The state of aged carignan wine from Israel and many others

2015 Don Ernesto Clarinet, 2012 Hagafen Cabernet Franc, 2012 Matar Petit Verdot, 2010 2012 Bro.Deux, 2005 Four Gates Syrah, 2012 Trio Carignan, 2012 Mia Luce Carignan, 2012 Recanati Carignan, 2007 Gush Etzion Blessed Valley, 2012 Shirah Whites

I have been offline for a month because of many reasons – the chief among them being that we were away for a trip through South Dakota and Montana. South Dakota was a bore, but Montana and Glacier National park are impressive, worth the insane drive.

Now on to wine, before I left we had a dinner with friends and I opened the remnants of what I had in the world of kosher Carignan (yeah there is a new one from Hajdu, I know). As of now, there really is just four main wineries in Israel making good to great Carignan. The list in order of ageability by far is Mia Luce, followed by Trio, then Recanati, and finally Jezreel Winery. Now before, you scream at me, yes, Recanati makes a lovely Carignan – but after three years it is date juice. Many of my friends love them, date and all, good for them! To me and the folks at the table that night – it was the least drunken wine of the night! The Mia Luce was slow to come around – but it was lovely. The Trio was epic from the start till the last drop. Yotam Sharon was the winemaker at Trio till 2013 and the wines he made during his short time there are indeed impressive.

The Jezreel Carignan is nice, but not in the same league as the first three – but once the Recanati turns to date juice, it is indeed better. We tasted the three Carignan from 2012 and yes – the Recanati is not fun any longer, neither was the 2011 Mia Luce (but that was a one vintage issue for Kobi). The saddest part of all of this to me is that Mia Luce is no longer making Carignan wines. The 2012 was the last available Carignan on the market. The 2013 was pre sold and by 2014 – he has gone to Syrah. Trio is now in another winemaker’s hand and it is not the same quality – maybe that will improve. The Recanati, as I have said turns too quickly – the 2009, 2010, the 11, and the 12 are all date juice. Great quality wines – structure wise, professional in nature, but still – they turn too quickly.

So, IMHO Carignan is in a perilous state if you like them aged. Otherwise, continue to enjoy the Recanati Carignan and drink it within two years – three at most. The 2014 Recanati Carignan is epic, sadly the 2015 (shmita) is not as good, and not one I would invest in.

YG reminded me correctly, that I had forgotten the 2013 Capcanes La Flor Del Flor Samso, which is 100% Carignan. It is not from Israel, and I was talking about Israel alone, but sure it is good to remind people that the capcanes is epic, and is a better option than the rest but it is also almost double the price, though the price on the Recanati Carignan has gone up a bunch as well, in the past few years – which is very sad. Also, there is the epic 2013 Elvi Clos Mesorah which is 50% Carignan. Also a top-tier wine. I have added the two scores below to be complete.

Switching gears from Carignan, Matar continues to impress, and the PV was really nice. Much better than the Yatir and as good as the Gavot. So, the list is below, the best wine of the night was clearly the Mia Luce and the Four gates Syrah. The two Shirah Bro.Deux that we tasted side by side was truly fun, with the 12 showing riper notes (less so than the 13, but riper than the 10) while the 2010 was green and layered.

Now before I get hate mail or shocked emoji, yes there was a bottle of BBB (Bartenura Blue Bottle) on the table, and it was emptied before the night was out, but not a drop by me. You need to let your guests enjoy what they like – that is my motto, but help them see the truth by serving other options as well!

The rest of the wines are listed below – though not in the order they were enjoyed:

2013 Capcanes La Flor Del Flor Samso – Score: A- to A (tasted in February 2016)
To say this wine is young is absurd, this wine should never be opened for another four years, it is not even close to approachable. I love tannic and acid bombs, but this is so closed even after many hours of decanting that you are throwing money away by drinking this wine now. The nose on this insane wine is pure dirt and asphalt, tar, followed by earth with dark fruit and mushroom. The mouth on this layered and concentrated and intense full bodied wine is focused and in your face, with an intense fruit structure, crazy mouth coating tannins that open to richly extracted mouth, showing many layers and non stop attack of tart and juicy blue and black and red fruit with currant, blueberry, blackberry, and spice dominating your attention. The finish is long and tannic, balanced to perfection, with mushroom and roasted animal, wrapped in a cloak of leather and tobacco with crazy mouth tannin lingering long. BRAVO!!!

2013 Elvi Wines Clos Mesorah – Score: A- to A (tasted a few times, in 2015 and 2016)
This is the flagship wine of Elvi Wines (though the Herenza Reserva may have a word to say about that) and it is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. Elvi Wines makes 7K of these bottles. The wine was sourced from vines that are 20 to 100 years of age. The nose on this wine is insane and intoxicating with aromas of watermelon, root beer, ripe boysenberry, blueberry, along with chocolate and black fruit. The mouth on this full bodied wine hits you with layers of concentrated fruit, with an attack of blue and black fruit, balanced perfectly, showing great elegance, along with mad mineral, graphite, slate, rich and freshly tilled earth, along with deeply concentrated black fruit. The wine is the perfect example of elegance and balance with ripe fruit that flows into a plush mouth made from mouth coating tannin and rich fruit structure. This is truly a wine speaks for itself. The finish is long and intense, showing rich roasted animal, lovely mushroom, and floral notes. With time, the wine shows mad barnyard, mushroom, and even more loamy dirt. Bravo!!!

2013 Jezreel Carignan – Score: B+ to A- (tasted before the dinner)
The nose on this wine shows dirt, smoke, with intense charcoal and black currant jam with spice. The mouth is full bodied with searing tannin and sweet notes, showing blueberry and boysenberry galore, followed by sweet fruit notes, jam with hints of date and chocolate. The finish is long with sweet dill, tobacco, coffee, all wrapped in sweet oak, with sweet notes lingering long.

2012 Matar (by Pelter) Petit Verdot – Score: A- (and more)
This wine is made 100% kosher, meaning there is no non-kosher version of this from Pelter Winery. To me this wine was the most striking wine, sure the flagship CB was lovely, but this is so unique and yet so Israeli that it again showed that ideal – of a old world wine with an Israeli Terroir!

To say this wine is 100% mineral, spice, earth, and dirt, would be an understatement. Sure, there are other PV wines from Israel, but this wine is so far out there, that I wonder if a kosher drinking palate, that is used to the date-spiked punch-juice that most Israeli wineries pass off as wine, could really appreciate this masterpiece!

We had this wine straight after opening and it was a huge mistake. This wine needs time to open, from the beginning it showed unbalanced and not there. With time it came around and really opened its magic mineral attributes.

The nose on this wine explodes with a stunning perfume of freshly tilled earth, mineral, graphite, blackberry, black pepper, earth, forest floor, and roasted herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine hits you in layers with rich fruit (this is still a ripe wine), plum, dried raspberry, spice, intense inky notes, chocolate, along with layers of tannin, mineral, and saline, that all comes together with crazy tannin and spicy oak. The finish is long and chocolate based, tar, with butterscotch, sweet dill, tobacco, along with layers of spice, cloves, green notes, and bell pepper.

2012 Mia Luce Rosso Judean Hills – Score: A- (and more)
To me this wine has a bit more mineral, spice, saline, and hedonism than the Recanati Carignan, and the Recanati is already falling apart and showing date! This wine is a blend of 97% carignan and 3% syrah. This wine starts off with rich charcoal, mineral, earth, and dirt, followed by roasted animal notes, tar, and blackberry. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, black, and intense, layers of black fruit, extracted with crazy coffee, intense black olives, blackberry, black currants, and cassis. The finish is super long with mounds of mineral, saline, tannins coating the mouth with spice, green notes, and leather. BRAVO!

2012 Shirah Vintage Whites – Score: A- (and a bit more)
Well, this was my last bottle and I must be honest, I think I drank it too early! Oh well, better to have it early than late! This is a wine made up of 90% Viognier and 10% Roussanne. Right now, the Roussanne has given way to the peach cobbler Viognier and what a joy it is!!!

The nose on this straw to light gold colored wine is the clear and utter winner of the wine perfume competition! Are you kidding me, this nose is 100% certifiable, with rich and honeyed notes of dripping honeysuckle, lovely jasmine, impressive floral notes, peach heaven, all backed by very impressive earthy mineral components, and ripe melon. The mouth on this medium bodied wine used to be a tug a war between saline and sweet notes, the saline has given way to the impressive mind blowing dried sweet peach cobbler, but old world in style – BRAVO GUYS!!!
The wine shows lovely layers of honey, spice, guava, ripe Asian pear, along with a mineral structure of this wine that exhibits a lovely oily texture, and good sweet apple sauce. The finish is where the shocker starts, crazy bitter citrus pith takes center stage with good almond notes, all finished above a bed of lovely slate/rock and richly mineral focus.
I must say time has been kind to this wine, it shows lovely ripe honey and citrus but not letting go of its mineral core and pith – BRAVO!!

2012 Trio Spirit of Alona Valley, Carignan – Score: A- (and a bit more)
This 100% Carignan wine is lovely! The nose is rich with roasted meats, along with ripe black fruit, blackberry, crazy dirt and mineral, and more dirt to be sure. The wine is full bodied, extracted, rich, layered, with hints of white fruit, smoked peach, raspberry, blackcurrant, mad mouth drying tannins, kirsche cherry, and more earth. The wine is a tannic bomb that needs time, with time the wine gives way to leather, dirt, and roasted coffee, root beer comes next with ripe and extracted fruit. Impressive! Bravo!!

2005 Four Gates Syrah – Score: A- (and a bit more)
I was surprised that this wine was so closed on opening, but with two hours of time it was there. The nose on this purple to black colored wine filled with tar, chocolate, black pepper, licorice, alcohol, oak, black plum, blackberry, and thyme. The mouth of this full bodied and layered wine is filled with mouth coating tannins, black plum, blueberry, blackberry, and tar. The mid palate plays off the mouth coating palate with more tannin, acidity, oak, and chocolate. The finish is long and smoky, with tar, mounds of black pepper, plum, and acidity. Quite a nice wine that has a couple of years left – start drinking up!!

2012 Shirah Bro.Deux – Score: A- (and a bit more)
I tasted this side by the 2010 and the though I thought I liked the 12 more, the 2010 is drier and more complex, while this wine has sweeter notes and more depth. The wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. With an hour of air the nose opens to lovely ripe and fleshy strawberry, sweet spices, green notes, ripe black fruit, and blue notes. On the mouth the tannins come out and the fruit does as well, with blackberry, blackcurrant, concentrated fruit, lovely extraction and good fruit structure, fleshy fruit and layers of green and red fruit and blackberry and currant. The finish is long and sweet with sweet cedar, nice acid, graphite and slate and crazy mouth coating tannin with nice sweet notes and spice, tobacco and chocolate. Nice!

2010 Shirah Bro.Deux – Score: A- (and a bit more)
Really enjoyed tasting the 201 and 2012 side by side. The 10 is a bit drier and more spicy than the 12. The wine is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 18% Malbec, 18% Petite Verdot, and 10% Syrah – Hey they never promised a Bordeaux blend – just a good name! This wine does need some air – please give it an hour or more!

This wine is slightly shifting, but this time, there are fewer blue notes and far more intense mineral, heady spice, lovely green notes, with great tobacco, herb, along with cherry, and more green notes. The mouth on this medium+ bodied wine is classical Bordeaux (inspite of the Syrah), with lovely green bell pepper, blackberry, tobacco, along with great layers of concentrated, extracted sweet and ripe fruit, nice acid, along with now integrated but still very alive tannins that make for a lovely mouth coating experience, along with nice sweet cedar. The finish is long and spicy with nice chocolate, mineral, rich mouthfeel, hints of date, and charcoal on the long lingering and rich finish – BRAVO!!

2012 Hagafen Cabernet Franc – Score: A-
This wine needs time but with too much it falls apart. So to me open it an hour before serving and enjoy. The nose on this lovely wine starts off with smoke, funk, dirt, and earth, followed by toast, lovely plum and currant, nice herb and menthol. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is plush and controlled, with candied plum, raspberry, cherry, garrigue, nice tobacco, searing tannin and acid. The finish is long with green notes, crazy dill, coconut, foliage, sweet cedar, sweet vanilla, chocolate, and sweet spice. Lovely! A refined and elegant wine.

2007 Gush Etzion Blessed Valley – Score: B+
The wine is showing better than the 2009 vintage, which is really pushed too hard for my tastes. The wine is a blend of 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc. The wine is a bit hot, but shows nice tobacco, green notes, smoke, along with big black and red fruit. The medium to full bodied wine is falling apart, but showing nicely, with sweet cedar and smooth fully integrated tannin, showing black plum, blackberry, ripe black cherry, along with good spice and more great green notes. The finish is long and green with nice chocolate, licorice, good dirt, and nice acidity. DRINK UP!!!

2012 Recanati Wild Carignan Reserve Judean Hills – Score: B to B+
I have come to realize that Carignan from Mia Luce or Recanati fall apart and turn into date juice quickly. From bottling the wine is great for a year or two, after that it is not as true to me. The wine was the least liked wine on the table, and I do not blame them, it tasted date like and uninspired.
The nose on this wine is pure raisin and date, with roasted meat notes and nice licorice that gives way to bakers spices. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich and layered, but so ripe that it pushes all other things aside, with nice acidity, good body and fruit structure, showing too much date, blackberry, dark cherry, plum, round and expressive, espresso, and nice fig. The finish is long and overly sweet, with nice mouth coating tannin, and spicy oak. Sad.

2014 Don Ernesto Clarinet – Score: B to B+
When I bought this bottle I liked it – now it has fallen apart and is flat at best. The nose on this 100% Tempranillo wine is well blue, with smoky notes, but from there the nose is the best part of this wine. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is flat to there, with dark cherry, blueberry, raspberry, followed by jammy and sweet fruit, root beer, and sweet white stone fruit that lingers with sweet spices and lively blue fruit and butterscotch, with sweet wood. Nice.

Posted on August 10, 2016, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Love the pic! Great line-up of wines. It had my mouth watering. Haven’t tried Jezreel Valley yet; but if someone wants to see Carignan showcased very nicely they should revisit Carmel’s Mediterranean (I know, a blend is not the same.)

    > winemusings posted: ” I have been offline for a month because of many > reasons – the chief among them being that we were away for a trip through > South Dakota and Montana. South Dakota was a bore, but Montana and Glacier > National park are impressive, worth the insane drive. ” >

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