Yossi’s Wine Page

Archive for the month “August, 2009”

27 August – Katamon Winery Harvest Celebration

Last Thursday night Avital Goldner held his annual Harvest Celebration at the Katamon Winery located in his home in Jerusalem. Attendance was very good as you can see in the pictures. Avital ran himself ragged trying to be a good host (and succeeding), while his lovely daughters poured the wine.

Katamon Harvest Celebration 2009 -3

In addition to wine there were homemade cheeses and some tasty salads.

The wines on offer were:

  • Merlot 2005
  • Riesling 2006
  • Katamon Grand Vin 2006
  • Chardonnay 2007

Katamon Harvest Celebration 2009 -1

This was my first opportunity to taste Katamon’s Chardonnay, and I was not disappointed. The flavor is full and balanced and not too oaky. Dina particularly liked this wine so we bought a couple.

Katamon Harvest Celebration 2009 -2

The Riesling was fresh and crisp as I remembered it from several months ago.

Merlot is not my favorite variety, and I was not partial to this one. I found it quite astringent and lacking in body, but I have a feeling this will change over the next year or two. I wonder if there will be any left to taste by then.

The Katamon Gran Vin is sublime. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc is full bodied with well integrated tannins and all kinds of flavors of dark fruits and even a hint of chocolate. Of course I had to buy a few of these. A word of warning – if you buy this wine, make sure to open it several hours in advance or you’ll miss out on the best it has to offer.

For those of you missed this very enjoyable event, you’ll have another chance soon, as Avital will be bringing his wines to Har Adar for our final tasting of the season on September 11, 2009.

5 August – Wine Festival 2009 at the Israel Museum

This event is always great fun, and this year was no exception. The weather was pleasant, the company excellent, and the wine plentiful and varied.

Having learned our lesson from last year, we bought our tickets in advance and went on the middle day this time. We arrived shortly before 8 pm just as the place was starting to fill up.

I was pleased this year that the magazine that was distributed at the entrance included a list of the wineries present and the wines they were presenting. That made it much easier to decide in advance what to try. Unfortunately, the listing did not include the vintages of the wines, and I didn’t think at the time to write them down. The wineries were also listed in order of their locations in the sculpture garden, making it easier to find them.

Our gang this year grew somewhat from last year. From left to right we are:

Steve (visiting again this year from the States), Yossi Yitach, owner and winemaker of the Katlav Winery, Shlomi Zadok, owner and winemaker of the Ben-Hanna Winery, Avi Yehuda, owner and winemaker of the Yehuda Winery, and yours truly. In front are our delightful wives: Dina (mine), Malki (Yossi Y’s), and Hila (Shlomi’s). Can you tell we’re having a good time (but why are our glasses empty?)?

The Gang 2009

I started out looking for refreshing white wines, but I was a bit disappointed. A number of the Sauvignon Blanc’s that I tried were too heavy and fruity for my taste; I prefer them crisp and fresh. My winners in this department were the Psagot Viognier, of which I was already a fan, the Gamla Sauvignon Blanc, and the Pelter Sauvignon Blanc.

I had significantly more success with reds. Here are the ones I particularly liked (in random order):

  • Avidan – Segol
  • Psagot – Merlot
  • Pelter – Trio
  • Barkan Reserve – Pinotage (much improved over previous vintages)
  • Yatir – Merlot-Shiraz-Cabernet blend
  • Carmel Appellation (Ezori) – Cabernet Franc
  • Dalton – Barbera

As I have been wanting to try Pelter’s wines for quite some time, I was especially pleased that they were present at this year’s festival and that their wines are much to my liking. I just hope I can afford them.

Of course, Dina could not resist the chocolate table, so we made a quick stop there and she bought a few morsels. Quality wines and chocolates definitely complement each other.

Chocolate Table 2009

July, 31 – Ben-Shoshan Tasting in Har Adar

We got off to a good start on Friday morning with a few people showing up early to sample Yuval’s wine. Winemaker Yuval Ben-Shoshan brought four of his wines for us to try, all varietals. Three of these, a Cabernet Sauvignon (2006), Merlot (2006), and Shiraz (2007) are made from grapes grown in K’far Shamai in the North. The fourth wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon (2007) made from grapes grown in Avdat in the Negev.

Ben-Shoshan tasting 1After the first small wave, we had a quiet spell followed by a rush of visitors in the early afternoon. There were a number of newcomers who saw the event listed on the Israeli Wine fan page on Facebook – our thanks to the organizer of that page for listing our tasting. Also in attendance was Arnon, the winemaker from the Anatot winery, who brought some friends.

As to the wines, I must say that I enjoyed them all, though in varying degrees. The Avdat Cabernet is light and refreshing, making it ideal for warmer weather. Also, it is ready to drink very soon after opening, which is not the case with most fine reds.

By contrast, the K’far Shamai Cabernet showed marked improvement with time. This is a much fuller and rounder wine than the Avdat Cabernet, with more depth and a longer finish.

The Merlot was very fruity, but not overly so for my taste, and I enjoyed it more than I expected, not being a Merlot fan in general. Shiraz, on the other hand, is a variety that I particularly enjoy, and I was not disappointed with Ben-Shoshan’s.

Ben-Shoshan tasting 2Everyone seemed to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the afternoon breeze, as most people stayed around for an hour or more and chatted with Yuval and each other. Yuval’s son Gefen, who came along to help out, was also very popular with many of our visitors.

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