Psagot Viognier, Tzuba Port Style Wine, and roasted red pepper chicken
This past week we enjoyed some chicken, rice pilaf, and a pair of wines. The chicken was made as usual by my wife, and I helped to whip together the rice pilaf, which was simple and nice. The chicken was awesome, and it paired quite nicely with the perfumed and vegetal Psagot Viognier. I was surprised by the amount of green flavors that exist in the Psagot Viognier. Viognier wines are normally fresh and vibrant and show fruit characteristics that are hopefully infused with a nice perfume vapor. The bright fruit, perfume, and weight make Viognier, a nice replacement for those who are burned out from wood or butter infused Chardonnay. What is unfortunate is that while the Psagot Viognier is wonderfully perfumed and rich with fresh fruit, it is overly compensated with very dry tea leaf and vegetal characteristics.
Normally vegetal and herbaceous flavors come from pulling the grapes a bit early, and can be seen as a flaw in the wine. But as always, it depends on how it affects the wine. Recently, I blogged about a Four Gates Wine Cabernet Franc vertical where I stated that green/vegetal flavors are not so bad, but again, it is about how the flavors affect the wine, not that vegetal flavors themselves are not a flaw. Anyway, this wine threw me, but in the grand scheme of things, it is not so bad. I blogged about Viognier wines before, but wanted to highlight the vine’s fussiness. If you want that magical perfume flavors and nose in the wine, you need to pull the grapes off the vine within a two week period, and it may well be early – i.e. not fully ripe. I think this is what happened to the Psagot Viognier. I have not had the pleasure of tasting earlier releases of the Psagot Viognier, but I wonder if the vineyard’s geographical location (in a deep wadi/valley), contributes to the lack of sunlight or heat, which could limit the vine’s ripening potential. Also, white wine is not a huge seller in the kosher wine market. The summer months sees an increase in white wine sales, but more in the Sauvignon Blanc and Rose wines, which have a distinctive crispness to them. If you combine these two, it may be the Psagot Winery recently decided to stop making Viognier and Chardonnay varietals. Anyway, the wine is still fun, just not as good as it could have been.
We also enjoyed a Port style wine from the Tzuba Winery, which was very yummy. The wine is based on late harvest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that were aged for 14 months in French Oak barrels. The wine shows lovely spiciness and intense red and black fruit flavors that easily handle the sweetest of deserts.
The wine notes follow below:
2006 Psagot Viognier – Score: B – B+
The nose on this yellow to gold straw colored wine explodes out of the bottle with a rich honeyed perfume, that comes along with violet, peach, and strong vegetal aromas. The mouth on this medium bodied wine pops with bright acidity that somewhat overpowers the rich honey, peach, and pear roundness. If you can get past the herbaceous flavors, the mouth is rich and almost glycerol in nature and really cool. The mid palate is bright, fresh, and green, almost tea like. The finish is super long and spicy with more vegetal and honey flavors on a bed of tea leaves. This wine would have received a much higher score, if not for its out of whack styling.
2005 Tzuba Red Dessert wine in Port style – Score: A-
This wine is a real joy! The nose on this black colored wine is packed with sweet ripe figs, cherry, blackberry, alcohol, sweet wood, and pepper. The mouth on this full and luscious black and sweet wine is packed with spicy wood, cherry, roasted herbs, and tightly wound black fruit. The mid palate and long spicy finish is filled with core acidity, complex plum and fig fruits, and a nice dollop of alcohol that fills out the port styled wine. Quite nice indeed.