Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Like Cinderella, wines based on the Merlot grape have too often been forced by their older and better- established sisters to sit in a corner, just a bit ashamed to make a public appearance. In Bordeaux, where the grape originated, and is, in fact, the most often planted grape in the region, Merlot grapes have a reputation for producing soft wines of limited character. The grapes have never been ignored however. Because wines made from Merlot are said to reduce the sharpness of other wines, they are often blended in relatively small quantities into some of the great Cabernet Sauvignon wines. For many years very few European winemakers gave much thought to bottling a pure Merlot. Even in California, Italy and Chile, where a good deal of Merlot wine is produced, many wineries have a problem selling it because potential buyers have been fairly well convinced that a Merlot simply cannot be as good as a Cabernet Sauvignon. The image of Merlot was tarnished even further in the 2004 film “Sideways,” in which one of the protagonists devoted a great deal of time to derogating it.
All of which is not entirely fair, for the Merlot grape is the basis of the wine of Chateau Petrus, unquestionably one of the greatest Bordeaux red wines. Known as the “king of Pomerol,” Chateau Petrus has produced more consistently great wines year after year than any other chateau in Bordeaux. Rich, supple and elegant at all times and reaching extraordinary heights of finesse in good vintage years, these wines are highly prized and accordingly priced. Simply stated, the fact that Chateau Petrus is based on 95 percent of Merlot grapes demonstrates that in addition to the grape, climate and soil play dominant roles in the creation of great wines. At this writing, the Merlot grape is alive and doing quite well in Israel, the wines giving good competition to many other red grapes.
The first local winery to come out with a wine based primarily on Merlot grapes was The Golan Heights Winery in 1986. Based on 85 percent Merlot and 15 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the 1986 wine was little short of superb and the winery has continued to release fine wines made from Merlot, some of those from single vineyards. Many other wineries have now followed this trend.
Unlike the wines of Chateau Petrus that should never be drunk before they are 10 years old, the best Israeli Merlots are drinkable as early as three years after the harvest. Fermented for about two weeks with their skins, the wines are then aged for 10-16 months in 225 liter oak barrels – some from France, others from the United States. After that, the wines are aged in the bottle for 10-12 months before they are released to the market.
Following are reviews of some of the very best current releases of Israeli kosher Merlot:
Bustan, Bustan, Merlot, 2006: A luxuriant and rich wine, dark garnet toward royal purple in color, reflecting its 22 months in oak with notes of vanilla and cinnamon and soft, supple tannins that caress rather than “grab.” On the nose and palate a generous array of plums, black cherries, currants, mocha and toasty oak, all lingering comfortably on a remarkably long finish on which tannins and spices rise nicely. A supple and generous wine, perhaps best matched with large or small cuts of lamb or mutton. Drink now-2016. Score: 93.
Yarden, Merlot, Kela (Sha’al) Vineyard, 2008: Full-bodied, concentrated and well-focused, showing layer after layer of blackberries, plums, espresso coffee and fresh sage, and roasted herbs. Give this one time and it will show hints of leather. An intense wine, but with the potential for elegance. Drink now-2018, perhaps longer. Score: 93.
Yarden, Merlot, Kela Vineyard, 2008: Deep, almost impenetrable garnet in color, full-bodied, concentrated and well-focused, reflecting its 14 months in French barriques with chewy tannins and notes of spicy cedar, those parting to make way for aromas and flavors of blackberries, plums, espresso and sage. On the long finish notes of roasted herbs. Give this one some time and it will show appealing earthy minerals and hints of citrus peel. Drink now-2018, perhaps longer. Score: 93.
Flam, Reserve, Merlot, 2008: Oak-aged in French barriques for 15 months, a blend of 90 percent Merlot and five percent each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark garnet toward royal purple, with ample soft tannins and a gentle hand with the oak, showing aromas and flavors of currants and black cherries, those supported nicely by notes of peppermint, spring flowers and spices, a tempting light, earthy note rising on the long finish. Drink now-2018. Score: 92.
Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2009: Deep garnet toward royal purple, medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full) with gently caressing tannins and not at all exaggerated notes of spicy wood, those complementing a generous array of blackcurrant, wild berry and raspberry fruits. Deep and round, with notes of cigar tobacco, and a tantalizing hint of sweetness on the long finish. Finely tuned balance and structure bode well for an elegant wine as this one continues to develop. Drink now-2016, perhaps longer. Score: 92.
Carmel, Single Vineyard, Merlot, Sha’al, 2009: Aged for 10 months in small oak barrels, showing dark garnet toward royal purple in color. Medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full), opens with a generous hint of mint on a black-fruit nose, going on to reveal purple plums and then to raspberries and red currants. Drink now-2016, perhaps longer. Score: 91.
Barkan Superieur, Merlot, Superieur, 2008: Still a tentative blend but already showing fine promise. Almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with black fruits and a light note of sawdust on the nose, showing gently gripping tannins and a tempting array of cassis, wild berries and dark chocolate on the nose and palate. Long and generous. Destined for elegance. Drink now-2016. Score: 91.
Reserve, Merlot, Reserve, 2008: Made from low-yield, non-irrigated grapes from the Manara vineyard in the Upper Galilee, full-bodied, with soft, gently gripping tannins integrating nicely. Dark garnet and showing a tempting array of wild berries, black cherries and currants, those matched gently by notes of spicy cedarwood. Deep, generous and long, with near-sweet tannins rising on the long finish. Drink now-2016. Score: 91.
Dalton, Reserve, Merlot, 2007: Developed for 18 months in French barriques, half of which were new, showing soft, gently caressing tannins, spicy cedarwood and generous wild berry and cassis, those supported by herbal, tobacco notes and on the long finish a flavor of red plums rising. Drink now-2013. Score: 90.
Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2008: Deep garnet in color, full-bodied with still-gripping tannins but already showing fine balance and structure that bode well for the future. Rich and round, a fruity red with an abundance of blackberry, raspberry and currant notes, those showing an appealing floral note. From mid-palate on to the long finish, hints of citrus peel and milk chocolate. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.
Galil Mountain, Merlot, 2009: Garnet toward royal purple, an unoaked red, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently caressing tannins, showing currant, wild berry and purple plums on a lightly spicy background. Not complex but making for very pleasant drinking and, at its best, with small cuts of beef or veal. Drink now-2013. Score: 86.
Gush Etzion, Emek Bracha, Merlot, 2008: Oak-aged for 22 months, a garnet toward royal purple blend of 81 percent Merlot and 19 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a fine array of currant, wild berry and red plums, those complemented nicely by hints of black pepper and dark chocolate. Long and generous. Drink now-2013. Score: 90.
Odem Mountain, Reserve, Merlot, 2008: Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied with soft, gently caressing tannins and a moderate hand with the oak. On the nose and palate currants, wild berries, black cherries and a gentle hint of licorice on the long finish. Drink now-2015. Score: 90.
Tabor, Adama II, Merlot, 2008: Dark cherry red toward garnet, made entirely from Merlot grapes harvested on Kerem Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee on volcanic soil, reflecting its 12 months in oak with full-body, soft tannins and light notes of smoky oak. On the nose and palate currants, red berries and notes of citrus peel all on a light note of white pepper. Round, long and generous. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.
Tzuba,Tel Tzuba, Merlot, 2008: Garnet toward royal purple with orange reflections, full-bodied with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and showing fine concentration and balance. On first attack red currants and raspberries, those yielding to blackberries and an appealing hint of bitter herbs. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.
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With a menu as enticing as Reserve Cut’s we left the difficult dilemma of what to eat to our personable and efficient waiter, Csaba.
It’s not Chanukah without latkes! That’s true; but don’t make the same boring latkes this year. Go for something healthier, more vibrant, and flavorful.
There is nothing like cracking open a fresh new cookbook, the pages still pristine and crisp and wondering what surprises are about to jump off the pages and leap onto your serving platters as they wait to be carried to your table and devoured.
This is messy food, the kind of meal where you ditch the silverware and use your hands and with an array of fabulous sauces on the menu, I have no doubt that Gotham Burger goes through a lot of napkins. From the moment we started, till the very last crumb had either been eaten or packed up to take home, I loved every minute of our meal, chosen for us by Roth, at our request.
One of the reasons for the popularity of Jack’s Gourmet Sausages, which are available at local stores coast to coast as well as in Costco warehouse locations, is the fact that they actually taste like their non-kosher counterparts.
How to begin describing one of the best meals I have ever eaten? I suppose logic, and the “Sound of Music” song, would dictate that I start at the beginning.
Supercharged foods – a term you might have heard bandied about, but what are they? A simple definition would be any food that is unprocessed, whole and nutrient rich. Below are some suggestions of supercharged foods to add to your diet.
There is nothing like three sets of three-day yomim tovim to strike terror in the hearts of meal planners everywhere as they struggle to plan a staggering quantity of delicious, varied and attractive meals for potentially large numbers of people.
Enjoy this” sweet” new idea for a “Sweet New Year”! A refreshing and very simple idea to finish off any Yom Tov meal.
Summer dinners are blissfully easy. Who doesn’t enjoy a good bbq? All kids seem to love chicken and hot dogs, and pretty much anything served up with a side of fries will be devoured. Once it’s back to school and the grill is put away, dinner time becomes somewhat of a dreaded chore. Next time you are left with the question, “What’s for Dinner?” whip up one of these deliciously easy dinners and instead of worrying about meal planning, simply enjoy family time around the table!
For me, there’s nothing like making challahs for Shabbos. But I can’t say it’s always been the height of my week. There was a time when baking fluffy, light-as-a-feather challahs was a total mystery to me.
The perfect appetizers require minimal effort by the hostess and taste so good your guests will think you spent the whole day in the kitchen cooking. These recipes do exactly that. They are super tasty, sorta fancy and seriously easy! I used wonton wrappers to create wonton cups, and then filled them up with some of my favorite ingredients, such as Creamy Mac & Cheese, Zesty Taco Fillings, Savory Pizza Toppings and Sweet Whipped Cream with Fresh Fruit!
Yeast dough is considered one of the most basic but complicated of the dough family. Just think of the first cakes you made – I’m almost sure they weren’t yeast cakes.
But mine were!
It’s all over.
The orchestra is still, the lights are dimmed. Your simcha outfits hang in your closet, silent witnesses to a time you will treasure in your mind and heart forever.
Mayonnaise. That’s right, you read it correctly. And I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve read it, either. And the thought of it has probably made you go ‘”blech.” But this is me saying it, so let’s break it down logically, and you’ll see that the idea isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. […]
Like Cinderella, wines based on the Merlot grape have too often been forced by their older and better- established sisters to sit in a corner, just a bit ashamed to make a public appearance.
If you’re located in the Northern Hemisphere, July signals the time of year when the weather can be hot enough to make you both thirsty and a bit more than uncomfortable. Our minds go to the efficiency of the air-conditioning in our homes, automobiles, and offices, and our palates take us to dishes that are light and not infrequently intentionally served cold. When we think of wine it is most logical for our thoughts to turn to white wines for, in addition to being served well chilled, those indeed tend to be crisper and more refreshing than reds.
There are two popular wine-related beliefs making the rounds these days, both of which deserve to be put to rest because they are nothing more than pure and unadulterated nonsense. The first of these would have us believe that men are better qualified to taste wine than women, and the second that some wines are more appropriate for men and others for women.
No one has ever said that truly fine wines are going to be found at bargain prices. Such wines, like luxury automobiles, designer handbags, custom-made jewelry and first-class international flights can, in fact, be quite dear. While it is true that most of us will rarely, if ever, buy Lamborghini automobiles and will most probably not approach Gucci to custom design a handbag for us, there is no valid reason to avoid, at least from time-to-time, buying the best wines available.
Bruce Cohn, manager of the rock band The Doobie Brothers, purchased his Sonoma County winery in 1974, and since then has been equally well known for his olive oil and his philanthropy as for his wine. Cohn seems to have done a fine job of precisely what a family-owned boutique operation should be doing, namely creating high quality wines with a distinct personality. In 2008 Cohn made his first kosher wine, and that wine is well worth the attention of the most devoted of wine lovers. Released in a limited edition of 400 cases (4,800 bottles), the wine is only available directly from the winery and can be ordered by calling 800-330-4064 or by visiting www.brcohn.com. Here’s my tasting note for the wine:
Twenty years ago only a handful of kosher wines were produced in Italy and, to tell the truth, most of those were pretty mediocre. Starting about five years ago, however, as those who keep kashrut became increasingly aware of quality wines, Italian producers responded and enormous strides have been made. The result: kosher wine, much of which is worthy of our attention, is now made in every wine-producing region in the country. Perhaps the most exciting recent step in kosher Italian wines is the introduction of truly excellent wines from the Falesco winery in the Umbria region.
For hundreds of years, the wine most often associated with the superior way of life has been Champagne. Attributed a soul, temperament and wit, many Frenchmen are convinced that Champagne can do them no harm, no matter how much they consume. Madame de Pompadour declared that, “it is the only wine that makes a woman more beautiful after drinking.” This delightful beverage is so much a cultural phenomenon in France that a person who dislikes Champagne is pitied or regarded as sick, disabled or depraved.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/food/in-praise-of-merlot-wine/2011/08/03/
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