Gothams’ 6th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza (2009)

Tasting_1This past week saw my friend (the ultimate wine novice) and me at what can truly be called the greatest “kosher wine event” on earth.  This is not the place to come if you want to be fed a wonderful spread, or the place to come if you want to be fed line after line by people who have no idea on what differences there are between a Pinot Gris versus a Pinot Noir, or what differences lay between a Viognier and a Chardonnay.  Nope, this event is where the kosher wine world can come and taste a true assortment of kosher wines that are not under Royal’s control or someone else’s clutches.  Nope, this event is put on by Gotham Winery, one of the places on earth where you can get a truly wonderful collection of kosher wines, and most of them – 362 wines to be exact, were on display at the Lincoln Square Synagogue.  This was the 6th edition of this event, and one that was truly well attended.  About 150 or so individuals packed the synagogues’ auditorium, in the basement, where they were graced with 12 tables laden with wines from all around the world.

Tasting_2The breakdown of the tables, were not by region or varietal, rather by wine distributor.  You see, as described earlier, this wine event was about kosher wine, irrelevant to the distributor or wine maker.  Yes, this wine event brought together wine makers and distributors of kosher wine from around the world.  Dalton was represented, along with Red Fern Winery, and others.  The people pouring the wines, either made them, or imported them because they like and/or realize that the wines have a market, and were explaining the nuances of what they see in them.  This is in stark contrast to the Oxnard event we were at a month ago, where excepting for the three wine makers at the event, the people pouring the wines had no idea of what they were pouring.  This event, gave us a chance to meet Howard Abarbanel (of Abarbanel wines), and sample some distinct wines that he is importing.  It also, gave us a chance to sit down with Costas Mouzouras, of Gotham wines who put on the event, and was hands on throughout.  He led a one hour VIP tasting which we truly enjoyed.  img_4824The wines were unique, including some old vintages that he had at the shop and some new and exciting wines that we had yet to taste.  We will have more on Costas later in a later posting, but for now, it is enough to say that the man is knowledgeable about the wines he sells, and is passionate about the kosher wine community.  I am sure it is not 100% altruism, as he has a business to run, but the event is something that was, and is not required for him to sell his wines.   Yet, he has put it together now for 6 years, and it is a wine event that gives us all a chance to see the world of kosher wines, through a large picture window, rather than the view glass that we have been served up as the “International wine Festival”.  Many thanks to Costas, Gotham Wines, and all the wineries and distributors that took the time out of their busy “Pre-Passover” schedule, to come and display their wines, and share their wisdom and wares together with us all.

Again a heartfelt thanks to Costas, the Gotham Wine crew that helped with the event and the rest of the winemakers and distributors who made the occasion as special as it was.

The wine notes follow below:

img_4821
2007 Odem Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
– Score: B+
The nose light garnet colored wine has a nice mix of cranberry, cassis, oak, sage, and is hot out of the bottle.  The mouth on this 60% Cabernet/40% Merlot blend and medium bodied wine has cranberry, cassis, and is still young with slightly expressive tannins and bound structure.  The mid palate is tannic with nice oak notes, which flows into a long spicy finish of oak, more tannins, and nice red fruit acidity.

2004 Tzora Neve Ilan – Score: B – B+
The Tzora vineyard culls its fruit from the Judean Hills, and its late founder Ronnie James, was clearly passionate about the vineyards he planted.  The wines that Tzora produces evoke a true “terroir” flavor that is not found in many other wineries in Israel.  The vineyards are deep rooted and are cared for impeccably, which rewards the winery with wine that screams grape first, and wine second.

The nose on this light garnet colored wine is earthy and dirty with cassis, raspberry, oak, and is hot out of the bottle.  The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine has earthy notes, cassis, raspberry, and sage.  The mid palate is oaky with light tannins that meld nicely into a finish of red fruit, coffee, and oak.

1999 Yarden Cabernet – Score: B (Novice wine rating of “love it”, as it was soft in the mouth with fruit)
The nose on this brown tinged garnet colored wine had cedar box, cassis, oak, and herbs.  The mouth follows the nose, with cassis and a bit of acidity, along with a touch of soft tannins.  The wine is obviously ready if not over, but still quite drinkable.  It was a bit too lifeless for me, but it garnered a Novice score of love it, for its soft mouth and fruit.  The finish was almost nonexistent, yet it was still a thrill to be able to taste this wine.

2004 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: B+
The nose on this garnet colored wine is rich with plum, cassis, oak, and vanilla.  The mouth on this full bodied wine follows the nose with cassis and plum.  The mid palate has oak, coffee, and not yet sleeping tannins, and light hints of chocolate.  The finish is long with vanilla, toasty oak, and spice.

2006 Dalton Alma – Score: B++
The nose on this purple colored wine is filled with blackberry, raspberry, cassis, spice, bell pepper, and floral notes.  The mouth on this blend of 56% Cabernet/25% Merlot/19% Cabernet Franc follows the nose, with blackberry, raspberry, cassis, and vegetal flavors.  The mid palate of oak and light acidity flows into a long finish of integrating tannins and black fruit.

2006 Teperberg Terra Merlot – Score: B – B+
The nose on the dark garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, with coffee, chocolate, blackberry, and raspberry.  The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine has coffee, blackberry, and raspberry.  The mid palate is caressing with light tannins and oak, which flows into a long finish of more tannin and spicy oak.

2005 Yatir Cabernet – Score: A (Novice love it score)
This wine was one of those rich, chocolaty, and black wines – which was a true joy to enjoy, if only the price were not so high, but that is for another time.

The nose on this dark garnet to black colored wine is packed with cassis, blackberry, earth, plum, and spice.  The spicy mouth on this full bodied wine follows the nose, with cassis, plum, and blackberry, which flows a rich mid palate of oak, chocolate, and coffee.  The finish is crazy long with ripe fruit, oak, and nice acidity.  This is one of those luscious black and full bodied  wines that has tones of fruit along with richness that will last for quite some time, though enjoyable now, will be richer in a couple of years.

2004 Ella Valley Cabernet – Score: A-
The nose on this garnet colored wine is earthy with plum, raspberry, light cassis, and oak.  The mouth on this full bodied wine is busy with cassis, raspberry, and red plum.  The mid palate is oaky with nice acidity that flows into a long finish with light tannins, more earth, oak, and coffee.  This is a nice wine and a nice showing; drink in the next couple of years.

It was quite enjoyable tasting these side by side.  The nose on these two wines was almost indiscernible, except for the 2006’s spicier notes.  The mouth on the 2006 was more tannic and far spicier.  This was a truly enjoyable experience.

2005 Covenant Red ‘C’ – Score: A-
The nose on this garnet colored wine is spicy and earthy, with raspberry, cassis, and oak.  The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine carries over from the nose with raspberry and cassis.  The tannins on this wine have subsided to some extent, and are not as pronounced as earlier.  The mid palate has light tannins that caress your mouth, and oak that flow into a long spicy finish with coffee, and nice acidity.

2006 Covenant Red ‘C’ – Score: A
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is extra spicy and earthy, with raspberry, cassis, and oak.  The mouth on this full bodied wine carries over from the nose with raspberry, cassis, dark plums and mounds on tannin.  The mid palate has tight tannins that almost attack your senses, oak and bright acidity.  The finish is long and really spicy with still tight tannins that caress your mouth, along with oak, cassis and acidity that lingers on your palate long after the wine is gone.

1999 Tishbi Merlot Reserve – Score: B
The nose on this garnet brown colored wine is really stinky with almost barn yard aromas, cassis, and chocolate.  The mouth on this old and slightly tired wine has a bit of integrated tannins, along with a fair amount of barn yard flavors.  The wine ends in the mid palate of cassis and slight acidity.  Still fun to try, as it shows where wine goes to die and what happens right before it goes rigor mortis.

Getting the chance to taste these two side by side, clearly shows the excellence of the 2003 vintage in comparison to the 2004 vintage.  We had a few wines that night that were superior to the 2003 vintage, but still quite a nice wine.

2003 Yarden Katzrin – Score: A- A+ (novice – love it score)
The nose on this deep purple colored wine is hot out of the bottle, but tones down in the glass into strong jammy aromas of plum, cassis, and chocolate.  The mouth on this massive, tannic, and crazy jammy wine is packed with plum, cassis, and raspberry.  The mid palate is oaky with oak, oak, and yet more oak, and a nice dollop of tannin on the side.  The finish is long with more oak, coffee, dark chocolate, and tannins that keep up nicely with the oak.  A truly magnificent wine that shines through almost all other wines we tasted that night.

2004 Yarden Katzrin – Score: B+
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, but tones down after it gets some air, along with plum, oak, cassis, and coffee.  The mouth on this full bodied wine has plum, cassis, and chocolate.  The mid palate is oaky with chocolate, and some nice bracing acidity.  The finish is long with nice oak and acidity.

2006 Binyamina Chosen Ruby Syrah – Score: A (novice e loved it)
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is packed with spice, cassis, plum, cranberry, oak, and toasted herbs.  This full bodied wine has a crazy complex and layered mouth with raspberry, chocolate, cassis, and plum.  The mid palate is rich with oak, tar, coffee, and just enough brightness.  The finish is long and complex with heavy tannins, more acidity, coffee, chocolate, and tar.

2007 Katlav Chardonnay – Score: A
The nose on this straw to gold colored wine is bright and crisp with peach, apple, citrus, and vegetal notes.  The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and opulent with oak and butter, along with citrus and peach flavors.  The mid palate is vegetal and acidic with a nice dollop of oak.  The finish is long with more oak and butter.  Quite a nice Chardonnay for the Judean Hills, though some tasting it may mistake it for a California Chardonnay.

Red Fern

2005 Red Fern Chardonnay – Score: B+
The nose on this light straw colored wine is green with vegetal notes, along with citrus and apple.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine is green with bright acidity, citrus and apple.  The mid palate is creamy with oak, while staying crisp with nice acidity.  The finish is medium long, creamy, with custard and acidity.

2006 Chianti Gabriele – Score: B – B+
The nose on this light ruby colored wine is spicy with cherry, sour cherry, and raspberry.  The mouth on this light bodied wine is slightly sweet with cherry and raspberry.  The mid palate is not as acidic as one would expect from Chianti, with light tannins, and super smooth.  The finish is nice with cherry facets.  Nice Chianti that would be better if it had been brighter.

French Mevushal Wines

2003 Chateau D’Arsac – Score: B- B+
The nose on this light garnet colored wine is earthy with raspberry, cranberry, and cassis.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine follows the nose with raspberry, cassis, and oak.  The mid palate has oak, with core acidity, that flows into a finish of coffee, oak, and tannin.

Spanish Wines

2004 De Elvi El26 Priorat – Score: A-
The nose on this garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, and packed with coffee, oak, cranberry, and black plum.  The mouth on this full bodied wine follows the nose with cranberry, blackberry, and black plum.  The mid palate is oaky with core acidity, and nice tannins.  The finish is long and spicy with more tannins and black fruit.

2005 Recanati PSZ (70% Petite Sirah/ 30% Zinfandel) Reserve – Score: A-
This wine has changed since we last reviewed it, with more of the extraction flavors coming out.
The nose on this purple colored wine is packed with tar, pepper, blackberry, plum, cassis, and slight barn yard/earthy notes.  The mouth is complex and follows the nose with plum, cassis, tar, oak, barn yard, and tannins.  The mid palate is firm with acidity and black fruit.  The finish is long and spicy with oak, and tannins.

Recanati Wines 32006 Recanati Merlot Reserve– Score: B+
The nose on this ruby to garnet colored wine has plum, cassis, earth, hot out of the bottle, and vegetal.  The mouth on the wine followed the nose with cassis and plum.  The mid palate has oak, coffee, and acidity.  The finish is long with oak, and acidity from black fruit.

2006 Recanati Cabernet Franc Reserve – Score: A
The nose on this dark ruby colored wine is screaming floral and green with green pepper, plum, and oak.  The nose on this wine has not budged from when we tasted it before out of the barrel.  The mouth on this full bodied wine is complex and green with green pepper and vegetal flavors, along with nice plum, raspberry, and cranberry.  The mid palate is tannic and oaky with coffee flavors.  The finish is long with oak, more tannins, and lovely coffee notes.

2006 Tishbi Pinot Noir – Score: B+
The nose on this ruby colored wine is earthy and spicy with cranberry, cherry, and oak.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine has cherry and cranberry flavors.  The mid palate has acidity, oak, and light tannins.  The finish is medium long with oak, light tannins, and spice.

2006 Galil Mountain Barbera – Score: B+
The nose on this ruby to garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, and has cranberry, cassis, plum, and oak.  The mouth on this full bodied wine follows the nose and is filled with cranberry, cassis, and plum.  The mid palate is tannic with core acidity and nice rich oak.  The finish is long with oak and is extra jammy.  The wine is nice and shows that Barbera can be made successfully in Israel, which to some extant makes sense, as they are both Mediterranean climates.

Abarbanel & Katlav Wines2007 Castello Di Cesare Bianco – Score: B-
The nose on this straw colored wine is super crisp with citrus, apple, peach, and lychee.  The mouth on this light bodied wine is extra dry, with citrus and green flavors.  The mouth is not as crisp and sharp as the nose is and is a letdown, almost flat.  The mid palate is citrus with almost no finish.

2006 Abarbanel Pinot Blanc – Score: B – B+
The nose on this straw colored wine crisp with peach, apple, and citrus.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine is packed with rich fruit, apple, and peach.  The mid palate is acidic with rich fruit that flows into a long finish of more rich apple and citrus fruit, while being well balanced with nice acidity.  This is a nice Pinot Blanc, just wish there would have been more fruit to the wine.

2006 Abarbanel Gewürztraminer – Score: B+
The nose on this straw colored wine is packed with grapefruit, apple, lychee, bold and dry.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine is bold with rich fruit yet very dry, apple, and peach.  The mid palate is rich and fun with acidity and more fruit.  The finish is long with more rich fruit, acidity, and spice.  This wine is a rare commodity, a kosher dry Gewürztraminer, quite a treat.

2005 Abarbanel Pinot Noir – Score: B+
The nose on this brilliant/vibrant ruby colored wine is packed with floral notes, cherry, raspberry, and mounds of earth/dirt.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine follows the nose with cherry, raspberry, and earthy flavors.  The mid palate is busy with more earth, integrating tannins, and crisp acidity.  The finish is long with bright acidity, rich fruit, and earth.  This is a real treat, and lovely Pinot from Alsace France, that is crisp and earthy, with rich fruit and enough tannin to keep the whole package nicely balanced.

2007 Efron’s Cave White (48% Sauvignon Blanc/ 42% Chardonnay/ 10% Semillon – Score: B+
The nose on this electric straw colored wine has rich fruit aromas from the Chardonnay, crisp fruit aromas from the Sauvignon Blanc, citrus, apple, and rich oak.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine has grapefruit, apple, and peach.  The mid palate shows the rich oak from the Chardonnay aged in French oak, bright acidity, and balanced crispness.  The finish is long with a wonderful balance of bright acidity and fat oak.  This is a nice and balanced wine that would go well with both sushi and roasted chicken alike.

2006 Efron’s Cave Jerusalem Hills (45% Grenache / 45% Merlot / 10% Syrah) – Score: A
This is a truly special ruby colored wine that comes from the complex mix of grapes.  The nose starts off with earth, spice, cranberry, and cassis.  The mouth follows the nose, with earth, cassis, cranberry, and a nice dollop of spice.  The mid palate is oaky with some core acidity that flows into a long finish of nice integrating tannin, coffee, spice, and oak.  This is a nice balanced wine with acidity, tannin, earthiness, spice, and fruit that is really a unique and special wine.

2006 Efron’s Cave Jerusalem Gold (85% Cabernet Sauvignon / 9% Cabernet Franc / 6% Merlot) – Score: B+
The nose on this light garnet colored wine is filled with cassis, oak, earth, jammy red berries, and nice Cabernet Franc floral aromas.  The mouth on this smooth medium bodied wine is filled with raspberry, cassis, and plum.  The mid palate has oak, acidity, and spice, and flows into a long finish of acidity, oak, and more spice.

Shemesh & Kadesh Barnea Wines
2005 Kadesh Barnea Gilad (Undisclosed mixture of Merlot/Petit Verdot/Syrah)
– Score: B+
The nose on this garnet-brown colored classic Cote’ de Rhone wine blend, is heavy in earth, cranberry, cassis, and oak.  The mouth on this balanced medium to full bodied wine follows the nose with cranberry, cassis, and earth.  The mid palate is jammy with red fruit, acidity, and nice oak.  The finish is smooth, balanced, and long with red fruit and oak.

2004 Kadesh Barnea Merlot Reserve – Score: B – B+
The nose on this garnet colored wine is filled with cranberry, earth, raspberry, and oak.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows cranberry, cassis, and plum.  The mid palate is tacky with not yet integrated tannins and heavy oak.  The finish is long with more oak, tannin, and bright from the red fruit.

2006 Kadesh Barnea Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Score: B+
The nose on this black colored wine is hot out of the gate, jammy, with earth, cassis, raspberry, and oak.  This medium body wine follows the nose with jammy fruit, cassis, raspberry, and earth.  The mid palate is complex with acidity, oak, and tannin.  The finish is long with rich oak, coffee, and black fruit.

2007 Shemesh Merlot – Score: B
The nose on this garnet colored wine is packed with plum, cherry, oak, and sage.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine follows the nose with cherry and plum.  The mid palate has a balance of oak and acidity.  The medium finish is tannic with oak and jammy flavors.

2007 Shemesh Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: B
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, with cassis, raspberry, sage, and roasted herbs.  The mouth in this medium bodied wine has cranberry and raspberry flavors.  The mid palate is filled with oak and acid.  The finish is long with tannin, coffee and oak.

2006 Carmel Appellation Carignan – Score: B+
The nose on this purple colored wine is packed with spice, tar, cassis, and rich oak.  The mouth on this bold full bodied wine is filled with cassis, plum, tar, and spice.  The mid palate is tight with oak and tannin that flows into long finish of tar, cassis, and oak.

2006 Carmel Appellation Petit Syrah – Score: A-
The nose on this purple colored wine is a step above its Carignan sibling, with spice, oak, rich jammy aromas, cassis, raspberry, and earth.  The mouth on this complex, bold, and full bodied wine is packed with rich fruit, tannin, cassis, plum, and cranberry.  The mid palate is rich with oak, tannin, and tar.  The finish is long with tannin, oak, and jammy fruit.  This one is a winner and will last a few years and may very well become better over time.

2004 Carmel Vintage – Score: B+ – A-
This sweet black colored wine is rich and hot, with jammy flavors, cassis, and nice spice.  The mouth on this complex and full bodied wine is spicy and hot with rich fruit and fat flavors.  The finish is super jammy with spice and lovely pomegranate flavors.  This is a nice “port” wine that will stand up to most anything sweet you throw its way – man how far Carmel has come from just 10 years ago!

Rimon Pomegranate Dessert (500 ml) – Score: B+
Please understand this is not officially “wine”, as it is made from pomegranate, but it is a nice desert drink none the less.  Maybe more interesting to me, is that it is made of pomegranate, but does not taste like it.  Also, the color is not meant to tell you that it is over the hill (brown and all), but that aged pomegranate juice looks brown.

The nose on this dark brown colored beverage is packed with plum, cranberry, and raspberry.  The mouth on this medium bodied liquid is hot with brown flavors.  The mid palate is tannic with cooked flavors.  The finish is long and acidic.

2005 Yarden Heights Wine – Score: A-
The nose on this gold colored wine is crazy packed with peach, apricot, rich sweet fruit, and oak.  The mouth on this rich full bodied wine has a glycerol, rich, and volumes consistency.  The mouth follows the nose with more peach, apricot, and rich sweet fruit, with a bite of acidity to keep it nicely balanced.  The mid palate is packed with rich oak and bright acidity.  The finish is long with oak, bright acidity, lovely rich oak and sweet fruit.

2006 Five Stones Shiraz (Australia) – Score: B – B+
The nose on this ruby garnet colored wine, has cranberry, raspberry, light cassis, and pepper.  The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is acidic with mild tannins and red fruit.  The mid palate is balanced with acidity, oak, and integrating tannins.  The finish is medium long with tannins, mild acidity, and red fruit.  This is a nice wine, but man I was hoping for more acidity and tannin, it feels a bit flat, like it was somewhat fined down.

Cava Adar Brut N.V. – Score: B+ – A-
The nose on this light straw colored wine is packed with yeast, lychee, toast, nice small bubbles, apples, grass notes, and floral to boot.  The mouth of this very dry medium bodied wine has nice tight small bubbles, toast, grass, apples, and bright acidity.  The mid palate is yeasty and acidic that flows into a long and bubbly finish that cuts through sweet and heavy foods alike.  Quite a nice dry bubbly, this is one I will be getting again.

2007 Golan Chardonnay – Score: B
The nose of this light gold colored wine is green with wet grass aromas, oak, apple, and peach.  The mouth of this medium bodied wine follows the nose and is green with green apples, wet grass, and lychee.  The mid palate is oaky with more wet grass and acidity.  The finish is long and crisp with oak, and lychee fruit flavors.  The wine tasted too green for me, it was not balanced enough to keep the green flavors at bay.

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Posted on March 15, 2009, in Wine Tasting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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