Posts Tagged ‘Yatir’

Drinking mature wine…

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I had one of my most enjoyable tastings a few days ago.  I got to taste about 20 wines ranging in age from 7-11 years old, all stored in optimal conditions.  I knew which wines I would be tasting ahead of time and was concerned that many would be past their prime and possibly even dead.  Lo & behold, the wines were all alive and quite spectacular.

It is said that 95% (or thereabout) of wine in consumed within 24 hours of its being purchased.  Which leads me to believe that most people have not had the extreme pleasure of drinking a wine that has had time to mature in the bottle, a bottle aged wine.

From “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”: “Crudely, the molecular changes known to unfold in a sealed wine bottle that has been laid down for years involve the gradual interaction of oxygen and wine.  Simple chemical compounds break down and recombine into more and more complex forms called polymeric phenols.  Acidity and alcohol soften.  The largest compounds – the harsh, astringent tannins – drift down into a carpet of sediment, taking with them the saturated, inky pigments.  They leave behind a mellowed, unfathomably subtle flavor and a brick-red hue.  Everything knits together, resolving into an ever finer complexity expressed fragrantly in the wine’s bouquet.”

The chapter gets into more detail about mature wine (while discussing Bordeaux purported to be from Thomas Jefferson’s cache dating back to the late 1700’s, and declares that “a wine is considered mature when it has maximized its flavor possibilities but has not yet begun to deteriorate”.

I still believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Some people prefer the primary aromas and flavors of a young wine, while others prefer the tertiary characteristics.  Of the wines I tried at the tasting I was shocked to discover that not only were most of the wines alive, but they were still displaying youthful fruit.  Their color was almost across the board still ruby, not showing very much (if any) of the brick color that is indicative of an aged wine (as it goes from purple to ruby to brick and ultimately towards brown as it reaches the end of its life).

I tried 5 Bordeaux, 3 Spanish wines, 2 wines from California and 9 wines from Israel.

The Bordeaux was all quite nice and I wish I had time with each bottle to enjoy it as it evolved.  Sadly this was a bit of a speed tasting for me as my job on this evening was simply to verify that the wines were still alive.  They were alive yet I couldn’t help but think they all seemed a bit lite.  They were definitely light in body.  I wonder what types of characteristics would have been revealed had I had more time with these wines.

Next were the Spanish wines from Capcanes; A 2000, 2001 & 2003.  These were probably my (more…)

Kosher Food & Wine has arrived

Friday, February 5th, 2010

My posts have been increasingly inconsistent of late as my new job has me working night and day representing amazing wines and helping to plan fabulous events.

This past week saw it all come together with the culmination of the 4th annual “Kosher Restaurant & Wine Experience” on Feb 1 in NYC & the 3rd annual “International Food & Wine Festival” on Feb 3rd in Oxnard, CA.

I helped out with a bit of the planning for the NYC event and have been ecstatic to hear all the positive feedback (with a dash of criticism thrown in of course).

And while I had little (OK, nothing) to do with the planning of the West Coast event, I was privileged to represent Israeli standout wineries Carmel & Yatir – whose wines also received rave reviews from the attendees.

Though high priced items such as the Yatir “Forest” attracted lots of attention, having spent MANY hours (on my feet) pouring the Carmel/Yatir wines I found that people were pleasantly surprised by the resurgence of Carmel and the new “Private Collection” (new label & no longer mevushal/flash pasteurized) & “Appellation” series wines.  Though the Appellation Carignan & Petite Sirah (both old vines incidentally) have been cult favorites for years among Israeli wine lovers, other Appellation wines such as the 2007 Cab Franc (in NY) or the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (in CA) were also very positively received.

Though my wife makes fun of my food critiquing, I am far from a food critic (can you say Food Tasting Guy?).  Yet I managed to sneak away from my post at the CA show a few times and marveled at the culinary genius of Tierra Sur Chef Todd Aaron’s creative and delectable cuisine.  It was so good I reserved a precious spot to go back for dinner prior to my return flight to NY early next week.  Now if I can only figure out a way to get the company to cover the tab…

Happy mind blowing-ly good KOSHER food & wine tasting!



Monday, October 19th, 2009

Having returned last night from 2 1/2 weeks in Israel, I saw the doc about my wrist again today.  Surgery is scheduled for Friday – I am getting a screw put into my wrist.  Can’t say that I am too excited about the upcoming procedure, but it will hopefully end this regretful wrist saga.

While in Israel I of course tasted a bunch of wine.  I did not however take any tasting notes, so we’ll have to discuss the standouts in real rough format.

Of special note was the ever increasing Israeli boutique wine market.  It seems just about every Israeli wine lover with the ability to plant some vines or buy some grapes is starting a label or opening up a boutique winery.  Sarcasm aside, some of the better boutiques are doing an amazing job.  I’m still worried about the pricing policies many of these wineries are adopting, but the product they are releasing is continuing to be of high quality and showing continued improvement.

On to the wines, I tried a new Segal Winery wine called “Single”.  The wine was on promotion at a restaurant and was being offered for the equivalent of about $25/bottle.  Full of fruit, hints of oak, soft & subtle, this wine went great with our grilled meats & chicken.

A few days later we happened upon a 2003 “Dishon vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon also by Segal Winery.  Always the fan of Segal vineyards (their “unfiltered” is amazing), I was disappointed.  This 6 year old wine was showing some complex secondary characteristics (desirable in aged wines) & was very much alive.  But it seemed to have undergone a minor secondary fermentation in the bottle as there was a bit of “fizziness” to the wine.  The fizziness seemed to dissipate as the wine was open & revealed a lovely wine.  But the initial glass or two with our food was not what it should have been and detracted from the food/wine experience.

Another negative wine-in-restaurant experience happened when we ordered a wine from a VERY well thought of winery; Yatir – the 2005 Cab-Merlot-Shiraz blend.  Others enjoyed the wine more than I did as I felt it seemed a bit cooked, showing baked/stewed fruit aromas & flavors.  I wonder if it was stored near a hot kitchen.

I stopped by old friend Ze’ev of Sea Horse wines and tasted a new blend – a barrel sample of his 2009 Cote du Rhone/GSM (grenache/syrah/mourvedre).  A very pretty floral nose reminiscent of a light Dolcetto.  The wine had a light body and will make for a terrific summer red (summer of 2010).

Finally, I attended a tasting of Psagot wines.  Of late I have been hearing positive things about Psagot but have until the tasting stayed away due to pricing that being unfamiliar with the wines prevented me from buying a bottle.  Special thanks to the good folks at Buy Wine Israel for insisting I be there cause WOW, these wines were impressive.  We started off with a Viognier that showed great varietal expression.  Flowers, honey and a overall pretty bouquet this wine was soft and balanced, something often difficult to achieve with these ripe (and often high alcohol) varietals.  From there we tasted several reds, including a vertical of the merlot (2006 & 2007), a cab & a blend.  All the wines were impressive but the Merlots stood out to me.  I believe that the Judean Hills are producing some excellent wines but the Merlots are some of the best around.  Chilean Merlot has been getting good press in recent years & I think it is time Israeli Merlot (Judean Hills in particular) get their due.  Now if only Israeli wineries could figure out a way to produce equally good wine & price them more along the lines of the wines coming out of Chile.  Though I am not sure it is feasible and don’t see it happening, if/when Israeli wines are priced on the shelves at $15 (give or take $3) they will be well on their way to appealing to the mainstream wine market.

Happy surgically repaired wrist, Israeli (merlot) wine tasting!


Wining and even some dining

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

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 ( ).

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…

Happy drinking!