I apologize for my extended absence, but I’M IN ISRAEL!!!! I’ve been here for about a week and making time to post is (sadly) not on the top of my priority list.
Yesterday I traveled with some friends and the special lady through the Jerusalem Hills. We did a couple of short & beautifully scenic hikes, and ended the day at a winery. Katlav winery, located in Nes Harim within the Judean Hills was started by Yossi Yittach. Unfortunately Yossi was not available, but we were treated to a tour & tasting by his trusty assistant Aviel.
The winery grows its own fruit and purchases some additional fruit, but only from the Judean Hills region. I believe that the Judean Hills is a prime region with its high elevation (6-800 meters above sea level), hot days & cool night, and porous soils. At present the winery is only making about 10,000 bottles but plans to grow to about 20,000 soon and even more in the future. Many of the Katlav wines are exported – probably a wise business decision by proprietor and winemaker Yittach.
Aviel started us off with the 2007 Katlav Chardonnay. I was there with a bunch of other people and did not take formal tasting notes. However I remember thinking that the Chardonnay was interesting. It clearly saw some time in oak as it had an attractive toasty nose. It also evidently underwent some malolactic fermentation as its nose was creamy/buttery as well. But on the palate this wine showed some of the bitter grapefruit & tart apple characteristics that I’ve been seeing in some un/lightly oaked Israeli Chard’s, and as such I am led to believe that maybe it only went through a partial malolactic (secondary fermentation that converts bitter malic acid into softer lactic acid). A nice and interesting Chardonnay.
We then moved onto the 2006 reds. The 2006 Merlot is already sold out, so we tried the ’06 Cab & the ’06 blend.
Beginning with the blend, which is comprised of 60% Cabernet, 30% Merlot & 10% Syrah (from purchased fruit), this wine showed a lot of the Israeli terroir – herbal in nature with thyme & sage overlapping the black fruit characteristics. These wines are not fined or filtered and the richness of this wine was evident. A tasty red that is sure to pair wonderfully with herb infused/marinated Mediterranean dishes.
We ended our charming visit with the 2006 Cabernet. A muscular wine with many of the aforementioned herbal traits this wine was my buddy’s favorite. Showing nice black fruit, this wine will age well and I would guess begin to show off some secondary characteristics with a little age. Pair this with a roast and savor the spicy Mediterranean terroir!
Happy Israeli boutique wine tasting!