RCC Israel # 29 – Adar Bet 5779

It’s nice to get back to some sort of normalcy after the crazy KFWE tour and posts. Cool to get back in the saddle with our annual V’Nhafoch RCC. Each year during Adar we prohibit Israeli wines – not as a commentary on the state of Israeli wine, but rather because we naturally sample Israeli wine with more frequency than anything else, so in the topsy-turvy spirit of Purim, we only allow wines from abroad.

This month Uri and Bracha did a more laid back kinda meal rather than composed plates. One thing that I was ahhappy about was the return of Uri’s Liver which I can eat by the pound. That was paired with a small pastry called a financier which is usually made with butter. Bracha subbed in DUCK FAT for butter and WOWWWWWWWW. Duck fat cakes and Liver Pate – really I couldn’t be happier. Can’t forget the Steak Tartare. I love tartare -and I just commented on how hard it is to ever get well made tartare here. I guess Uri reads the blog because boom – here it was. Served on Bracha’s homemade sourdough toasts. I ended up eating the leftovers with the roasted garlic aioli right out of the mixing bowl. Also incredible was the dessert which was creme brule made of ube which is a purple yam. Phenomenal – as were the other dishes. Really inventive. Pics are below. Now on to the wines – some hits and some misses….

Champagne Drappier, Brut, Carte D’Or, N.V. – you know after flying around the country and drinking champagne at KFWE’s which was always in ghood shape, I totally forgot that in real life one must check which run of champagne one is getting before purchasing. There are currently 2 runs of the Carte D’Or floating around the world. Only the latter one which was disgorged in November of ’18 or so is really in top shape. This previous batch, which is about a year older is going downhill. There is very little acid left here. And while some yeastyness has developed, it just drinks sweet with a lot of green apple and not much else.

Roger Moreux, Sancerre, Chavignol, 2012 – I have loved this wine even in the recent past, but it is now on the decline. Not falling apart and still somewhat enjoyable but it is a shadow of itself.Some of the funk is starting to develop. Based on the performance of the 2007, it may yet hold for a while in this state , but that’s not a safe bet. Drink ’em if you got ’em – and let’s hope they make this again soon.

Hagafen, Prix Reserve, Mélange, 2005 – Past peak for sure and on the steep decline. I almost got the feeling that this was a storage issue – tannin was there in back but overall, the fruit was falling apart. In any event, structurally it isn’t getting any better either, so time to drink.

ElviWines, Herenza, Rioja Crianza, 2012 – Bottle was off.

Herzog, Special Reserve, Meritage, Napa Valley, 2011 – This showed OK for its age – but also is likely passed peak as I got a hit of sweetness there from the mid palate through the finish that likely was not there by design. Sweet red fruit, some herb. Tannin way back but still hanging in. Perhaps more acid would have balanced this out.

Hagafen, Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, 2011 – Through this point I was overall disappointed, but surprisingly, this Cab Franc gave me hope for the rest of the night. Really well made CF. Great tart red plum, some sweet red pepper and toasted herb. Nice acid and tannin that is well integrated. And Mevushal! Well done!

Plaisir de Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol, 2011 – Past peak for sure. I found this to be very flat – especially when compared to it’s younger but bigger brother tasted next. That of course could be my problem in as I inevitably have to compare them. Profile was one that I love though. 100% Merlot. Red fruit up front, tobacco and chocolate at the end. It was just a little flat.

Château Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol, 2012 – When I put togther these evenings i ask people to send me a few options. When I saw the previous wine as one of the possibilities, I immediately knew which wine I was going to bring. I received this bottle as a gift from Josh Rynderman, the assistant winemaker to Benyomin Cantz at Four Gates and the winemaker at his own Kosh Yeshuos winery, when he was visiting in early January. I can’t believe this kind of opportunity presented itself so soon. I really enjoyed this wine. It is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cab Franc and comes in at a beautiful 13.5% ABV. Had the best nose of the night for sure. Filthy. Really excellent. It did take a long time to open though. In the mouth, green and then dark red fruit, earth, tobacco and more earth and back to green on the finish. Really liked this guy a lot.

Shirah, Bro.Deux, 2013 – This wine is also on the decline. Drinking slightly sweet with diminished structure. Drink up.

Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2013 – For those who don’t know, Mayacamas is famous for being on of the California wines that took part in the famous Judgement of Paris in 1976. During that tasting the results were all over the place but what was clear was that California Cabs on the whole did as well or better than Bordeaux for most tasters, with the ’73 Stags’ Leap the likely winner. More significantly is in subsequent re-tastings of all 10 wines done at 10 and 30 years, there is no disputing the interpretations of the results -the ’71 Mayacamas placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. In 2013 the winery was sold to Charles Banks and Jay Schottenstein (of Artscroll Gemera fame to most of us) and the Schottenstein Family took full control 2017. From the very first year of involvement, Mr. Schottenstein wanted a kosher production for friends and family and so it came to pass that the 2013 Mayacamas was produced. I had tasted this once before but in an awkward setting – so i was excited to taste this here. I rather liked the Mayacamas though I think I was in the minority. It had been decanted for close to 3 hours but still took a little time to wake up in the glass. Rich ripe but controlled fruit. Lush. Nicely balanced. Tannin and acidity need a little time to soften and integrate better, but I think this is a long term winner. The bottle says it clocks in at 14.75% ABV, but I didn’t feel it. Really happy that I had the chance to taste. I hope I get another chance in 3 years or so when I think it’ll show even better.

ElviWines, Herenza, Rioja Reserva, 2010 – Overall, my notes have not changed from my recent tasting, but what a difference food makes! Lamb is a classic Rioja pairing and while this wine by itself shows not ready, after 3 hours of decanting and with the lamb tacos, it was a home run and one of my favorites of the night.

Château Haut-Condissas, Prestige, Médoc, 2012 – Still a baby but this will grow into a great wine IMHO. Right now, dark fruit and anise with some tobacco and chocolate and a thin layer of earth. The tannin here is really present and runs throughout. GIve this another 3-5 years, it’ll be heavenly.

Capçanes, Peraj Ha’Abib, Montsant, 2012 – This bottle did not show as well as it should have – but it didn’t perform poorly either. Still very young. Ripe black & red fruit, forest floor and lavender with a bit spice. It was sort of flatter though than I remember – or it could be that I was just comparing it to the wines that immediately preceded it – which is often a problem at RCC’s.

Château Piada, Sauternes, 2006 – Drinking nicely now – though it is likely not going to improve. This is probably the weakest of the Piadas. Again, not bad by any stretch – but it never really developed the depth that one gets out of better vintages. Still holding fine though and will likely do so for a a few more years.

Overall this was a really fun and interesting night. My thanks to Bracha & Uri for another job well (and tastily) done. It was also really nice to see so many new faces at an RCC (3 new attendees!). Chodesh Tov and Purim Sameach!

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