Shavua tov and moed tov Harry!
Alexander, Reserve, Gaston Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Shiraz 2008: Smooth and lovely, drinking very well now.
GHW, Golan Merlot 2010: Not worthy of a full TN. Somewhat dusty and artificial raspberries, spicy sweet oak and vanilla, underoaked, medium bodied, overripe.
Tishbi, Viognier Blanc 2011: Delicious as always.
Teperberg, Reserve, Merlot 2009: This is a fabulous Merlot from a Har Bracha vineyard that perfectly showcases how great that terroir is for this variety. This wine tastes so french that it could be mistaken as a Pomerol Bordeaux (according to a more (non kosher) french wine-experienced guest who shared the wine with us). Aged for 18 months in french oak barrels, dark royal purple with on the nose raspberries, plums and cherries with a hint of cigar box. Medium to full-bodied with on the palate juicy black plums, red ripe cherries and raspberries with notes of pipe tobacco, nice earthy minerality, bracing acidity and a touch of mint and vanilla with soft tannins gently coating the mouth on a long mouth-filling finish. In my opinion the best wine I've ever had from Teperberg. Beautifully balanced and structured, elegance and finesse. A job very well-done and a fantastic QPR.
Teperberg, Silver, Late Harvest Riesling 2008: This wine totally shocked me! It was nice, yes, but that's not what shocked me. This is an Israeli wine. 2008 vintage. And it's NOT shmitta!
When I read the front label I told everyone at the table "careful everyone, this is a shmitta wine!" then I turned the bottle around to read the back label and I saw the usual Badatz Hechsher. Uh? Shmitta wine with Badatz?! What the hell...? Then I saw in little characters "Yivul Nochri" literally "gentile yield/production" which usually means that the fruit is sourced from outside Israel. First time I saw that with a wine. But then I read the label and it says that the grapes were grown in... Shfelat Yehuda. That would probably mean that this is a vineyard that is permanently and fully owned by a gentile (as opposed to Heter Mechira which basically is pretty much like Selling Chametz, sold to a gentile for the course of the Shmitta year so that the fruit can be used as if it wasn't shmitta). Which actually made me think that this is non-sense and that Heter Mechira raise also another issue. After all, even if a piece of the land of Israel is owned by non-jews it still remains Eretz Israel thus whatever is grown on it during the shmitta year should be kedushat shviit, no? If anyone here is interested in going back to that discussion...
Anyway the wine had a light gold color, tropical fruit such as pineapple, guava and mango with a touch of honeysuckle. Pretty much the same on the palate with a moderately long honeyed finish. Not overly complex but quite a nice easy drinking dessert wine.