Last minute invitations to a friend or family member are an excellent opportunity to pay a visit to your favorite wine store and pick up a nice bottle to be served with the meal. I find that many hosts have enough trivets and serving pieces and a good bottle of wine is much appreciated.
Following are four suggestions for these “last minute” invitations:
Golan Heights, Yarden, Katzrin, Chardonnay, 2010 –when first released, I usually find the Katzrin Chardonnays a bit too oaky and creamy for my palate and prefer to wait a couple of years until they mellow out. I recently had the opportunity to taste the winery’s latest vintage and while there is no question that the 2010 is member of the Katzrin ‘family’, I found it very enjoyable now and there is no doubt that it will only improve in the years to come. Deep gold in color, classic aromas and flavors that bring to mind buttered brioche, green apples, white peaches, vanilla and toasted oak. Good balance and a long and mouth filling finish make this an excellent white wine that could handle rich fish and dairy dishes as well as chicken based dishes.
Tabor, Adama, Cabernet Sauvignon- Mourvèdre, 2009 – The Tabor winery has gone through significant changes and improvements in recent years with the Adama label accounting for some fine vinos in the 60-80 NIS price range. This time, the winery decided to mix-it-up a bit and add some Mourvèdre to the Cabernet Sauvignon. Also known as Mataró or Monastrell, the Mourvèdre is widely grown in Spain and France’s Rhone Valley and is now being grown in Israel as well. Dark ruby with shades of light red and orange, the wine is medium-full bodied with notes of black berry fruits, sweet cedar wood, warm spices (cinnamon and cloves came to mind) and pleasant balancing acidity.
Flam, Classico, 2010 –A blend comprising Cabernet Sauvignon (50 %), Merlot (42%), Cabernet Franc (5 %) and the balance Petit Verdot, a bit firm, with pleasant aromas and flavors that bring to mind black berry fruits, young plums alongside green pepper and just a hint of smoke in the background, coming together nicely on the medium-long finish. The Merlot Reserve 2008 is also an exceptional and elegant wine that is well worth a try. By the way, this is the first Kosher edition and as of 2010, all of the Flam vinos will bare kashrut certification.
Trio, Secret, 2010 – a boutique winery owned by the Shaked Family who also own the Derech HaYain (The Wine Route) wine store chain which has had a significant impact on the local industry, promoting wine culture and education throughout the country. The secret 2010 comprises 87 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 13 % Merlot from vineyards situated in the Judean hills. Dark ruby in color, full bodied with slightly coarse tannins and concentrated notes of ripe black berry fruits, dry Mediterranean herbs, dark chocolate and a long finish. Approachable now but would be interesting to taste again in a couple of years as the wine develops. Another excellent red by Trio is the Special Cuvee 2009 – full bodied and generous with layered aromas and flavors that linger on the palate.