Uri cooked solo this month – and despite some technical difficulties still pulled off some wonderful food! It was REALLY hot that night – and it was a tough environment to cook in. Standout wines of the night were the Masada 2010 which was awesome and the GHW CS 1997 – that’s right – 1997! A giant of a wine that could get in the ring with a wine half it’s age. Also, partially because of the heat, I had no time to take any pics except for the menu and the lineup – sorry….
(Besides the wines listed below, there were two wines that were offered to us so that the winemaker who is anonymous to us could receive feedback – neither one was any good)
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Brut, Rosé, 2008 – This wine has matured quite nicely and is still alive and well. First the color is much darker than I remember it being (though I could be confusing is with 2009 – it’s been a very long time since I have had a 2008) – the acidity has receded a bit – as is true for most aged champagne style wines – and you are left with a bit more of the fruit and yeastiness than what I remember – which I happen to really like. I know that people expected this to have a shorter lifespan than the BdB’s perhaps because its a “Rosé” – and maybe it will – but it is till holding well and may further mature. Will hold my last bottle for at least 6 months just to see if it further changes.
Hevron Heights, Mount Hevron Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 – I went into this one with preconceived notions and really not expecting much. While I am not in love with this wine, it has held up remarkably well. Wouldn’t hold on to any if you have – certainly Drink up – it will not last another year….
Barkan, Superieur, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 – Stored well, this wine was also still very much alive, though again, not for me per se (I actually preferred the HH to this) . As above, certainly drink up.
Yatir, Shiraz, 2010 – Not sure if this was a storage issue, but at my last tasting about half a year ago, this wine showed much better. while still nice, was missing all of the black pepper and spiciness that I was expecting. Will retry another bottle when I can to see if this was a one off issue or if the wine is just moving in a bad direction. Let me be clear – perfectly enjoyable – just less so than last time.
Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2011 – Nice overall, though I had hoped for more – at this point in the night, drinking conditions were less than ideal and that could have influenced my perceptions, so I won’t really write more. Another wine I’ll have to re-taste….
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997 – As I wrote above – this wine was the surprie of the night. A lesson in wine-making ultimately. While absolutely New World in style with fruit at the very front, this 20 YEAR OLD Israeli wine showed beautifully with nice blackberry flavor and a perhaps a bit of leather towards the middle/back. Acid and tannin both present and accounted for but well integrated and perfectly balanced. WOW! So yummy! At the end of the night there was about half a cup left in the bottle which – which I guess was probably an hour after opening – while still falvor-wise, still there, the body was starting to fall apart becoming a bit watery IMHO – so I would guess this is also, not going to hold on for much longer….
Tour Saint-Laurent, Haut Medoc, 2000 – I have no idea what this wine tasted like at peak, but it was clearly passed and firmly on the way downhill. If I had to guess what it was at peak, I would say a nice table wine, no more – but really hard to judge in its current state.
Segal, Unfiltered, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 – this wine made everyone miss what Segal once was…. – excellent. Probably the last truly great bottle to come out of this winery, this wine shows no signs of slowing down though probably not improving at this point. Beautifully structured with firm tannin and medium acidity.
Gvaot, Gofna Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 – Still very young, but starting to show it’s potential. The wine is really just starting to settle down – will probably hit it’s stride in the next year or so. Based on the tannin and still searing acidity, it will hold for a good long while after that.
Gvaot, Masada, 2010 – let me state up front that this was my bottle so I might not be 100% objective – but it was my favorite of the night. The forest floor has come way out to the front at this point and is just wonderful. Perfectly balanced with dark berries and plums followed by more earth and then some spice. The tannin has now integrated into the wine providing a very nice structure. This wine is KICKASS. I am SO SAD that I only have 1 more bottle. My guess is that the wine is just starting to peak now, it may (or may not) improve over the next year – and will likely hold for another couple of years after that.
Gvaot, Masada, 2011 – So we made the unfortunate mistake of tasting this AFTER the 2010. Big mistake. This tasted hot, although the alcohol listed for both vintages was identical (!4%). It also tasted a hair sweeter than the 2010 – but ultimately it was stylistically consistent. At the time we thought that it was perhaps a slightly inferior vintage to the 2010 – and it might be, but after another wine in between (ElRom 2011) , a few of us went back to it and it really tasted awesome, the much of the heat and sweetness blowing off – could be it was the extra 10 minutes anof air or it could be the wine in between providing a counterpoint (more on that in a second) – but I still have great hopes that this wine will yet develop into something on par with the 2010. I would say it is still not at peak though and hold off drinking for at least another year(if not two).
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elrom, 2011 – So this wine served as a counterpoint in a number of ways – first to the ’97 CS that we had tasted earlier. I know this is a style that sells – but someone there called it Jeunesse – and while maybe not THAT sweet, not far off. The contrast with the ’97 couldn’t be more clear – this wine is sweet and pushed to the extreme, being wildly out of balance. IMHO it’s just a mess. The best part of the wine was that it also served as a counterpoint to the Masada ’11 which a few of us re-sampled. Could be that this wine is so stylistically the opposite that it made the Masada ’11 show better than it had before, I don’t know. But like I said, if that’s the case, it was the best thing about it – really nothing more that I can say that is positive.
Four Gates, Merlot, 2010 – Spent 3 hours in the decanter. Not nearly enough. It still tasted closed to me. Swirled and swirled and swirled. left it in my glass until after desert and went back to it and – what a this wine is. Tons of fruit, herbs, earthiness wrapped up in searing acidity. Needs another couple of years to come into it’s own – but good things come to those who wait….
Binyamina, Reserve, Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, 2015 – This wine was meant to be served with grilled peaches and an olive-oil cake with a raspberry sorbet and coulee – the peaches went MIA – but they were present in the wine which went really well with the rest of the dish. a nice amount of honey as well, on a medium body. Still very young, I am hoping that the same factors that made the 2015 a difficult vintage in general in Israel will make Late Harvest wines actually better – providing even more concentration. Enjoyable now, but hopefully will gain depth and body in the next year or two.