Wine Spectator scores a few more Israeli Wines

Two months ago, I wrote an article about some scores and notes that the Wine Spectator released in the June 30th edition. The wines were scored by Kim Marcus where he reviewed some 21 wines from Israel and many scored above 85 point.

Well, the beat goes on and Mr. Marcus scored another 8 wines from Israel and all of them scored 85 or higher. These are the wines and the scores:

  1. 2009 Domaine du Castel ‘C’ Chardonnay – 90
  2. 2009 Clos de Gat Syrah, Har’el (NOT KOSHER) – 90
  3. 2009 Clos de Gat Syrah, Sycra (NOT KOSHER) – 90
  4. 2009 Recanati Carignan, Reserve, Wild – 90
  5. 2008 Yarden Merlot – 89
  6. 2010 Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon – 87
  7. 2010 Recanati Merlot – 87
  8. 2011 Recanati Yasmin, Red – 85

So, like last time I have a few comments here. First and foremost – BRAVO! Seriously, this is great! Israel is finally getting the scores that match the quality and wines. In NO way am I saying that the scores before did not fit the facts, I am NOWHERE in the same solar system as Mr. Marcus – so please let me set that straight before we go on here. What I am saying is that Israeli wines are improving – PERIOD! Whether it is the fact that wineries are starting to gain control over their hot climate fruit, or they are improving their processes to keep the fruit and the wine under control and thereby improving quality. Scores from all around the wine world are going up and the wine world is truly starting to take notice of Israel and their wine potential – so again BRAVO to all!

To set things straight, though on a sad note, Daniel Rogov who died on September 6th 2011, passed before he could truly see what seems to be the turning of the tide, in terms of worldwide appreciation for Israel’s wines. It will almost be a year since his passing and there is not a day that goes by, that I do not think about him and the positive impact that he had on, both the kosher and the Israeli, wine world. I am sure he is looking down on this state of affairs and laughing like he always did, and taking it all in with a glass of Cognac in hand.

Secondly, like I stated last times – please do not wonder why these scores may be high or low in comparison to the rest of the world. These wine scores are perfectly in line with what others scored these wines, and there are a few honest surprises for me again.

To start, I posted the Clos de Gat wines – even though they are not kosher, because this was about Israeli wines, and in the words of Richard Shaffer, from Israel Wine Direct, Kosher is NOT a Country – LOVE that line!

Also, I am so happy that Mr. Marcus appreciated the Recanati wines as much as we all do. Like I posted in an earlier piece, Recanati Winery was built on the premise that they could and will create great kosher wines for a reasonable price! In other words solid kosher QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wines! The lowest three scoring wines go for less than 12 dollars at most wine stores. Further, the Yarden Merlot goes for 16 dollars, on a bad day, which makes it another solid QPR wine. The top four wines do run in the 40 to 60 dollar range, and two of them are not kosher, but the real surprise of the bunch is the 2009 Domaine du Castel Chardonnay!

The 2009 Domaine du Castel Chardonnay has quite a swirl of controversy around it, given its clear reduction, the last few times I tasted it. Now, I did enjoy it once when I went to Castel Winery itself, but many in the community feel it is not a great wine, and clearly not a wine that shows the best for Castel Chardonnays. Still, it is great to see that the world is happy to ignore the Israel-centric views and score the wine for what they perceive it to be.

My wines notes follow below for the wines that I have tasted:

2009 Recanati Carignan, Reserve, Kerem Ba’al (Wild) – Score: A-
The nose explodes with almost overripe blackberry, dates, prune, raspberry, nice floral notes, roasted meat, and plum. The mouth is rich and layered, with concentrated but accessible fruit, along with a crazy inky structure, and a mouth that is massive and rich with mouth coating tannin, and nice cedar. The finish is long and ripe with nice chocolate, butterscotch notes, heavy spice, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, and a salty finish. This is clearly a new-world style wine with crazy fruit forward and heavy use of oak, but one that is quite lovely all the same. There will be some that do not like the heavy smoke or the overripe fruit, and that is fine, just know what you are getting into with this wine. Many have given this wine huge scores while I see this one for what it is, which is a crazy unique and lovely wine that is a bit too overdone and overripe for my taste. Drink till 2016.

2010 Recanati Merlot, Diamond Series – Score: B++
The nose starts off floral with nice black cherry, green notes, and black currant. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is softening up with rounding tannin, black plum, green bell pepper, and nice cedar notes. The finish is long and spicy with good spice, black pepper, tobacco, vanilla, and bitter notes on the long finish.

Posted on August 17, 2012, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Uncategorized, Wine Industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I tried the Recanti Shiraz during the Wine Festival at the Israel Museum a couple of weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised. I was wondering if you have reviewed the Domaine Ventura, which was my favorite of that night.

  2. Indeed Domaine Ventura was quite impressive with his line of wines, I really liked the Cabernet Franc, the Chard, and the 2007 Isaacs. I was not so in love with the Cabernet Sauvignon or the Merlot or the Rose. The Reubens was nice as well.

  3. I’m curious as to what your opinion is on Israel having a signature varietal and which varietal do you think that may turn out to be.

    • This is a question that is often raised on the forums and one that the late Daniel Rogov thought about as well. I always said that it could be Cabernet Franc, others think old vine Carignan and Petite Sirah, as these vines were from the old days on Israel’s wine industry. Others think it will be Bordeaux blends or Cabernet Sauvignon – I guess time will tell.

      • I just saw that the international wine review Israel report seems to think that it might be Shiraz/Syrah. They write “While only 7 percent of total plantings, Syrah appears to be growing in importance and over time could become Israel’s #1 red grape.”

  4. Hey Steven, yes the article was quite solid, but I am not sure where they make the jump to Syrah being the grape of Israel. Yes, the grape does grow well in hot climates around the world, that is similar to Israel’s environment. However, that is not the criteria for defining the grape of Israel. I guess – it can be added to the pool, but I think the final decision is still a bit off, though locking down the criteria for this decision would be great. Even that is not decided. For most it would be popularity, like Shiraz was in Australia or Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, or maybe Pinot Noir in Oregan/Washington. However, others will define it as age ability – like Bordeaux in France and Cabernet in Napa. I guess the jury is out until the criteria is defined and history has its say, since other than some of Yarden’s great wines, neither criteria have been hit square on.

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