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Everything posted by Andre

  1. Andre

    Playing around

    Greetings all, Not a dull moment on this side of the world…. Although historically bound together, cheese and wine are not easy to match. The age of both products is an important factor when the matching takes place along with the type of bread, accompaniment [vegetables, fruits] and of course the timing and order of consumption. Keeping that in mind, the following cheese and wine matching took place: 1. Goat cheese roulade coated with minced black pepper Accompanied by White Zinfandel Herzog 2001. 2. Saint-Maure classic [ not cendre’ ] Touraine style. Accompanied by Chenin Blanc Villiera 2002, RSA. 3. Crottin de Chavignol or simply Chavignol Accompanied by Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Ingoldby, Macleren Vale , Australia. 4. Valencay Accompanied by Cote du Rhone Belleruche white 2000 by Chapoutier 5. Brie Swiss style [ thicker than the classic Brie and longer aging] Accompanied by Modello 2001 by Masi 6. Caciotta Sardo Accompanied by Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection Tsora, Israel 1995. 7. Kasseri by Pittas [ Cyprus ] Merlot 2002 Mony winery, Soreq valley, Israel. 8. Edom: Manchego style soaked in red wine Accompanied by Fuente de Irache Grand Reserva, Navarra 1976. 9. Turquiz: aged sheep and goat cheese with a Roquefort like texture. Accompanied by Chardonnay the valleys, Penfolds, Australia 1995. 10. 7 months old Danish Blue Accompanied by Port Alexander. Thery essence of life was revealed. "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" [ K.V.]
  2. Andre

    Menu Help

    Greetings and welcome, I would try some voiled soft shells [ namely shrimps ] with some balanced fresh herb sauce. St moore goat cheese - 3 weeks old. Sea- Bream in lemon and herb sauce. enjoy !
  3. Back in 1997 I decided to hold a 1978-1993 Bordeaux tasting of the best wineries for my clients. Nobody was ready for this, not the customers nor I for the remarks that still wake me up at night. I used every little drop of patience I had to "defend" the best GC at an excellent shape ! After a sleepless night one of the customers who attended the tasting dropped in to express his disappointment. I told him I was disappointed too. "You agree then" he smiled. I explained that my disappointement comes from him. Never so him again. Never felt better in my life.
  4. After a taste of the must of some red Burgenders in the area of Arad [ Romania ] ending the harvest on September 29th, the first impression is of a good to very good vintage. In Tokaji [ Hungary ] there is little hope for Aszu this year. Winemakers are facing a tough choice between a safe late harvest, meaning now, or taking a rather big chance hoping for a miracle during October. With modern winemaking invading the region, mainly through the powerful French companies, I am quite certain we will see more "chateau" and "cuvee" style wines this year than ever.
  5. Andre

    Menu Ideas

    I would start with fresh shrimps boiled served with Charoub molasses [ no cream ] The best aged veal you can find - served rare with the only sauce in mind - deglazing with a good shiraz. I would season with a tiny bit of Atlantic salt. Marinated lamb chops in Shiraz fried with a tiny bit of Fichoulin olive oil and served Med. The Dessert could be a year old Spanish Manchego cheese. or 73% dark chocolate with allspice bits and nutmeg parfait.
  6. This period being amongst the two best to sell wine [ Jewish new year -0 Rosh Hashana and Passover ] wineries are doing their best to ride the wave. New kids on the block: Following the change in the historical top management of the Carmel winery, the new CEO, David Ziv, is off to deal with two of Carmel’s biggest problems: Vineyards and imaging. To deal with Carmel’s lack of control in the vineyards, growers are currently confined to 1400 kg of Merlot per Dunam and 1200 kg of Cabernet. Growers are finally being paid by the acre and not by the weight of the grapes. Carmel consists of apx. 60 % of the Israeli wine market and ownes three wineries: Zichron Yaakov – responsible for 70 % of Carmel’s red grapes. Rishon Letsiyon – were most bottling takes place. Ramat Arad – Carmel’s new winery that hopes to begin Carmel’s estate wines. Most wines are still bottled in Rishon with the exception of Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Ramat Arad 2000. Carmel produces 30% grape juice, 30% sacramental wines [ sweetened cooked wines ], 30 % simple table wines and 10 % quality wines [ or better said – their quality brand names ]. The new “Regional” is supposed to deal with the medium quality old fashioned image of Carmel. Being the owner of most vineyards in Israel, they are going for single vineyard concept for their “regional” wines. New release: ýSeptemberý ý2003. Even though most fine wines in Israel are sold with English labels as a clear tendency to export, Carmel chose Hebrew labels for the “Regional” line sold in Israel. Tasting September 11th 2003: Chardonnay Tavor, Regional series 2002, by Carmel: Only 2000 bottles produced. Clear goldish brilliant color. Very ripe aromatic nose with hints of vanilla, sweet cherries, tobacco and kiwi shell, ripe melons and sweet must. A Very pleasant and round nose. In the mouth the wine is very smooth on the entrance with a well balanced acidity and a medium body. The finish is well balanced except for some bacteria stink that probably derives from the winemaker’s equipment. Fermented and aged in oak for 8 months sur lie. Wine makers Tsvi Skates and Haim Vichtenhaim did a great job on this one. 15 $ Drink 2003-2005. Syrah Ramat Arad, regional series 2001 by Carmel. 4000 bottles produced. Location: North-Eastern part of the Negev [ South] Oak: 6 month in 1 – 2 y. French oak. Brix 23 Ph 3.7 Dark intense red-ruby color. Nose is still closed [ the wine is not yet officially released ], slightly vegi with notes of green tannins and some red sour fruits and spices lingering in the back. The nose opens up a bit after a couple of minutes, but will need several months to express balance. New oak is currently overpowering the wine’s nose. In the mouth the wine is Jammy on the entrance with intense aroma of fresh berries. Good balance. The finish indicates a young and still closed wine well balanced with oak but perhaps slightly too toasted. A promising wine that will be a pleasure to drink in 6 – 12 months. Wine Maker: Zichron’s Phillip Lichtenstein. 15 $ drink 2004- 2005. Cabernet Sauvignon Zarit [ Kadesh Valley ] , regional series 2001 by Carmel. Elevation: 480m above sea level Brix: 24.1 Ph: 3.7 12 months in 1-2y french oak. Dark black cherry intense deep color. The oak slightly dominates in this massive syrupie fruit attack dominated by cassis and raspberries. Still closed, the nose is very promising. Dominates the mouth on the entry with some hard tannins and slowly developing concentrated red fruits. Toasted oak, good acidity and a medium + body end this well made wine. The after taste is well balanced with oak, dark chocolate and dried sour fruits. Decanter needed for this wine or a large Bordeaux glass and some patience. Carmel’s slightly overripe stink is again hovering , Otherwise, a well made good structure cabernet that will develop well. Dring 2004-2008. 20 $ Cabernet Sauvignon, Ramat Arad , regional series, 2000 by Carmel. Southern Israel region. 500m above sea level. Take left and you can hit the lowest point on earth in less than an hour, the Dead sea –416 m. Alcohol: 14% Brix: 25 Very dark ruby red cherry color. A Massive red fruit with aged oak – Rioja type nose. Concentrated and still closed at the beginning but opens up after several minutes. The palate discovers a massive young wine with plenty of soft and hard tannins and complimenting french oak First impression: Not a Carmel wine. A classic hot climate estate wine with the winemaker’s full attention apparent in every detail. The medium long aftertaste is dominated by oak in this very young fruity wine. Drink 2004-2007. 23 $ This is a new era for Carmel, clearly not a money maker.
  7. I appriciate Hugh Johnson very much but I am not sure I find the style in the new vrsion of the Atlas with Robinson as clear as before. It is like a body with two heads. Subjects are not full clarified and the introduction to many sections is not providing the simple straight forward Johnson style. Make no mistake, I worship Robinson as well.
  8. To confirm my memory I opened a bottle of Cabernet Mondavi Reserve 1994. I am eating my words here. A terrible waste of money both in terms of a premature opening and in terms of an overpriced wines. Indeed the tannins were massive but as far as complexity is concerned ....
  9. Geyser Peak [ Sonoma county ] and Raymond are both interesting and good value. Mondavi Resrve 1994 and Silver Oak 1994 are amongst the best I have tasted.
  10. "These wines dance on your palate rather than attempt to conquer it" Chapeau Craig ! I will add the complexity dimension. Good value Bordeaux wines are simply more complex than new world wines. The provide an extra dimension during their consumption [ this could be skipped while tasting ]. My list of good value Bordeaux: Chateau Fonneuve, Premier cote de Bordeaux. 10 $ Chateau Dupin, Bordeaux Superior. 9 $ Chateau Bonnet, Entre deux Mere, white. 10-12 $ Chateau Brown Lamartine. 20 $ Medoc, Maison Sichel. 20$ Saint Emilion, Maison Sichel. 20 $ Chateau Cheval D’Or 10 $ Chateau de Gaillat [ Grave ] 20 $ Chateau de Grand Moueys 10 $ [ their oak aged is less interesting ] Domaine L’ile Margeaux 20 $ Chateau Jean Guilaut [ 12 $ ] Chateau Terre Rouge [ 20 $ ] Chateau Tour de Segur [ 20 $ ] Chateau Taulliac [ 12 $ ] Chateau Lamote [ 12 $ ] Chateau Methee [ 12 $ ] Chateau Planer Cuvee prestige [ 12 $ ] Chateau Romfort [ 15 $ ]
  11. I did not like the earlier versions of the Centine, namely the 1997 and 1998. They lacked balance and were fairly simple. I will give the 2000 a try following this report.
  12. Andre


    Greetings mark, If the wine maker adds in grape juice, it is dificult to tell apart. An extra fizz should be the only apparent difference. If he adds in any other type of sugar, their will be a slight stinging notion while swallowing the wine [ common to sweetened cheap Muscat wines ]. Such practices are also common for Chianti in a method called "governo" when very sweet dried grape must is added for refermentation. Also: The wine might turn out slightly alcoholic. Higher alcoholic content compared to other wines in the area. Less astringent when young. Not an easy job to detect , especially in the case of Pinot.
  13. This reminds me of the bumper-sticker: If you drink, don't park. >Accidents cause people. > My 8 month pregnant wife keeps blaming me for a second boy. Should I have listened to her and brought her favorite wine a couple of days earlier...
  14. Great choice, great description of both place and wine. I was wondering who was drinking all those Gaja wines. A personal favorite of mine from Sardegna, as an every day wine, is the Costera by Argiolas. I fully agree about the future of this island as far as progress. I will add that the future of Grenache, in terms of popularity as a fine wine, I believe will increase as well.
  15. Andre

    GM vines

    Let me guess, Modified grapes will become the convinient and popular grapes while the naturally grown will turn to be 5 times more expensive [ Organic , Bio-D ....] What is next big brother ?
  16. In an earlier thread I related the development of The Israeli wine market to the Australian during 1950-1970. Once the market opened-up competition is bound to elevate quality. amongst the wines you mentioned I did not come across the Samson Height Chardonnay as it is probably uniquely exported to the U.S. [ with simillar wines like Kineret ]. They might be labeled differently in Israel. Efrat specializes in sweet and fortified wines. Their shift into the dry wine world is lame and slow. Nothing to write home about. Amiad winery specializes in fruit wines and in the last 3 years some red and whites. Their best wine is the Sauvignon Blanc. Lately, their wine maker, Jeff had died. I don't believe they are producing any wines now, just fruit liquers. Hamasreq were making some pretty awful wines but I am not familiar with their last vintage. Benyamina is a large industrial winery that had been strugling to make a worth while wine for so many years. Finally they changed winemakers and Mr. Sasson, the new winemaker, should slightly elevate the quality. They are out with a deluded Tempranillo and Viognier for the first time in Israel. Nothing to write home about. Dalton are improving big time. They produce good quality medium bodied wines under the guidness of a South-African wine maker. Their Sauvignon Blanc is a big hit in Israel. Galil mountain Yiron 2000 is the best wine to come out from Golan Heights new winery in the Galilee. Their Merlot and Cabernet Galil are light bodied and simple. The Yiron is a Cab - Merlot blend, Medium bodied that should develop in the next 2 years. [drinkable now but will be rounder in a tear or two ]. The Recanati Cab 2000 is again a very simple wine with dominat green tannins. Go for the Recanati Reserve, much better in terms of body and balance. It is now safe to say: Israeli Harvest is 20% less than last year due to the extreme weather.
  17. http://www.lexpress.fr/express/info/societ...vin/dossier.asp
  18. A recommendation for Israeli wines A good sommelier would be asking you question before recommending wines. I chose these following wines according to their quality and potential. When it comes to a new wine region, I would suggest being open minded, even if you have to suffer through a relatively high percentage of poorly made and dull wines. It will be worth it when you come across the real thing. Many wine amateurs can be found in the Israeli wine scene and might be praised either by their friends or good PR. The wines: Amphora Professionally made wines available in the US of A. [East Coast] Cabernet Merlot 2001. This is a good example of marriage between the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A concentrated nose of ripe red fruit with hints of red raisins and a subtle oak finish. Medium to full bodied wine that is well balanced now but will continue to evolve till 2006-2007. Bravdo 2001, Karmei Yossef. A medium bodied good quality Cabernet Sauvignon with distinctive sweet tannins lingering in the mouth in the aftertaste. The use of different temperatures while fermenting, resulted in soft tannins very well balanced with fruits. An impressive first wine from this winery will continue to evolve in the bottle in the coming 2 years. Lacks complexity. Castel Grand Vin 2000. Professionally made wines available all over the world. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% Merlot, Bordeaux style. One of Israel’s leading French style wines. This medium bodied wine is a school for the use of French Barique. The dominant French Oak flavors simply shadow any other flavor setting the red ripe fruits and good acidity aside. Castel “C” Chardonnay 2001. Grown or “eleve” in the barrel Bourgogne style for the first time. Medium bodied, good texture, very good use of oak [ blends very nicely with the wine ]. Drink 2004-2008. Ilan Misty Hills 2000, Tsora. Made with the terroire in mind. Available in Israel only. A cebernet Sauvignon – Merlot blend. A long distance runner from the Neveh Ilan in the Jerusalem mountains. Plenty of fruits, fresh and dry, herbs, spices and balanced oak flavores. Though the wine is still closed, it is very well balanced with good acidity and plenty of red fruits. Very good potential. Cabernet Sauvignon Ilan 2000, Tsora. Another great wine to look out for from this unique winery. Ilan Cab 2000 100% Cab.Bin 72 Bottled June 2002 Red light cherry color with some depth Ripe fruits toward dry plums with some black pepper and nutmeg in the back, sweet tobaco and fresh vanilla, sweet butterscotch candies. Meduim bodied spicy with red fruits and tons of tannins and slightly alcoholic. Some of the fruits was lost during fermentation.[28 degrees top temp ] Starts with a very low temperature after the maceration froid [ 15 c ] fermentation takes 10 days. Long distant runner. Little acidity was\added. Ilan Cab 2001 a tasting from the bottling line: Cherry bordeaux color with some depth Red and black cherries with raspberries and black currants with toasted oak in the back. A concentrated syrupy nose with cassis med. + toasted oak. Still closed yet amazing. Some vanilla Nov 2001- July 2003. Allier 30% new. In the mouth a very concentrated nose full of ripe fruits. Some of the wine was oxidized. Wet wood and slight bacteria. Young Astringent yet ripe tannins. 2001 – Thick skins – lots of tannins. Some green tannins 6.5 % Merlot. 12 seconds sweet tannin finish. Elul 2001, Sea-Horse winery. Only God knows where these Gargists take their grapes from. Consistent tracking of the good vineyards and some sleuth work, will lead most tracks of good Cabernet to the Northern Galilee in the Northern Israeli border, and Merlot to Moav- Judah [surrounding Jerusalem]. Israel has no control over the viticulture and wine making process aside from the ministry of Health. 70% Cab. 28% Merlot and 2% Syrah turn this 1 year oak aged wine to a very good harmony between balance and complexity. Very enjoyable now and may continue to evolve until 2005. Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Merlot Reserve 2001, Flam Available in the US of A. by Group Biagio. [East Coast]. Both of these wines are a mix between traditional and modern technique of wine making. I tend to prefer the more “fat” rich and complex Merlot than the “correct” Cabernet, though the latter leads in most Israeli wine tastings. Very good wines. I will taste the newly released 2001 vintages again and post my notes later on. 2001 resulted in grapes with a thicker skin – well-extracted phenols could mean great wines this year, Not many wine makers managed to do this right, though I am still waiting for a surprise. Jonathan Tishbi Reserve 1999, Three single vineyard wines under the same label were created this year; Sde – Boker : Hot climate Southern vineyard that resulted in a ready for drinking medium bodied wine though lacks complexity. Kerem Ben Zimra: the famous North- Galilee vineyard resulting in good red friut concentration, yet again lacks a dimension to be somehow interesting. Well made though. Kfar Yuval: This is Tishbi’s best wine so far. A Long distance runner with a good structure, nice firm tannins, good acidity and a good potential. Drink 2005-2008. Kfar Yuval is right at the northern border with Lebanon. Primo Merlot 2001, Orna Chilag. One of Israel’s best Merlot in terms of complexity, balance, traditional use of oak and a well structured wine. Most of the wine was produced from free run juice aged in 1\3 new oak with mixed French and Spanish oak. Slightly alcoholic finish. Orna, a long term peace activist, sought a remedy for many years of politics. This straightforward wine is an excellent start. Impressive. Drink 2004-2006. Most of the wine is sold in fashion stores in Israel and through direct marketing. Other good producers: Margalit vintages 1993 / 2000 Chateau Golan vintage 2000 Meishar vintage 2000 Zauberman Merlot 2000 Soreq vintage 2000. Should be intersting though have not tasted the wine: Ramim Cab. reserve 2000. Could be that the wines are sold as clean skin. Feel free to ask on specific Israeli wines you come across that are not stated here.
  19. Thanks Doc. Gaja's positive influence on all Piemontese winemaking (or all Italian winemaking for that matter) cannot be denied. Sperss, like all the wines from Angelo Gaja are always of the highest qualtity - and price. It is however not on my personal short list of wines I would personally buy. There are just too many other Baroli that are more interesting and that cost less. Thank you for another great article Craig, I full agree about Angelo Gaja. The wines seem to lack the complexity and unique character other fine Barolos have. Many of the things you wrote about Barolo are true for Chianti. They all divide into two basic groups. Modern Chianti dominated by friut and oak, and traditional Chianti with its dry earthy finish and acidic aftertaste. Hopes the classification system works for preserving the authenticity of the vineyards as supposed to.
  20. Andre

    TDG: Wine Camp: ABPG

    Thank you for the quick reply. I related it to the PG. I missed.
  21. Andre

    TDG: Wine Camp: ABPG

    Thank you for the article. Like Jean, I appriciate the Pinot G as food freindly. A Question if I may, It may be off topic or maybe not. Some tine ago I tasted a white from Colli that left a good impression on me: Colli Maceratesi Bianco, D.O.C. 1999, Azienda Agricola degli Azzoni Avogado Carradori. Pale yellow color with a dry well balanced taste and a fresh citrus bouquet with hits of sage and mint. I understood that the wine was mader from Maceratino. I know nothing of this grape even though it did remind me the PG. Any idea ?
  22. Andre

    Hitler Wine (from Italy)

    My brother was in Hong Kong some time ago and called me for advice on a new varietal line from the very popular Jackie Chan. I adviced him against buying the wine. He now practices martial arts and nags about my decision on a regular basis.
  23. Andre

    Turn up the Amps!

    I just came back from an olive oil tasting. Some were produced with the new Italian method called Sinolea and were distinguished by very fruity aromas. Luckily we are not into the habit of drinking olive oil from the glass, otherwise we will be needing another room as suggested Traditional olive oil tasting glasses are blue, by the way, but are not my cup of tea. I used a rather small and focused glass, did the job.
  24. Andre

    The Greatest Wine Ever?

    You have answered your question well. We seem to lack a dimension when professionally describing a really big wine. It is like showing a picture instead of a movie. How do I know I came across a wine like that ? I stop describing the wine and start dwelling on my own condition while drinking the wine. I came across a Miss Cardoso at the Quinta do Estanho stand. "May I taste your wines?” "Please have a seat" "I would rather stand, thank you." The young lady insisted. I started with the Port Quinta do Estanho 10 years old. This blended Tawny showed a concentrated nose of red fruits, fresh cut wood and sun dried red raisins. Full bodied, very rich, and very complex with a long finish. wow ! The 20-year-old followed. The rather gentle and smooth nose appeared rather flat on the first sniff but immediately opened up to convey layers of sour red fruits, dried fruits, herbs and spices. Excellent acidity, very rich, very complex, extremely well balanced, slightly alcoholic with a very long finish. As this tasting was not intended, I was beginning to sore... Late bottle Vintage 1997. Very rich very complex, led by a concentrated nose. Wonderful Concentrated fruits dominated this full bodied and long wine. Vintage port 2000: This very dark, nearly black wine hinted at a great developing nose. In the mouth the wine exploded into layers amongst layers of rich concentrated flavors of Venezuelan dark chocolate, fruit syrups, opening up like a peacock. Even though this wines maturity is estimated 2035-2040 the excitement overtook my objective side in a way 16-century poet John Donne would have termed as "endless sophomoric gymnastics of the mind". I was no longer in control, the wine took over. Being pleased at my reaction, the young lady suggested I should come back tomorrow to taste the 40-y. o. I almost skipped the promised visit the next day being extremely tired from the amount of concentration needed from me through the very long tastings. We only live once and I had to leave the next day. What the h ## "Good evening Miss Cardoso" "Good evening, please sit down" I did not even try to convey my preference this time. "I see that you have opened the 40 y.o." "More than 40 y.o., shall we start?” She meant all over again and she did. Cutting a long story short the more than 40 y.o.: This is the finest composition of gentle, pleasant, complex and rich I came across. I felt that any description would degrade this wine from its heavenly post where it belongs. I ordered the wine without asking the price. "Not for sale. It is for friends and relatives only" "Can I be your friend?”
  25. Andre, Do these really exist? I didn't really experience any when I lived there, It is important to have "very dry" stated on the label. The locals are not really into sherry and most sherry produced is either medium dry or cream, [ 80-85% of all sherry export ]. In the area of Xerez. the local consume the opposite, that is 80% dry and the rest sweet. Try the Santa Petra, Rene Santhagnes, very dry from Stellenbosch. With so many "sant" in the label, we are bound to get an honstly dry sherry.
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