Recent Israeli Reds – March 2017

several red wine suggestions that I have sampled over the past few weeks

The Israeli winter is somewhat eluding and temperatures, not to mention the rainfall amounts which tend to fluctuate quite a bit. On a given week, I can find myself craving a rich meaty stew with a bottle of red on Tuesday, while on the weekend I can sit on the beach in Tel Aviv with a glass of Gewurtz or more likely a cold beer. Following are several red wine suggestions that I have sampled over the past few weeks.

Barkan, Altitude, 720, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 –

While the label has expanded to include other red varieties and even a Sauvignon Blanc, Barkan Altitude Cabs are still true to the original style and provide an opportunity to sample Cabernet Sauvignon wines, processed in similar styles with the only difference being the vineyard and altitude. 100% Cab Sauv, 14 months in French oak, the result is a full bodied red with velvety tannins and pleasant notes that bring to mind ripe plums, dark berry fruits, dark chocolate and cool minty notes leading to a medium-long finish.

Dalton, Alma, Crimson, 2013 –

In my opinion, one of the best series from the Dalton Winery, Alma along with other labels was given a recent ‘makeover’ boasting new designs and names. The Alma Crimson is predominantly based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Franc which adds some ‘seasoning’ and character. 14 months in a mix of old and new French oak, full bodied with silky tannins, the wine suggests concentrated notes of ripe berry fruits, dark chocolate, flowers, fresh herbs and a hint of warm spices, all coming together nicely and leading to a long finish.

Dalton, Single Vineyard, Elkosh, Shiraz, 2013 –

A SV Shiraz from the Elkosh Vineyard situated in the Upper Galilee with a new and rebranded look for this Dalton label as well. Full bodied, a bit firm when first poured, then opens nicely to reveal generous aromas and flavours of ripe black berry fruits and cherries followed by dark chocolate and peppery notes all coming together nicely on a long and satisfying finish. The wine has a certain spiciness-meatiness that makes it very enjoyable and with the structure and balancing acidity, should develop nicely over the next few years.

Golan Heights, Yarden, Single Vineyard, Tel Phares, 2008 –

Once every few weeks or when a good friend comes over to visit, I open my wine cooler and pick out a bottle from the ‘special’ shelves. These usually contain wines that I have laid to rest for a few years or interesting wines that I have purchased abroad. This time a bottle of the 2008 SV Tel Phares Syrah caught my eye and soon after uncorking the bottle, we knew that we were in for a treat. Full bodied, with the tannins fully integrated by now but still offering good structure on the palate. On the nose layered notes of slightly jammy plums, cherries and black berry fruits those followed by flowers, chocolate covered raisins and a touch of smoked meat all coming together nicely for a long and pleasant finish.

MAIA, Mare Red, 2014 –

This is a medium bodied blend relying on Carignan, Mourvedre, Syrah and Durif (AKA Petite Sirah) grapes from vineyards spanning from the Judean Hills all the way to the Upper Galilee; the wine developed for 12 months in barriques, ripe berry fruits, tart cherries, Mediterranean herbs, black pepper and a touch of smoke, generous does of balancing acidity and a medium-long finish.

Recanati, Mediterranean, Reserve, Syrah, 2015 –

Predominantly Syrah grapes with a dash of Viognier that brings out the colour and adds a floral touch, still rather firm and would benefit from a year or two of cellaring, this is a full bodied wine, suggesting concentrated aromas and flavours of dark berry fruits and plums alongside dry herbs, flowers, black pepper and a touch of tobacco all coming together nicely and leading to a long finish.

Recanati, Mediterranean, Reserve, Marselan, 2015 –

You don’t see a lot of Marselan being used in the local wine industry but more and more wineries are experimenting with this variety. A cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, Marselan was originally bred in the South of France and is often used in local blends. It is also quite popular in China and some say that it may become the national Chinese grape variety. Recanati’s version is very interesting and here too, I would wait a bit before sampling. Full bodied and good structure on the palate, the wine suggests pleasant notes of red and black berry fruits, dry cherries, warm spices and floral notes leading to a long and satisfying finish.

Tulip, Espero, 2015 –

A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot of varying proportion; 12 months in oak, the result is a medium-full bodied red, dark ruby in colour, the wine suggests aromas and flavours of ripe berry fruits, citrus zest and plums followed by notes of sage and vanilla coming together nicely and leading to a long and slightly bitter finish.