First days of passover – wines and all
Well, if you can believe it, the first days of passover are over and we have been enjoying lots of wines. The best part of the first days was that they were all enjoyed with family – which is the best way to enjoy the Holidays!
I will keep this short and sweet – the wines were mostly great – except for one wine that I was really looking forward to tasting – sadly it is not one I will buy more of. Other than the single disappointment – the rest of the wines were a huge hit.
We enjoyed matzah ball soup, brisket (yes an obvious choice), and potato kugel for the two evenings. For the lunches we went with simple cheese and matzah! What a joy it is – I look forward to eating hand shmura matzah with cheese every year!
The wines were lovely, starting with two rose wines that are available in Israel; the 2015 Carmel 2 Vats and the 2015 Tabor Rose. The 2015 Tabor rose is only a slight step behind the 2014, and that is saying a lot for the shmita year of 2015, which was not a home run for many wineries. That said, the 2015 whites and rose are showing well, which to me solidifies what I have heard and seen so far – which is that wines whose fruit were picked early, before the heat waves and the sand storms had a fine year, but they are still not equal to the epic 2014 vintage.
Following those two lovely wines was the letdown wine – the 2012 Tabor Merlot, Adama. Tabor is clearly the QPR winner in Israel with Recanati, Netofa, and Dalton. Sadly, this vintage was pushed with a 14.4% alcohol, which is high for Tabor’s Merlot. It is too ripe for me, no there are no dates, but the wine lacks in its previous perfect balance and earthiness. The next wine we had was the epic 2013 Domaine du Netofa Latour red. The wine was perfect for the 4 cups, as the wine is low in alcohol and big in flavor!
Finally, we enjoyed a bottle of the NV Gamla/Gilgal Brut – what a lovely wine indeed!! My many thanks to SB for the bottle!! The wine notes follow below:
2013 Domaine Netofa Red (QPR!) – Score: A- (and more)
This wine is a clear step up from the 2012 Netofa Red, that is not putting the 2012 down in any way, it is just that this wine is even better! This wine is a blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Mourvedre. The nose on this wine is redolent and packed with mineral, lovely smoke, flint, ripe plum, lovely blueberry, with currants in the background. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is attacks you first with lovely currants, followed by layers of blueberry, floral notes, richer and more extracted than the 2012, with great mineral, dried strawberry, all wrapped in ripping acid, and lovely tannin. The finish is long, extracted, and richly mineral in style, with blackcurrant, draping tannin, while being spiced with cloves, black pepper, sweet herb, and hints of pith and lovely acid. BRAVO!!!
2012 Tabor Merlot, Adama – Score: B+
Higher heat and sweeter wine than previous vintages. The nose on the wine is ripe with green leanings, showing ripe cherry, raspberry, with green notes, and lots of dill. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is balanced with searing tannin and nice red fruit, with good mineral and graphite, but the sweet notes are not like the previous vintages, with clear riper leanings and sweet toasty notes, ripe pomegranate, and good spice. The finish is long with good tobacco, spice, mounds of vanilla, intense mineral, graphite, and sweet milk chocolate.
2014 Psagot Rose – Score: A-
This is the first rose from Yaacov Oryah’s first year as winemaker at Psagot. Nice nose of rose petal, graphite, cherry, and saline. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has calmed down a lot since the last time I have had it and in that time the tannin and mineral have calmed, giving way to more fruit, earth, and hints of tannin. With cranberry, dried grapefruit, pomelo, dried raspberry, searing acid, and lovely pith. The finish is long with nectarines, more citrus, nice mineral, lovely saline, black olives, graphite ribbons, and good fruit structure that flows into great acid and lovely spice. BRAVO!!
2015 Tabor Rose, Adama – Score: A- (and some) (QPR)
This wine is made from 100% Barbera. The nose on this lovely salmon colored wine starts with lovely gooseberry, kiwi, sour cherry, raspberry , intense grapefruit, and great floral notes. The medium bodied wine shows a lovely mouth with good saline, a lovely intensity that comes out with time, balanced well with lovely acid, great flint, nice quince and peach with stone fruit and nice pith. The finish is long and spicy with green olives, earth, with nice dried apple, pith, and great cloves and spice. BRAVO!!!
2015 Carmel 2 Vats – Score: B+ to A- (GREAT QPR)
This wine is really nice, a simple wine with a bite, adding to its perceived complexity, very nice. The wine is a blend of GCM (Grenache-Carignan-Mourvedre). The nose on this dark salmon colored wine is ripe and very dry, with gooseberry, blueberry, kiwi and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows great acid, tart fruit, grapefruit, lovely citrus, strawberry, spice and a nice overall attack. The finish is long and showing cloves and crazy dried guava with nice peach and herb. BRAVO!!!
2014 Psagot Moav – Score: A-
I will warn you this wine needs air before enjoying it, I would decant it for an hour. This is a fantastic bordelaise white at 12.5 alcohol! The nose on this wine is lovely, and woodsy, with Nice nose of dried fruit, crazy floral notes, Jasmine, and peach. Nice round mouth with great acid and good sweet honey notes with funk and dried straw and lovely quince with herb and green tea. Long and citrus finish with insane acid and pith that is balanced with spice, cloves white pepper and fruit. Bravo!!
NV Gamla/Gilgal Hashmura Brut – Score: A- (crazy QPR)
This is the new vintage and be careful that the wine says extra dry – otherwise it is a previous vintage and not as fun, the wine is mostly 2011 grapes. The nose on this bubbly is sick with lovely quince, apple cider, with straw and tart citrus. The mouth is full and an attack force of small mousse bubbles, followed by year and rich unction, followed by layers of pear and madly refreshing with crazy acid and pith, and more bubbles that do not give up. The finish is long with dried fruit, nine dry mouth feel, that flows into dried herb and rich white tea. BRAVO!!!!
2014 Gush Etzion Sauvignon Blanc, Lone Oak – Score: A- (and then some) (QPR)
The nose on this wine is classic New Zealand in style, with ripping tart fruit, insane lemongrass, gooseberry, cat pee, along with saline, floral notes, and mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is crazy with ripping acid, citrus, lime, yellow grapefruit, with saline madness, crazy acid, guava, garrigue, litchi, and even more acid that just does not give up. The finish is long and spicy with mineral, rock, slate, and green apple – BRAVO!!!
2014 Elvi Wines Vina Encina Rose – Score: A- (and a bit more) (BEST QPR ROSE) (mevushal)
We last had this epic wine in Spain, at Moises’s house and now it is showing as well or better, if that is possible!! This lovely salmon colored rose is made of 100% Tempranillo Saignee and it reflects its redder brother, by showing ripe and tart fruit, but it adds white fruit and crazy intense acid. The nose on this wine is redolent and intense with raspberry, dark cherry, litchi, peach and floral notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine first hits you with intense searing acid, followed by lovely mineral, saline, and then follows with ripe kumquat, nectarines, grapefruit, and dirt. The finish is long and tart with bitter notes, earth and grapefruit and candied pomegranate. Bravo!
2014 Domaine du Castel Petite Castel – Score: A-
The nose on this wine is ripe and salty, showing tar, saline, intense black fruit, with red berries, mineral, and dark cherry. The mouth on the this wine is more full bodied than the 13 and more ripe than the 13, it reminds me of an earlier El Rom than a PC. The mouth on this wine is full bodied with crazy searing and mouth coating tannin, that flows into sweet dill, spicy oak, with rich blackberry, plum, sweet notes, and blackcurrant. The finish is long and spicy with sweet notes galore, tobacco, oriental spices, nutmeg, lovely acid, more sweet dill, and cloves lingering long with earth, graphite, saline, mineral, and spice. Nice!