Too “tired” from all the wine last night to blog. But I was out at a couple of important places and there is lots to write. So without further ado…
I was to have drinks with a gentleman who was interested in being involved with the Israel Wine project I am working on. Given that the project involves wine from a specific region, we decided to check out a wine bar in NYC that has wines (and food style) exclusively from a non-traditional wine region – South Africa. In a nutshell, this large wine bar has done so much right, but seems to be missing “it”.
Upon arriving at the bar the place was quite crowded – but what wine bars aren’t these days. It took several minutes for someone to even acknowledge our presence, and once that was done, it took several more minutes before we were assured we would be seated shortly.
Once we were (finally) seated, we quickly picked out two S. African wines that had a little age to them. MISTAKE. Now I know, I must do a better job documenting the exact wines, but I do remember that we ordered a 2000 Merlot & a 2001 Cabernet. The merlot was either oxidized, past its prime (yet still tannic?), blended with Pinotage (I’m not a fan), or full of Brett (brettanomyces). The Cab seemed better, but it was the type of wine where the nose did not carry over to the palate. It had an unusual candied/sour cherry & cherry wood nose while the palate was more dark fruit and oak driven. Better than the merlot, but not great.
Now I must admit, there is 1 thing I love about this wine bar. Upon receiving your wine, customers get an empty glass & a small carafe of the wine they ordered. This allows the drinker(s) to pour as much or as little as they want at a time. It also makes sharing easier.
After the wine bar we were off to Capsouto Freres in Tribeca. CF is known for their wines, and it just so happens that there was an article in yesterdays NY Sun about Jacques, the proprietor, and his ambassador-ship for Israeli wines in particular ( http://www.nysun.com/article/67518 ).
Upon arriving at CF we informed Jacques that we read the article in the paper and I reminded him that we had previously met. I think he was pleased that we had seen the piece and he graciously engaged us in conversation about Israeli wine. Not only does Jacques have a fine palate, but he is a shrewd businessman. He selects fine wines for his wine list, but also seeks out deals and is consequently able to offer wines at very fair prices.
At Jacques’ recommendation we selected the 2001 Yatir blend – made from 60% Cab & 40% Merlot. This wine was made from fruit from the Judean Hills region & 2001 was (I believe) the first vintage released by Yatir. Sadly the wine was not overly impressive. While it was better than the South African wines we had earlier in the evening, it possessed some heat, and tasted a bit “cooked”. What might once have been nice fresh plums, was both smelling and tasting a bit like cooked plums & other jammy fruit.
All in all a wonderful evening with a new friend and possible business partner, but somewhat disappointing wines.
TONIGHT I will be tasting Châteauneuf-du-Pape with my tasting group. Very much looking forward & I hope to post a full tasting report at my earliest convenience…