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Month in Wines – September 2014

October 10, 2014 2 comments

Yep, another month became a history, and it is time to talk about the wine highlights – well, yeah, before this month vanishes too. No generic trends or observations, except of a bit more of the kosher wines than usual due to the Jewish holidays. Here we go.

2012 Terrenal Chardonnay, Spain (12.5% ABV, $4.99, kosher, not mevushal) – Simple, light, easy to drink – well balanced and round, especially for the price. 7+

2012 Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc Estate Wine, South Africa (13.5% ABV, 89% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Semillon) – Gooseberry, fresh grass and lemon on the nose, touch of sweetness. Nice zippy acidity on the palate, with fresh lemon and lemon zest. The wine was showing the best on the second day, so you can put it aside for a while. 8

NV Blason de Borgogne La Reserve Blanc de Noirs Brut (12% ABV) – clean, simple, fine mousse, touch of yeast – you get all you want from the simple glass of Champagne, except the price tag. 7+

2008 von Hovel Riesling Kabinett Scharzhoefberg Mosel, Germany (7.5% ABV) – classic. Honeysuckle on the nose, the same on the palate with the addition of fresh lemon and candied lemon peel. Perfect balance, a whiff of petrol. Drinkability: 8+

2013 Terrenal Malbec I.P. Mendoza, Argentina (13% ABV, $4.99, kosher, mevushal) – another excellent QPR – good fruit, tobacco, medium body – perfectly enjoyable. 7+

2010 Shiloh Secret Reserve Shiraz Judean Hills, Israel (14.8% ABV, $38, kosher, mevushal) – concentrated and delicious. Dark chocolate, a touch of pepper, red and black fruit, soft but present tannins – every sip was just full of pleasure. 8

2011 Flam Syrah Reserve, Israel (14% ABV, kosher, mevushal) – a very different case compared to the Pax Cuvee below – this wine needed more time, it was way too early to open it. Dense, tight, firm structure, touch of pepper, very balanced. 8+

2011 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles (14% ABV, $25) – Jusitn is one of my favorite producers, and this wine was very much on par with expectations. Rich, with dark fruit and tobacco notes, firm structure and excellent balance. 8

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2006 Pax Cuvée Moriah Sonoma County (15.9% ABV, 88% Grenache, 6% Mourvedre, 3% Syrah, 2% Counoise, 1% Roussanne) – I’m glad I managed to catch this wine on the way out – if I would’ve waited another year, I think this wine would completely turn over the hill. Brooding and powerful, yet balanced and restrained. 8+

2011 Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County (13.8% ABV, $25, 65% zinfandel, 20% petite sirah, 9% carignane, 3% mataró, 2% alicante bouschet, 1% grenache) – delicious blackberry nose,concentrated, dark fruit on the palate, dense and delicious. 8

2011 Suertes del Marques La Solana Vino de Parcela Valle de La Orotava DO, Spain (13.5% ABV, $18, 100% Listan Negro) – Outstanding. Touch of barnyard, herbs and earth on the nose. Clean, light, but with perfectly present body. Fresh tart blackberries and blueberries, clean acidity, young tannins. All together, perfectly balanced and elegant. Besides, it is a new grape! 9-

2011 terra de TOUROS Vinha Regional Tejo, Portugal (13$ ABV, $9.99, 50% Touriga Nacional., 50% Pinot Noir) – fresh and bright on the nose. On the palate, a firm structure of Touriga Nacional coupled with open fruit of Pinot Noit. A very interesting wine, with Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir showing their clean profile literally independently – both components are recognizable individually. 8-

2010 Famille Perrin Reserve Codes du Rhone, France  (13.5% ABV) – soft fruit on the nose, cherries and touch of plums on the palate. Also spices and herbs, excellent balance. 8-

2007 Cantine Paolini Gurgo Frapatto-Syrah Sicilia IGT Italy (13.5% ABV, $14.99, 60% Frapatto, 40% Syrah) – Delicious. Red and black fruit on the nose, spicy undertones of Syrah on the palate, nice earthiness and minerality, firm, medium to full body. 8-

2010 Chateau Picque Caillou Pessac-Leognan AOC, France (14% ABV, $35, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot) – A rare Bordeaux note for the “month in wine”. I just don’t drink that much of Bordeaux in general, as price you have to pay versus probability of just not getting the pleasure, doesn’t make Bordeaux all that appealing. Luckily, this was a good bottle – good fruit, good substance, good balance – very nice package overall. 8-

Shana Tova and a Question: What Wine Will Be On Your Table Tomorrow?

September 7, 2010 3 comments

Tomorrow many of us will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Wine is (could you guess?) one of the important traditional elements of the Rosh Hashanah table.

I remember that about 10 years ago, if anyone would be talking “Kosher wines”, 9 out 10, if not more often, the only Kosher wine available in US would be Manishewitz, barely drinkable fruit juice. Today situation is soooo different. Israel produces tremendous number of great wines (absolute majority are Kosher) from various mainstream grapes, such as Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and more. Today Israel has its own boutique wineries, which have status similar to the California cult wineries, such as Screaming Eagle, Colgin and others – if not yet in price, definitely in availability. Try to find wines from the wineries such as Flam, Domaine du Castel, Yatir or Vitkin – and if you will succeed, make sure you will taste them as you will be very thankful you did. But even the mainstream Israeli wines, coming from the wineries such a Dalton, Galil Mountain, Benyamina, Tishbi, Yarden and many others (Israel has more than 200 wineries at this point), which are readily available in your neighbourhood wine store, will make a great addition to any table.

So what wine will be on your table tomorrow? If you didn’t decide yet, make an effort, find one of the Israeli wines and let me know how did you like it. If you plan to have any other wine, I’m still eager to know what will it be. And even if Rosh Hashanah is not your holiday, get your friends together, share the bottle ( wine meant to be shared!) and raise the glass to life.

L’chaim!

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