RCC Israel # 30 – Sivan 5779

After a 2 month hiatus, we finally held another RCC Israel – and we came back with a vengeance. Not only was this one of our better lineups on paper – when it came time to drink, there were very few disappointments. On top of that, from a food perspective, Uri put out his best solo meal ever. Both inventive and tasty. unfortunately, as Uri’s wonderful wife Jordana is VERY pregnant, this is likely the last time he will be cooking/hosting for a while…. we’ll need to figure that out in the coming weeks, but what way to finish! Excellent through and through. Each component tasty on it’s own and complementing the dish as a whole. Using the goose skin as a crumble (goose gribenes!), the champagne foam, the lime infused sugar, the multilayered Foie Parfait, the multilayered skirt steak dish – all incredible. Kudos man! Pics and descriptions of the food below. But now, on to the wine (note, while the food was awesome – the only downside was the wonderful aromas coming out of the kitchen made it all but impossible to really get a sense of the nose for each wine – I mean you really can’t compete with things cooked in duck fat and roasted lamb etc…. so my apologies for not including those notes) :

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Blanc de Blancs, 2010 – This wine is till showing very young and vibrant. I love checking in on these bottles, even though my personal preference leans more towards aged yeasty flavors and less acid – and I’m really happy I did. The 2010 is far less acidic than the 2009 was at this stage – and will be in it’s prime sooner (and perhaps have a shorter window?) in any event – a nice way to open!

Château Sainte-Marguerite, Cuvée Symphonie, Cru Classé, Côtes de Provence La Londe, 2018 – this wine didn’t follow the age rules for an RCC, but it really is an impossible wine to get here in Israel – and as it’s a Rose, if we weren’t going to have it now, then many of us simply would never have the opportunity. Talk about elegance in a glass. A beautifully balanced Rose that really speaks to me.It is made of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Vermentino. The fruit here takes a back seat to excellent minerality and almost yeasty notes – with some great acid . The fruit – which is mostly citrus comes later but is absolutely presented with restraint and has a bit of an integrated sweet spice yeasty finish. I have no clue what this bottle goes for as it is not available here in Israel – but it was an absolute treat to have!

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2012 – An impressive showing for a QPR star. This wine is at peak. It is lush with dark fruit and a hint of meat, some nice herbs and a nice coffee finish. The tannin is still present at though its moved to the middle, and the acid is still nice and holding this all together. Really impressive – and at just NIS 99 or so on release!

Shiloh, Secret Reserve, Shiraz, 2008 – What a nice wine. I don’t write much about Shiloh – and that’s because I don’t drink it much anymore. Why? Well through the 2011 vintage I really enjoyed Shiloh wines. Fruit forward? for sure – but well made and balanced and for the Secret Reserve series, varietally true as well – if in a new world style. From the 2012 vintage on, the wines in that series have taken a more bombastic approach and quite frankly they all taste nearly the same IMHO. Now, while they are not for me, I am CLEARLY in the minority – because with that continued march in that direction, sales have likely gone up. People in the US specifically (not just in the kosher world) seem to like the over the top style and moving there gets Shiloh higher scores in the trade magazines and higher sales – and therefore, it’s a move that absolutely makes business sense (lets not forget that this is a BUSINESS) even if it’s a move that I am unhappy with personally. In any event, this is a Shiloh wine of old. Absolutely varietally true Shiraz in a new word style with the clear imprint of the Winemaker – Amichai Lourie. Truth is, that is no easy feat – to impart a winemakers distinct impression without overwhelming it is delicate – but he accomplishes it her for the most part with dark red and blue fruit, roasted meat and some pepper. The tannin is now fully integrated and but the acid is still there. The wine is drinking beautifully now, though I don’t know how much longer that will stay true, so drink up and enjoy!

Barkan, Assemblage, Tzafit, 2009 – Pretty much DOA – showed a sweet finish on opening, that blew off with a minute in the glass – but 3 minutes later the wine literally fell apart. On to the backup bottle…..

G’vaot, Merlot, 2013 (Backup Bottle) – This is bottle really was a let down. Was not varietally true IMHO and showed very green. Structure was there – but ultimately a let down overall. After the green, you do get some dark fruit – but really this wine is not what I am looking for in a Merlot. Not sure what they were trying to do here.

Carmel, Limited Edition 2008 – no movement here at all, previous notes hold, which in short means still at peak and wonderfully elegant. This is one of my personal favorites in terms of top tier wines that I am able to drink with some regularity. I hear that the just released 2016 may top it and will be seeking that out as well.

Yatir, Forest, 2011 – This wine has developed nicely. As always, the Petit Verdot is shown prominently in the blend giving excellent body and color. The tannin is now well integrated. Nice earthy notes have developed with some rich dark almost black fruit and a hint of tobacco. Great stuff!

Tzora Vineyards, Misty Hills 2011 – The first in our mini-Misty Hills vertical. This wine showed softer than I was expecting. Not falling apart or even close tot hat, but I would say that it is likely at peak already. Others at the table felt the Syrah in the blend (the wine is always a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – about 60/40), detecting nice peppery notes. For me it was dark red fruit, raspberry and chocolate – nice and rich, but as always with Eran Pick, presented with absolute restraint and elegance.

Tzora Vineyards, Misty Hills 2012 – When you do a mini-vertical of an estate wine (well it;s not really an estate as the winery and vineyards are not in the same location – but the vineyards that the winery uses are the same year to year and owned by the winery….) – you get to see the differences that only vintage impart on the wine. This wine I believe is just entering it’s not yet at it’s prime and actually showed really well (disclaimer – this bottle was my offering for the night) and was absolutely my favorite of the 3. This wine was more complex with the pepper present in the very back after the darker red fruit and bakers chocolate with some excellent coffee beans as well.

Tzora Vineyards, Misty Hills, 2013 – this wine showed the worst of the 3 – though it was likely due to it’s youth. It still needs time to come together. Had it been presented as a stand alone bottle, or had we sampled in reverse order, it likely would have shown better. Right now it just felt like everything still needed time to integrate and calm down – which really actually speaks well for the longevity of this wine. Would pay to check back in a year or two.

Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2003 – This wine shows SOOOO young. We decanted for just about 4 hours – and the wine was open – but there has been no development into anything past the primary fruit profile. The Core is still absolutely firm and fresh. I mean 16 years! What’s crazy is that the ’00 has FULLY developed and is at peak – and this guy likely has another 5-7 years ahead of it before it get to where it needs to be. Currently the mouth is all bout dark berries, near sweet herb, and some chocolate. If you close your eyes and concentrate, you can taste hints of earth still hiding under the surface. Give this one the time it needs – it won’t disappoint.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, HeightsWine, 2017 – Made of Gewürztraminer in the Ice Wine style. This wine has the basic tropic varietal characteristics. Pineapple and lychee primarily. Not much depth though. While it went nicely with the insane dessert that Uri made, for the same price, I would go with the Tzora Or in a heartbeat – as it is already showing far more complexity and depth. Truth is, for far less I would go with a Carmel Sha’al Late Harvest Gewürztraminer as well. So while it was fine, I’m not likely to go back to it.

Well that wraps it up for this month. My thanks again to Uri for preparing an excellent meal – and to our special guests from the UK, Razzie & Chanie who not only brought 2 excellent bottles, but whose presence whenever they join us simply enhances the overall experience – you guys are super-fun!

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