Archive for the 'Israel Wine Lovers Club' Category

01
Nov
10

Ella Valley Vineyards


This past Wednesday, October 28th, I attended a wine tasting by the Israel Wine Lovers Group in Manhattan – at the end of two days at Kosherfest. The wines featured, this particular evening, were from Israel’s Ella Valley Vineyards, distributed here by Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.

The wines were presented by Joseph Berkowitz (from Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.). We tasted 7 different potables.

Ella Valley's tasting selections for the evening

We started with a Sauvignon Blanc 2008, pale straw colored, its aroma spoke of lime, pears with a hint of minerals. It tasted very citrusy, definitely showed promise.

Ella Valley Winery‘s Chardonnay 2007 followed. This wine is aged for 11 months in French oak barrels. On the nose one detects pineapple and apricot, with a small amount of minerals. We tasted the first bottle at room temperature and it fell a bit short of perfection. But, that was just the first bottle… Please read on until the end, gentle reader.

Joseph Berkowitz expounding on the qualities of each bottle

Next we had their Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. With 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot, this wine was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months. Its aroma shows some unique minerals and plums, with a hint of the French oak’s vanilla. It tasted far superior to the two previous selections, with a beautiful ruby red color and refined complexity that gave it depth and character.

We segued the above with the winery’s Merlot 2005. Aged for 16 months, it is bended from 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose one finds it ripe with red fruits and some seasoning herbs. On the palate the fruitiness becomes mixed with bitter chocolate and a hint of coffee. Very good!

Listening attentively to the individual responses to the wines

The Syrah 2006 was next in line. Blended from 90% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot, it was my favorite! Powerful, aromatic, aged for 16 months, Daniel Rogov gave it a 92 rating “outstanding in every way.”

We then moved to the Cabernet Franc 2007, with 90% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. its aroma bespeaks of pepper, blackcurrant, with a hint of tobacco and violets. Though it is usually quite lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, this particular selection had a dark red color. It opened to a distinctive peppery start but yielded to cherry, licorice and citrus peel on the long finish.

We went on tho the Ella Valley VineyardsChoice Merlot 2003. Aged for 17 months, it consists of 100% Merlot grapes. Powerful and gripping, royal purple in color, its aroma has strong notes of black cherry, berries and spices. In the glass it shows a full body and firm structure. Its elegance is obvious! It ends with an appealing spicy oak on the long finish.

After such a powerful wine, Mr. Berkowitz suggested we end the evening with a well chilled bottle of Chardonnay 2007. Unlike the first bottle we tasted (at room temperature),  this one was full of flavor and deliciously refreshing. It compared more than favorably with other Israeli and Chilean Chardonnays I tasted at Kosherfest earlier in the day. This time it showed the true reason Daniel Rogov awarded it a rating of 90.

CS

07
Oct
10

An upcoming wine tasting


Avi Ashman, president and founder of  Israeli Wine of the Month Club has announced its next wine tasting:

What: French Styled Wine from King David’s Valley — Ella Valley Vineyards

When: Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:00 PM

Price: $36.00 per person

Where: Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) 6th Floor
New York, NY 10018

The beautiful Ella Valley, the site of the first TKO (David vs. Goliath) is now the home of a young and efficient winery nested among quality vineyards. The French trained winemaker Doron Rav Han continues the ancient wine making tradition in the Valley — biblical wine making facility was discovered near the winery recently — and produces some of Israel’s better wines.

Sit back, relax and join other wine lovers at the Israeli Wine of the Month Club’s interactive wine tasting experience.

What is interactive wine tasting?

* Several wonderful Israeli wines will be explored. Cheese, crackers and fruit also served.
* A panel of our Sommeliers/Wine Critics will describe each wine and guide you in exercising your palate tasting them
* You will be encouraged to voice your opinion about each wine and write elaborate notes — be Robert Parker, Tom Stevenson or Daniel Rogov for a night… Every opinion counts !
* We will collect everyone’s tasting notes and distribute them via a newsletter. The newsletter will also include professional tasting notes as well as detailed descriptions of the wineries, and more…

When? October 28, 2010 at 7PM
Where? Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.)
6th Floor
The buzzer on the ground floor (on the right side of entrance door), # 6

How much? $36 at door
RSVP by October 27, 2010 (space is limited)

RSVP to this Meetup:
http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/15030400/

I’ve been to some of these tastings and I always found (here, here, here and here) the wine selection superlative; the cheeses and fruits specially chosen by Chef Eran Elhalal have invariably been a perfect complement to the potables. I’ll be there, gentle reader, will you? Just come over and say hello!

When you sign up, why not let them know that you first saw it on this blog?

CS

24
Jun
10

Cool White Night


Last evening, the Israel Wine Lovers Club hosted an evening of white wines. The wines were made from three types of grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

From left to right: Avi Ashman, Rafi Sutton, Eran Elhalal

It’s been said that if Chardonnay didn’t exist it would have to be invented. No other grape, red or white, ever achieved international recognition as effectively as this grape. It possess chameleon like adaptability to almost any climate and terroir. Compared to the rest of its sisters, this grape is a cinch to grow and thrives at both climate extremes of the viticultural spectrum (and in-between!), but unlike so many other grapes it is also very easy to work with at the winery. It’s harvested in almost every wine producing country. If unoaked its taste will remind you of a tart apple, lemon and even pears. When lightly oaked, it brings out the tastes of melting butter, baked apple, nutmeg, oatmeal. When heavily oaked one can taste vanilla, lemon curd, chocolate or woodsmoke.

After Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s most popular white grape.  Unlike Chardonnay, which barely has any aroma, Sauvignon Blanc has a very distinctive strong aroma. It’s wine is paler and somewhat light but acidic. One can detect almost any fruit in this wine’s flavors, from sour greens to melon, passion fruit or mango. It often has a very definite black currant hint. It also can bring to the fore vegetable flavors like green peas, asparagus and – occasionally – sweet red peppers. Other times it brings out far more earthy flavors. At times it even shows a faint smokiness.

Viognier is a relatively new grape in the international market, the average consumer may never have heard of it before the early 1990s. It’s often been blended with Chardonnay, but more and more are we starting to see it stand out on its own. It is a great alternative to Chardonnay, with a nice pleasant aroma. Its most obvious flavor is apricot in all its range, you may also detect faint notes of cinnamon, cardamon and ginger. At times it may resemble a honey-lemon lozenger.

Raffi Sutton who used to write for Globes (Israel’s equivalent of our Wall Street Journal) on Israeli wines and later was the editor of an Israeli food and wine magazine, before becoming an investment banker in the US, did the wine presentations. He was ably aided by Avi Ashman – the Club’s President and founder – and Eran Elhalal, a graduate of the presitigious Culinary Institute of America, chef and consultant whose recipes and wine pairings have already graced our pages.

Some of the evenings selections...

The tasting started with a 2009 Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay. This wine was fermented without any barrel influence and aged over the deposits of dead yeast that forms after fermentation. This Unoaked Chardonnay is fruity wine with well-balanced acidity, bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavours. This particular aging process is known as “sur lie,” greatly enhances the complexity and flavor of the wine.

We continued with a 2007 Binyamina Unoaked Chardonnay. Light golden straw in color, a simple wine showing some citrus and tropical fruits but lacks the crisp minerality one hopes for in an unoaked Chardonnay. Unfortunately I found it past its prime.

The third wine of the evening was the 2007 Domaine du Castel C (Chardonnay) Blanc du Castel. Full-bodied, elegant Burgundy style white, showing citrus, pineapple, green apple, toasted bread and fig aromas. While quite promising this wine was certainly “before its time.” It hasn’t fully matured and the chardonnay flavors were still battling with the alcohol which hadn’t fully blended in. Yet, this white wine was robust enough to be consumed with almost any red meat, thus destroying the myth that white wines should only be paired with fish or delicate white meats.

Next came the 2006 Tishbi Special Reserve Chardonnay. Very fruity, lighter, citrus. it’s a full bodied dry white wine is made grapes grown in the Gush Etzyon vineyards and harvested by hand. This chardonnay carries the exotic aromas of apricot, melon and peaches. Though considerably cheaper than its predecessor I liked it far better!

That fourth selection was followed by 2007 Yarden Odem Chardonnay. Made entirely from Chardonnay grapes grown on the Golan Heights Odem organic vineyads. Barrel fermentation and sur lie for seven months, produced a complex wine balancing fruit and floral notes with hints of butter and vanilla. Chef Eran suggested an unusual pairing for it… Café Brulé!

The sixth selection was the 2008 Recanati Sauvignon Blanc. With Fresh hay and bell pepper notes, typical of fine Sauvignon Blanc, develop and linger in the bouquet. It had an initial bite almost like a sparkling wine. Outstanding when paired with fish, sushi, risotto and grilled vegetables.

Next came a 2009 Tabor Chalk Sauvignon Blanc. Citrusy, pleasant and light, with a bitter aftertaste. It wotld make a great selection for a hot summer day.

The eighth selection was the 2007 Galil Mountain Viognier. It displayed a clear lemon yellow color. The wine is extremely aromatic with flavors of ripe apricot and nectarine set against hint of oak and honey. Well balanced with delicate acidity, medium body and a long, velvety finish.

The last wine was the 2008 Dalton Reserve Viognier. It starts with a certain smokiness, showing intense, vibrant and complex with spice, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. Chef Eran suggested pairing it with desserts that are not too sweet. This wine is by far much better than its price range would suggest!

The participants, enjoyed an evening of Chef Eran’s selections of sharp kosher cheeses by Danablue, Gilboa, Shahat, marmalades and grapes. The conversation was great, well worth many a repeat visit.

CS

RELATED POSTS

Tasting Tabor Wines

Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting





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