Yarden Katzrin Chardonnay 2003

This past weekend was one of those lay low varieties.  The meal comprised of spicy chicken and a killer creamy (with no cheese) risotto with cubed portabella mushroom, sweet potato, and yellow squash.  The sweet vegetables were pre-caramelized to give the risotto a killer sweet twang and the portabellas added a lovely firm texture to the creamy mixture.  The chicken (my wife’s specialty) was awesome – chicken breast that was cooked just right and seemed to add more than just spice to the risotto.

The wine of choice was the 2003 Yarden Katzrin Chardonnay.  Yarden has three lines of wines – from the bottom up:

  1. The Golan line
  2. The Gamla line
  3. The Yarden line
    1. Yarden label
    2. El-Rom and Ortal vineyards
    3. Katzrin Yarden

The Katzrin line is either the red variety or the Chardonnay.  The red variety can be found at very specialty shops – only, because of its high cost (100+ a bottle).  The Chardonnay Katzrin on the other hand, is an affordable bottle and sometimes worth the extra few dollars.  This was not one of those times.

Just a few words on Katzrin.  Like more and more vineyards nowadays, Yarden markets the vineyard that the grapes came from on the bottling.  Katzrin is a smallish city – but it is still the largest city in the Golan Heights.  On my last trip to Israel, I once again ventured up to the Golan Heights and was met with a scene that will stay with me for a long time.  The bus was rolling up the hills to Katzrin and half way up the climb, this cool rolling fog came in out of nowhere.  The windows on the bus starting to fog over from the condensation and it was then that I realized what made Katzrin and the rest of the Golan Heights so special.  It was the hot summers, cool evenings, rocky volcanic soil, and its altitude.  The Golan Heights and the rest of the Upper Galille wine region has flourished since the creation of the Yarden Winery.

Now back to the wine…

Yarden Katzrin Chardonnay 2003 – Score B+
This was a nice wine – just not what I was hoping for.  I love fruity yet complex white wines.  Wines with a body and fruit that play off each other and have enough acidity to keep the fruit in check.  In the end, this one was just being overpowered by the oak.  Way too much of it.  There was still fruit, but the oak and the over the top acidity was not in balance – it felt all over the place.

The nose on this golden colored wine had notes of peach and nectarine along with a huge dollop of oak.  The mouth on this medium+ bodied wine starts off with a nice hit of peach, green apple, and nectarine.  The middle hits you with what I can only describe as sour apple candy – without the sugar – crazy acidity.  The finish is strong with oak and a hint of nuts.  However, the acidity is almost puckering and just throws everything off balance.  Really quite a shame.  The more I read about wine makers creating soups of concoctions (adding tannin, acidity, fining agents, etc), I wonder if there was a healthy dose of ph added to this wine during or after fermentation.  The ph is so off and is not integrated with the wine at all.  Just a thought.

Best Wishes to all

Posted on July 28, 2008, in Food and drink, Kosher White Wine, Wine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. winetastingguy

    Nice review David. I need to re-taste this wine as I don’t remember the oak being so overpowering.

    I wonder about the excess acid you speak of. I have heard that just about every Israeli winery adds acid. But when questioning some Israel based winemakers about this practice I was told that this is also the norm in places like Australia and California. YES, this surprised me.

    The out of balance nature you speak of may be cause for concern, but I wonder if the wine may have been going through a dumb period of sorts…


  2. I have been reading a book by Alice Feiring (http://www.alicefeiring.com/) called “The battle for Wine and Love” and it is down right shocking the amount of manipulation that goes on in the wine industry. Ph is a drop in the bucket in comparison to adding tannin, color, enzymes. I will hopefully blog on this whole thing and on a few wine books I have been reading recently.

    But to the issue of the wine – it may have been a bad bottle, all I can comment on is what I drank – I hope to one day drink this bottle again.

    Best Wishes

  1. Pingback: Tzora, Goose Bay, and Rothberg Cellars - Oh my Oh my! « Wine Musings

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