Wines of the Week You Have to Taste to Believe
The latke pan has been washed and dried, the menorah is being cleaned and polished and will soon be packed away, and as the Chanukah festivities wind down it may seem like we have a long and dreary winter ahead until Purim - but not to worry, we have plenty to discuss between now and then. KFWE kicked its first event of 2017 last week in Miami last week and we will be seeing many Kosher.com readers at KFWE events in Tel Aviv, Paris, and London, at the end of January, and then New York and Los Angeles on February 5th and 7th, respectively.
This week I would like to introduce you to two exceptional non-mevushal wines - the best part is that they both carry a very friendly price tag.
Château Larcis Jaumat, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
I have been mentioning the top Bordeaux 2015 now for some time already. Sure, 2015 is a great vintage. Yes, we have more kosher grands crus classés coming from that vintage than ever before. But for most of us mere mortals these wines will be either just dreams or reserved for very special occasions as they will not be cheap at all. With that being said, one of the awesome perks of such a great vintage is that even the entry and mid-level wines are good to excellent.
For instance, take Château Larcis Jaumat. This is not an expensive wine, yet it is delicious and has a very respectable cellaring potential, as well. The reason why it is not as expensive as say Château Giscours or Château Grand-Puy Ducasse is that it is not a very famous, classified estate. Yet it is made with the same care with regards to the vineyards and the winemaking process.
Another big plus here is its drinkability. What do I mean by that? Well, most great Bordeaux are usually not yet showing their best and true colors and will typically need 5-10 years in proper cellaring conditions to start developing and showing their flavors and for their tannin structure to mellow out. However this wine is already drinking nicely now and will keep adding layers of flavors over the coming decade as its secondary and tertiary aromas develop in the bottle.
This is a medium-bodied wine, with notes of ripe blackcurrants and raspberries with hints of smoke and forest floor. It has a juicy texture with layers of flavors, velvety tannins, well-balanced acidity as well as a long, earthy finish.
Tabor, Tannat, Shifon Vineyard, 2013
Now here is an unusual new wine from Israel. It is one of only two kosher Tannat that I know of. Tannat is originally a French grape variety from the south-west of France, used in the wines from the Madiran appellation. This is a variety that needs a warm climate and lots of sun, so it certainly does seem like a good fit for Israel.
That is at least the belief of Michal Ackerman, Tabor's chief viticulturist. The grapes for this new wine from Tabor are grown in the Shifon vineyard, which is planted at 950 meters above sea level, in the Golan Heights.
This is the first release and in my humble opinion, it is quite the success. Very different than most Israeli red wines, it is neither a fruit nor an oak bomb and while it is full-bodied with substancial concentration, it showcases on both the nose and palate notes of thyme, peppermint and eucalyptus with juicy red fruits (strawberries, currants, plums) as well as high acidity and searing tannins.
It will be interesting to see how this wine will change with time. It is masterfully crafted and a refreshing novelty in the kosher and Israeli wine world.
Photography by Tzvi Cohen.