A lovely wine evening with new and old friends in NY last year
Well, as I posted here, those of us lucky enough to have “special” or older bottles are really responsible for their well being, besides just owning them! What is the use of having many great bottles and watching them all die?? So, in that light, a friend of mine decided to start a monthly tasting evening, where your entry fee is a good bottle of wine and he would take care of the rest.
It was with this in mind, I entered with a 2006 Four Gates Cabernet Franc, which was not in tune with the evening’s theme, but was entry fee enough to let me partake of the festivities. The wines and food enjoyed that night were:
Wines and Food Enjoyed
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Blanc de Blanc, 2005
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Blanc de Blanc, 2007
Home Cured Bresaola
Panko Crusted Chicken Strips
80-hour Sous Vide, Dry Aged Prime Short Ribs
Rustic Cornbread, Beer Braised “Bacon” Baked Beans, and Red Cabbage Slaw
Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2001
Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2003
Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2005
Carmel, Limited Edition, 2003
Galil Mountain, Yiron, Syrah, 2004
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Katzrin, 2000
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Katzrin, 2003
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Katzrin, 2004
Hagafen, Prix Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, MJT Block, 2002 Magnum
Hagafen, Prix Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, MJT Block, 2005
Wine Cellaring and what it means
Now, to be fair, as great as the wines sound, and many were, some were just there. Why? Well, for many reasons. First, wine is a living organism, and like all of us, they can have a bad evening! Secondly, wine being a living organism, needs to be cared for with great care. A wine fridge or a real cellar is the correct manner to hold and care for a bottle of wine. Leaving the wine above the oven, fridge, or lying about – is not how to keep a bottle of wine! Why? Because the wine is constantly evolving, great wines that are meant for the cellar take time to come around.
Let us take a step back and explain what a cellar worthy wine is? Let us take a perfectly good wine; like the 2012 Peraj Petita Mevushal wine, this is a wine that is ready to enjoy now. The second you open the bottle it is ready, it does not need time to breath, it does not need time to come together – the wine is ready to dance. Why? For many reasons, but the main point here is that the wine was built for early drinking, the varietals, the quality and the aging of the must (wine juice), mean that the wine was made for early drinking.
This is a question I get ALL the time – can you age this wine? WHY? Why age a wine that is not meant for aging. Aging is all about making a wine that is truly not ready for drinking to become ready – without doing horrible things to it, like throwing it in a blender or other fast aerating devices. If the wine is not ready to drink, think 2006 Domaine Roses de Camille, then wait. Same goes for the 2007 Four Gates Merlot that I had this past week, it is a wine that I had to force into a happy and dancing mood. I was happy I did, but it has time, and I should have drunk a wine that needs to be enjoyed soon.
In the end, if you like a wine the way it is cellaring may well not improve anything for you. You cellar a wine that is too young, too tannic, too acidic, too all over the place, in hopes that it will come together and make itself correct. I STRESS, hope it will all come together. You can buy a 200, 500 or 1K dollar bottle of wine and you may be buying a dud or you may be buying a masterpiece! You have no way of knowing, sure you can use a device like the coravin, but that does not mean the inert air left in the bottle will not decay and lead to further oxidation of the wine.
In the end, buying a bottle of wine that is not happy now and hoping to enjoy it later, is why we freaks cellar wine. Now, if you have such a wine, and the time has arrived to enjoy it – please do so. Use tools like Cellar Tracker, where the community comes together to crowd source for you notes and drink by dates, both of which are imperative to keeping a large cellar healthy.
Anyway, getting back to the evening, I arrived with bottle in hand, and YC was deep in thought in front of his sous vide machine, in the kitchen where he was also tending to the; Home Cured Bresaola, 80-hour Sous Vide, Dry Aged Prime Short Ribs, Rustic Cornbread, Beer Braised “Bacon” Baked Beans, and Red Cabbage Slaw! He was not working on all of them at the same time, much of that work was done hours ago, and instead at this point in time, he was intently gazing into the water bath and figuring out when to remove the ribs and start the final process of finishing/caramelizing the ribs.
I left him to his mad science, and I entered the hallowed grounds where the tasting would be taking place. The table was set for 12, quite beautifully, with many glasses, plates, and all the accoutrement needed to enjoy the festive meal that was to start soon.
While we waited for the other guests to arrive, fashionably late, I took some pictures and then I sat down and YH was kind enough to pour me some early bubbly and I was happily ensconced in my seat with cold bubbles in my hand, not much more you can ask for in life. As the guests all finally arrived the festivities were kicked off. First to hit the table was all the food, which I must say was insane! Please understand, I love going to restaurants and enjoying haute cuisine, but this cut of meat that was placed on my plate – looked more Fred Flintstones (AKA Dino) sized than human sized! I was staring down at a chunk of rib that looked that it came from a carnivore, rather than a placid grass-eating machine. Either way, while I was staring at this side of beef, the wines started to come at me hard and heavy. Please understand that the table was seated with people of means and great responsibility, in other words, they were here to have fun, but not for a long night’s affair. So, when the desire is to taste 12 wines, I would say that many if not almost all of them were there to drink the wines, while a few were there to taste the wines and enjoy the evening. That is in no way a slight to anyone, it was very much like what happened at both of the Bernstein dinners, after 4 or 5 wines, you stop wanting to write notes and start wanting to just drink wine!
So, with that in mind, that was what happened, within a span of two hours or less, the wines, food and desserts came and went! That said, the clear head and shoulders winner of the evening was the 2000 Yarden Katzrin wine – sick and insane are not enough to describe the quality and joy of this wine. The rest were very good to lovely. Of course, to me after the Katzrin, and one or two others, the bubbles won the evening! Yarden continues to CRUSH the competition in the world of kosher bubblies! The 2005 and 2007 Yarden Blanc de Blanc (BdB) were fantastic and absolutely lovely! Overall, even with many wines some multiples of the Yarden wines, in terms of cost, the Yarden wines overshadowed everything else on the table, it was not even a competition. It goes to prove that the Yarden winery has the ability to produce some of the very best wines in the country. Sadly, the past few years they have taken a detour from their tour de force wine making ability, but I hope they return quickly to their roots.
To say that the French wines were a disappointment would be an understatement, these were three of my favorite wines on planet earth, and they all had a very bad day. Why? Who knows, poor showing, bottle shock, bottle variation, poor storage, or just plain darn bad luck. Whatever the reason, the wines were there but not enjoyable. The Carmel wine was either corked or DOA, which was a shame. Of course, to call a wine – which I scored an A- a disappointment is a bit harsh, but it is the cruel reality of tasting wines. These are wines that when in a better mood, are scored a clear level or two above that. What can I say; they were not doing their thing that night.
The final wines were California wines, Hagafen wines, but I and Hagafen Cabernet Sauvignon never see eye to eye. Sometimes, I get some great wines and sometimes they taste plain and staid to me, I guess that is something I need to fix one day.
The meal was just delicious, the sous vide ribs that were hand torched and seared were off the charts, in size, flavor, and quality! This was some truly good grub! The theme was meat in picnic basket style, with baked beans, purple slaw, and rustic corn bread – the only thing missing was the checkered linen and straw basket. The meal was lovely, the meat was rich and soft, with a bite to the texture, but with perfectly pull-off the bone texture. The rest of the sides were up to task and overall the dish came together quite nicely indeed. The Bresaola was off the charts and disappeared before anyone could say boo! I was not there, but I have pictures from other folks, who watched YC go at the Dino Ribs with a flamethrower and a smoking cast iron pan! I hope he also used this as a release point for whatever aggravations he may have had that day! The outcome though was fantastic! The meat was caramelized to a point of crunch without tasting or feeling over cooked – BRAVO!
I must pass along my personal applause to my host for putting up with a bunch of loud, opinionated people all talking about wines that he served at his table. Sure, these were not all his wines, though more than a few were. Also, setting up this shindig is no small feat, and I am sure it is hard to separate comments on the wine from the effort placed into putting it together. To be fair, everyone was very respectful of our host, who was very so deserving! I just hope that anything I post here will not mean that I am uninvited from all future get together(s).
With that – my man thanks to the host, hostess (who was absent for the evening but was stuck with the aftermath), and the chef of the evening. The food, atmosphere, and wine were truly impressive! My many thanks to all for participating and bringing the entry fee for us all to enjoy! My wine notes follow below:
2007 Yarden Blanc de Blanc – Score: A- to A
Same as last time, deep, mineral, and attack that is almost hedonistic.
2005 Yarden Blanc de Blanc – Score: A- (and more)
This is the best that this wine has shown, in my opinion. The nose on this pure Chardonnay sparkling wine is ripping with toasty notes, nice mineral, slate, dirt, and tart fruit. The mouth on medium to full-bodied wine is rounding out now, it is not a pure aggressive and hedonistic wine, like its younger brother, rather this is a rich and rounding mouth with great tart apple, quince, all coming at you with layers of small mousse bubbles, and brioche. The finish is long and acidic, ripping with mineral, toasty notes, light bitter notes, and spice.
2001 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Grand Vin – Score: A-
I have had this wine a few times now and each and every time I have had them they showed better than they did this night, and very differently to boot, but this bottle was still nice in its own right. The nose on this wine started off hot with good rich dirt, mineral, and great berry fruit, and raspberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine showed nice tannin, tart plum, sweet cedar, and mouth coating tannin. The finish is long and sweet with chocolate, tobacco, cherry, and more dirt.
2003 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Grand Vin – Score: B+ to A-
I have had this wine a few times now and each and every time I have had them they showed better than they did this night, and very differently to boot, but this bottle showed itself well enough in its own right. The nose on this wine showed rich dirty notes, sweet notes, and bramble. The mouth on this medium bodied wine was screaming with sweet cedar, along with lovely tannin, plum, cassis, and tray fruit. The finish on this rich and dirty wine is deeply mineral based with chocolate, sweet herb, and nice tannin lingers.
2005 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Grand Vin – Score: A-
I have had this wine a few times now and each and every time I have had them they showed better than they did this night, and very differently to boot, but this bottle showed the best of the min-vertical we had this night and almost as good as what I have had in the past. The nose on this black colored wine is rich with loamy dirt, great tart fruit, heat and bramble. The mouth on this full-bodied wine showed nice tannin, along with layers of richly concentrated blackberry, cassis, plum, cherry, all coming together with nice tannin, and sweet oak. The finish is long and chocolate infused with tobacco, sweet herb, and tart fruit.
2003 Carmel Limited Edition – Score: N/A
The wine could not be scored well or enjoyed from the fact that it was corked, so I will not bemoan spilt milk.
2004 Galil Yiron Syrah – Score: A-
The nose on this wine showed it was clearly on the edge, showing date, roasted animal, chocolate, with screaming ripe strawberry, and raspberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine showed nice layers of sweet and concentrated blueberry, boysenberry, blackberry, plum, and sweet fruit. The finish is long with tart fruit, rich chocolate, with crazy blue and black fruit lingering with licorice, and tart fruit.
2000 Yarden Katzrin – Score: A
WOW! What a wine! Clearly this was the best wine of the evening, but it may well be one of the best wines I tasted in 2013. The wine is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this still black with hints of garnet colored wine starts off with crazy herb, mineral, floral notes, along with lots of red fruit, and freshly shaved pencil. The wine is throwing serious sediment so be careful. The mouth on this full-bodied, rich and layered wine, starts with lovely sweet tannin, then comes at you with layers of concentrated sweet fruit, black plum, cassis, blackberry, chocolate, and more sweet cedar. The finish is long and sweet with nice vanilla, chocolate, more mouth draping tannin, black tea, and sweet herb – BRAVO!!
2003 Yarden Katzrin – Score: A- (Sweet/New World)
This wine is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this sweet wine starts with vanilla, blueberry, root beer, and more sweet fruit. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is very sweet but it is well structured and nice with more blue and black fruit, nice mouth coating tannin, green notes, and spice. The finish is long and mineral with crazy draping and lingering tannin, sweet tobacco, and more graphite.
2004 Yarden Katzrin – Score: A- (Sweet/New World)
This wine is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Merlot. The nose on this sweet wine starts off with crazy sweet blueberry (almost blue bubble gum like), blackberry, ripe fruit, along with crazy root beer, and more sweet notes. The mouth on this full-bodied wine shows such sweet notes that it does make you take notice, with date, lovely tannin, with a great fruit structure, chocolate, and more concentrated sweet blue and black fruit. The finish is long and sweet (yes there is a theme here), with lovely and sweet mouth coating tannin, good mineral, tobacco, and sweet licorice.
2002 Hagafen Cabernet Sauvignon, Prix, Magnum format – Score: A-
What can I say, I have never really fallen in love with Hagafen Prix Cabernet wines, whether they are young or old. The nose on this purple colored wine showed rich mineral, lovely blackberry, butterscotch, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows with a good fruit structure, tart fruit, nice mouth coating tannin, black fruit, black plum, and sweet oak. The finish is long and chocolate driven with nice tannin, great mineral, sweet herb, cinnamon, and cloves.
2005 Hagafen Cabernet Sauvignon, Prix, MJT – Score: NA
What can I say, I did not really get this wine, maybe it was me, or maybe it was the wine, not really sure.
Posted on March 11, 2014, in Food and drink, Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged Blanc de Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmel Winery, Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Hagafen Winery, Katzrin, Limited Edition, Prix Reserve, Yarden Winery. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.