Yarden Merlot, Hagafen Cuvee de Noirs, and Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon

This past weekend we enjoyed a Friday Night meal at a friend’s of our new digs and we were super excited to be invited. These are dear friends and we truly enjoyed the food, the company, the camaraderie, the joy, and the wine! We brought over a bottle of Ernie’s 2007 Hagafen Cuvee de Noirs Brut, but it did not taste as lovely as the last two times we had it. We also enjoyed a 2003 Yarden Merlot that another guest brought, and that was nice but too new-world for my taste. Benyamin was also there, and he brought over a bunch of bottles of his new 2009 lineup as a house-warming gift, and the hosts kindly opened a lovely bottle of the 2009 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are sourced from a new location for the Four Gates Winery – Monte Bello vineyard! Loom for a new post in the next day or so.

The wine notes follow below – and many thanks to our hosts! The evening was as spectacular as the two of you are – Mazel Tov!

2007 Hagafen Cuvee de Noirs – USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville – Score: B+ to A-
The last two times we had this bubbly it was richer and more explosive in the nose and palate. This time it was OK, but not at the same level. I bought it at the winery, so maybe it is a case of bottle variation. The nose on this lovely salmon colored wine was lively with effervescent small bubbles, along with pear, light toast, yeast, apricot, citrus fruit, peach, and strawberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine attacks first with a lovely mousse of small bubbles, followed by summer fruit, citrus, and nice yeast, that give the mouth a lively feeling. The finish is super long, with strawberry, summer fruit, brioche, yeast, light oak, and citrus rind. This is a lovely sparkling wine that really needs time in the fridge and one that is a lovely now and will continue to be lovely for at least a few more years to come.

2003 Yarden Merlot – Score: B+ to A-
I will admit that this is a really nice wine. I will further admit that it is worthy of one still enjoying it, as the tannin, acid, and fruit are still all holding themselves together nicely. My issue with it is the sweet dates and raisin that come from the super, and over the top, ripe fruit. This wine is too new world for me. Yes the wine has a body and stance that is worthy of the fruit, but this is a bit too much for me. The nose on this purple to black colored wine is redolent with black cherry, blackcurrant, oak, raisin, roasted herb, raspberry, and chocolate. The mouth on this full bodied wine hits you first with still gripping tannin that give the wine a coating mouthfeel, along with spicy oak, ripe fruit and sweet dates, that come together into a truly expressive and concentrated mouth. The finish is long and spicy with spicy oak, herb, black fruit, and tannin that linger long on the palate. This wine continues to go and go, because of the rich tannin and acid. The in-your-face oak of old has mellowed, but in its place is the over the top ripe fruit, which takes this wine down a notch.

2009 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: A- to A
The fruit for this lovely old-world Cabernet comes from Betchart Vineyard on Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I have been able to watch this progress from press to bottling, and it has gone from a rich red fruit wine, to a hybrid rich old-world wine with big red fruit along with some lovely black fruit. A unique Cabernet that is rich, extracted, balanced, yet oak influenced in a lovely manner, this is not a big black new-world Cabernet! The nose on this purple to black colored wine is screaming with cloves, graphite, oak, kirsch cherry, raspberry, blackberry, red fruit, tobacco, roasted herbs, and anise. The mouth on the medium to full-bodied wine is super rich, extracted, and concentrated, with nice fruit, spice, big round and mouth coating tannin, and lovely oak that makes for a rich and spicy mouthfeel. The finish is long, lovely, and spicy with more tannin, chocolate, tobacco, cinnamon, red fruit, more spice, and a nice hit of vanilla. The chocolate, oak, cloves, herbs, red fruit, and vanilla linger long. Best in a year and drink by 2016.

Posted on February 13, 2012, in Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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