Passover is just around the corner and its time to start thinking about which wines you are going to serve and enjoy during the festive holiday meals. As there are literally dozens of new wines on the market and specials that are often hard to resist, rather than writing tasting notes for numerous wines, I will simply be writing holiday wine suggestions and include some information on the wines that I enjoyed over the past weeks.
3 white wines:
Sito, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2011 – A new project by Elchannan Shor of the Arza Winery and winemaker Patrick H’babo who basically commissioned kosher private label wines from wineries in Spain (Rioja), Italy (Chianti), France (Boudreaux) and New Zealand (Marlborough). The wine is light and refreshing, with plenty of tropical fruit (passion fruit, lychee), citrus and lemony notes, good balance and supporting acidity followed by a clean though slightly bitter finish. Serve chilled on a warm summer afternoon. NIS 65.
Binyamina, Reserve, Un-Oaked, Chardonnay, 2011 – while there are some who do not appreciate un -oaked chardonnays, personally I enjoy and in many cases prefer a lighter chard that it is a bit more on the fruity side than the heavier robust creamy chardonnays. Based on 100% from vineyards in the Judean Hills, Binayamin’s version is very enjoyable, suggesting notes of lemon, yellow grapefruit, green apple and melon, acidity and minerals, leading to a clean and pleasant finish. A good wine on its own or serve alongside fish (not in cream) and even light chicken dishes. NIS 79
Ella Valley, Vineyard’s Choice, Chardonnay, 2010 – 100% Chardonnay from vineyards in the Judean Hills, 10 months in barriques, straw with gold reflections, on the nose and palate, green apple, melon, white peaches and honey suckle with toasted oak in the background. While Ella Valley is often known for their full bodied and robust red wines (recently tried the VC RR 2004 and it still is rather concentrated and full), both the winery’s Chardonnay (regular and VC) as well as the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 are well worth a try. NIS 118
4 red wines:
Dalton, ‘D’, Shiraz, 2010 – this has always been among my favorites from the winery’s ‘D’ label. While the design of the label has changed over the years, after recently tasting some of the new releases, the Shiraz is still on the top of my list (the Petite Sirah 2010 is also worth trying). Grapes from the Golan Heights, 8 months in American oak result in a medium bodies wine, good fruit (plums, dark berries), dry herbs and notes of smoked meat followed by roasted coffee and vanilla leading to a pleasant though slightly alcoholic finish. NIS 65
Tavor, Adama, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2009 – A blend of 70% Cab Sauv and 30% Merlot from vineyards in the upper Galilee, 12 months in barriques (new), dark ruby in color, the wines opens in the glass with concentrated red and black berry fruits, alongside plums, fresh herb, sweet coffee beans and a touch of cloves, medium to full bodied, good texture and a smooth finish. BTW- the wine also received a gold medal in its category in the recent Best Value competition. NIS 85
Barkan, Assemblage, Eitan, 2008 – comprised of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, bright ruby in color, on the nose and palate, plenty of red fruit, fresh herbs and pepper followed by pleasant notes of chocolate and just a touch of cloves and a long finish. Soft and with good balancing acidity and relatively low alcohol levels that also make it a rather food friendly wine. NIS 89, also worth trying the Barkan, Assemblage, Tzafit.
Adir, ‘a’, 2009 – 60% Shiraz, 35 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, concentrated purple in color, medium bodied, a bit firm when first poured and then opens to suggest dark berry fruits, orange zest, plums and rosemary. Those followed by notes of vanilla and toasted oak leading to a long and satisfying finish. If you happen to be up north, the Adir visitor’s centre also showcases Adir’s excellent dairy products – ask for the goat-milk ice cream and you are in for a treat. NIS 120
2 Fortified/Port-style wines:
Teperberg, Nevel - Port and fortified port-style wines are an excellent way to end a meal and also pair very well with potent cheeses, chocolate, nuts and even a nice cigar. Teperberg recently joined the port-style bandwagon, releasing a fortified vino based on Merlot grapes. After maturing for 15 months in both French and American barrels, dark ruby, Teperberg’s Nevel (Hebrew for harp) is ripe and sweet but not too ‘sticky’, the wine suggested dark berry fruits, cherries, fig marmalade, vanilla and sweet dark chocolate and a smooth finish. NIS 119
Golan Heights, Yarden, T2 , 2008 – the only Israeli port style vino based on Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao grapes, both Portugese grape varieties, traditionally cultivated in the Douro Valley and used to produce dry as well fortified Port wines. Matured for 26 months in French oak, on the nose and palate, ripe cherries, plums and dark berry fruits, good structure and very smooth texture, followed by notes of dark chocolate, cinnamon and cloves all leading to a long and pleasant finish. NIS 190