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Three kosher red wines that hit the spot!

This past week we had a bunch of wines including two Rose wines in my rose wine post, the Dalton Viognier, Reserve, Wild Yeast, and three red wines that really hit the spot. I wanted the evening to be all about Rose and white, but since the Rose wines did not stand up and the whites were a dud, other than the Viognier and a 1996 Four Gates Chard, which once again blew us all away, we had to fall to the reds. The centerpiece of evening was a killer Moroccan Tajine made with Merguez Sausage and lovely dried fruit. The recipe can be found here.

The joy of Tajine is the sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors you get from the lamb, the spices, and the sweet dried fruit. I had hoped that the whites and rose could stand up to the evening, but as the evening went on it was clear that the rose wines were not cutting it (even with plain old lox) and that the white wines were going to have trouble with the tajine.

Of course, there was a plan B and plan C in place and thankfully, we were able to hit the need with the first one. The three reds were lovely and in perfect drinking order, though the Frere Robaire could have used a bit more air time. The first wine was the 2005 Ella Valley Pinot Noir. It displayed clear funk upon opening and that did drop it from the running to start, but as that started to blow off the wine opened to a beautiful black dominated beauty and was quite the wine. The second wine was the best of the evening, a 2009 Eden Wild Red Bordeaux blend wine. I spoke about Eden Winery in my Rose article, check them out here if you missed it. While the Eden Rose was so-so, the Eden red was killer, with crazy blueberry and boysenberry flavors that really grabbed my attention, along with a great body and structure. The final wine was the 2006 Four Gates Frere Robaire, which was closed to start but was quite nice at the end.

The notes follow below:

2005 Ella Valley Pinot Noir – Score: A-
This wine started off with an unquestionable amount of funk or dirty socks, eventually this blew off or became irrelevant, but that was a rather large amount of time. This wine is in drink-up mode, though the tannins are unwavering and the wine is still a bit tight. Another masterpiece from Doron Rav Hon, the winemaker, and one that will please all those with a desire for a solid Pinot from Israel.

The nose starts off with funk, ripe blackberry, black cherry, dark plum, raspberry, nice loamy dirt, licorice, and beautiful smoky notes. The mouth of this medium to full bodied wine is round, layered and concentrated with nice mouth coating tannin, good cedar, and a perfect balance of green bell pepper and black fruit to grab your attention. The finish is long and spicy with cloves, good mineral notes, and tobacco that goes on forever, and one that has a nice dollop of chocolate and vanilla on the rise. Quite a lovely Pinot and one that should be enjoyed now or in the next couple of months at the most. Read the rest of this entry

Three Rose wines made from Cabernet Franc – drink or not?

This past weekend I had the chance to drink a pair of rose wines based off the affable and approachable Cabernet Franc grape. Of the three wines in this post, fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon your opinion) only one is available here in the US.  The third wine is a tasting note from my trip to Israel last year. The three wines are the; 2010 Flam Rose (a wine we enjoyed at the winery and at the 2012 IFWF and bought at the winery in Israel),  2010 Eden Wild Rose (bought in Israel), and the 2010

I have a serious soft spot and love affair with all things Cabernet Franc and was more than excited to share my two prize bottles of rose with an entire table of guests. Unfortunately, that was where all the excitement ended and where reality set in. I first tasted the 2010 Kadesh Barnea Rose in November of last year, at the Sommelier event in Israel, and I thought it was a nice and accessible wine, but did not think it was worthy of a major mention. However, as I found more of these Cabernet Franc based rose wines, I thought it was worthy of noting that the grape is fine for red, but not that memorable for rose.

I next tasted the 2010 Flam Rose at the winery this year and it was lovely, bright, and mineral based, which really helped to add excitement and pull it up from the normal quaff-able status that rose wines receive by default. We next tasted it again at the 2012 Herzog IFWF, and again the wine showed well. However, around the table this past week, the wine was showing a bit weaker and without the acid punch and deep minerality that separated this rose from the pack. It was still the clear winner of the three, but to be fair, would you call a 5 foot person on an island of 4 foot people a giant?

The first and only time that I tasted the 2010 Eden Wild Rose was this past weekend at my house, and while it had some captivating notes and flavors, it too lacked the punch to bring it all together, and let alone be drinkable with food.

I had never heard of the Eden winery, until my friend Gabriel Geller, owner and managing partner at the Wine Mill store in Jerusalem, told me about him and sold me a bottle. Personally, I loved the original aromas from the wine, but I REALLY must thank Gabriel for also selling me a bottle of the 2009 Eden Wild Red, a blend of Cabernet and Merlot, which was fantastic and extremely unique! Read the rest of this entry

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