Atter a couple of months of moving around we returned to our normal meeting place at the Shuk Cook – Uri Zaltzman’s apartment where he and Bracha Arnold prepared a truly excellent meal. Every single dish worked and was excellent – with a number of dishes going on my favorites list! From a wine perspective after the stellar RCC Adar last month it was pretty much a given that this month would be more subdued. There were some winners and some wines that were simply not to my taste and a couple of surprises as well. Here is a brief summary:
Pommery, Brut Royal Silver, Champagne, N.V. – I am guessing this is old stock. Nose was wonderful, but the flavor was flat and uni-dimensional with the bubbles barely lasting 10 minutes – basically slightly carbonated unsweetened apple juice. Very disappointing.
Tabor, Adama, Roussanne, 2016 (bonus bottle) – This wine was tasted blind. The 2016 is relatively hard to find in Israel with much of the stock being shipped overseas to account for the 2015 shmita issue. While I usually would have a problem with that – not in this case. Could be that the wine is already on it’s way out – could be that it was never good. I don’t know. In any event steer clear of the 2016 and instead look for the very nice 2017 that you should see on the shelves now.
ElviWines, Herenza, Rioja Crianza, 2008 – An absolute winner. Earth, vanilla, licorice, and mint, soft silky tannin and medium acidity are still holding this wine is not getting any better and I can’t say how long it will hold from here. It is absolutely a pleasure to dink now though. Also, recent vintages of this wine in Israel have dropped in price making it a QPR star here in Israel too finally. Full disclosure – this was my bottle for the night AND I’m a sucker for Tempranillo…
Ella Valley Vineyards, Vineyards Choice, Merlot, 2003 – This was surprisingly in decent shape for it’s age, but well past peak. Very strong barnyard on the nose. Integrated but nice tannin, decent acid and medium body. Fruit was fading with some raspberry and nice spice but with a rather short finish. Very nice overall – was probably excellent 4-5 years ago.
Latour Netofa, 2011 – This wine rocked. At peak now with deep red berry flavor and a bit of spice with the typical Netofa earthiness running throughout. Balanced acid and tannin is now softening. Really super. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate this kind of quality at NIS 75 a bottle (on release).
Domaine Ventura, Isaac’s, Grand Vin, 2007 – This wine seemed disjointed and out of balance. On first attack the tannin was barely present with the fruit (backberry, raspberry) prominent. After a couple of minutes, the surprsingnly storng tannin makes itself know – but the fruit seems to disappear. After another few minutes, the mouth got a bit hot. Could be that with more time it would have settled down and maybe come together – but my guess is that this is simply just past peak.
Recanati, Reserve, Wild Carignan, 2012 – This wine showed nicely IMHO. I can see why some people will think it has date-y tendencies – but I thought it was more dried fruit than date specifically and it worked with the rest of the flavor profile which had some nice roasted meat and warm spice. There is a ton of acid and tannin here still and my guess is it can go another few years.
Odem Mountain, Reserve, Merlot, 2011 – On the nose this wine was downright jammy to me. In the mouth there was VERY little fruit. What it did have (cherry) was sweet. Crazy amount of acid here too. Not for me at all.
Flam, Reserve, Merlot, 2010 – There was some buzz that this wine was now over the hill, but I got none of that at this tasting where it showed very nicely indeed, Nose is in perfect shape. Really excellent. Core is still present and in fact in fine shape. Very tannic in fact with excellent acid and really nice structure. Raspberry. Maybe some plum. There is a slightly sweet finish that perhaps wasn’t there before but really – that’s nitpicking. I think it still has time ahead.
Flam, Reserve, Syrah, 2010 – This was actually jammy with raspberries, cherries, chocolate a bit of coffee and maybe a little pepper. Very NW. This might be slightly past – but only slightly. Tannin is on the back palate. Still very nice and enjoyable, but drink up.
Segal, Unfiltered, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 – This one I think has entered the drink-up phase. Sweet dark fruit on the nose and in the mouth with a fair amount of earth to balance that out. Tannin is now integrated nicely with the acid holding up nicely as well. Structurally the wine is as sound as ever, though that ripeness is new and my guess is while still excellent, the wine is not getting any better – drink ’em if ya got ’em.
G’vaot, Masada, 2011 – Perfectly balanced. Really well made. Liked it a lot. Great acidity and nice tannin. Dark ripe fruit up front with some coffee and cigar on the finish. I think this wine is at peak now and will likely hold there for a few years.
Porto Cordovero, Fine Ruby, N.V. – I was rather disappointed by this bottle. Could be it’s over the hill. Very flat without any depth of flavor at all. The LBV versions of this wine (2004 & 2005 – available in the US only) are FAR better. If you are looking for a Ruby port alternative though, the excellent Porto Quevedo is a better choice.