RCC Israel # 31 – Tamuz 5779

RCC Israel Tamuz 5779 marked the first time we moved out of our comfort zone and experimented with using a new chef (Bracha is traveling this summer and Uri had a baby boy last week). The chef in question – Avi Katz. Avi works as a chef professionally most recently at the David Citadel Hotel. After 3+ years of running this RCC, I have to say trying something new made me nervous. But – to my great relief and everyone’s delight the food was excellent. Avi did an around the world theme; from South America – a Peruvian Sea Bass ceviche over avocado with orange miso (incredible) and lime. We moved to Africa for a Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower Soup with basil, mint. crispy lamb bacon & fried leeks – beautiful depth of flavor. For the main course we moved to North America with a Mexican Asado Barbacoa which is a short rib cooked in banana leaf, served with ratatouille confit biyaldi (basically it is prepared ornately in slices rather than as a standard stew) – I have had this preparation before and enjoyed it, but here Avi really extracted a great flavor and texture out of the meat. Really exceeded my expectations. For dessert, we moved to Australia for a Pavlova with fresh figs, an espresso cream and white chocolate. This was seriously like crack. Everyone got an and individual portion and then 2 large plates were brought out for seconds (and thirds) . Usually pavlova has berries and perhaps a citrus curd. Here the profile really lent itself to the wonderful newly released Netofa 2012 LBV. TO wrap it up, the food was well prepared, beautifully presented and super tasty. Avi can be reached at [email protected] – and is available for booking private events and the like. And now on to the wines….

Laurent Perrier, Cuvée Rosé, Brut, Champagne, N.V – In terms of Rosé sparkling wines, there are very few to choose from that have any real availability. Really there is the Yarden Brut Rosé from GHW – which I like, but not as much as the BdB. This LP Brut Rosé really took it to another level and is superior IMHO. On the nose, typical strawberry. In the mouth it starts off bright and red with strawberry cherry and raspberry – but morphs into something a little darker with a little air. Really a great effort here. Warning though – it is NOT cheap (at least in Israel) – it usually retails for above NIS 400 a bottle.

Alexander, Cleopatra, 2012 – Alexander get’s a lot of flack out in the world for its extravagant labels, crazy pricing and heavy use of oak. This wine ticks all 3 of those boxes. Also, it was over the hill so what you really got was that buttery mouth feel with little fruit and no acid. It might have actually been nice a couple of years ago. But at that price, I would have expected it to actually last longer than it did….

Mia Luce, Bianco, 2011 – Corked AND dead. Winning combo. Moved to a backup bottle.

Ya’acov Oryah, Valley of the Hunters, Semillon, 2009 (Backup Bottle) – I have to say WHAT A SURPRISE! I have had this wine a lot over the last couple of years, and as I have written, IMHO this has hit peak and is only in danger of flattening out. But this bottle tasted YOUNG. Bursting with freshness as if it had easily 3-5 years ahead of it. Much like it tasted when I first had it almost 3 years ago. Does that change my opinion that it’s time to drink? No! Why chance it? Enjoy it now!

Midbar/Asif, Southern White. 2010 – One of the few older whites of Ya’acovs I haven’t tasted in the last year or two. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc & Viognier. The first bottle was simply flat and slightly bitter. Clearly off. Luckily, knowing that this was a chancy offering, 2 were provided (and a different backup bottle just in case) – and that bottle was in far better shape. Yes over the hill slightly, but this guy was never meant to go 9 years! Some quince and hay and a little citrus. Nice weight and mouthfeel. Really impressive! If you are holding – drink up!!!!

Eviatar Vineyard, Roussane-Viognier, 2018 (Bonus Bottle) – This was brought as a bonus bottle by the proprietor. The wine is finished but still not labeled. This wine was served at room temp as it wasn’t part of the plan to pop it, but it was Still very nice. Really nice blend getting the best of both varietals. Really nice floral nose. In the mouth apricot, melon and basil. Really nice. Looking forward to re-tasting at proper temp!

Galil Mountain Winery, Yiron, 2013 – for many this was the biggest positive surprise of the night – and indeed, it was a really nice showing for this QPR star. The last time I ad this was a couple of years ago and it was not 100% there yet. Not it seems to be in it’s prime. In fact over the last year we have had the ‘11, ’12 and now ’13 and none of them have disjointed. Dark near black fruit, sweet spice, anise and a touch of pepper. Medium plus body. Tannin is firm but well integrated. I love it that this bottle can be had on release for under NIS 100.

Ya’acov Oryah, Iberian Dream, Gran Reserva, 2011 – For me, this wine did not show as well as it did in the past. Not bad, but a little flatter than usual. I am guessing just a slightly off bottle – but all of the basic yumminess that one usually gets was there – just not a vibrant IMHO. Others disagreed and thought it was as good as usual.

Flam, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 – This was a divisive bottle. I thought it showed well though. Classic CabSav and in very decent shape for 9 years. Others felt it didn’t show as nicely – I think it was just a victim of going after the Yiron which had a really nice showing. In any event, this bottle isn’t getting any better, so drink up.

Carmel, Limited Edition, 2009 – This has never been a favorite of mine. Having said that, while it usually shows flat and lifeless, this time it showed with an abundance of acid. While that was an improvement, it was way out of balance. Really, I give up on this bottle. Have tried it enough times – and while it did get better, IMHO, it’s never going to get to the sweet-spot that I would expect.

Carmel, Limited Edition, 2010 – Super impressive – now fully in it’s window but may develop a bit further. (Full disclosure, this was my contribution.) To me, this was it’s best showing yet – dark fruit, nice spice and some great rich earth with a rich plush finish that end in a bit of bakers chocolate. At peak now and should go another 2-3 years at least if not longer.

Carmel, Limited Edition, 2011 – Still young – and actually showing much younger than the ’10 did at this point last year. Overall the LE profile is intact – though I think it still needs time to totally come together. Still – a lot of potential here. Nice red fruit. Sweet herb. Earth. Yum.

Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, 2003 – 4 hours of decanting didn’t really get the job done in terms of opening this baby up. I forgot my vinturi – so I swirled and I waited and I swirled and I waited and I had dessert and port and I waited and swirled and.. well, it barely opened enough to get a glimpse. Beautiful cigar box and chocolate on the nose. In the mouth dark fruit, currant, tobacco, chocolate, tar, herb and earth. Great acid here. Ultimately though I think we are still a good 2-3 years away from this hitting true approachability and who knows how far away from peak.

Domaine Netofa, Late Bottled Vintage Port Style, 2012 – Nothing much has changed here since I tasted in April – other than it is now labeled and officially released. It might be the best port-style wine I have ever had. It was also of course a beautiful match for the fig topped pavlova. Really a wonderful way to end the night!

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