RCC Israel # 32 – Elul 5779

This summer was busy both personally and professionally and while that did not impact my alcohol consumption it certainly impacted my free time – so it’s been a while since I posted – and its been a while since we had an RCC. But hopefully things are calming down a bit and I have more time to write. But I don’t want to let this one sit in the queue while I play catch up so….

Before I get to the wine, the food this outing MUST be highlighted. For the second time in its history RCC occurred outside of the holy city of Jerusalem and in the city of Yafo. This time we were hosted this time by Bracha in her apartment where she served some truly unique dishes – and really everything was excellently prepared. The MOST unique dish was QUAIL. Sourced from a farm that produces quail eggs, by a shochet who is interested in starting commercial production, this was a real treat as most of simply do not get a chance to ever taste these tiny birds. That dish was excellent but the quail itself was outshone by the corn puree with lamb bacon dust which was just next-level. While that was the most unique dish, it was not the best dish of the evening which for me was the Szechuan pepper lamb which had been battered and deep fried until crispy – wow! I mean all of the dishes were excellent As I have mentioned before, if you are ever looking for a chef to prepare food for an event in Israel – or travel with you on vacation and prepare food for you while you are touring- Bracha Arnold does it right. You can follow her exploits on her Instagram account. And now, on to the wine

Lilian Renoir, Premier Cru, Champagne, N.V – Overall, I have been unimpressed with real champagne. Pretty much in any match-up, I will prefer the Yarden BdB over all other sparklers. While the same is true here, this might be the best true champagne that I have had to date. Tons of toasty goodness and some nice acidity here. Aggressive bubbles keep this fresh as well. I am a fan. No idea what this costs – and being that it is IDS i can’t imagine that it will justify the price – but on taste alone, its certainly a wine I would enjoy drinking again.

Covenant, Lavan, Chardonnay, 2013 – Now 6 years past harvest, this wine is till showing beautifully. Oak is fully integrated and the rich creaminess went really well with the pasta dish. Really excellent example of what an oaked chard can be.

Carmel, Sha’al, Merlot, 2013 – This bottle was nice overall and is a nice representation of an Israeli New World Merlot. Oak is fairly integrated with nice tannic structure and enough acidity to give this some bite. Fruit is not overdone at all, but is ripe – mostly raspberry. Overall a nice drink.

Teperberg, Essence, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 – Coming after the Carmel merlot did this wine no favors. This wine seemed pushed, sweet and oaky to me. Pretty much the opposite of how the Sha’al presented. Really a shame as Teperberg has the potential to make excellent wine, but they have made a choice to switch styles to one that is more appreciated by the average drinker I guess – and from what I understand this has worked out for them business wise and sales have gone up. But like most of their current line-up, this one is just not for me. Oh well.

Shiloh, Mosaic, 2012 – Listen – this wine is well made – but it is made in a style that I simply do not particularly enjoy. And its a pity because I have enjoyed the Mosaic in the past – especially the 2007 and 2010 vintages. But much like Teperberg above the folks at Shiloh have made a choice which I think carries through their entire line, to push these wines in hopes of further endearing themselves to their perceived audience. With Teperberg, the shift was stark as much their portfolio until recently had been Old World and restrained. Shiloh has always made New World fruity wines – and did them well – but these last few years have seen the wines go in a direction that is past what I can tolerate. Another one that is just not for me – though I am sure has many fans.

Carmel, Mediterranean, 2012 – This is not my first time tasting this wine – nor is it even the first time at an RCC. The last time we had this wine was exactly a year ago. At the time I was hopeful that the wine would come into its own. Unfortunately, while the wine is now well in its window, it never really got to where it should be. Nothing wrong with it, just pretty boring.

Carmel, Mediterranean, 2011 – As opposed to it’s slightly younger brother, this wine continues to shine. No change from previous notes – just a great bottle. Sad that I don’t have any more.

Château Fourcas Dupre, Listrac-Medoc, 2010 – Wow – what a wine. Decanted for about 2 hours and was drinking beautifully. Still firm tannin has moved into the center of the wine, acid has settled down. This wine presents with a silky mouthfeel with some beautiful dark fruit here and excellent earthy tones. I finished my last bottle of this over a year ago, so this was an absolute treat to revisit.

Château Haut-Condissas, Medoc, 2010 Our dear friends from the UK brought this bottle by mistake. It was supposed to be the 2005 – but the wrong bottle was grabbed. So I figured we were going to have a bottle that simply needed a crazy long decant and was going to be just a hint of what it would later develop into. When I cut the foil on this bottle I got supper worried. Wine was leaking out and was clearly visible on the top of the bottle. When I pulled the cork it became clear that it was simply defective from the outset with a vertical cut running up the side (pics below). Still I decided to decant and smell – and it seemed fine. So we served it as the last bottle of the evening before dessert and I have to say I was super pleasantly surprised. Perhaps the minor cork flaw allowed the wine to micro-oxidize slightly – but if so, that led to the wine tasting totally open and delicious. Beautifully full bodied with rich red & black fruit, some leather and nice earth. Again – I can’t say if this wine is at peak or if this is a typical bottle, but I am guessing this flaw actually led this wine to showing beautifully very early.

Dalton, Anna, Liqueur Muscat, NV – No real change from previous tastings. I chose this bottle because of the maple panna cotta and it went incredibly well. A really nice way to end the evening.

So while there were a couple of misses, overall this was a great night with some really nice wines and super interesting food. Looking forward to getting back into he posting groove – Chodesh Tov – and Shana Tova!

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