Random kosher wines from last week

I hope you all are enjoying your Hanukkah holidays. This past weekend I enjoyed meals with my family and friends that were lovely and quite Sefardic in nature. The flavors were deep and filling and the tones were rounded with good herb and spice. These are flavors I try to hit in my dishes from time to time, but have been missing for sometime, partially because I do not have all the spices and partially because I do not still know all the recipes – I am working on that.

Sorry about the short notes again, but since I did not cook, I really have nothing more to say about the dishes other than they were lovely and rich and ones I hope to enjoy with my family again soon. If the list of wines sound like wines you should avoid, please remember that I had to taste some of these – SAD!!! In the end, there are some nice ones in the list, but no clear and run away winners. They all have flaws, like we all do, and as such, no real winner.

Many thanks to my family and friends for hosting me and here are the wines enjoyed through the weekend and at sporadic other moments through the week:

2011 Ella Valley Sauvignon Blanc – Score: B+ to A-
This wine is one made totally by the new winemaker at Ella Valley Winery, Lin Gold. She studied her craft at the University of Adelaide, and cut her teeth in her (professionally speaking) at both Tabor Winery and Chateau Golan. This is her first real vintage and it was exciting to see where the winery will be going. The Sauvignon Blanc was oak free as was in the past, and it was also green or herbal free, though that may have been more of a seasonal factor than a winemaker’s factor – time will tell.

The nose on this wine is ripe and bright with nice litchi, cut grass, kiwi, melon, lemon, and nice peach. The medium bodied wine has a nice clean mouth, very New Zealand-ish, cut dry with good clean lines, nice balancing acid, and lime juice infused. The finish is long and bright, almost bracing, with good acidity, lemon curd, and a hint of zest at the finish. A nice wine with bright and ripe fruit and no bitterness, a lovely Sauvignon Blanc.

2010 Ventura Chardonnay – Score: B to B+
2010 Domaine Ventura ChardThe nose on this wine is filled and aggressive with oak, with hints in the background of melon, grapefruit, butterscotch explodes with ripe lemon, and peach. The mouth is nice, though packed with far too much oak, along with yellow apple, pear, rich sweet oak that coats the mouth and forces the fruit and their concentration to the far corners of the wine’s reach. A shame as the wine is structured well and have nice lines, but the dominant feature in this wine, as of now, is the oak. The finish is long and spicy with cloves, more oak, butter, vanilla, a hint of herb, and nice lemon zest on the rise. Give this wine time and we will see if the oak fades a bit, allowing the nice fruit to show.

2011 Arfi Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: C-
2011 Arfi CabThe winery is not a well known name, because it is actually not a winery but rather a “winery” that resells Mony wines – that Mony does not want – that is what the rumor mill says anyway. From what I tasted a few times, please stay away! The winery is supposedly helped by the renowned “flying winemaker” Jacques Humeau the last student of the great Emile Peynaud. The nose was filled with a funky sense of sweet fruit that was lovingly fermented in what I can only call soiled socks,  and then carefully rolled in barnyard  along with ripe fruit, currant, herb, bramble, forest floor, and barnyard notes. The mouth is medium in weight with green notes, herb, searing unbalanced tannin, with blackcurrant, and mounds of black cherry. The finish is long and spicy with green notes and roasted herb.

2010 Or Haganuz Cabernet Sauvignon, Merom Shamai – Score: B+ to A-
2010 Or Haganuz CabThis wine may well have been the clear winner of the set of wines I tried throughout the week and that is unfortunately the state of affairs for me – this past week. This is a fine wine, but not one that should be my defined wine for the week. That said, a fine wine with good balance, structure, and of course, highly Israeli in nature. That being aggressive, though sweet with ripe cedar in the center, and with clear need to be smoking and enjoying chocolate all the while.

The nose on this lovely purple colored wine has deep aromas of baked blackberry, blackcurrant spiced pie, and herb. The mouth on this full bodied wine is big and aggressive with ripe blackberry, layers of concentrated black plum, cassis, and lovely cedar that rolls into a mouth coating tannin rich experience, along with nice sweet raspberry. The finish is long and mouth coating with lingering tannin on the rise, vanilla, spice, chocolate covered leafy tobacco, and a hint of bitter herb.

2010 Teperberg Shiraz, Reserve – Score: B+ to B++
2010 Teperberg Shiraz, reserveThis wine blew us away from the starts, but also let us down a bit on the mid palate. The wine is redolent with lovely perfumed and intoxicating aromas of licorice, blackberry, spice, plum, black pepper, and sweet tobacco, what a nose! The mouth is tart and sweet but lacking concentration with nice mouth coating tannin, hints of blue fruit, mint chocolate, graphite, big tannin, and sweet cedar, but with a hole in the middle. The finish is long and spicy with cloves, allspice, nice mineral, leather, tart plum, chocolate covered tobacco, date and vanilla. This is a nice wine, aggressive and rich, not sure if it will all come together to be more than it is right now.

2009 Ventura Merons – Score: B+ to A-
2009 Domaine Ventura MeronsThe good news is that the body is lovely – the bad news is that the nose is riddled with oxidation, in a way that gets in your face. We tried many bottles and each had this oxidation in varying degrees, which is a shame as the mouth and finish are lovely. The nose starts with oxidation, along with lovely green notes, and black plum. The mouth is an entirely different story, with depth, structure, and concentration. This is a wine that is a blend of 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Merlot, and it shows! The mouth is complex and deep with extracted flavors, blackberry, plum, all integrate lovingly with ripe green notes, a wine that is taken to the edge of ripeness, but not crossed. Sweet cedar, mouth coating and caressing tannin keep lingering long. The finish is long and spicy with cinnamon, cloves, more spice, bitter herb, orange zest, leafy tobacco, and chocolate. Dates do pop up ever so briefly on the luscious finish but who cares. Again a real shame about the nose. If you can get past it and the cost, this wine is worth finding and enjoying. This is a unique blend that few others make, another like it is from Gush Eztion.

2006 Falcon Eye International, Seire Emmanuel – Score: B
IMAG0322The only real redeeming quality here is the lovely light purple colored wine. The wine is a blend of The nose is filled with raspberry, cherry, licorice, and spice. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir aged in oak for 24 months. The mouth is empty and hollow with red fruit, with ripe and tart strawberry, blackcurrant, along with bell pepper and soft tannin that help rounds the mouth. The middle is missing and the finish is quick and shallow with little balance and herb. This is a wine on its way out, so drink up. Please note that this bottle has no hecsher, but it is made by the Kinor David Winery – a lovely man with a crazy good KPort. Kinor David also made another blend very reminiscent to this one and it has Shiraz in it as well, and is far better.

2010 Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
2010 Barkan Cab ReserveThis was not a shock as much as it was a continued education in the world of Barkan Wines. Barkan continues to produce lovely wines and the take away here is that never ignore the wines if front of you while you yearn for bigger and greater things. This wine is quite solid, and one of the better wines I had throughout the past week or so.

The nose on this light garnet colored wine is filled with ripe blackberry, herb, blackcurrant, bramble, dark cherry, and green notes, almost perfumed. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is filled with nice mouth coating tannin, ripe red and black fruit, good structure and balance, with currants, cassis, and lovely sweet cedar coming from its 20 months in oak. The fruit is concentrated and the attack is ripe and rich. The finish is long and spicy with nice green notes, lovely leafy tobacco, nice black plum, and chocolate, and tannins that rise on the finish with a hint of tangy fruit and citrus zest. Solid wine and a clear QPR.

Posted on December 14, 2012, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi David, do I take it as if ours are not even worth mentionning ? I thought you liked them…sorry to have disapointed you. By the way all Tunisian recipe are in a wonderful book. So says my wife.

    Shabat Shalom…just in time Max Yekev Herzberg

    • Max, Indeed I did like your wines, will get to them in a subsequent post. These were about wines from my past Shabbos.

      Have a great week!

  1. Pingback: Israel wineries I visited in the Judean Hills and the Shomron during my second week and the The Wine Mill wine shop « Wine Musings Blog

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