Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon Special Edition, Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon Superieur, Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon, and Yarden El-Rom Cabernet Sauvignon

I have been saving up my Cabernets for a special night with friends.  This past weekend I decided that it was time to open my Cabernets.  So we started the meal with a roasted butternut squash and onion soup.  I made it up myself and I am quite happy with it – though I am constantly tweaking it.  The recipe is quite simple really.  Roast a pair of butternut squash along with some red onions in an oven.  Then sauté onions and carrots in a Dutch oven.  Once they are soft, add in Cinnamon, Cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, and all spice.  Then throw in the roasted vegetables and puree’ the whole mess.  Cook the soup for 30 or more minutes and then throw in a can of chickpeas for 10 minutes and bingo, you have soup!  We followed the soup up with my Sweet and Sour Brisket, white rice, Roasted Green Bean Salad (From Molie Katzen’s Classic Cooking Cookbook), and a nice sauté of onions, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.  The soup and the later three worked out great for the vegetarians, while the brisket was just fine for us carnivores.

The evening started with 2 new wines from the Four Gates Winery that were barrel samples and as such I am holding judgment until they are officially released.  Parenthetically, they look to be real winners and ones that may be some of the more oaked Four Gates Wines I have tested yet.  But again, we must wait till they are released.  They were paired with the Roasted Butternut Squash soup – which was a hit and one that I am always pleasantly surprised about.  I had forgotten about it and my wife was the one who suggested it for this evening – a nice choice.

Following the soup and Four Gates Wines, we started the procession of Cabernets.  They are listed below in drinking order and paired nicely with the brisket.  The only issue I could say is that this brisket is sweet and sour, and as such, it takes a certain wine to cut through the noise.  Three of the four Cabernets had no problem, but keep that in mind when pairing a sweet and sour dish with a wine.  In hindsight, I would not have served my brisket, but something like a Burgundy Beef (Beef Bourguignon) or a Roast instead.  That said the wines were enjoyed by all, but the majority of the table liked the wines in this order: Covenant, Yarden, Herzog, Barkan.  The Barkan and Herzog had a harder time matching up against the brisket, with the Barkan being the weakest.

The wine notes follow below:

Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Edition, Chalk Hill 2000 – Score: B+
Beware this note is valid ONLY for the first 30 minutes or so after the bottle is opened. Initially the cloudy and brooding garnet colored with an orange halo wine has a nose of chocolate, tobacco, blackberry, and oak. Wild and beautiful. The mouth of this palate coating full bodied wine carries the blackberry, and has cassis. The mid palate is acidic with lovely integrated tannins. The finish is long with oak, acid, more integrated tannins and chocolate. The bad news is that after 30 or 40 minutes the wine loses the chocolate, coffee, blackberry, and turns into a full bodied wine with almost no character – which is a shame. Drink this now and drink as soon as the bottle is opened.

Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon Superieur 2003 – Score: A-
The nose on this blue to purple garnet colored wine was hot initially, but blew off with air. There were aromas of tobacco, black cherry, and blackberry. The mouth of this full bodied wine followed the nose with blackberry, black cherry and mint. The wine is far from smooth and the tannins have still yet to balance nicely into the wine. The mid palate was chock full of tannin and acidity. The finish was medium long with chocolate and oak. Not a really complex wine, though large enough to satisfy many a drinker.

Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 – Score: A
I have had this wine a few times now and in different settings. Once was a few years ago, soon after release – big mistake. Once was a year ago and with a ton of air time. This time we also gave it air. Well, the results were all over the place. The initial time a few years ago, was way too early. Far too tannic, no life, almost bland. Last year was nice, but still pretty dormant. Finally, this past time, I could see what made Robert Parker and other stand up and take notice.

The nose on this garnet red wine is crazy loaded with cassis, raspberry, and tobacco. The mouth of this full bodied and coating/velvety wine has intense layers of cassis, blackberry and a slight hint of vegetal flavors. The mid palate is where this wine takes off – it is still acidic in nature, which gives it structure, and a fair bit of tannin as well. From there the oak overtakes the palate in a impressive, while not overpowering manner, and flows into a long and complicated finish of fig, tobacco and chocolate. Quite a nice showing and this gives me confidence to wait another year to open my next bottle of this vintage.

Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon El Rom 2001 – Score: A
This is one of the best wines I have tasted from Israel. The nose on this brilliant and deep garnet to black colored wine was a bit hot and simple out of the chute. However, as time progressed the nose turned to heavy layers of blackberry, cassis, tobacco, and oak. The mouth on this wine was also a bit slow out of the bottle, but that changed within an hour. The mouth was complex and multi layered. This is no simple wine, it hits you in waves. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and coating with blackberry, eucalyptus, and almost jam like – but not in a chewy annoying way – more in a rich and cultured manner. The mid palate follows off the first set of layers and is where the structure comes in. The structure is built on tannin, acidity, and lush layers of vegetal flavors. The finish is crazy long and is filled with chocolate, tobacco, and sweet wood. This is really quite a fine wine and one that is not yet peaked at all, though quite enjoyable now as well.

Château Le Crock 2002 – Score: B+
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine starts slow. Initially, it is hot with black cherry, blackberry, and oak. As time progresses the nose wakes up and the heat blows off. The nose then changes to a strong aroma of blackberry, chocolate, and coffee – very nice. The mouth is full bodied and very velvety – a truly full bodied and mouth coating experience. The blackberry carries over to the mouth along with some red fruit. The mid palate is still tannic with no heat and a nice spice. The finish is the real flaw – it is not so long but carries the chocolate and leather like qualities – albeit a short distance.

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Posted on November 16, 2008, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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