Salmon, Chicken, Four Gates Merlot, Yarden Winery Pinot Noir, Yarden Winery Viognier, Galil Mountain Winery Viognier

This past weekend we were up at Benyamin’s Winery – Four Gates Winery.  We came early to hook Benyamin to the internet – yes my friends Benyamin is VERY close to the digital age.  Anyway, after that we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and a following Saturday day and evening, that was nonstop relaxing, food, and camaraderie.

The evening started with a lovely bottle of 1998 Four Gates Merlot/Cabernet Franc Blend (experimental blend), that was really nice, but placed to the side once the fish hit the table.  The Salmon was poached perfectly in a bottle of some Chardonnay (no idea which vintage), and paired quite nicely with the first of the two Viognier that we tasted – 2006 Yarden Winery Viognier.  The wine’s fullness and richness melded perfectly with the rich Salmon flavor, quite a treat.  The fish was followed by roasted chicken, new potatoes (yanked early to keep them away from the pesky gophers), and a lovely fresh salad.  The main course was paired with another bottle – 2004 Yarden Winery Pinot Noir. What is a shame is that for the first time that this wine has tasted good for me, that we did not get a chance to taste it with a Four Gates Pinot Noir.  So many times the 2004 Yarden Pinot Noir vintage has been either cooked, oxidized, or downright undrinkable.  I was almost starting to think that the bottles of the 2004 vintage shipped here to America were toasted.  I tasted them in Chicago, in New York, In California, and they were all bad.  I am happy that finally the wine has had a chance to show itself and when it does, I would have loved to compare it against another awesome kosher Pinot Noir producer.  Anyway, the Pinot Noir was not only quite nice, it went really well with the roasted chicken, that had a fair amount of herbs encrusted all over it, which melded quite nicely with the spicy Pinot Noir.

The following day I had an early taste of the cholent I whipped together before Shabbos, made of onions, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and a bunch of stuff that I do not remember.  It was thick, warm, and hearty with a tangy flavor that kept on going, and matched well with the left over Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend.  Before lunch started Benyamin opened up a bottle of Four Gate’s first public released Merlot – the 1997 Four Gates Merlot.  The wine, keeps going well, full bodied and oaky with robust fruit and an acidic backbone that is not waning.  Lunch started with more poached salmon that we paired with a 2006 Galil Mountain Winery Viognier, along with some leftover 2006 Yarden Winery Viognier.  The Yarden Viognier was really showing its muscle the next day, the floral and mineral flavors were bursting out of their shell, but never overpowered the ripe honeydew and pear, while the ever present oak, filled out the glass.  The Galil Viognier, was not to my liking, but I am sure there are others that will love it.  I missed the perfume that I associate with a Viognier, but it was still fruity and present.  The meal continued with more salads, artichokes, humus and other such dips, and some lovely fresh salad.

After lunch, some of us crashed and others went for a walk, and after some folks came over, many had dinner with more wine.  I however, stopped drinking after lunch, as I was driving back that night.  I want to thank Benyamin for his ever open arms and warm hospitality, and for another smashing shabbos at his hideaway in the mountains.

The wine notes follow below:

2006 Yarden Winery Viognier – Score: A-
This wine is a classic Viognier that follows the lineage of its forefathers. The nose on this golden colored wine starts hot and is slow to open up until a few hours after opening. Once open the wine is popping with super rich perfume that embodies fresh and ripe pear, honeydew, violets, sweet oak, and lemon. The mouth on this full bodied and rich wine is screaming with more ripe pear, honeydew, and peach. The mid palate is bright enough with acidity to balance out the rich body. The finish is long and luxurious, perfumed and earthy with more rich fruit. This is a really nice mineral and richly perfumed Viognier that will make you believe in the power of Viognier.

2004 Yarden Winery Pinot Noir – Score: A-
I must admit that this wine has failed me at least twice in the past few times that I have tasted it. Not this time! This bottle, was not flawed in anyway. The nose on this dark garnet colored wine was crazy hot out of the bottle, but that calmed over time. The bottle needs at least three hours of air to blow off the heat and open the black fruit that lays deep within this wine’s veins, but hidden initially under a blanket of oak. This wine opens with sweet oak, blackberry, plum, and classic Pinot cherries. The mouth on this full bodied wine was velvety and mouth coating. The tannins are now well integrated and not mouth puckering and give a richness to the wine. The mouth starts with blackberry, plum, and cherry, and flows into a mid palate of more oak, some mild acidity. The finish is long with rich fruit, oak, and a bit of chocolate that rounds out the wine. This is a nice showing that will easily be around for a year or two more.

1997 Four Gates Merlot – Score: B+
This wine is still kicking and is still drinking well.  The wine is very similar to our last tasting, and is a smooth, mouth coating, and full bodied wine.  The nose on this soft red to black colored wine is a rich and opulent aroma of chocolate, cherry, blackberry, and oak.  The mouth on this wine is full and mouth coating and is filled with chocolate, blackberry, and cherry.  The mid palate is oaky, with light acid, and integrating tannins.  The finish is a long and luscious walk down the oak boardwalk with a warm espresso and a shot of vanilla to boot.  This lovely wine has pushed past its peak and is time to drink up.

2006 Galil Mountain Winery Viognier – Score: B+
As nice as this wine is, it was more like a Sauvignon Blanc than it was a Viognier. The nose on this light yellow with a greenish tint colored wine is ripe with apple, peach, pear, floral, and light hints of oak. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is bright with floral flavors, along with pear, and peach flavors. The mid palate is bright with acidity, light oak, and nice green flavors. The finish is long with more fruit, and a tinge of dirt flavors. Not a Viognier I would buy again, as it lacks the rich perfume that I associate and require from a nice Viognier.

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Posted on July 3, 2009, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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