Four Gates Winery’s January 2019 new releases
Disclaimer – do not blame me for posting this AFTER Benyo sold his wines. That was not MY choice. I was asked to wait on my post until after the sale of the wines this year. Also, Four gates Winery and Benyamin Cantz (which are one the same), never saw or knew my notes until I posted them today.
As you all know, I am a huge fan of Four Gates Winery, and yes he is a dear friend. So, as is my custom, as many ask me what wines I like of the new releases, here are my notes on the new wines.
I have written many times about Four Gates Winery and its winemaker/Vigneron Benyamin Cantz. Read the post and all the subsequent posts about Four Gates wine releases, especially this post of Four Gates – that truly describes the lore of Four Gates Winery.
Other than maybe Yarden and Yatir (which are off my buying lists – other than their whites and bubblies), very few if any release wines later than Four Gates. The slowest releaser may well be Domaine Roses Camille.
Four Gates grapes versus bought grapes
It has been stated that great wine starts in the vineyard, and when it comes to Four gates wine, it is so true. I have enjoyed the 1996 and 1997 versions of Benyamin’s wines and it is because of his care and control that he has for his vineyard. That said, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes he receives from the Monte Bello Ridge shows the same care and love in the wines we have enjoyed since 2009.
I have immense faith in Benyo’s wines that are sourced from his vineyard and from the Monte Bello Ridge vineyard. The other wines, that he creates from other sources, are sometimes wonderful, like the 2014 Four Gates Petit Sirah that I enjoyed over the past Shabbat. It has lasting power. Others, while lovely on release may well not be the everlasting kind of Four Gates wines.
The new wines
This year we have the 2016 Syrah and the 2016 Petit Sirah, along with the classics. There is a new off-dry 2017 Rishona, along with an Ayala 2017 Chardonnay, and the always constant, and epic 2017 Four Gates Chardonnay.
The rest of the wines are the normal suspects, but this year’s crop, like last years, is really impressive. You have a 2014 Four Gates Merlot, 2014 Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C., the 2014 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Bello Ridge, Betchart Vineyard, and the 2014 Four Gates Frere Robaire.
Prices and Quantities
I have heard it over and over again. That I and others caused Benyo to raise his prices. First of all that is a flat-out lie. I never asked for higher prices, but when asked the value of his wines, the real answer I could give was more than 26 dollars.
Let us be clear, all of us that got used to 18/26 dollar prices and stocked up on his wines in those days should be happy. The fact that he raised prices, is a matter of basic price dynamics, and classic supply and demand. Four Gates has been seeing more demand for the wines while the quantity of what is being made is slowing down.
The law of Supply and Demand tell you that the prices will go, even is I beg for lower prices.
Now Four Gates Winery is one of the few cult wineries in the kosher wine world that releases wines every year. Sure there have been crazy cult wines, like the 2005 and 2006 DRC wines, or some other such rarities. His wines are in a class of their own, especially when it is his grapes, and there is less of it out there.
Lastly, the fact that he sold out his year’s stock of wine in 56 minutes or so, tells you that his wines are in demand and that the prices will reflect that.
So, I am done with the discussion, and I hope you all got some of the wines. If not, no worries, there are many other great wines out there!
Finally, this past year’s top 25 wines of the year, did not include Four gates wines, as I was asked to not post the notes. The scores are below, you can figure out for yourself how many of them would have been on that list!
Sadly, all the wines we tasted were shiners, so there are no pictures.
The notes speak for themselves. These are the wines I liked, there are two other wines that will be sold, but I am not a fan of them, I am sure others will be. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:
2017 Four Gates Chardonnay – Score: 92
This nose on this Chardonnay is more like the Chardonnay’s of old, showing less tropical, a beautiful and redolent nose of oak, smoke, and toast, a bit of apple, quinine, lemon/lime, and rich hay. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is really tart, what hits you first is the acid, followed by peach and quince, with apple, epic brioche, creme brulee, and lovely fresh baked apple pie, with Granny Smith green notes. The finish is long and acidic, with green notes, freshness, and lovely earth and creamy notes. Bravo! Drink by 2025.
2017 Ayala Chardonnay – Score: 89
So, while the Four Gates Chardonnay was lovely, this Chardonnay is a slight step behind. The fruit is not as redolent on the nose, but it shows green fruit, with yellow apple, tropical notes of guava, peach, and apricot. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice enough, showing lovely fruit and good oak balance, but not much complexity, with creme brulee, and baked goods. The finish is long and fruity, with almonds, sweet fruits, and searing acid. Nice. Drink until 2021.
2016 Four Gates Syrah – Score: 90 to 91
To start this wine is closed and needs time to come around. At the start, the nose on this wine shows floral notes, ripe blue, and red fruit, with crazy blackcurrant, nice tar, and loads of more floral notes, with time the notes calm down to show a more feminine nature. The mouth on this medium bodied wine, is balanced and well made, with good acid, more floral notes, dark cherry, boysenberry, with blackberry, more blackcurrant, with loads of black pepper and white pepper, with roasted meat, tar, charcoal, and earth. The finish is long, very blue, with loads of raspberry, and leather, with tobacco, and earth. Drink until 2023. If you open one soon, give it an hour or two before it really shows its goods.
2016 Four Gates Petite Sirah – Score: 89 to 90
The nose is big, bright, and bold, and hits you first with crazy blue fruit, followed by loads of red fruit, green notes, with bright and tart fruit, showing great floral and rose notes, along with rich mineral, with lovely feminine nature, and earth. The mouth on this full-bodied, almost bordering on absurd wine, shows really ripe fruit, with loads of blue and black fruit, coming at you in layers, upon layers of concentrated fruit, richly extracted, with layers of boysenberry, blueberry, dark fruit, blackberry, backed with loads of spice, cloves, and tarragon, along with black pepper, and fig, all coming together, into a whole, with rich mouth coating tannin, and rich sweet fruit. The finish is long, blue, and sweet, with rich spice, leather, and lovely warm spices, cinnamon, and searing tannin lingering long. Drink until 2023.
2014 Four Gates Merlot – Score: 92
This is what I love about Four gates wine, rich, redolent wine, with gobs of raspberry, cherry, plum, and earth, followed by loads of sweet oak, cedar, and lovely dirt, with rolled earth, and foliage. The mouth on this full bodied wine, is ripe, fruit-forward, with layers upon layers of concentrated ripe and red fruit, with layers of juicy and ripe raspberry, strawberry, with hints of black fruit, with mounds of acid, showing in the juicy fruit, followed by earth galore, and mouth draping tannin. The finish is long and red and fruity, with ripe fruit followed by tobacco, cedar, and smoke. Bravo! Drink from 2020 until 2028.
2014 Four Gates Merlot, M.S.C. – Score: 93
This is a more elegant version than the normal Merlot, showing lovely red fruit, with more black fruit, with dark plum, ripe red fruit, with mounds of earth, and tart fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine, shows more elegance, though with a rich attack, showing a rich elegant tannin attack, with mouth draping tannin, but finer, with blackberry, tart, and juicy raspberry, with juicy dark plum, and screaming acid, with rich oak, and lovely balance, showing rich colocate, and heady spices, along with lovely menthol, with intense fruit focus, and foliage, with forest floor, and earth. The finish is crazy long, elegant, showing dark chocolate covered raspberry, fruit leather, and fine fruit that is ripe and tart. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 until 2030.
2014 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: 93
The nose is ripe and beautiful, with rich earth, hints of blue fruit, followed, by rich black fruit, tar, and ripeness that gives way to foliage, and chocolate. The mouth on this full bodied wine is ripe, rich, and layered, showing pure elegance, with layers of milk chocolate, blackberry, plum, and earth, all wrapped in crazy mouth draping tannin, rich and tannic, followed by cassis, rich draping and plush mouthfeel, with nice extraction, showing ripe fruit but well balanced with spice, beautiful green notes, leather, and hints of mushroom and barnyard come after a long time in the glass. The finish is long and green and very plush, with dark chocolate, rich red fruit, dark cherry, raspberry, with rich expression and tar, giving way to herbs, mint, eucalyptus, oregano, and lovely red and black fruit, that are backed by tobacco, tar, mounds of earth, mushroom, and rich spice. Bravo!! Drink from 2022 to 2030.
2014 Four Gates Frere Robaire – Score: 94 to 95
This is a blend of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot. WOW, this is CRAZY, really fun! I continue to say this over and over, this wine reminds me of Chateau Malartic. This is what I dream about in wine. The wine is so perfect, it is so redolent it is crazy, and it is so elegant, I cannot say enough about it. The nose on this wine is pure elegance, a redolence that is divine, with rich red fruit, truffles, rich mineral, herb, black fruit, with a bit of red in the background, and lovely graphite, and spice. The mouth on this full bodied wine is ripe and opens slowly with rich layers upon layers of sweet fruit, followed by earth, tilled loam, with green notes galore, sweet blackberry, plum, with concentration and rich extraction that gives way to layers of mouth coating tannin, boysenberry, vanilla, and spice. The finish is long and earthy, with foliage, green notes, anise, earth, leather, rich sweet milk chocolate, mushroom, and loads of forest floor. Drink from 2022 until 2031.
2017 Four Gates Rishona – Score: 90
The wine is a Chardonnay that has residual sugar. The nose on this wine is really nice, with sweet fruit, sweet apple, guava, and lemon/lime. The mouth on this medium bodied wine does show sweetness, with loads of fruit, showing peach, apricot, and sweet white fruit, balanced well with tart green apples, good acidity, that come together to a nice, mouth coating experience, with nice complexity. The finish is long and sweet, with green notes, and herbs, followed by lovely pith and herb. Nice! Drink by 2020. This is not a dessert wine, this wine has some sweetness, but it is more of an aperitif than a dessert wine. It will die under the weight of a cake of any style, other than maybe pound cake, It has no chance against ice cream or other such rich desserts. Enjoy with Kiddush, creamy pasta, or fish courses.
Posted on January 7, 2019, in Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Semi Sweet Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine and tagged Ayala, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Four Gates Winery, Frere Robaire, Merlot, Merlot M.S.C., Petite Sirah, Syrah. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.