Two months ago, I wrote an article about some scores and notes that the Wine Spectator released in the June 30th edition. The wines were scored by Kim Marcus where he reviewed some 21 wines from Israel and many scored above 85 point.
Well, the beat goes on and Mr. Marcus scored another 8 wines from Israel and all of them scored 85 or higher. These are the wines and the scores:
- 2009 Domaine du Castel ‘C’ Chardonnay – 90
- 2009 Clos de Gat Syrah, Har’el (NOT KOSHER) – 90
- 2009 Clos de Gat Syrah, Sycra (NOT KOSHER) – 90
- 2009 Recanati Carignan, Reserve, Wild – 90
- 2008 Yarden Merlot – 89
- 2010 Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon – 87
- 2010 Recanati Merlot – 87
- 2011 Recanati Yasmin, Red – 85
So, like last time I have a few comments here. First and foremost – BRAVO! Seriously, this is great! Israel is finally getting the scores that match the quality and wines. In NO way am I saying that the scores before did not fit the facts, I am NOWHERE in the same solar system as Mr. Marcus – so please let me set that straight before we go on here. What I am saying is that Israeli wines are improving – PERIOD! Whether it is the fact that wineries are starting to gain control over their hot climate fruit, or they are improving their processes to keep the fruit and the wine under control and thereby improving quality. Scores from all around the wine world are going up and the wine world is truly starting to take notice of Israel and their wine potential – so again BRAVO to all!
To set things straight, though on a sad note, Daniel Rogov who died on September 6th 2011, passed before he could truly see what seems to be the turning of the tide, in terms of worldwide appreciation for Israel’s wines. It will almost be a year since his passing and there is not a day that goes by, that I do not think about him and the positive impact that he had on, both the kosher and the Israeli, wine world. I am sure he is looking down on this state of affairs and laughing like he always did, and taking it all in with a glass of Cognac in hand.
Secondly, like I stated last times – please do not wonder why these scores may be high or low in comparison to the rest of the world. These wine scores are perfectly in line with what others scored these wines, and there are a few honest surprises for me again.
To start, I posted the Clos de Gat wines – even though they are not kosher, because this was about Israeli wines, and in the words of Richard Shaffer, from Israel Wine Direct, Kosher is NOT a Country – LOVE that line!
Also, I am so happy that Mr. Marcus appreciated the Recanati wines as much as we all do. Like I posted in an earlier piece, Recanati Winery was built on the premise that they could and will create great kosher wines for a reasonable price! In other words solid kosher QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wines! The lowest three scoring wines go for less than 12 dollars at most wine stores. Further, the Yarden Merlot goes for 16 dollars, on a bad day, which makes it another solid QPR wine. The top four wines do run in the 40 to 60 dollar range, and two of them are not kosher, but the real surprise of the bunch is the 2009 Domaine du Castel Chardonnay!
The 2009 Domaine du Castel Chardonnay has quite a swirl of controversy around it, given its clear reduction, the last few times I tasted it. Now, I did enjoy it once when I went to Castel Winery itself, but many in the community feel it is not a great wine, and clearly not a wine that shows the best for Castel Chardonnays. Still, it is great to see that the world is happy to ignore the Israel-centric views and score the wine for what they perceive it to be.
My wines notes follow below for the wines that I have tasted:
2009 Recanati Carignan, Reserve, Kerem Ba’al (Wild) – Score: A-
The nose explodes with almost overripe blackberry, dates, prune, raspberry, nice floral notes, roasted meat, and plum. The mouth is rich and layered, with concentrated but accessible fruit, along with a crazy inky structure, and a mouth that is massive and rich with mouth coating tannin, and nice cedar. The finish is long and ripe with nice chocolate, butterscotch notes, heavy spice, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, and a salty finish. This is clearly a new-world style wine with crazy fruit forward and heavy use of oak, but one that is quite lovely all the same. There will be some that do not like the heavy smoke or the overripe fruit, and that is fine, just know what you are getting into with this wine. Many have given this wine huge scores while I see this one for what it is, which is a crazy unique and lovely wine that is a bit too overdone and overripe for my taste. Drink till 2016.
2010 Recanati Merlot, Diamond Series – Score: B++
The nose starts off floral with nice black cherry, green notes, and black currant. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is softening up with rounding tannin, black plum, green bell pepper, and nice cedar notes. The finish is long and spicy with good spice, black pepper, tobacco, vanilla, and bitter notes on the long finish.
- 2009 Bazelet HaGolan Cabernet Sauvignon – 90
- 2007 Binyamina Cave – 90
- 2009 Yarden Chardonnay – 89
- 2008 Yarden Pinot Noir – 89
- 2009 Domaine du Castel Petite Castel – 89
- 2009 Segal Chardonnay, Special Reserve – 89
- 2007 Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve – 88
- 2007 Barkan Merlot, Reserve – 88
- 2009 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Verdot, Yogev – 88
- 2009 Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc Alma – 88
- 2009 Segal Merlot, Special Reserve – 87
- 2009 Galil Yiron – 87
- 2010 Teperberg Meritage – 86
- 2007 Binyamina Merlot, Reserve – 85
- 2010 Barkan Merlot/Argaman, Classic – 85
- 2009 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Yogev – 85
- 2010 Segal Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon, Fusion- 85
- 2009 Binyamina Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay, Yogev – 84
- 2010 Barkan Pinot Noir, Classic – 83
- 2009 Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, Yogev – 83
- 2007 Binyamina Zinfandel, Reserve – 82
Personally, I have a few things to comment here. First of all I am so very happy to see Israel again being taken seriously and having their wines scored, whether for the good or the bad.
Secondly, these scores are VERY much in line with expectations, though there are a few shockers in there as well, more on that soon. The wines that were tasted were not blockbuster superstars, on the contrary these were second tier wines, for the most part, and many of which we have scored in the very same manner. In other words, the reason why these “low” scores are such good news is that they are VERY legitimate scores for the wines reviewed.
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If you were following the story as closely as I was, Wine Spectator had removed its name from the list of magazine subscriptions that you could buy for miles, from www.magsformiles.com. Well, just as my Wine Spectator magazine subscription was about to run out, my wife saved a letter from US Airways from the trash, it was a renewal notice for many magazines, including Wine Spectator. I thought that their marketing division was broken and stupid, as everyone knew that Wine Spectator was not available for miles any longer! So I discarded the mail in portion of the letter and was about to throw out the whole lot, when I saw small yellow piece of paper that reads
For Faster Service…
Redeem your miles for magazines online.
Well, I tried the extra special link and it works! Not only did I get my Wine Spectator for 900 miles! But after you enter in your US Airways account and such to charge your miles, you get a page with many GREAT magazines that are available to you for 2 dollars a pop. I personally bought Sports Illustrated for 2 dollars a YEAR, and many others!
Just thought I would pass this along – Wine Spectator is back for miles – sort of, all you need is the special URL! Happy reading!!!
Until a month ago, you could redeem miles from many carriers (AA, Delta, US Airways) and renew your all important Wine Spectator subscription. Look here. Well, now that is over. I powered up Firefox looking to update my subscription, and sure enough – the deal was gone. I guess WS is hard up for money, and that those miles are not worth what they used to be.
Just thought I would give you all a heads up!