Three great wines from Spain, Israel, and the U.S.A. (and a dud) along with some great food

Three weeks ago saw us hosting a meal with a bride and groom to be, family, the bride’s parents, and Benyamin Cantz as usual.  To us they are all family and we were so honored to have them over a week before the wedding day.  In honor of this wonderful occasion, we cracked open some wonderful wines and Benyamin brought a pair of wonderful wines, one that we have had before, and one that is still under wraps.  We did have one dud that shocked me greatly given Daniel’s rating of it, but so it goes.  For this dinner we started with lovely roasted squash bisque.  Yeah, I said bisque – simply because most of the famous roasted squash soups calls for a ton of cream or soup stock and they render the soup into essentially a thin and boring presentation of such a lovely vegetable.  So we decided that this was not going to work.  Instead we went with a hybrid.  We roasted two sliced squash for 1 and a half hour.  While that was going on, we browned quite nicely a pair of diced/sliced onions while the roasting was going on.  Once that was done, we threw the lightly blackened squash into our large soup pot, and threw in a bottle of white wine.  We then puréed the pot until it was a bit mushy, but not creamy or thinner.   Instead it was thick bisque.  On top of that we threw in, what we thought was, a bit too much orange zest (which worked out in the end), thyme, and nutmeg.  Yes, this soup does match well with the season, but that was not the inclination for making the soup.  Rather, there was a cold spell coming through the area, and we wanted to have a thick and warm soup to start off the meal.

Roasted Squash Soup
2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed into large chunks
Olive Oil Spray
Garlic, Nutmeg
3 onions
Bottle of white wine
Vegetable Stock – if more liquid is needed
Grated Ginger
Orange Zest
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Cooked chickpeas
Cayenne pepper (if you can handle it)

Peel and cube the squash and lay them in an oiled baking sheet.  Spray them with olive oil and sprinkle garlic powder and nutmeg over them.  Bake them at 400 degrees until slightly blackened.  While roasting the squash, we browned the pair of diced/sliced onions quite well.  Once that was done, we threw the lightly blackened squash into our large soup pot, and threw in a bottle of white wine.  We then puréed the pot until it was a bit mushy, but not creamy or thin.  Once the soup consistency starts to change, grate the ginger and orange zest, drop in cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.  Honestly, I rarely follow amounts.  I add till it tastes right.  Once the bisque is in motion and mixing well, we throw in the cooked chickpeas to add a cool twist of texture.  I personally love to add in cayenne pepper, but many do not.

After the soup we served meat lasagna, along with roasted green beans, spinach quiche, and fresh green salad.  The dinner worked well, and the wines paired wonderfully.  We had six bottles in total.  Benyamin brought three and we opened three as well.  Benyamin brought two experimental bottles that will remain undefined for now and one bottle of a 1999 Bustan Merlot.  I opened a 2001 Yarden Ortal Merlot, a 2001 Capcanes Peraj Ha’Abib, and a 2002 Capcanes Peraj Ha’Abib.  The Bustan was a massive dud, while the three that we opened up were fantastic – thank you :-).

I do not have an official tasting note for the 1999 Bustan Merlot, but to say the least it was DOA (Dead On Arrival).  The wine, to be fair, was full in the mouth, but it had almost no fruit and no real complexity at all.  What it did have was a nice mouth and that was about it.  Really a shame.  The other three wine notes can be found below in the order they were drunk:

2002 Cellar de Capçanes Peraj Ha’abib, Flor de Primavera, Montsant  – Score: A-
This was either the clear winner or it came in tied with the 2001 Yarden Ortal Merlot. The nose on this crazy black colored wine was screaming with rich tobacco, sweet oak, super ripe plum, blackberry, cassis, and raspberry. The mouth on this full bodied wine has now soft tannins, sweet oak, blackberry, plum, and tobacco. The mid palate is smooth with balanced acidity, and soft mouth coating tannins. The finish is super long and extracted in a polished manner, with more acid, tobacco, black fruit, and licorice. What a wonderful wine, I have no more, but again very happy that I drank it at a nice point in its life curve.

2001 Cellar de Capçanes Montsant Peraj Ha’abib Flor de Primavera – Score: A-
The nose on this deep black colored wine is popping with blackberry, plum, cassis, sweet oak, licorice, and tobacco. The mouth on this full bodied wine is still clearly tannic in nature and far from integrated. The mouth is layered with sweet oak, blackberry and cassis. The mid palate is packed with not yet integrated tannins, bright acidity, and concentrated black fruit that comes at you in layers. Where the 2002 vintage has integrated tannins, this vintage has mouth puckering tannins. The finish is super long and concentrated with dark chocolate, tobacco, more black fruit, and acidity. Quite a nice wine as well, but still not quite there yet. I have scored this bottle a bit lower than our previous tasting, because of the tannins, but the rest is holding well, though I missed the mint this time around.

2001 Yarden Ortal Vineyard Merlot – Score: A-
Thank God this wine is back! The last time we tasted this wine it was as close to a dud as this wine can be :-). Now it is back, it is sleek and beautiful. The nose on this dark purple colored win is alive and talkative, with blackberry, ripe plum, licorice, and rich oak. The mouth on this full bodied wine is mouth coating and plush with layers upon layers of ripe plums, blackberry, and integrating mouth coating tannins. The mid palate is popping with balancing acid, chocolate, and roasted herbs. The finish is luxurious and long with more black fruit, chocolate, tobacco, and sweet oak. Thank goodness this wine is back. It was either a close second place finish to the 2002 Capcanes or it was tied. By score alone it was in second place, but thanks goodness man does not live upon score alone, but by the word, expression, and feelings that a wine leaves you with after it is long gone.


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Posted on November 11, 2009, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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