On the Friday of Purim I was invited to take part in a wine tasting session and luncheon at the upscale Jerusalem restaurant the “Canela” . The event was organized by the Jerusalem Wine Forum, which consists of fifteen wine lovers, most of whom work as sommeliers in various Jerusalem restaurants or serve as wine advisors. The feast included a blind tasting of as many as 17 wines as well as eight courses prepared by Canela’s house chef, Lior Cheftzadi. My favorites were the honey glazed medallions of duck served on a bed of pear, leak and cashew chutney and a brilliant seviche. with a touch of wasabi offering a refreshing kick on the finish.
Now to the wines; as I mentioned, the event included a tasting of 17 wines. To be honest, after the 11th wine and after indulging on the delicious dishes prepared by Lior, my palate was a little numb. In order to ensure impartial judgment, all of the wines were wrapped in aluminum foil thus turning it into a blind tasting. A taster's judgment can be prejudiced by knowing details of the wine, such as geographic origin, the winery, price, grape variety etc.
When tasting a wine, one usually follows four recognized steps:
1) Appearance – examining the clarity and color of the wine;
2)"In glass" fragrances, aromas and scents;
3)"In mouth/palate" sensations and flavors;
4)"Finish –aftertaste”, this is an evaluation of the tastes or flavors that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted. Great wines offer rich, long and complex finishes.
Unfortunately I don’t have the room to share all of my tasting notes with you; to that end I decided to include an Israeli wine which I enjoyed.
This was the Golan Heights, Yarden, Merlot, 2001.
This full bodied merlot is showing plenty of character and suggests aromas of black fruits, cherries, spices and a hint of dark chocolate. On the palate, the wine offers rich flavors, all leading to a long and elegant finish.
The wine will go well with a potent cheese platter or a Juicy rack of grilled lamb ribs with a Dijon and herb crust. Personally I enjoyed this wine very much and would probably just drink it on its own.
Tip of the week: “wine tasting”
The first step when tasting a wine is to examine its visual appearance. In order to see the colors accurately it often helps to hold the glass up to light or hold it against a white background (e.g. a white napkin or table cloth).