My weekend was spent in Israel, enjoying time with family, participating in my nephew's wedding. Rather than providing detailed notes, I'll mention the wines we had, commenting along the way. Deciding to introduce my brothers to some local wines they haven't had, I brought the current lineup from Flam, sans the rose': Blanc 2011, Classico 2010 and the newly released Reserve Syrah 2010. Those at my table didn't get to enjoy much of the Blanc, since the women, when offered to taste the bottle, drank it to the last drop. It is a lovely bottle that should please every palate, even if it is not complex it still delivers enjoyment. The Classico garnered the most favorable comments for its balance and layered flavors. The bottle of the Reserve Syrah was emptied in a hurry, but I did not hear any comments. My impressions are very favorable. The wine is very enjoyable now for its intensely bright fruit and floral flavors, accompanied by some spice. Although it is approachable now, the winery staff recommends holding on to it for awhile, allowing for the complexity to develop. I believe the alcohol content stands at 14.5%, but it does not impart any sensation of excessive heat, and it is easily absorbed by the fruit.
The other wines that were at the table offered a nice comparison with the Classico. Those were: the newly released vintage of the Yiron--the 2009, the Bordeaux blend from Dalton's Alma series of the same vintage, and the Recanati Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Of the four wines, the Classico is the only one for which the blend is not dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, containing only 42% of that grape, and with Merlot the dominant variety, at 50% of the blend. As a result, the Classico is more velvety, and does not have the pungency and herbaceousness exhibited by the other wines. Preference is subjective, but it is something I think worth noting. The Yiron is the most alcoholic of the bunch, by far, with an AbV of 15.5%, and the alocohol's contribution is amply felt. Also the Yiron and the Recanati, make more use of oak than the other two, their flavor profile including layers of chocolate and other oak derived contributions. Interestingly, I also found that this duo required the most time for their flavors to fill out the palate. If I were to rate them, they would all fall in a narrow band, between B- and B, but my very subjective personal ranking has them in the following order: Classico, Dalton Alma, Yiron, Recanati.