I'm the first to admit that I have been absolutely fascinated by Kazimir Malevich'a oil painting "White on White", since I first saw it as a young man, hanging on a wall at New York City's Museum of Modern Art. The painting is of a white square set at an angle within another white square. Call the painting minimalist or call it suprematist as the artist did, but there is something here that enchants.
Today, I was confronted with what I can only think of as "black on black", two labels from a new Canadian based producer "Fusion Global Winery" in which a totally black rectangular label, that on a dark green bottle and with only a few lines in off-grey that show that there is a label here at all. Truth is that I was neither fascinated nor amused, for it took an especially bright light and a good magnifying glass in order for me to read that front label.
This new company, not so much a winery as it is a negotiant, is promising to give us "top quality wines only at the best vintages, with the cooperation of leading wineries around the world." In order to do this the company has selected Doron Yitzhaki as their "flying winemaker". Of course this changes the concept of flying winemakers, usually very well experienced winemakers who serve as consultants to wineries around the world in making the wines of those wineries and not wines of their own as is the case here. Fair enough, I suppose as Yitzhaki, the winemaker at the Israeli winery Tulip has been doing some good things indeed. One should understand however, that these wines are not "made by" Fusion… What is involved is Yitzhaki's visiting wineries abroad (so far Australia and Spain) in order to do extensive barrel tastings and then to direct blends that he considers best suited for his releases.
In the case of the first two wines released, the first a blend of Shiraz and Merlot and the second of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the winery selected was Classic Mclaren Wines of Australia, that company producing a host of labels including the often quite good La Testa wines.
The two first releases of Fusion were part of my blind tastings today and my tasting notes follow. Whether an Israeli winemaker and a Canadian based corporation working together will succeed in conquering the world of wine remains to be seen. The wines will both be available within a month both in Israel at NIS 130 and in the USA (the primary market) for US$ 48. Oh yes…..wines from Fusion Tempranillo and Garnacha will soon be on the way from Spain as well.
Fusion, Shiraz-Merlot, Australia, 2005: A full-bodied, dark garnet blend of 75% Shiraz and 25% Merlot showing generous spicy oak and firm tannins that need a bit of time to settle down. A firm, somewhat country-style wine with a few Port-like notes that opens slowly on the palate to reveal black cherries and currants along with Merlot herbaceouenss and some minty Shiraz notes. Drink now-2011. Score 88. (Tasted 24 Jul 2008)
Fusion, Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, 2005: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet, full-bodied, concentrated and firm, showing quite generous New-World oak and with that abundant tannins. Opens slowly in the glass to reveal peppery blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits, those supported nicely by notes of cranberries. Look for a long, near-sweet finish. Drink now-2011. Score 89. (Tasted 24 Jul 2008)