Holiday suggestions for 2012-2013

"No, this is not a mistake; the following list includes several wine suggestions for next years´ holiday season…" Yonatan Sternberg from Brazil

I am currently in Brazil and find myself lacking good wine hence I started thinking of what I will drink when I get back. I tasted most of these wines in the recent months and in my opinion they should develop nicely over the next 2-5 years; in some cases even more. In Brazil I am focusing more on Caprinias and other cold fruit based cocktails. This makes perfect sense as it is rather difficult to pair wines with the African food common in the northern regions. I had the privilege of meeting and cooking with an amazing chef in Salvador by the name of Ms. Heve Ramos who taught me how to make traditional seafood Mukeka (a delicious dish with plenty of fresh vegetables, coconut milk and spices), Vatapa, Sun Dried Meat and more. After tasting the various traditional dishes we both agreed that beer or Capirinia were the right pairing selections. Delicate Mukekaś can be paired with Gewürztraminer or other aromatic whites but I would still stick to the Capirinia.

As time goes by, some of these wines may not be found on the shelves anymore or sold at higher prices, hence if you have proper storage conditions (dark, cool etc.), it might be worth picking up a bottle or two and putting them away to rest.

Most of the red wines from the Golag Heights´ Yarden label have proven to be age worthy. The following are both of the winery´s Single Vineyard series. Golan Heights, Yarden, Syrah, Avital Slopes, 2007 - aged for 18 months in barriques, 2/3 of which were new, dark ruby towards purple in color, full bodied, on the nose and palate ripe cherries, plums, black berry fruits followed by pleasant notes of flowers and smoked meat. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside rich beef stews or eggplant filled with minced lamb. Yarden, Merlot, Odem Vineyard, 2007 – the Odem vineyard is an organic vineyard and is also the source of the Chardonnay grapes used in the winery´s excellent single vineyard white wine. Dark purple in color, the wine suggests concentrated yet layered aromas and flavors of red cherries, dark berry fruits, vanilla, cloves, milk chocolate and slight earthy notes all coming together nicely and leading to a long and mouth-filling finish.

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rechasim, Dishon, 2007 – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from the Dishon vineyard; 18 month in primarily French oak, dark ruby in color, the wine is full bodied suggesting layered aromas and flavors of black berry fruits, black cherries, pepper and roasted coffee beans, those followed by hints of leather and dark chocolate. Segal also offers a very enjoyable Argaman based wine. Another option from the winery is Segal's flagship vino - Cabernet Sauvignon, Unfiltered, 2007: 90% Cab from the Dishon and Dovev vineyards and 10% Merlot from Dovev as well. Aged for 19 months in a mix of French, American and Central European oak barrels, the wine is full bodied, displaying pleasant dark and red berry fruits alongside notes of black pepper, dark chocolate and just a touch of smoked meat all leading to a long and satisfying finish.

Teperberg, Shiraz, Reserve, 2009 – 100% Shiraz, the wine was aged in barriques (both new and second round) for 18 months. Dark purple in color, the wine is full bodied and while still firm suggests aromas and flavors of raspberries, plums, purple flowers and a touch of chocolate covered orange peel leading to a long finish. ~NIS 100. Teperberg wines have improved dramatically over the past couple of years and in my opinion are offering good wines in all price categories.

Bravdo, Chardonnay, 2010 – bright gold in color, on the nose – green apples, white peaches, yellow plums and hints of toasted brioche. The palate is slightly creamy, showing pleasant fruit and a clean finish. Bravdo, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 – dark garnet in color, on the attack, black berry fruits and tobacco followed by blueberries, plums, thyme and a hint of cloves leading to a long finish.

Barkan, Altitude +720, 2008 – dark and concentrated in color, showing various black berry fruits, plums and blueberries followed by notes of tobacco, fresh herbs and leather. Full bodied, while still firm, the wine is very well balanced and comes together nicely.

Adir, 2009 - 100% Shiraz grapes, aged for 12 months in mostly French and some American oak barrels, medium leaning towards full bodied, the wine opens with plums and dusted purple flowers followed by various dark berry fruits, vanilla, cloves and a hint of dark chocolate leading to a pleasant finish. With only 13% alcohol content, this is also a very food friendly wine and should go well with fresh pasta topped with meat Ragu or grilled meats.