Open That Bottle Night 15 and a few missed wine posts

2007 Hevron Height PardessWell, it is that time of year again for OTBN (Open That Bottle Night), a night conceived by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, in February 2000, then with the WSJ. Well, officially it is the last Saturday night in February, which this year is Feb 22. However, us Jews like Friday/Sabbath to be our special wine moment, so we will be enjoying OTBN this Friday Night, hopefully!

According to the WSJ site: On OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. The whole point of the weekly “Tastings” column is that wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and all of the things that are really important in life.

We have had many great OTBN tastings but this year, it is about tasting my oldest and best Yarden Winery wines. Yarden Winery has moved to the sweet side on their new wines, for the most part, but the El Rom wines have never been sweet. Yarden has always been on the sweeter side, in terms of ripe fruit, but these past few years, the weather has really hurt them badly. The 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages have been nice wines, but too sweet for my tastes. The 2012 and 2013 look like they will be better, from what we have tasted of the white wines. Still, the El Rom and red Katzrin wine have always been controlled and beautiful. They are Yarden’s flagship wines and they keep a very tight lid on the fruit in these wines. The 2006 and 2007 ROM wine is another story, it was always sweet and somewhat controlled, and yes, very expensive. It all started when the late Daniel Rogov gave the 2006 ROM, a very unique Israeli blend wine, a massive 96 score!  That score sent the futures of that wines to the moon, along with the expectations of greatness. In reality, it is a nice wine, but nowhere where Rogov placed it.

Well, I have been sitting on too many of these wines, and so this week, for my version of the OTBN 15 (the 15th year of OTBN), I will be opening the 2001 Yarden El Rom (Shmita year), the 2004 Yarden El Rom, and the 2007 Yarden ROM. I have many backups in the ready!

If you will be having your own OBTN, please follow these steps on the guide.

Now for some wines that I have not had the time to post about. A few of these wines are Israel only wines, and while they were unique, most of them are not worth finding! That said, if a Malbec/Barbera or a Syrah/Pinotage wine sounds interesting – go for it!People have been asking me about Dadah Winery – my answer: classical story wine! The wine is nice enough, but the story is much better than the product. The Maresha is another small boutique winery in Israel, and both of them make good enough wines. The real story with both of them is their unique blends and family stories.

The wine notes follow below:


2010 Dadah Malbec/Barbera – Score: B+ to A-
This is a unique blend by one of the many new Boutique wineries that have popped up all over Israel. The nose on this wine shows sweet notes of blueberry, boysenberry, rich leafy tobacco, roasted animal, and sweet spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is very California in style, with sweet and ripe fruit that is not over ripe and date driven, with rich layers of concentrated black and blue fruit, blackberry, plum, all wrapped up in a richly extracted mouth showing searing tannin and sweet cedar. The finish is long and sweet with mounds of chocolate covered tobacco, nice acidity, and sweet notes linger long with nutmeg and cinnamon. This is a wine that shows far more like a Malbec than a Barbera, with the only real Barbera influence coming from its very good acid core. This is NOT a wine for cellaring drink within the next year or two.

2010 Dadah Merlot/Shiraz – Score: N/A
The bottle has classic Merlot styling and no Shiraz notes, but all of that is lost by the VA notes that take over the nose and mouth and make the wine truly un-drinkable. I can only talk for my bottle and the bottle of a friend of mine’s. In the end, I would not buy another bottle of this wine, for yourselves, that is decision that is yours to make for yourself.

2010 Maresha Nahal Guvrin (Guvrin Stream) – Score: B to B+
This was a nice wine which was a unique blend of Pinotage and Syrah. The nose was very Pinotage in style with clear banana and red cherry fruit, roasted animal, along with loamy dirt and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows blackberry, zinberry, hints of blue fruit, along with nice mouth coating tannin and oak. The finish is long and zinny with tart fruit, good acidity, but it is a wine that lacks complexity or concentration. The zinberry dominates the mouth to start but with time it gives way to dark candied cherry and spice.

2010 Weinstock Cellars Zinfandel Select – Score: B+ (QPR) (mevushal)
To be honest I have not been a fan of the baseline and Weinstock Zinfandel wines for a long time. They had originally been lovely and blue creations with deep blue notes and rich fruit. Recently they all went the way of the Zinberry, a hybrid virtual fruit of both blue and green and black fruits with dirt and earth mixed in – I.e. not a fun wine for me.

However, the 2010 wine returns the Weinstock Zin to its old glory, of a wine that is very good, mevushal, and yet reasonably priced, AKA a solid QPR wine. This is NOT as good as the PS or Franc, but it is a solid wine worthy of the QPR moniker. The nose on this wine starts off with great blue and green fruit along with rich mineral and dirt, all wrapped in a fruit aroma. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is richly spiced with layers of fruit, blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, plum, spice, spiced oak, and great depth of fruit character. The finish is long and spicy with lingering black pepper, all spice, raspberry, and draping mouth coating tannin.

2007 Hevron Heights Merlot Pardess – Score: B+
This is a 100% Merlot based wine that showed nicely but is in drink UP mode. I bought this in Israel. The nose on this wine shows nice mushroom, along with forest floor, crushed herb, and nice fruit. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine showed nice plum, blackberry, cranberry, and dark cherry coming at you in layers, with dark chocolate, spice, green notes, all enveloped in draping tannins. Quickly this wine starts to fall apart, so truly open the bottle and enjoy. The finish is long and sweet with more mushroom, vanilla, sweet cedar, and sweet tobacco lingering long and over time dominating the mouth and finish. Be careful as well as the wine is throwing serious sediment.

2010 Herzog Cabernet/Zinfandel/Syrah, Special Reserve – Score: B+
This wine is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Zinfandel, and 3% Syrah. To be fair, I popped this bottle way too fast and did not let it settle and watch it evolve the way I would have preferred. At the start the Cabernet dominated this wine, with lovely mineral, graphite, with the Zinfandel spice coming through loud and clear. The mouth was nice, but not complex, with good fruit structure of blackberry, plum, and cherry, along with hints of blue fruit, and sweet cedar. The finish is long with nutmeg and spice. I would let this wine open a bit more and watch it evolve over the evening.

2004 Hagafen Zinfandel – Score: B to B+
This wine is in drink up mode. The wine is not bad, but it is flat lining and becoming one-dimensional. The nose on this purple colored wine has aromas of chocolate, ripe strawberry, black cherry, and herb. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is filled with blackberry, dark plum, nice smoky notes, along with sweet cedar, and mounds of still integrated mouth coating tannin. However, once the wine opened it died, this wine was good for at most an hour and then went to puppy heaven. The finish is long and spicy, with hints of leafy tobacco, black and white pepper, along with cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
This is a nice wine for a bit and then it rolls over – if you have a bottle, like I do, who bought his DIRECTLY from the winery a few weeks ago, open your next bottle, share with friends and say thanks for the memories!

2010 Dalton Petite Sirah – Score: B+ to A-
The wine is rich and balanced and with stuffing still left in it. The nose is rich with plum, blackberry, date, bramble, smoky aromas, and roasted meat. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and layered with blueberry notes, raspberry, good cedar, bell pepper, and nice mouth coating tannin all wrapped within an almost inky texture. The finish is long and spicy with good balance, along with chocolate, cloves, good mineral, graphite, leather, and spice bring up the rear to make for a very nice wine indeed. The wine’s mouth coating tannin and leather, with its sweet fruit is controlled enough to make it all work well.

2010 Vignobles David Côtes du Rhône Reserve – Score: A-
This wine blend is composed of 40% Syrah, and 60% Grenache, also known by the folks in the know, as GS, an acronym stemming from the first letter of the 2 varietals used in this blend. When I opened this lately, the wine needed a few hours of air to truly open and show its potential. Please open and have patience to allow it to show its true joy.

This bright purple colored wine steps up and slaps you across the head with a crazy rich and heady nose of blackcurrant, bramble, rich oak, roasted meat, freshly brewed espresso, spice, raspberry, blackberry, and tar. This wine shows a super rich, full-bodied, yet bright mouth with an insane mouth draping and coating tannin, rich extraction, along with focused concentration of fruit, all coming together into a truly earthy, fruity, meaty mouth. The finish is richly spiced with layers of more coating tannin, soft leather, tar, black fruit, rich minerality, espresso and oak, with a hint of date on the background. Quite a lovely wine that is not another big and black Syrah, rather this is a lovely balanced GS that shows its richly spiced and terroir driven roots in more ways than one.

Posted on February 21, 2014, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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