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.
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.
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!
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 Vineyards‘ Choice 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.