RCC Israel #22 – Av 5778

As Ashkenazic customs of the 9 days prohibit the consumption of wine even on Rosh Chodesh Av we had the RCC brought forward by a couple of days to accommodate. While every dish that we had was wonderful (and beautifully plated), the clear star of the night for me was the dual preparation of Flat Iron Steak (for those in the US – a minutes steak roast , split in the middle, removing the grizzle separating the 2 sides creating 2 flat steaks – in Israel the roast is a # 5  – Tzli Katef). On preparation was braised in coffee and the other was cooked off as a steak after a lime based marinade. Really delicious. Now on to the wines.

Jezreel Valley, Petillant-Naturel, Dabuki-Colombard, 2017 – I tried this on release at the white wine festival a couple of months ago and was hoping that with some time it might develop – but while this wine is a vast improvement over the 2016 in that it has removed the cooked cabbage notes, it is still not really my cup of tea. In fact, the addition of the Colombard and removal of those odd flavors and aromas have left it rather bland with surprisingly little acid. Mostly notes of green apples here. Not much else.

Shiran, The Chazan, 2013 (Bonus Bottle) -This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It spent 15 months in oak. Nice tannin, medium acidity and a lighter body than you would expect. While there was only a little grenache added to the blend, it has an outsize effect on the overall profile – which is nice if you like grenache as I do. I had this wine first about a year and half ago and once after that. This was it’s best showing with some of that overall fruitiness having receded. While not at RCC level,  this was a nice everyday wine.

Barkan, Superior, Shiraz, 2006 – (disclaimer – I brought this bottle)  – People saw this on the list and dismissed it out of hand as likely being dead. It was NOT. Now was it at peak? No. It was slightly past. But it really presented very nicely for a 12 year old Israeli Shiraz. On open there were some sweet notes that blew off with enough time in the glass (one of the benefits of having fewer wines to taste through is that we got spend a bit more time than usual with each bottle). The tannin also grew firmer and more gripping and you were left with a really nice if not mind-blowing shiraz with some nice smoked notes and a bit of earth. Nice job!

Odem Mountain Winery, Reserve, Shiraz, 2012 – This wine was not for me. It presented as an odd mix of vanilla and black pepper. Very smooth almost silky medium body. I don’t know – it just didn’t do it for me.

Flam, Reserve, Syrah, 2010 (Bonus Bottle) – This was many people’s favorite wine of the night – and it was not even supposed to be on the list! Outside of the 2014, this is my favorite vintage of this wine. We have had it a number of times at RCC and this was it’s best showing. Has developed nicely with great coffee and spice. Tannin is now more integrated. At peak now – and in fact other bottles have shown slightly past, so I would drink if  I were holding any. and will hold another couple of years.

Yatir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 – So if you asked me what does a well made middle of the road Israeli CabSav taste like, this is probably it. There was nothing really wrong with it – then again, there was nothing really impressive about it either. There is clearly a difference between a wine being able to last vs. a wine being able to develop – perhaps this is a topic worthy of its own post – but this is a prime example. The wine was in fine shape – but I it has not gained any depth over the last 8 years. In fact it tasted pretty much as it did 2 years ago at RCC Israel #3  – nice even good – but I would have expected more at this point.

Yaacov Oryah, Iberian Dream, Gran Reserva, 2011 – My notes here have not changed since the last few times. Some bottles present slightly more ready than others (this being one of them)  – overall though in any configuration, it has never disappointed. It was in the top 2 of the night for me. Really excellent – as always.

Lueria, Gran Vital, 2012 – For me this was a miss. Presented as overly alcoholic on the whole. I really couldn’t get past that. I think in general, Lueria is under-rated and makes very nice wines – this is just not one of them.

Gvaot, Masada, 2012 – Notes haven’t changed from the last time we had this. It was the other one of my top two. A powerhouse wine. Decanted for about 2 hours. Just coming in to it’s own. I will continue to hold there as I think there is plenty of development ahead.

Flam, Noble, 2012 – Pretty much as I described  it at the ’14 Noble release. Nice enough, but not going to knock your socks off.

Domaine Netofa, Ruby Port, NV – I rather liked this – it is in probably a half step behind the 2010 but much. Better than the 2012. I believe the majority of this wine is made of the 2013 vintage with some ’14 thrown in. Nice  port-style wine   on par with the 2 true ruby ports on the market.

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