Wine Spectator scores a gaggle of kosher Israeli Wines

In the June 30th edition of the Wine Spectator, Kim Marcus reviewed some 21 wines from Israel and many scored above 85 point. The highest scored wines were:

  1. 2009 Bazelet HaGolan Cabernet Sauvignon – 90
  2. 2007 Binyamina Cave – 90
  3. 2009 Yarden Chardonnay – 89
  4. 2008 Yarden Pinot Noir – 89
  5. 2009 Domaine du Castel Petite Castel – 89
  6. 2009 Segal Chardonnay, Special Reserve – 89
  7. 2007 Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve – 88
  8. 2007 Barkan Merlot, Reserve – 88
  9. 2009 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Verdot, Yogev – 88
  10. 2009 Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc Alma – 88
  11. 2009 Segal Merlot, Special Reserve – 87
  12. 2009 Galil Yiron – 87
  13. 2010 Teperberg Meritage – 86
  14. 2007 Binyamina Merlot, Reserve – 85
  15. 2010 Barkan Merlot/Argaman, Classic – 85
  16. 2009 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Yogev – 85
  17. 2010 Segal Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon, Fusion- 85
  18. 2009 Binyamina Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay, Yogev – 84
  19. 2010 Barkan Pinot Noir, Classic – 83
  20. 2009 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, Yogev – 83
  21. 2007 Binyamina Zinfandel, Reserve – 82

Personally, I have a few things to comment here. First of all I am so very happy to see Israel again being taken seriously and having their wines scored, whether for the good or the bad.

Secondly, these scores are VERY much in line with expectations, though there are a few shockers in there as well, more on that soon. The wines that were tasted were not blockbuster superstars, on the contrary these were second tier wines, for the most part, and many of which we have scored in the very same manner. In other words, the reason why these “low” scores are such good news is that they are VERY legitimate scores for the wines reviewed.

There are a few wines that some may balk at, score wise. However, the 2009 Yiron is not one of them, as the 2009 vintage was solid but not great for the Yiron label. The 2008 Yarden Pinot Noir is nice, but it has that overly sweet notes that are a problem for the Wine Spectator and the Wine Advocate.

One may say that the Cave is the superstar of the wine list and it received the score it deserved. The wine is lovely, but not a wine that blows me away. The Cave wines have been improving, but clearly a wine that is overpriced for the category and its quality. The same could be said for the 2009 Petite Castel, which may well be the second superstar, however, it too was scored very much in line with its quality. The Cave and the Petite Castel are both fine wines, but overpriced for their category and quality.

If there was a shock, it was on Mr. Marcus’s (Kim is NOT a female by the way) drink by dates. Most of them were in line with what I would have expected, accepting for the Cave and Yiron. Kim has them as drink now, which while I am not a huge fan of the 2007 Cave, seems a bit short, but will probably be correct. We had the wine in March and it still had good mouth coating tannins – but that is just my opinion. In the end drinking it now will not disappoint.

Please buy a copy of the Wine Spectator and support this wonderful magazine, like I do! The wine world needs unbiased wine opinions. I am just so happy to see Israeli and kosher wines starting to get into the lime light and showing their QPR (Quality to Price) potential. The vast majority of these wines cost less than $20, and they mostly scored between an 85 to an 89, meaning quality wine for a quality price. No blockbuster wines, rather solid wines for a great price. In other words, a few single and doubles – but hey if bunched together, like in this wine review, they score a WHOLE bunch of runs!

Congratulations to the wineries and to their importers (Royal and Yarden/Galil) for a great review and for the showing the world, that Israel has fine quality wines for a great price! Also, many of the wines reviewed are mevushal! I do not know if the 2007 Cave bottle that was reviwed was mevushal or not, but I doubt it as most of the mevushal run of the Cave wines are sold exclusively to restaurants for their customers.

My wine notes on some of the wines listed above:

2007 Binyamina Cave – Score: A-
The wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, each fermented and oak-aged separately for 24 months before the final blend was decided upon. The nose is classic in its Bordeaux style, though without much to any minerality. The nose starts with ripe blackberry, raspberry, graphite, crushed herb, forest berries, and a light hint of date or raisin. The mouth shows good fruit, more raisin, clear oak influence, all tied together nicely with mouth coating tannin. The finish is long with vanilla, bright plum, nice cedar, tobacco, and lovely green notes at the end.

2009 Petit Castel – Score: B++ to A-
The wine is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this garnet colored wine (from a newly bottled bottle) is rich with chocolate, oak, blackberry, mint or eucalyptus, ripe plum, and currant. The mouth on this semi mouth coating wine is rich with black fruit, raspberry, currant, softening tannins, and cedar all wrapped together to make for a lovely and soft mouth. The finish is long and spicy with tobacco, mint, ripe fruit, and a hint of leather.

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Posted on June 5, 2012, in Food and drink, Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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