RCC Israel #37 – Iyar 5781

I was beginning to fear that RCC’s were a thing of the past, but thankfully we were able to finally get back to business this month with RCC Iyar. Everyone at the RCC has already been fully vaccinated, but we decided to return to Eucalyptus as the evening needed to be put together quickly with minimal fuss. We were able to just order up the same menu as last time, knowing everyone would be happy, and they were! The only change was a gratis course they threw in – a fish shawarma profiterole served a mango aioli and fire roasted eggplant with techina, which paired really nicely with Riesling. Wonderful stuff – as was every other dish that was served. Pics below. But as always, this is a wine blog and let’s move straight there.

Golan Heights Winery, Gamla, Brut, NV – I believe this was the latest bottling (2019?) of the Gamla Brut. I was expecting the typical fresh profile that I usually get from the Gamla, but this surprisingly showed some nice yeast. It actually took me off guard, and I had to retaste as it simply was unexpected. Nice stuff indeed at NIS 75 – there is no better value sparkling wine on the market.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Katzrin, Chardonnay, 2010 – In general the Katzrin Chardonnay goes about 7-8 years. This one was eleven and, as expected, was dead. As I often warn folks – there are no points for holding wines significantly past their expected drinking windows! If one buys a bottle and then takes the time to age it, why not enjoy it while still at its prime?! I know, sometimes there are surprises – but for the average bottle – and certainly on a white with an established track record, I don’t think it pays to hold for this extended time…..

Carmel, Single Vineyard, Riesling, Kayoumi, 2014 – this wine is one of the all-stars of Israeli Rieslings, with 2014 and 2016 being EXCELLENT vintages and the 2017 being very good (vintages prior to 2013 are dead and 2015 was below par) . Unfortunately, 2017 was also the last vintage as the Kayoumi vineyard was ravaged by virus. The 2014 is still drinking nicely but has now started its decline. There is still some nice funk and good acid, so it’s not in danger of totally falling off a cliff – but see above and drink up!

Covenant, Neshama, 2014 –Very dark almost black fruit up front, followed by some strong bitter espresso and a little bit of tar. At the end, there is some more coffee and then some baker’s chocolate. I sort of got the feeling that this wine has tasted better previously. It wasn’t bad, just not what I would have expected it to be at this point in its development. Could be going through a bit of a dumb phase as I don’t think the bottle itself was off. Will need to re-taste in the future.

Famiglia Cotarella, Montiano, Lazio, 2014 – Not much has changed since my tasting last year. This wine was one the one  that showed the most future potential, though it also showed very nicely after a two hour decant. I am so happy that Ralph Madeb has brought these wines from Famiglia Cotarella (formerly Falesco) back to the kosher market!

Flam, Reserve, Merlot, 2014 – This wine is developing really nicely and is hitting its stride. Flam and G’vaot usually make the very best Israeli Merlots, and this is a prime example. On the nose, some nice floral notes followed by intense red and blue fruit. In the mouth, blueberry, blackberry, and plum up front with a bit of some green leaf. There are tons of warm baking spice here to bring up the finish. Really nice stuff and has a number of years in the tank. Bravo!

Hagafen, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 – Not sure what’s going on with Hagafen. I have not tasted a red of theirs that I have liked in a long time. This guy was a big jammy mess that somehow tasted thin. Pass.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Single Vineyard, Syrah, Bar’on 2013 – I was really interested in how this wine has progressed. Since the big change in styles in 2009, the 2013 Bar’On series was really one of the few bright spots of all of the GHW reds. I was not disappointed. On the nose, nice herb and earth. In the mouth, while still fruit forward and plush, there are some nice earthy tertiary notes developing, followed by herbs, and then finally some really rich tobacco. It’s nice to see that this wine has held up!!

Lueria, Grand Vital, 2012 – Meh. This wine was not bad – but I can’t say there was anything particularly good about it. Red fruit primarily on the nose and in the mouth where it got a little dried fig and raisin, which is just not my thing.  

Moulin du Château La Clide, Saint-Emilion, 2011 – This was my favorite wine of the night. Maybe not technically the “best” but certainly my favorite. In fact, I was sitting next to a friend who absolutely prefers new world big oaky wines, and even he had to admit this wine is a stunner. I have tasted this wine probably four times over the last two years and the wine has barely budged – full notes are here. It is such a pity that this is only available in France. It’s a wine that, while not cheap, is reasonably priced for what it gets you and is worth every shekel (or euro in this case). When this pandemic is finally over, I plan on bringing back some more when I am next in France.

Segal, Single Vineyard, Argaman, Dovev, 2007 – This was the surprise of the night. On the nose, excellent mounds of wet earth.  In the mouth, earth, cranberry, currant, and more earth. This wine was I think about NIS 65 in its day; here we are 14 years later, and this wine is in its PRIME. Really excellent. SUPER impressive. Now, this bottle happened to be stored excellently, so no guarantees, but if you have one, you could be in for a real treat!

Segal, Unfiltered, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 – After tasting the Argaman, I had high hopes – especially as this was considered a topflight wine of theirs. Unfortunately, despite excellent storage, this one was DOA.

Domaine Du Castel, Grand Vin, 2013 – No change since my last tasting at RCC Raanana last year. I also had a bottle of this over Pesach, and I can tell you that while this bottle is holding, after it is open for about an hour it goes sweet – so drink them if you have them, it’s not getting any better.

Flam, Noble, 2011 – It’s funny. I tasted this wine over the summer and I felt then that it had entered its window – and while it would likely develop more, it was absolutely enjoyable now without the need for decanting. I was absolutely wrong. This wine was decanted for two hours and quite frankly tasted super young. I’m not sure why that was (the bottle I had in the summer was stored perfectly from release) – but based on this tasting, I would say, don’t touch for at least two more years. This wine has the potential to be one of the absolute all time Israeli greats. Looking forward to tasting again in another year or so.

Porto Quevedo, Ruby, NV – This wine had disappeared from the shelves for a while, and I am so happy it’s back. One of only two true ports still readily available, this one is a QPR star at just NIS 80! Nothing too complex, but it hits all the right notes and went incredibly well with the dessert of poached pears in red wine and chocolate truffles.

Chodesh Tov!

4 thoughts on “RCC Israel #37 – Iyar 5781

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