A couple of weeks ago I visited the Casa Nova restaurant in Jaffa to attend an unveiling of new wines hailing from South America, representing recent additions to Adom Kehe’s portfolio. Adom Kehe (dark red in Hebrew) is a boutique wine distribution (and now also import company) established by owner of the Tulip winery, Roey Yitzchaki. Yitzchaki indicated that after having the infrastructure in place, it seemed like a natural transition to add imported wines to the portfolio as well. Adom Kehe will focus on quality wines offering good value for money and their Latin expedition begins with the Casa Bianchi Winery from Argentina and the Undurraga Winery from the neighboring Chile.
Nearly 20 years after arriving from Italy, Don Valentin Bianchi established El Chiche vineyard in 1928 that was later renamed Casa Bianchi. The winery is situated in San Rafael, about 150 miles south of the city of Mendoza.
We started off with the Elsa, Bianchi, Torrontes, 2012 – Torrontes is the national Argentinean “white” grape varietal. An entry level Torrontes, pale straw with green reflections in color, this is a light and refreshing white wine with a distinct citrus-grapefruit and floral profile leading to a slightly acidic-bitter finish.
We also sampled three Malbec based vinos – originally grown in the Southeast of France, today is considered by many as the national Argentine grape varietal producing wines that usually range from medium to full body, dark purple in color with distinctive earthy and black fruit notes and even some leather.
An approachable and reasonably priced wine, the Familia Bianchi Malbec 2010 selling for NIS 75 is bright purple in color, medium- full body with good fruit concentration, sweet spices and balancing acidity leading to a pleasant finish.
Founded in 1885, the Undurraga winery is located in Talagante, in the heart of the Maipo Valley, an hour or so drive from Santiago. Undurraga produces a wide variety of red, white and even sparkling wines and over the years has increased focus on the production on high quality and good value wines. Jose Masot, the winery’s export manager who was visiting Israel and lead the tasting which consisted of three Carménère based vinos.
Considered Chile’s signature grape, this red varietal virtually disappeared from European vineyards in the mid-19th century and reappeared among Chile’s vineyards a hundred years later. To reach its full potential, the Carménère requires a relatively long growing season and for many years was mistaken to be Merlot.
Undurraga, Sibaris, Carménère, 2011 – bright purple in color, round, good fruit with notes of warm spices and fresh herbs in the background coming together nicely on the medium-long finish. A very enjoyable and easy drinking wine. NIS 75
Undurraga, Altazor, 2008 – the winery’s flagship vino, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Syrah and Carignan of varying proportions this is a full bodied and complex wine suggesting layered aromas and flavors of dark berry fruits, plums and cherries followed by notes of toasted oak and tobacco leading to a long and mouth-filling finish. A very enjoyable wine though at NIS 290 rather pricey.