A few more tasting notes from the past few weeks.
As well, as every year I've attended the Jerusalem Wine Festival at the Israel Museum on the first 2 days and tasted thru all the wines except for a very few that I have intentionally skipped either because I had already tasted them or because they didn't seem appealing to me for some reason (not being a paid/professional wine reviewer has also its perks!
). However it will take some time until I edit, break down and post all those notes and in some cases I'd also like to retaste some of the wines in a more quiet and appropriate setting prior to making a final "judgement" (score-wise, I post these on cellartracker).
Ramot Naftaly, Barbera 2011: Aged 10 months in new french barrels. Bright purple with on the nose smoked wood, raspberries, plums, wet forest floor and vanilla. Medium-bodied with on the palate fresh forest berries, loamy dirt, red juicy plums, bracing acid, smoked wood, roasted coffee beans, spicy chocolate and soft caressing tannins on the long finish. Similar in many ways to the 2010 release but a bit thinner in body. Having said that, I recall having had the same experience when I first tasted the 2010 in November 2011 and watched it evolve significantly with regards to both body and complexity over the past 2 years so I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing happening with the 2011. A fascinating wine that I'm very fond of.
Teperberg, Terra, Malbec 2011: Aged 12 months in oak barrels. Deep garnet towards purple with on the nose blueberries, black cherries, lavender, dark plums and hints of wild mushrooms. Medium, perhaps medium to full-bodied with on the palate juicy black, blue and red fruit including ripe plum, blackberries, black cherries and touches of ripe blueberries, cinnamon, nice minerals, licorice and cedar with notes of minted chocolate, bracing acid and mouth-coating tannins on a long finish. Fantastic QPR (less than 60 shekel in Israel = $17)! One of the best Malbec I've ever tasted, a bit more restrained and flowery compared with the 2010 Yarden that's riper and oakier.
Carmel, Kayoumi Vineyard, Shiraz 2006: Aged 15 months in french oak barrels, Dark inky purple with on the nose intense ripe cherries, blackberries, plums, moka and smoked wood. Full-bodied and extracted with on the palate ripe red and black fruit such as plums, cherries, blackberries as well as hints of dried cranberries, pencil shavings, tobacco, smoked meat and a touch of vanilla with well-balanced acidity and caressing, near-sweet tannins on the long, smooth and mouth-filling finish. A true joy that has still easily 3-4 years left in its legs. While I do not take such accolades into account and having not tasted even 0.5% of the 11,000 Shiraz/Syrah and other mediterranean varietal wines it competed with, I admit that I certainly do feel some pride as an Israeli citizen that this wine won best Shiraz in the world at London's Decanter Magazine awards in 2010.
Yatir Forest 2005: Took a very long time to open up and never stopped to evolve in the glass until the carafe was empty. Aged 14 months in (one third new) french oak barrels. Dark, almost black purple with on the nose concentrated ripe blackberries and blackcurrants, cedar box and roasted herbs with a touch of black olives. Full-bodied and brooding with on the palate loads of ripe black fruit with a touch of somewhat jammy bilberries, cigar tobacco, greek olives, and roasted mediterranean herbs with superb acidity shining thru and tannins that gently smoothen out, elegantly caressing the palate on a plush and very long finish. As opposed to many of my israeli wine-insiders friends, while immensely enjoyable now I believe this wine still has quite a few more years ahead of it and there should be no rush to finish any leftover bottles if well-stored.