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Everything posted by Andre

  1. Wonderful! Thank you for the recommendation.
  2. Israeli Top Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Special Reserve Thursday October 19th 2008 Nearly ten years after the eruption of Israeli wine boutiques, one can clearly state that Israel is on the right track in its search to discover its own identity, perhaps the most important mission to gain any international recognition. The world's finest Cabernet wines, whether a traditional Medoc, A well invested modern Californian Cabernet, A classical single vineyard Chilean Super Cab, A full bodied Argentinean chewy Cabernet, A perfectly balanced South African oak aged style or an Italian Super Tuscan, Terroire, craftsmanship and dedication brings the best out of mother nature. Over 200 Israeli wineries are in search for this winning combination, experimenting, re-experimenting and experimenting again. Cabernet Sauvignon Segal, Single, Marom Galil 2004 Free spirit, insight and dedication lead talented Avi Feldstein to the Marom Galil vineyards in Northern Israel long before theories about the fine Galilee terroir became a practice. Today this talented winemaker is responsible for some of Israel's best value quality wines. A medium to full-bodied wine, chewy and very well balanced, oak being in the background with nearly no interference with the wines ripe and mouth-filling texture. Balanced and tasty properly spiced by tannins and oak. Enjoy now – 2011. Cabernet Sauvignon Bravdo, Carmei Yossef ( winery and vineyards ) 2006 Two of the best known wine educators in Israel are Professor Ben-Ami Bravdo and his student Professor Oded Shosayov. In 2001 turning theory into practice, their first wine was born, technically perfect but with no character or distinctive traits. Carmei Yoseef's 6th vintage is an expression of their desire to bring ripe flavors into the glass. 10% Merlot added, this medium bodied cabernet shows a very subtle, ripe and well balanced wine, well defined aromas and flavors to be enjoyed now or in the 3to 4 years to come. The Bravdo seems a bit ambiguous providing a dry texture with a somehow sweet feeling aftertaste. It will be interesting to follow this wine though depth, complexity and layers will doubtedly be a part of the aging result. The winemakers did a successful job capturing the aromatic aspect of the grapes in an appealing and friendly manner. Drink 2008-2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Tishbi Estate 2005 Golan Tishbi's 1st official wine continuing three generations of viticulturists and now winemakers. Finishing his New-Zealand wine studies Golan brings freshness to both whites and reds to his family's winery. 10% Cabernet Franc compliments a medium + Cabernet Sauvignon body adding a lively green tannin notion to a very well balanced and fairly friendly wine. Mildly toasted oak compliment the fruity flavors ending a consistent wine with a good and pleasant feel. Drink 2008-2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Yarden, Single Vineyard Elrom, Golan heights 2004 This massive winery going single vineyard is a trend to be seen in other wine making hulks of this tiny holy land. Victor Schoenfeld focuses on one of his oldest vineyards to bring a well expressed fruity, subtle and even friendly wine. This newly released 2004 cabernet Shows better balance and harmony than any leading cabernet previously released from this infamous winery. Less oak, more fruit and balance – perhaps a new era for the Golan Heights hulk and by far one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the Yarden series so far. Drink 2008-2014. Cabernet Sauvignon Kayumi, Single Vineyard Carmel 2004 In this age of quality and search for value, multi-million bottle wineries are in need of a showcase and Israel's largest one chose "Kayumi" in the upper Galilee. Deep and concentrated bordeaux color with hints of amber at the rim. A rich and concentrated nose including anything from fresh ripe fruits, dried prunes, spice, toasted oak and leather in a fairly subtle and enjoyable manner. Ripe and rich the mouth is an array of different flavors ranging from wild and chewy to smooth and elegant. This medium bodied wine shows a very good potential for the Kayumi vineyard portraying more ripe flavors than most Northern Israeli vineyards. Drink 2008-2012 Elul Sea-Horse 2005 73% Cabernet, 18% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah 20 months in French and American oak. Subtle and consistent fairly balanced bouquet blending oak and fruit into one entity. Spicy and fruity with a smooth silky feel halted by a good acidity, and new oak joining he older adding green tannins and spice. This is a fairly balanced medium + body that will need a couple of years to fully develop yet will fail to develop further depth and layers. Drink 2009-2014. Cabernet Sauvignon Amphorae 2004 95% Cabernet Sauvignon 5%Cabernet Franc aged 24 months in French oak. Powerful the whole way. This wine starts with a concentrated dark red color, a concentrated nose of raspberries and black cherries, mildly toasted oak and and sweet scented spice. The mouth showed little fruit, spicy tannins with a well balanced acidity promising a future for this wine but doubtedly interesting. Powerful and chewy yet lacking complexity and flavors failing to stand up to expectations Drink 2009-2014. Cabernet Sauvignon Altitude 624, Barkan 2005 Israel's 3rd largest winery had been struggling with a mediocre image for quite some time now. The new Altitude series ( 2nd vintage ) is an excellent try of a modern well made cabernet putting Barkan on track towards better quality standards. Red Bordeaux color with some depths A beautiful ripe fruit, vanilla, chocolate and very mild spice bouquet with hints of nutmeg lingering after the fairly concentrated fruit and chocolate mix. A bit young now the acidity leads the feel of the wine over layers of fruits, hints of chocolate ending in a fairly gentle spicy feel. This is a well made cabernet with an impressive structure, very good balance and harmony and a promising future. Drink 2009-2015. Cabernet Sauvignon Mescha Tavor 2005 Recently owned by Coca-Cola, Winemaker Arie Nesher and his team had shifted from tens to hundreds of thousands bottles produced on the Tavor Estate. The Mescha series is supposed to represent the Top notch wines of Tavor and to be released only in selected vintages. The 2005 is the second vintage Mescha dry red of this winery. The wine is due to be released March-April 2009. A clear and appealing Bordeaux color with some depth The nose portrays a fairly balanced nose sweet raspberry liqueur mildly toasted oak and mild spice, consistent, yet lacking layers or complexity. Smooth on the entry with appealing silky fruits, spices, good acidity and a dry lightly toasted oky finish. This wine will prove balanced and quite pleasant to drink but I doubt it should gain further complexity and layers to head the best wines of the Tavor winery. Drink 2009-2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Avidan Limited Edition 2005 85% Cabernet 15% Merlot, Ella valley vineyards aged 16 months in French and American oak. This young quality boutique winery is undergoing rapid changes and if to judge from the 2005 vintage – from average to better. The nose seems somehow closed with slight hints of vanilla, medium toasted oak and some dried and fresh fruits. The mouth portrays almost a full bodied, chewy and quite balanced cabernet joined by some greenish and immature tannins. The finish is chocolaty with some sweet notions that linger for some time. This is wine to keep for several years for hot climate cabernet lovers as a medium to full bodied, fruity wine of a chewy aspect. Drink 2010- 2017
  3. Many wines arriving from Chile in the Mid- eighties towards the early nineties had an air of saltiness to them. The "old style" Chilean rustic winemaking had a distinctive dried sea-salt aromas that had clinged to many of the wines that I had tasted. Irrigation with Sea-Water had been experimented with in the Southern Negev of Israel. Vines had been successfully cultivated using salty water with very low yield and high sugar concentration and color results . Over time this could prove problematic with higher salt contents in the ground though NO3 was used as a partial solution. Wine had been made from the grapes of these vines with fairly poor results. Alcoholic wines that lack fruit concentration and balance.
  4. I would say the 2005 vintage in Bordeaux but here are some older ones... Chardonnay Mount Helen, Central Victoria, Australia 1997 Don Antonio Morgante, Sicilia, Italy 2000 Gaudium de Marques de Caceres, Gran Vino Spain 1994 Kanonkop Estate Wine Paul Sauer, Stellenbosch RSA 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor,Maipu, Concha Y Toro, Chile 1991 Cuvee Ilham, Stone Ridge, Tsoraa Israel 1997
  5. Andre

    Pinot Envy

    Pinot Envy, Channing Daughters Long Island 2004 So much for attention grabbing names to mention this wines eye popping red label. Lighter red towards purple color Mostly older oak barrel aromas with hints of fruity aspects trying to surface during the first 5 minutes in the glass. Ten minutes later and the wine proves as a smooth light-bodied wine with a reasonable acidity intermingling with some peppery notes to end with a smooth well-rounded finish. Fairly interesting wine with an up-front acidity and a good feel. A pleasantly drinking and barely interesting wine Ah yes. Did I mention this was a Pinot Noir-Merlot combination ? Drink 2007-2008
  6. Andre

    Gift-wrapping wine gifts

    I love see through packing for the wines. I had been using a lot of it in my wine shop and it really looks good with the propper tie. Today producers are coming up with beautiful bottles and labels...why hide them. As far as the wooden boxes are concerned; there is really not much use for them unless you would like to keep the wine in the original gift box for whatever reason.
  7. Andre

    Grandjo 2002

    Grandjo Colheita Tardia, Real Companhia Velha, Douro 2002 Portugal's Botrytis Cinerea version from Semillon grapes The wine has all the characteristics of a well made Botrytis wine: Yellow shifting into light golden lively color. A nose reminiscent of dried apricots and citrus blossom. The flavors are repeated in the mouth with a slightly overpowering sweetness. The wine is indeed tasty yet simple and not complex. Enjoy 2007-2018.
  8. The regular bottling and perhaps my favorite of the two.
  9. Vertical tasting Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998 Tasted January 6th 2006. Friends, cold weather, hot food and of we go: Cotes-du-Rhone Villages Sablet Chateau du Trignon, Blanc de Blanc 1994 Waited just a bit too much on this one. Fond memories of this rare breed of white amongst the reds leaves a numb straw color, a nose combining pecan nuts and honey with hints of an oaky vin jaune, soft fading body and a now dominant wet oak ending. Way past its speak to leave us only with oak and memories. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Chateau de la Gardine 1998 Although still deep and lively color, this is a quite simple, far from complex Chateauneuf with an appealing fruit driven nose and mild lingering spice. The wine fails in terms of feel and complexity in the mouth and is a somehow disappointing example of the vintage. Try the Cuvee des Generation from the same producer as it prove to be of a much bigger body and more promising feel. The wine is better enjoyed by itself or with a simple red meat dish and shows quite a bit of sediments. Drink now 2008. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Bosquet des Papes 1998 This is a great drinking, ripe and extremely well balanced Chateauneuf-du pape. A dry consistent nose with slowly developing fruit, fully mature and slowly revealing a second and third layer. Medium bodied with a fair amount of acidity, this wine can hardly be termed impressive when entering the mouth. Half an hour later and this wine still maintains consistency and flavors of ripening fruit spice, and complimenting older oak, in an admirable manner. A great medium to full bodied food companion with perfect balance and consistency. Very well made and enjoyable Chateauneuf of a dry characteristics. Drink now – 2011. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Domaine La Crau des Papes 1998 An appealing nose opens up with a dominant fruit driven Grenache nose with hints of concentrated fruits lingering for a while. Good concentration though a rather basic Chateauneuf without the complexity of this fine vintage. Medium bodied and fruit driven once allowed to open-up with the right amount of spice adding balance to the almost sweet fruity texture, good enough acidity and medium long constant though not complex finish. A well made modern Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a good concentration yet not complex and perhaps in need for further development for better balance. Drink 2008-2011. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Domain du Vieux Telegraphe La Crau 1998 Dark dense very deep color, somehow darker than most Chateauneuf of the 1998 vintage. An expressive concentrated black cherry and raspberry liquer nose with hints of black pepper and medium aged well-felt oaky bouquet. This massive and concentrated wine is a great first impression on a first sniff or taste. Seconds , and minutes later the wine's dense fruity expression fails to develop further layers and complexity. This is a hot climate fruity modern expression of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a well built structure that consists of fruit and spicy oak that lingers on to a fairly long aftertaste. The wine proves a bit alcoholic and is an unfriendly food match . A modern dominant Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Drink 2007-2015. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos des Papes 1998 As good as it gets. This is the best expression of traditional Chateauneuf-du-Pape that I have tasted. A slow to open multi-layered nose full of spicy fruit, herbs, some more spice and minerals perfectly balanced slowly surfacing layer after layer. This perfectly equalized wine may only be the outcome of many years of traditional dedication. In the mouth the wine starts with a smooth dry and ripe fruity feel with a very good acidity quoted by plenty of ripe tannins that disappear into a spicy / earthy long and complex finish. This is a masterpiece and although I hate to compare wines, not to mention this uniquely divers region, so far, the Clos des Pape proves to be best 1998 Chateauneuf-du-Pape that I have tasted. Drink 2007-2020. The 1998 vintage is opening up very nicely while those blending in more Mourvedre have managed more complex wines.
  10. Adding to Brad's, naimly 1st choice. Valtelina Superiore 3-4 yeras old, a semi dry german Spatlese
  11. Le Pietre Rosso Veronese Deep concentrated color with considerable depth. Concentrated raspberry and prune nose with hints of spice and fresh acidic Mediterranean herbs. Soft on the entry showing a medium + body, soft fruit and a spicy finish. Not too complex yet surprisingly traditional style with Northern Rhone like flavors. Concentrated round and balanced. Rosso di Montepulciano Carpinetto 2003 A bit slow to open with some olives, ripe and green fruits, interesting with a good concentration. Soft with a very good acidity, traditional and new oak and a medium short finish. Quite alcoholic at the end. The winemaker had abused the skin to the fullest, yet the grape itself lacks concentration. The over extraction of the grapes is obvious after 20-30 minutes resulting in harsh tannins. By the time the wine gains balance, not much remains. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Chateau de Beaucastel 1995 Deep red Bordeaux color shifting to red-orange rims. A concentrated nose jumps up from the glass with a complex yet extremely well balanced bouquet ending with a mildly dusty finish. Massive and still closed with a huge amount of balanced spice and tannins dominating the back. 30-40 minutes later and the wine shows hints of development yet three to five years is what this wine needs to unveil its true potential. Drink 2010-2015.
  12. Andre

    Beaujolais Nouveau Days

    Happy wine year to all, I am doing just fine with the fruity, easy to drink, smooth Beaujolais Nouveau by Albert Bichot. It seems less acidic this year and somehow smoother.
  13. Andre

    White Rioja

    The Marques de Caceres Crianza white should easily fit with the Grovina while thre Conde de Valdemar, Finca Alta de Cantabria will better belong to the Organza. I do believe white Rioja wines are important to any open-minded world oriented restaurant.
  14. Cote-Rotie Rene Rostaing 1999 Sweet musky nose of mild appealing spice. Appealing cassis and raspberries join in shortly after the wine was poured. Smooth light sweet feel with a mild acidity, herbs and spice. A light bodied Cote-Rotie with a smooth spicy finish. Ripe, tasty, yet simple and one dimensional. An appealing yet disappointing Cote-Rotie in terms of body and complexity. Drink 2006-2007. Tasted October 2006. I realize this is Rostaing's simpler version, yet I find no relation to his top wines, not something I would expect from a viticulteur.
  15. I keep reading about those restrictions in the "land of the free" and I am both worried and troubled. .
  16. If I bring in some ripe Egyptian Guava home, my beloved wife will not hesitate to change the lock. Quite appealing in a fruity Sauvignon Blance though.
  17. With pleasure Mary, Katzerin is Golan Height's winery [yarden being its most famous] top wine series. The wine had been known to be the most expensive in I srael ever since their first release in 1990 [ 20$ then ] The wine had been increasing in price ever since: 1990-1993-1996-2000 produced apx once every three years or so. Golan Heights produces several milion bottles a year known to be of good technical quality. Zauberman is a very small producer of a local gargist size producing apx 6000 bottles . Merlot Zauberman - nearly 90% of the wineries production, is pretty much amongst the best Merlot in Israel priced around 40$ a bottle. The Merlot grapes are taken from Karmei Yossef area located ay the now booming Yoav Yehuda at the slopes of the Jerusalem mountains. The Cabernet Sauvignon LE is a very small, high alcohol content, extra concentrated wine of an Amarone nature. The winemaker is probably using very low yield vines and cold drying the grapes for higher concentration. Although of small size, the winery is equiped with state of the art latest equipment. The winery is indeed located at Mr. Zauberman's "garage".
  18. The fast developing Israeli wine scene has several aspects. One of the leading Gargists - Zauberman has just released his secon L E priced at 110 $ a bottle. Only 500 bottles produced so might not be a big deal though the quality and intensity are leaving the competition behind. Although the Katzerin by Yarden is selling at around 100$ in the States [around 40% more than in Israel] Zauberman LE Cab is the most expensive Israeli wine on release. Zauberman Merlot 2003Dark intense deep colors of red leading to numb borders. New oak with some fruits gradually open-up with lingering dusty oak. Coffee, roasted oak, mild vanilla notes. Nuts, lactic aromas are the second impression of this concentrated slow to open wine. Soft on the entry with a smooth silky feel, sufficient acidity [barely]. Soft fruity raspberries, smooth and mildly sweet. 20 minutes later and the oak subsides to reveal a fuller more balanced body. Drink now – 2009. Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition 2002 Oak dominated, smooth textured and a bit alcoholic. In need of a couple of hours to open-up Full – medium + body with concentrated fruits, coherent with the spicy aspect, long and reasonably complex. A smooth long finish in need of time to mature and develop. Amarone style in terms of sweetness and the sometimes alcoholic feel yet smooth and very well balanced. Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition 2003 Barrel tasted. An impressive concentration with a fruity aspect well blendede with oak and spice to create perhaps the most powerful and impressive body any Israeli wine possessed before. The wines impressive aspects don't overshadow its appealing character. Looking forward to tasting the wine when released. Well done ! Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition 2004Barrel tasted Very concentrated deep color. Deep scented nose, vanilla, chocolate and mild oak. Smooth and concentrated enough to be termed interesting with subtle use of oak , mild sweetness and a fairly long finish. Promising
  19. Andre

    Wine Tag: C

    Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, Domaine Comte George de Vogue 1996. [bottle # 124] Deep red cherry shifting into amber color. A concentrated fruity nose, slightly alcoholic with an older wine aroma sneaking under fruit concentration ending with mild spice turning into a more dominant black pepper. A Soft round mouth-filling wine is displayed on the entrance of the wine to the mouth. Ripe to over-ripe fruit and a sharp acidity provides the second impression ending with a sharp balanced finish. A wonderful classic to enjoy now – 2011.
  20. Pinotage Hartenberg, Stellenbosch 2001 Dark, intense deep cherry-black cherry color. Concentrated liquorish aromas of raspberries and spice. Sweetness of fruits leads the nose blending with spice and tobacco in an attractive manner. Very concentrated in need of several minutes in the glass to open. Soft ripe and mouth-filling with just the right amount of acidity to back up the ripe sweet fruit. Develops into a round, fruity, well balanced wine with complimenting subtle oak , and an excellent use of oak it is ! Although not too deep or long, this is a concentrated fruit driven wine with complimenting oak, soft ripe and very well balanced. Drink now – 2008. Brunello di Montalcino Banfi 1997 Very dark red, almost black color with lots of depth. Spice and lingering wood bouquet begin the acquaintance with this sleeping hulk. Minutes and almost 3 hours later and concentrated syrupy raspberry and casis syrup start to surface with remarkable dominance. Full bodied with lots of now dominant acidity, spice and herbs impressively balanced with a very long off dry, fruit driven and earthy finish. A wonderful show now starting to open-up. Drink 2007-2016.
  21. Cabernet Sauvignon Mrques de Casa Concha, Concha Y Toro 2004 Deep dark bordeaux color shifting into garnet- brick colored rim. Toasted and dusty nose begins a rather short yet impressive Australian type tobacco fruit mixture. Dried and fresh concentrated fruit aromas, very well balanced and quite nicely built into a fading new oak finish. Soft and round entry with cassis and raspberries leading the concentrated fruit flavors coated by lots of ripe soft tannins. Well balanced with a slight alcoholic finish coated with eucalyptus and spice. Globalization is hitting hard on this world famous brand allowing a friendly approach on the expense of layers of flavors. Tasted August 21, 2006
  22. Andre

    TN:  TTG#8

    Your amazing notes on the Barolos may cover up the crimes of opening such young GC Bordeaux wines. Thanks for sharing
  23. Andre

    Tasting Peace

    Thank you Steven. Michael, Commerce with an "enemy" such as Lebanon is illeagl, pretty much like Cuban cigars in the states, yet, we buy privately in Europe and even New-York is an option. Try AStor wines [ I think bordering the 8th in the village ]they should carry Musar, Kefraya and Kssara. When it comes to food and wine matching this is where the more experienced Lebanese wines rule. I had some Sfiha, Kube' and Fatayer as appetizers with the wines. Thanks for your kind comments.
  24. Andre

    Tasting Peace

    Cross border Lebanese – Israeli Wine Tasting. Thursday July 20, 2006 A peaceful Mediterranean is a dream world. Sunny blue skies, blue sea, great simple food, great weather and an enchanting atmosphere, paradise on earth. Yet, paradise is an exclusive place. It is a place for those who can afford the apples and their serpents turning the rest into nothing but a temporary illusion, an illusion enhanced by wine-one of three pillars the Mediterranean exists on. Following is a tasting of one very important thing we share with our Lebanese brethren and perhaps the finest cure for countless scars both sides share. Cabernet Sauvignon Bustan, Israel 1995. The devotion of Mr. Fogler to the couple of barrels he produces is well expressed in the second wine he produces. Sharp well expressed Galilee Cabernet flavors with enough acidity to allow another 2 years of development. The oak on this medium bodied Cabernet had perfectly blended in and is showing an appealing toasted nose notably older bitter chocolate and caramel and a well balanced body with a spicy finish. I would expect more complexity of a 10 year old, yet the dominant barrel sets the tempo and the fruit is somehow in the back behind a still sharp acidity. Drink now -2008. Chateau Musar, Ghazir Lebanon 1995. Perhaps one of the most distinctive Musars of the 90's if one is to generalize about this unique winery and vintage expressive wines. Light red shifting into brick colored edges The Volatile acidity jumps up the nose to reside as a pillar for what follows: a wide array of earthy notes, dried peaches and prunes, dried herbs and complimenting leather and oak. The impressive bouquet is a promise of width and complexity for those who connect. In the mouth, a complex gentle fruit, sharp acidity and heavier earthy flavor provide for this distinctive structure ending with spicy and mild oak finish accompanied by a thin but sharp acidity. The Cabernet characteristics tend to disappear under a complex unit of sharp acidic yet refined flavors proving the ingenuity of the creator. What a show! Drink now – 2010. Cuvee Irini Tzora, Israel 1996. 28 month in French and Russian oak with less than 10% new barrels is one of Roni James' greatest creations. Red- brick-numb color with lots of depth. Sweet dried fruit aromas blend with fresh and dried herbs with a new layer of aroma surfacing every few seconds. Sweet Tobacco and mild toasted oak join the fiesta setting some sort of a frame to the erupting bouquet. Smooth and chewy on the entrance accompanied by mild complimenting acidity concentrated dried fruit with some fresh herbs leading the flavors from the midst of the tongue to a complimenting biter/ toasted finish of a mineral aspect. Just 12% alcohol yet the 50% merlot 50% Cabernet wine is a one perfectly balanced full-bodied, full flavored unit with a very long finish. Drink now – 2009. Chateau Musar, Ghazir Lebanon 1996. Perhaps the best sign of a wineries dedication to its vineyard and respect to nature is the lack of consistency between one vintage to the other and this 1996 Musar sets the perfect example. A deeper darker color than the pale redish aspects of an aged Musar. An upfront well defined fruity nose with hints of dried herbs and a mild French oak finish. Well defined flavors in the mouth yet the wine seems to lack the multi-Musar dimension that takes us from friendliness to rough but interesting sense enchanting ride of layers and flavors. Further development of character could prove interesting yet I find the lack of acidity of this vintage to derive this wine of a solid structure and from further development. Merlot Galil region, Caesarea Cellars 1997 The first release from this showcase "Caesarea Cellars" and a pleasant one. Dark reddish color with little depth. Smooth sweet fruit aroma with dominant vanilla that adds further sweetness to the bouquet and confines it to one direction. Smooth and gentle, simple and enjoyable well balanced wine that seem to be one dimensional as an everyday wine. This fairly simple wine is at its peak so it should best be drunk now through 2007. Perhaps there is a reason why our Lebanese colleagues tend to avoid this variety. Chateau Musar, Ghazir Lebanon 1997. Massive and powerful are two thoughts that surface when the first impression of this wine comes to mind. A rich and powerful nose with distinctive volatile acidity that leads the aromas of this very slow to open wine. 6 hours of an open bottle had done little to illuminate this wine's layers and complexity yet perhaps a dominant Cabernet and oak combination may derive this wine from its intended balance. The mouth continues the features of the nose, this time with a too dominant acidity probably due to the addition of Tartaric acid. Potential is surely there and a couple or more years will add further complexity to this sleeping wrestler yet, finess and balance will not be the highlights of this wine. Too much Cabernet flavors that only seem to intensify as the wine become in contact with air. Drink 2008-2015 Cabernet Sauvignon , Golan Heights, Yarden 1998. The problematic heat waves of 1998 seem to had done little to shake the basis of one of the most consistent quality wines Israel produces. Deep concentrated red-dark color. Lots of strength is displayed through the nose of a new oak character mildly coated with a sweet juicy aspect of little complexity. An impressive entry to the mouth that fails to develop and create the complexity needed for this wine's balance. Still young with powerful tannins and a complimenting acidity that might be drunk now but I would suggest 3 more years that may allow the wine to ripen and soften creating a fuller mouth-feel. Drink 2008-2010. Chateau Kefraya, Bekaa Lebanon 1998 More grape varieties are stepping in on the Lebanese side yet the traditional Musar techniques seem to prove more distinctive. Pale red colors shifting into a darker center with a considerable depth. A wonderfully complex nose is very well expressed as a cabernet structured bouquet with complimenting sharp fruity flavors of an acidic aspect. Should it have been deeper with more layers, I would have been impressed. Not full mature flavors are the only setback for this rich and chewy wine. It seems the winemaker was too worried about the cleanliness of his product and preferred to blend in some immature wine. Several minutes more of air and the wine highlights the heavier grapes and flavor. Could be enjoyed now but 2 more years mat bring better balance to this uncomplete wine. Drink 2007-2010. Cabernet Sauvignon Flam Reserve 1999 This is the first reserve from this leading boutique winery. Fair Bordeaux color with some depth. An appealing nose of mildly toasted oak smoothing its way into aromas of prunes and forest berries that are perhaps to gentle to create balance. Smooth entry to the mouth with a reasonable acidity backing up ripe fruity flavors that tend to disappear under this wine's ripe soft tannins and oaky impression. This is perhaps the first time I had noted balance and readiness to drink this wine. Drink now – 2008. Chateau Kefraya, Bekaa Lebanon 1999 The Syrah steps into every aspect of this wine Darker color than any of the former Lebanese wine we had tasted before brings a dark cherry colors shifting into a thin brick painted rim. Expressive fruit that most tasters found appealing declared this wine's modern aspect. Soft smooth entry continued by concentrated raspberry and black berry flavors, well balanced acidity and a mildly spicy, still a bit immature finish. Very careful use of oak adds to the complexity of the wine yet derives this wine from its unity of flavors. Drink now – 2010. May this whole region be occupied with the growing of fine grapes, the art of making wine and the pleasure of enjoying it with our neighbors who can be nothing else but family, friends or lovers. And may the strength of those who crave for power and submission be lost on a long dead plant somewhere in space where violence, at one point or another, had the upper hand.
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