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Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Daniel Rogov » Fri May 08, 2009 3:52 pm

Yesterday (Thursday, 7 May), I met with Ya'akov Berg and Josh Hexter of the Psagot winery for a tasting. As is our wont, we met at Tel Aviv's Lilith restaurant and before dining, perhaps much to the curiosity of other diners and our quite charming waitress, undertook our tasting. The major purpose of the tasting was to sample the soon ready to be released 2007 wines but in the Edom series we also re-tasted the 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Located in the northern Jerusalem Mountains, overlooking Wadi Kelt (Nachal Prat), the winery was founded by Na'ama and Ya’akov Berg, who planted their first vineyards in 1998. In addition to a modern barrel cellar, some of the oak barriques are stored in a cave dating back to the 2nd Temple, that containing ancient pressing facilities, which maintains 90% humidity and temperatures up to 18 degrees Celsius. Relying on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and Chardonnay grapes, the winery’s top-of-the-line wine is a Bordeaux blend named Edom. Regular varietal wines are produced in the Psagot series and there is also a Port-style wine. Production from the 2007 and 2008 vintages was of about 65,000 bottles annually and anticipated production for 2009 is for 80,000 bottles.

Wines are exported to the USA and other countries. Prices in Israel for the Edom wines are about NIS 110; in the Psagot series about NIS 80-90; and the Single Vineyard Wine, yet to be released, will probably debut at about NIS 170 per bottle.

My thanks to Ya'akov and Josh (who is of course a long-time member of our forum) for a fine tasting and for their good company.

Best
Rogov


Psagot, Edom, 2007 (Advance Tasting): A Bordeaux blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot, showing still firm tannins and generous acidity, those needing a bit of time to settle down. Dark garnet in color, opens with black fruits and spicy wood, yields to red fruits and hints of Mediterranean herbs, all leading to a generous finish. Drink from release-2013. Score 89. K (Tasted 7 May 2009).

Psagot, Edom, 2006: A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot, with the remainder made up of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Medium- to full-bodied, generously but not aggressively oaked, with firm tannins just now starting to settle in. Opens with red currants and raspberries, those parting to make way for plums and black fruits on an earthy-herbal background all with a light bitter streak that some will find appealing and others not. Drink now–2010. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 7 May 2009)


Psagot, Edom, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. Deep garnet in color, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (75% and 25% respectively) opens with a rich vanilla and white chocolate nose, then settles down in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of black cherries, plums and currants. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft but mouth-coating tannins, a good touch of spicy cedar wood and on the finish an appealing earthy minerality. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 7 May 2009)

Psagot, Edom, 2004: This blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot reflects its 14 months in barriques with firm but nicely integrating tannins, spicy and vanilla-rich oak and, on the nose and palate, blackberries, currants and an appealing hint of freshly turned earth. A solid effort, with a long berry-rich finish. Drinking nicely but not for much longer cellaring. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 7 May 2009)

Psagot, Merlot, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Aromatic, medium-, perhaps medium- to full-bodied, with plum, raspberry and a hint of spicy licorice. Soft, gently gripping tannins lead to a round finish. Drink now–2011. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 7 May 2009)

Psagot, Cabernet Franc, 2007: Aromatic, opening with a nose of eucalyptus, tar and spicy wood.. Medium- to full-bodied, showing a hint of muscle going on to reveal dark plum, currant, tobacco and mocha notes, those on an appealing background of freshly cut herbs. A solid effort. Best 2010-2013. Score 90. K (Tasted 7 May 2009)

Psagot, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007: Showing much as at an earlier tasting. Deep garnet towards royal-purple, oak-aged for 13 months, full-bodied, with firm tannins and smoky wood settling in nicely now and showing rich and generous with well-focused red and black currant fruits overlaid with hints of cocoa and cedar wood. Drink now–2011. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 7 May 2009)

Psagot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, 2007: Almost impenetrable inky-dark garnet in color, full-bodied, and with generous oak waiting to settle down and reflect the wine's inherent good balance. On the nose and palate ripe currant, blackberry and citrus peel notes , those complemented by notes of sweetened chewing tobacco and mocha. Best 2010-2013, perhaps longer. Score 90. K (Tasted 7 May 2009)
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Adam M

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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Adam M » Fri May 08, 2009 5:40 pm

Wow - the cave sounds really cool. Is it open to visitors?
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Daniel Rogov » Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm

Adam, HI...

I have not visited myself but have seen photographs. The winery itself is very attractive and set in a physically beautiful area and the cave is both impressive and moving.

I am sure that visitors are welcomed. As in all cases, a phone call in advance of a visit is a necessary courtesy. The winery's English-language site is at http://www.psagotwines.com/site/index.a ... 442&lat=en There are links there to the Hebrew site and for contacting the winery.

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Rogov
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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Michael J » Sat May 09, 2009 3:11 pm

And another Cabernet Franc scoring a 90.
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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Harel C » Sun May 10, 2009 10:46 am

What about Psagot's wonderful Viognier? Is the 2008 Viognier out? Didn't get to taste that this time?


Harel
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J Hexter

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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by J Hexter » Wed May 13, 2009 3:53 am

Dear All,

A “thank you” to Rogov for meeting up and tasting the wines – always an enjoyable experience.

Adam, I have attached pics of the cave/cellar as well as pics of our newer cellar and visitor center. All are welcome to come and visit.

Harel, I am glad you enjoyed our Viognier in the past. We have decided not to continue with the Psagot line of white wines (Chardonnay & Viognier) for the time being. We have Chardonnay vineyards which at the last harvest (2008) were 4 years old. We decided to sell these grapes instead of making wine from them. We will see how the vines do this harvest and make a decision accordingly.

Warm regards to you all.

Josh
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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Adam M » Wed May 13, 2009 9:01 am

Josh - Looks amazing. Will be sure to look you up during my next visit and try some of the wines beforehand. May you have much success...
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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Daniel Rogov » Wed May 13, 2009 11:08 am

Josh, Hi....

One of the photos I saw when we met together was of the cellar and sitting on the floor an almost "biblical-looking" man. Could you possibly post that? It's a charmer!!

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Rogov
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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by J Hexter » Thu May 14, 2009 7:05 am

Daniel Rogov wrote:Josh, Hi....
an almost "biblical-looking" man. Could you possibly post that? It's a charmer!!


With pleasure -- The person in the picture is Nacham who is a cellar hand in the winery.

Regards,

JH
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Re: Psagot Winery: Tastings and Re-Tastings (K)

by Harel C » Sat May 16, 2009 7:00 am

J Hexter wrote:Harel, I am glad you enjoyed our Viognier in the past. We have decided not to continue with the Psagot line of white wines (Chardonnay & Viognier) for the time being. We have Chardonnay vineyards which at the last harvest (2008) were 4 years old. We decided to sell these grapes instead of making wine from them.


I never tasted your Chardonnay (it's one of my least favorite varieties), but I took some strong liking to your Viognier (despite it being priced above the competition). I wonder if discontinuing the white wines was a matter of economics or not so good harvest years. In buying in discount wine stores in Jerusalem, which often cater only to consumers of Kosher wines, I often find white wines regrettably underrepresented, probably a reflection of wine drinking habits by religious Jews.

I will be waiting for its return... and in the meantime might try one of the reds.

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