RCC Israel # 13

Bracha was back in the kitchen this month with Uri  – and the weather cooperated. We had some excellent food – with a great take on Goose Breast  – and of course another spectacular desert! Wines were again incredible – the Frere Robaire was the winner for me followed by the Herzog, Special Edition, Cabernet Sauvignon, Warnecke Vineyard-Chalk Hill  – again a 1997! What a year both in Israel and the US. Was really cool having another ’97 GHW (albeit in worse shape than last month) to compare the Herzog to!

These are not in order of tasting but in order of the menu – Plus we had 1848 white blend as extra bottle that was also very nice with excellent acidity and tropical notes. But here is the stuff on the list:

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Blanc de Blancs, 2008 – This bottle was slightly more acidic then the last couple that I have had – though still far less than the current 2009. Showing very nicely right now.

Midbar, White 44, 2010 – Unbelievable how well these Asif 2010 wines have held up – This was even in better shape than the Chenin Blanc we had a bout a year ago. Really excellent – though it was the wine served right before dessert – so proper notes I do not have – I can tell you it was very much alive – though with less acidity than i would have expected it to have at peak. Ya’acov Oryah is a magician.

Carmel, Mediterranean, 2011 – Consistent with the last notes I posted – really my favorite vintage since 2007. Needs another year or so to really come into it’s own.

Carmel, Limited edition, 2011 – This was the first time I tasted the 2011. Very nice, though I like it a bit less than the 2010 and it doesn’t hold a candle to the 2008. It is also less consistent flavorwise with the other two vintages – I would guess that there is less PV? Not really sure of the exact blend. But after 4 hours in the decanter the wine was fully open – I am hoping that this will yet develop into something even better.

Flam, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 – In the best sense of the word, this is a technically perfect CS – meaning I really can’t find anything to criticize. I love this wine. Perfectly balanced expression of CabSav – Firm tannin and nice acidity balancing dark berry, some tobacco and warm spice. Really very lovely.

Four Gates, Frere Robaire 2011 – Holy Crap. One of the best wines I have ever had. Not saying much I know – so I’ll break it down as best I can (even though we had it at the very end of the evening to allow for maximum decanting which ended up being about 6 hours). If I remember correct it was like 75% merlot, 20% Cab Sav with the rest Cab Franc. This is a massive wine with and intoxicating nose full of fruit. On the palate great acid and the fruit POPPING in front but in the absolute very best way. With layers and layers of herbs and spice coming after in waves. I would challenge anyone who ONLY drinks OW wines to taste this and not be impressed with the beauty of this wine.

Har Odem, Reserve, Syrah, 2011 – Nice overall if not particularly one of my favorites. I believe this wine showed better last time I had it about 8 months ago. Drink up if you still have any.

Yatir, Forest, 2011 – Way too young. And unfortunately, due to a lack of available decanters I don’t think this wine showed as best as it could. Needs time to come together. Will withhold judgement.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Vineyards Choice, 32/35, 2010 – So this is a really interesting really dirty wine. For those who love it (and I include myself) – heaven – though I understand that there are those who really don’t. There is some great barnyard funk, earth and then dark fruit. Tannin well integrated – perhaps lacking a bit of acidity – but overall I really liked it.

Shirah, Syrah-Mourvèdre, Thompson Vineyard, 2010 – another controversial wine. Loved it or hated it apparently around the table. I loved. Super lively acidity with tannin that has been pretty well integrated. Dark berry flavors in front with a very nice spicy finish – first a little warm/sweet spice ala nutmeg and cloves and a bit of black pepper at the very end. If anything – the only negative thing I can say is that there was nothing on the mid palate. I am guessing it is showing it’s age there, so drink ’em if you are lucky enough to be holding.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997 – This bottle did not show as well the bottle we had 3 weeks ago. From a flavor profile, consistent overall though the fruit had faded even more than last time. But with a little air, some of the acid and fruit returned in the form of Raspberry – very cool to be able to taste this wine 2 months in a row. I guess they are hit and miss at this stage…. certainly does not pay to really hold any longer (hint to anyone who wants to keep on bringing these to future RCC’s)

Herzog, Special Edition, Cabernet Sauvignon, Warnecke Vineyard-Chalk Hill, 1997 – this wine is super-impressive and was my second favorite after the Four Gates. From what I understand it is the lone non-mevushal vintage of this wine. Believe it or not, this wine is in it’s PRIME – showing beautifully. If I had to describe this wine in one word- it would either be balance or structure. It had everything in perfect proportion. Acid, tannin, fruit – a wonderful roundness and moth feel that really showed the best of what California can produce.

Carmel, Single Vineyard, Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, Shaal, 2008 – Consistent with previous tastings – Honey and tropical fruit – with sweet spice backed by wonderful acidity.

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