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Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Daniel Rogov » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:11 pm

I learned only yesterday (Friday, 15 January) that Orna Chillag would be offering a varietal Petite Sirah wine from the 2006 vintage, that to be officially unveiled and put on sale on Friday, 29 January at the winery. Truth be told, I had no idea that this wine was in the works, so I phoned Orna and asked if it might be possible to receive a bottle for tasting before the release date. Her response: "Only if we can have a cup of coffee together".

As is fairly well known, I very rarely refuse invitations to coffee and even more rarely will I refuse invitations from winemakers of the female persuasion. We met this morning at Rehov Basel's Arcaffe (my office away from the office). I bought the first round of coffees and croissants, she bought the second round. All's fair.

Being a man of weakness and impatience, the wine made its way to my tasting room, there to be inserted into a second tasting of the day, this one a "quickie" single blind tasting of six Petite Sirah wines from California and the Chillag wine. My tasting note for the Chillag wine follows.

The unveiling will take place at the winery (Rehov Shabazzi 12, in the Industrial Area of Yahud) from 10:00-16:00. Best bet to make sure a place is available for you to attend the tasting or to place advance orders is to phone 054 4562057. The wine, a limited release of 600 bottles will go for NIS 220 each at the winery. Not "cheap" but in my opinion, well worth the investment.

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Chillag, Petite Sirah, 2006: From a vineyard in the Jerusalem Mountains at 750 meters above sea level, Petite Sirah as Petite Sirah should be. Oak-aged for 24 months, almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, dense and concentrated, opening with lavender and peppery notes, those yielding to chocolate and licorice and only then black cherry, blackberry, cassis and plum flavors. In the background look for tobacco and toasty oak and, on the long, chewy finish a note of espresso coffee. Unfiltered, so do not be surprised if you find a bit of sediment here, that doing no harm whatever to this muscular but oh-so-enchanting wine. Best 2011-2016. Score 92. (Tasted 15 Jan 2010)
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It Get It Soon

by Loweeel » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:32 am

Hmmm... what's the country code for Israel again? Damn my lack of a landline!
http://PSychospath.com -- The PSychos' Path: the long road to being crazy about Petite Sirah
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It Get It Soon

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:08 am

Loweeel wrote:.. what's the country code for Israel again? Damn my lack of a landline!



The telephone code is 972. It may make life a bit easier to do email to chillag@netvision.net.il,

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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Mike_F » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:30 am

At that price I will pass. Today at lunch we opened a bottle of Sea Horse Munch 2005, a beautiful Petit Sirah, and as far as I recall purchased from Ze'ev at approximately half the price tag Orna puts on her version.
Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:35 am

Mike, Hi.....


Fair enough. As I wrote on another thread earlier today: It's a free market economy. They put whatever price they want on their products and we decide whether we want to spend that much for that product.

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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Lior Yogev » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:36 pm

Mike, if my memory serves me right - Chillag's PS cost the same as Dunie's varietal PS (Munch).

Didn't taste any of them, but I might go to the release event to be held in the winery in two weeks. As a PS fan (just had Vitkin's 05 tonight), if it's as good to my taste as it was to Rogov's - I might exceed my usual price limit and buy one. But let's say to if one offers me a wine at the price of Flam's Reserve(s) and CdG's Ayalon Valley - it should be as good as those or better.

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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Mike_F » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:33 am

Hi Lior,

Memory serves you wrong. I was talking about the Munch, and price on release was 125 NIS at the winery. Orna's PS, good as it may be, is almost 100 NIS more...

Mike
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Joel D Parker » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:30 am

I am a new convert to Orna's wines. My wife and I just drank the 04 Primo Cabernet over the weekend and it was delicious. In fact it was so concentrated, dark, and velvety, I was just thinking to myself this morning, 'why doesn't Orna try a Rhone grape'? I was thinking along the lines of a Syrah/Shiraz wine, but perhaps Petit Sirah is a good challenge for her, as it tends to be a bit less soft and more hearty, allowing room for her to add her elegant touch.

In response to several comments above: I think the Chillag winery may be just a touch overpriced in general, but certainly not out-of-the-ballpark overpriced (especially when the basic economic fact of small production scale is taken into account). It is possible to compare the 04 Primo Cabernet with a 2005 Yarden Cab (my Israeli price standard for great Cabernets). The Chillag runs about 170 NIS and the Yarden is about 150 NIS. I would say that the Chillag is a more fleshy, full and fruity Cabernet than the Yarden, though I sensed less oak and chocolate on the bouquet. They are different, but certainly not in a different league altogether (IMO). I personally enjoyed the Chillag a bit more. My advice is to try both and enjoy every drop.
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Lior Yogev » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:50 am

Hi Joel,

Last night I had the 04 Primo Cab as well. It was nice, especially not being over ripe and over fruity and it also showed nice varietal character. However, I found it to be rather simple and with slightly too much oak. Moreover, drinking it alongside other wines, all of them cost less, I concluded that I might buy it at 80NIS but surely not at its retail price. I respect the winery's philosophy of aging the wines at their storage and releasing it when it is ready. I realize this cost money, but bottom line - I can make a list of wines costing ~150 and under which I'd prefer over this wine.

As for the Yardan cab, the suggested price is 120 and the realistic price is 100. Although different in style (much more modern than the Chillag to my taste), I think this is a benchmark for quality israeli cab, with a 25 years record, proven aging ability - a wine that evolves and complexifies over time and a sure purchase. Your mentioning of the Yarden brings me to my previously-discussed point - If a winery offers me a wine that cost over 120NIS, it should better be better than the Yarden I can buy at less, or at least the same league. Chillag's cab, in my humble, non-professional and inexperienced opinion - is not in the same league.

Lior.
Last edited by Lior Yogev on Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Loweeel » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:13 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:Mike, Hi.....


Fair enough. As I wrote on another thread earlier today: It's a free market economy. They put whatever price they want on their products and we decide whether we want to spend that much for that product.

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Rogov


And like any good free market fundamentalist, I'm putting my money where my mouth is. :-) Been emailing with Orna, and my wine will be sent.

Rogov, can we see your scores/notes from the other wines in the lineup? Next time you're in NYC, I have a Vincent Arroyo Rattlesnake Acres for you (my favorite PS) and that awesome dark Prieto Picudo I told you about last year.
http://PSychospath.com -- The PSychos' Path: the long road to being crazy about Petite Sirah
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:30 pm

Loweeel wrote:Rogov, can we see your scores/notes from the other wines in the lineup?



To what lineup are you referring. That was my sole tasting of Chillag this week. Visited sometime earlier and you can see those notes at viewtopic.php?f=29&t=25629 . Will be doing my true annual visit in the next month or so.

Or are you referring to the other Petite Syrah wines in the tasting? If so, will post tomorrow. Eyes are drooping now and bed beckons.

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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Loweeel » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:39 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:
Loweeel wrote:Rogov, can we see your scores/notes from the other wines in the lineup?



To what lineup are you referring. That was my sole tasting of Chillag this week. Visited sometime earlier and you can see those notes at viewtopic.php?f=29&t=25629 . Will be doing my true annual visit in the next month or so.

Or are you referring to the other Petite Syrah wines in the tasting? If so, will post tomorrow. Eyes are drooping now and bed beckons.

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Rogov


I'm referring to the other Petite Sirah (Jo Diaz has been on a kick about using that TTAB-approved spelling) because I'd love to see the competition and I'm curious about which PS makes it out to you. I'll enjoy that birthday PreSent tomorrow :-). Lila tov!
http://PSychospath.com -- The PSychos' Path: the long road to being crazy about Petite Sirah
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Joel D Parker » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:19 pm

Hi Lior,

[quote="Lior Yogev"]Hi Joel,

Last night I had the 04 Primo Cab as well. It was nice, especially not being over ripe and over fruity and it also showed nice varietal character. However, I found it to be rather simple and with slightly too much oak. Moreover, drinking it alongside other wines, all of them cost less, I concluded that I might buy it at 80NIS but surely not at its retail price.

As to the over-oaked quality, I have to admit that I put it in the decanter for 2+ hours after tasting its initial oaky punch (the bottle label said it was aged for 24 months). After that it rounded out a lot, and I noticed good amounts of fruit with a faint aroma of eucalyptus and a subtle bouquet of softly spicy wood and coffee, so I personally wouldn't describe it as simple. On the other hand, you have a point about trying several wines side by side. As to your list of better Israeli Cabs for less than 150NIS, I would be grateful if you could PM it to me :)
I would also like to know where you can get the 2005 Yarden Cab for 100 NIS. Perhaps you mean the 2006? But that is quite a step down in my opinion.
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Lior Yogev » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:15 pm

Hi Joel,

Wines that give more for their price range, IMHO include: (latest vintages)
Flam Reserve Merlot and Cab
Clos de Gat - Ayalon Valley
GHW El-Rom cab, GHW Yarden Cab, Yarden Merlot
Yiron
Petite Castel

Other, less classic recommendations:
Ben Hana Mediterrano
Ben Hana La-Merrie (varietal cab-franc)
Vitkin PS - a personal favourite (also - the cab-franc and carignan)
Recanati cab-franc reserve

Regarding Yarden and its price. I was refering to the price of the latest vintage. I didn't taste the 06 yet, but from previous experience the yardens (cab and merlot) give very little at such youth. From what I've been reading the 06 is not a step down compared to 05. Furthermore, in a modern winery such as GHW with tight control over their vineyards I believe there aren't any bad vintages (i.e. I'm hearing the "terrible" 02 is drinking nicely nowdays).


Lior.
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Michael Weiser » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:19 pm

Daniel do you know whether she has any plans for any other Kosher wines ( I see this one is not kosher)
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:26 pm

Michael, Hi.....


To the best of my knowledge, no plans for kosher editions at this time. One has to keep in mind that in Israel, thanks to the great wisdom of various rabbinical authorities and no matter how much care or supervision is provided, one cannot do both kosher and non-kosher editions at the same winery. For that reason, making a single kosher edition can involve a great deal of additional work, effort and costs. Simply stated, having to "make one's own kosher wine" at an entirely kosher winery is a pain in the proverbial. I believe the only one currently doing this is Saslove and he cannot even put his name on the bottle of the kosher edition.

Not to misunderstand please. With no sarcasm intended at al,I am all for intelligent supervision of the kashrut process by intelligent authorities. I am certain that the rabbinical and kashrut authorites make some very intelligent and wise oenological decisions. With a modicum of true sarcasm, I shall gladly report on those as and if I discover them.

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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Michael Weiser » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:24 pm

Tks Daniel. Out of curiosity when Orna did her 2003 and 2004 kosher editions were they done at a diff winery?
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Re: Chillag, Petite Sirah: Warning – If You Want It, Get It Soon

by Daniel Rogov » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:39 pm

Michael, Hi...

Indeed, Orna Chillag's kosher wines were made on the premises of Carmel (if memory serves at Zichron Ya'akov).

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