm”! The wine is almost as aggressive as the Brobdingnagian but with a bit more calm in its heart. Still, while this wine has more power than its McGinley brother, it lacks the finesse and bright fruit that its brother carries in its structure and carriage, I duality that really does come together nicely in the blended P2P.
With all that rich food and wine flavors attacking us relentlessly, Jon thought it was time to take a step back and try some lovely Grenache, and what a success it is! Sure we all know about the Rhone wines that have made a successful entrenchment here in the US and Australia. There has been much talk about Syrah/Shiraz’s failure here in the US and Australia, there is however little talk about the GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blends or the Grenache grape by itself. Why? Because while, many have become bored with the wines from Australia in the 10 to 15 dollar range, fat, boring, and lazy wines, there is little to none such apathy for wines like Grenache. The 2010 Brobdingnagian Grenache, is less Brobdingnagian in weight and more Brobdingnagian is structure and stature. The thing that grabs you first though, is the beautiful nose of roses, blue and black fruit, Kirsch cherry, and what I can only call chicken cherry cola. That is a moniker that I have only used, until now, on Four Gates Pinot Noir, but this wine is truly beautiful in the noise with a clear and almost exact double to the cherry cola of Benyo’s Pinots. Any fleeting thoughts of elegance in relationship to the nose disappear in a heartbeat once the wine hits your palate. The mouth may be medium (an anti-Brobdingnagian) in body, but it is as aggressive and forceful as its bigger Petite Sirah brother, with an equally Hulk-like aggression that is enriched by rich extraction and lovely green ribbons that flow through the attacking tannins. The finish is full of spice and is clearly under the influence of toasted oak, with nice espresso notes, dark chocolate, and a dollop of vanilla to top the entire dessert so well.
The Grenache went perfectly with a few plates of lovely cheeses, including some spicy(jalapeno spiked?) Monterrey jack, some Gouda cheese, some olive oil covered cheese, which I missed tasting, and a Cranberry and Cumin Chevre Roll – which was unique and great with the Grenache.
With the culmination of the extraordinary journey through the wines of France, US, and Israel, it was time to stop, take in the scenery, and take account of the bounty of wines and food we all enjoyed and then like art imitating life – it was time for round two! Andrew wished to know if the Domaine Roses Camille were alive and ready for round two, and if the Clos Vougeot had gone sideways (no pun intended there) like its older 2003 brother. We started with the Pinot Noirs and the Pommard was still dead, while Clos Vougeot was lovely and had turned candied in nature, added a bit more tannin, though still lighter in weight than its 2003 brother. Next we moved to the two Domaine Roses Camille – and now we could all appreciate what Daniel Rogov saw in the 2005 Domaine Roses Camille, but I was still not convinced on the 2006 Domaine Roses Camille. The 2005 was rich, layered, green and mineral in nature, while ribboned nicely with black fruit and a texture that is so French. The 2006 Domaine Roses Camille had lost its edge and tannin and was now very soft, elegant, yet without enough complexity to keep up with its older 2005 brother. The cherry had turned darker, though not candied in any way, as the 2006 harvest was colder and greener than the 2005 vintage. Still, the green notes here almost dominated, only slightly giving way to the rich black and red fruit that lay under a canopy of tobacco, bell pepper, and green beans, along with a body that belies its richer more textured self.
Both of them are wines that I am sure MANY that I know would NOT like and would not find being worthy of the Rogov score or price. Still, this is French elegance that you both get behind and appreciate or you happily leave them for those with a more French styled palate, cellar, and/or means. Either way, these are wines that though I will probably never taste again in my life, are wines that I have hopefully stored in my memory banks and can use to compare other French wines in the future. These wines are all about the control, finesse, and elegance, and nothing about the sledgehammer or power of a Pontet Canet or Leoville Poyferre, though the Leoville Poyferre was starting to show a bit more elegance than power in the 2004 vintage. Rather, while these wines were equal in heft (2005) they were more concerned with the balance, mouth feel, and plush attributes that comes with an elegant French Bordeaux. Again, I am not saying this wine is for everyone, what I am saying is that this may well be a wine that is worthy of its high acclaim.
In closing about the only thing I cannot say about the affair is “no flies were injured in the making of this event” as that would be a total and utter lie! So excepting for that, there is no words that can be said to thank the warmness, kindness, unreal hospitality, crazy wine, and sick dishes that were put together to make the regal affair all that it was. Unfortunately, my eyes and my grumbling stomach were much larger than my desire to take pictures. So while I have pictures of all the wines, I lack pictures of the beautifully plated food :-( I am sorry for that, but I hope my descriptions were of some cancellation. In my opinion any and every person who came and could have come would have absolutely loved the tasting, ignoring the tree hugging fly lovers. My many thanks to both Andrew and his wife for all the immense effort, time, food, wine, and hospitality that they shared with all of us! The wines we enjoyed are listed below in the order they were enjoyed:
N.V Pommery Brut Champagne – Score: B+ to A-
The nose os beautiful with clean lemony lines, green apple, nice toast, light yeast, and floral notes. The mouth is medium to full with clean and bright acidity, followed by peach, and a lovely mousse of small bubbles that seem to go on forever. The finish is crazy long and spicy with baked apple, lemon fraiche.
2004 Clos Vougeot, Chateau De La Tour, Grand Cru- Score: A-
The wine starts off with a lovely nose of strawberry, dark cherry, espresso coffee, heavy toast, and blackberry. As the wine opens more it shows its more candied fruit of pomegranate and candied kirsch cherry. The light to medium bodied mouth follows its older brother with its heavy styled mouth, massive and not yet integrated and searing tannin, along with nice boysenberry, and a controlled usage of oak, that gives the mouth a nice mouth coating feel, but one that will be better in a couple of years when this all comes together. The finish is long with light chocolate, espresso, toast, nice tobacco, green notes of herb and bell pepper that permeate the oak influences, and a touch of raisin on the long rise.
2005 Domaine Gibourg, Louis Blanc, Pommard - Score: C
This wine is clearly not worth scoring and is a real shame as I when I saw it I was highly excited to taste it. The bottle was clearly oxidized and most probably either exposed to high heat or just a bad corking. The fun part was attempting to figure out the notes of a dead wine. There was a nice note of soy sauce, if that can be considered nice in wine, along with some red fruit that poked out from behind the dirty socks/mushroom haze. The medium bodied wine was nice and rich but the oxidized fruit was its let down and ultimately its death knell. The finish was long and spicy with coffee notes, raspberry, and more oxidized fruit. A real shame but a fun time figuring out the notes.
2011 Makom - Score: B+ to A-
This is a lovely wine that is tentatively being called Makom – but its final name may be something else all together. This Carignan is lighter in attack and not quite a Brobdingnagian style wine, but it is a wine that can be enjoyed throughout a meal, made by Jonathan Hajdu and Chef Yitzchok Bernstein. The nose starts off with a lovely perfume of apple, cranberry, green notes, and dark cherry. The mouth is medium in body and attacks with searing tannin, crunchy ground cover, lovely bramble, almost no oak to be found, and good traction and mouth-feel. The finish is long and super spicy with good boysenberry, blueberry, dark fruit, and nice espresso notes.
2008 Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C. – Score: A- (but oh so close to A- to A)
This may well be Four Gates best Merlot ever, which is cool, because it is being released soon after Four Gates’s best vintage ever, in the 2007/2009 crop of wines, but in the words of Yoda – there is another (more on that when it happens). The nose on this richly purple colored wine explodes with deep dark and brooding black fruit, black cherry, blackberry, black plum, and forest berries that are perfectly ripe and bursting with aromas. The mouth is plush and opulent with layers of black fruit, and raspberry that lie below a canopy of bell pepper and vegetal notes, which all meld into a harmonious whole along with rich cedar and lovely mouth coating tannin to make for an insane experience. The finish is long and spicy with lovely sweet cedar, chocolate, leafy tobacco, and vanilla, and a hint of salt and citrus zest on the long and luxurious finish.
If I did not know better I would have sworn this was an Israeli Cabernet. The texture, the lovely fruit ripeness, and the cedar wood all scream Israeli. However, the wine is from Four Gates and I would recommend allowing this wine some time to open up and acclimate to its new environment. In many ways this wine reminds me of a bull in a china store, the mouth is massive and the free-handed use of oak is a new one for Benyamin, but one that works well on this wine.
2005 Domaine Roses Camille, Pomerol – Score: A- to A
This is a wine made up of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Of the 2005 and 2006 vintages this is clearly the winner – but still it is a winner in the very French and elegant styled manner. I know there will be many that find this wine lacking and not worthy of the accolades – different wines for different folks. The nose explodes with insane perfume of herbaceous notes, green bell pepper, raspberry, black cherry, and strawberry. The mouth opens nicely to mouth coating tannin, green herb, candied fruit, blackcurrant, red fruit, and cedar that melds into a quite elegant whole. The finish is long with good spice, nice chocolate, tobacco, toast, and a hint of citrus zest. A lovely wine that comes together when given the time to open and show its true self. Still, a wine that needs much more time till it is ready to be appreciated by the wine populace, give this a few more years and then try again.
2006 Domaine Roses Camille, Pomerol – Score: A-
This wine, like its older brother is made up primarily of Merlot grapes and is another great example of what elegance looks like in French Bordeaux. The nose starts off with an attack of lovely green notes, raspberry, and nice graphite and mineral. Over time the nose opens to show dark cherry, rich aromas of tobacco, and candied fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is soft, rich, plush, and elegant in all the right ways, with ripe blackcurrant, nice mouth coating and plush tannin, and a hint of cedar that comes together quite nicely. The finish is long and luscious with chocolate covered tobacco leaves, tobacco covered fruit, all under a canopy of green and red fruit. The mouth is rich and layered but it is the elegance of the wine and the finish that bring this wine home.
2004 Yarden Merlot, Ortal Vineyard – Score: B to B+
Where we really enjoyed this wine in the past – this bottle was clearly heading in the wrong direction with a brick colored rim and a nose of oxidation that did blow off over time to expose overripe blackberry, plum, and cassis. The mouth was super rich and overdone with more black fruit, heavy tannin, and tons of cedar. The finish was fruit central along with tobacco and tar. This bottle was a lost cause – I will try one of my stash and get back to you on how my bottles are holding up.
2010 Brobdingnagian Petite Sirah (Mendocino County) – Score: A-
The nose on this unique and aggressive nose is filled with a perfume and assault of rich white chocolate, roasted meat, boysenberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, green notes, and a drop of graphite. The mouth on this wine truly lives up to the Brobdingnagian name with a mouth that is so rich and massive, that it clearly needs time to settle down, with a crazy and richly inky structure, layers of insanely concentrated blue/black fruit, blackberry, raspberry, rich spice, and massive mouth coating tannin that is yielding but has a way to come together. The finish is long and spicy with a structure the flows from the mouth, black cherry, chocolate, and anise on the rise. Another classic Brobdingnagian wine that will take a couple of years to come together and calm down for it to be accessible to us mere mortals.
2009 Shirah Syrah, McGinley Vineyard – Score: A-
The wine strikes you with a beautiful nose of violet, ripe candied fruit, sour cherry, very sweet blueberry, cloves, and mounds of spice. The mouth is round and spicy, full bodied with inky structure with still integrating tannin, blackcurrant, along with cloves and cinnamon on the first attack, then followed by blue and black fruit, and nice oak that is still not balanced. Finish is long with nice spiced plum punch, a dollop of chocolate, along with a sweet and spiced mouth that flows into a vanilla end. This is a wine that is is more controlled than the bolder Thompson brother, but one that is quite lovely all the same!
2009 Shirah Syrah, Thompson Vineyard – Score: A-
The nose is stunning with sweet and beautiful ripe blueberry, sweet basil, expressive blue and black fruit, blackberry, cassis, purple fruit, and nice graphite. The mouth is very full bodied almost Brobdingnagian in style, with layers of massive and concentrated fruit but without the insane mouth searing tannins, nice blackcurrant, ripe plum, blue fruit, and oak. The mouth does leave you a bit black and blue as it still needs time to come together. The finish is long and spicy with nice green notes, tobacco, graphite, sour cherry, spice, chocolate, and vanilla. This wine is the bolder of the two and the one that needs the most time till it can be enjoyed by all – other than the ultimate wine trill seekers.
2010 Brobdingnagian Grenache – Score: A-
The nose on this rich and perfumed wine starts with lovely aromatics, floral notes, ribbons of blueberry, followed by kirsch cherry, and highly unique chicken cherry cola. The mouth on this medium bodied wine lives up to Brobdingnagian name with crazy searing tannin, nice green notes, rich extraction, layers of concentrated red and black fruit, mouth coating tannin, and wood all melding together quite nicely. The finish is long and spicy with more floral notes, dark kirche cherry, nice espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, and spice. This is a wine that may remind many of a Pinot Noir, but give this time and it will show more of its black fruit that is hiding behind the spice and wood.
Posted on August 16, 2012, in Food and drink, Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged Brobdingnagian, Champagne, Chateau De La Tour, Clos Vougeot, Domaine Gibourg, Domaine Roses Camille, Four Gates Winery, Grand Cru, Grenache, Louis Blanc, M.S.C., Makom, McGinley Vineyard, Merlot, Ortal Vineyard, Petite Sirah, Pomerol, Pommard, Pommary, Shirah Winery, Syrah, Thompson Vineyard, Yarden Winery. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.