Four Gates Winery’s January 2021 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 the Monte Bello Ridge vineyard. The other wines, that he creates from other sources, are sometimes wonderful, like the 2010 Four Gates Syrah that I tasted recently, and I would have sworn it was a Rhone wine, crazy minerality, acid, and backbone, with fruit NOT taking center stage, though ever so evident, the way is meant to be! Others, while lovely on release may well not be the everlasting kind of Four Gates wines.

The new wines

New in 2021 will be the 2018 Four Gates Negrette, a unique wine that was nice. Also, a Petit Verdot from Santa Clara Valley AVA, and another Malbec from the same vineyard as in 2017, in Santa Cruz but not from the Four Gates vineyards.

The rest of the wines are the normal suspects, but this year’s crop is a bit better than last year. First, you have the 2016 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by an N.V. Four Gates Pinot Noir, 2016 Four Gates Merlot, and two 2019 Chardonnay wines, both under the Four gates label.

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 tells you that the prices will go up, even if 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 7 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. Sadly, all the wines we tasted were shiners, so there are no pictures.

The notes speak for themselves. This year I liked all the options for sale, in comparison to previous vintages. However, I did not get to taste one of the Chardonnay that was for sale (2019 Four Gates Chardonnay). The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2019 Four Gates Chardonnay, Cuvee Riche, Estate Bottled, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 92 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is lovely, a classic Benyo Chard, rich melon, green apple, smoke, toast, creme Brulee, kiwi, citrus, and pie. The mouth on this medium-plus bodied wine is lovely, with great acidity, toast, and it feels sweeter than normal, yet still showing wonderfully controlled fruit, lovely creme brulee, citrus rind, rich baked apple/melon pie, with lemon and mineral. The finish is long, sweet, spicy, cloves, cinnamon, and toast. Nice! Drink from 2023 until 2028.

2018 Four Gates Petit Verdot, Santa Clara Valley, CA – Score: 91 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is lovely with big, bold, and rich notes of boysenberry, dark currants, with loads of violets, very feminine, with rich baking spices, cumin, dirt, paraffin, and loam, very nice. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is elegant, showing more of the feminine nose, with more blueberry, black plum, nice spices, good salinity, a lovely mouthfeel, and nice green notes that give way to more blue and black fruit. The finish is long, green, with more violet, floral notes, nice spices, and good oak. Nice Drink until 2025.

N.V. Four Gates Pinot Noir, Estate Bottled, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 90+ (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is oaky and candied and ripe, with good cherry and red fruit, followed by nice minerals, menthol, and sweet spices. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is well-controlled, with a great and lush mouthfeel, almost plush, with green, and red fruit, raspberry, cherry, and sweet spices of cinnamon, cardamom, and earth. The finish is long, green, with nice graphite, charcoal, and sweet spices, and coffee-rubbed dirt, lovely! Drink from 2021 until 2028.

2018 Four Gates Malbec, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 91 (QPR: GOOD)
The nose on this wine is fruity but well-controlled, with notes of anise, graphite, rich mineral, black, blue, and red fruit, and green notes, very unique and nice. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lovely, it is plush, juicy, and herbaceous, yet sweet and ripe, and controlled with blackberry, plum, sweet and juicy boysenberry, and menthol, with sweet fruit, nice oak, and really good mouthfeel, with waxy notes, nice! The finish is long, sweet, earthy, and juicy, with smoke, roasted-animal, and loam, nice! Drink until 2025.

2018 Four Gates Negrette, San Benito, CA – Score: 90 (QPR: GREAT)
The nose on this wine is really strange, blueberry covered rubber, tar, with rich asphalt, blue and black fruit, and hints of red fruit, with earth galore, loam, and crazy spices. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is lacking a bit on the acid, with crazy black olives, with crazy black tar, lovely red fruit, but raspberry and cherry are covered by the loam, tar, and asphalt. The finish is long, black, with mineral-focus and good herbs, roasted herbs bring up the rear. Drink until 2024.

2016 Four Gates Merlot, Estate Bottled, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 94 (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is so epic, rich, and very pretty and feminine, as Benyo says, it is familiar and yet unfamiliar, aromatic and redolent, with violet, rosehip, blue and red fruit, with loads of loam, spice, earth, and lovely anise, star anise, and lemongrass. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is incredible, rich, layered, and elegant, with more violet, dense fruit, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, all sweet plush fruit, in a plush and layered mouthfeel and attack, with ripe plum, menthol galore, and unctuous, wow! The finish is long, green, ripe, red, and blue with blueberry, chocolate-covered vanilla bean, and rich tobacco/menthol, with more anise, and sweet spices. WOW! Bravo!! Drink from 2026 until 2033.

2016 Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Bello Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – Score: 94+ (QPR: EVEN)
The nose on this wine is screaming Cabernet with loads of blackberry, plum, earth, green notes, with roasted herb, menthol, and lovely anise, with Oregano, Tarragon, with incredible green/herbal notes, wow! The mouth on this full-bodied wine is crazy good, layered rich, dense, unctuous, with incredible blackberry, rich currant, with layers of raspberry and black fruit, forest floor, green notes, and a rich and plush mouthfeel, elegant yet forceful. The finish is long, green herbal, and yet elegant, with loads of black and red fruit, rich spices, herbs galore, and smoke, with tar, and earth, graphite, hints of saline, and more anise. Bravo! Drink from 2025 until 2032.

Posted on January 12, 2021, in Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi, David: Just so you know, I have been enjoying the hell out of your blog. Just amazing quantity quality of information in the past few months, and so expressive.  Last week was the shloshim ofr Rabbi GD Schwartz in Chicago and I watched it on Zoom. Suddenly, there was Rabbi Daniel Raccah, Senior Dayan of the BDA. Is that your father? You look so much like him, even without the beard. He spoke beautifully. You mentioned DRC 2005 and 6 in your blog today. Is the 2006 ready for prime time yet? Our 43rd anniversary is coming up and I think I would like to use it for dinner, if I can.  Hope you all are well. Stay safe and חודש טוב,Jerry Parness

    • Hello, yes my name is David Raccah, but Daniel – AKA Rabbi Raccah is my brother. Dr. Paul M. Raccah was our father. I too listened to the call, I remember Rabbi Schwartz with great reverence, a massive Talmid Chacom. No, the 2005 or 2006 DRC is not in prime time yet. Mazel tov and enjoy a different wine!!

  1. Pingback: My top 25 kosher wines of 2020 including Wine of the Year, Winery of the Year, and the best Wine of the Year awards | Wine Musings Blog

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