Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:51 pm

This late morning I met in Tel Aviv with Barry and Roni Saslove of the Saslove Winery in order to do a tasting of wines from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages.

Established by Barry Saslove in 1998 on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region, this boutique winery has well established vineyards in the Upper Galilee planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. More recently planted vineyards with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Gewurztraminer grapes are now coming on line. The winery also has a facility in the Upper Galilee, not far from its vineyards, that primarily for receiving and fermenting grapes. The barrel room and visitors’ center remain on Kibbutz Eyal.

Current production of red wines made by the father-and-daughter team of Barry and Roni Saslove is in three series: Reserved, Adom and Aviv. The winery occasionally produces white wines as well. Production has grown steadily, from 35,000 bottles in 2002 to about 80,000 bottles in 2009 and 2010. Starting with wines from the 2010 vintage, the Saslove wines will all be kosher.

Barry Saslove has always been an advocate of the use of oak chips, blocks and staves in some of his wines. Let it be known loudly and clearly that many wineries use these but precious few are open and honest enough to admit it. From an entirely professional point of view, I have no objection at all to the use of chips, blocks or staves – that however on the condition that these be used (as Saslove does) for wines that are meant to be consumed at a relatively early age of anywhere from 2 – 4 years after release.

My thanks to Barry and Roni for the courtesy of coming to Tel Aviv to meet with me, for a fine tasting and for their very pleasant company. After our tasting we lunched at Carmella BaNachala, one of the best restaurants in the city. To see a few reactions to my meal there, see the thread at viewtopic.php?f=30&t=37657

Please note that as not infrequently occurs, several of the 2009 barrel tastings were from components and the predictions for their future direction are entirely my own.

Best
Rogov


Reserved

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Perhaps the best to date from Saslove. Full-bodied, deep garnet in color, with generous but not at all imposing oak in fine harmony with soft tannins and fruits. On first attack aromas and flavors of crushed blackberries, those parting to make way for notes of currants, black cherries and an appealing hint of bitter herbs. Long and mouth-filling, muscular but elegant. Best from 2012-2018. Score 93. (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved, 2007 (Advance Tasting): As during barrel tastings. Youthful, with still-firm tannins and a moderate hand with spicy oak settling in nicely and showing fine balance and structure. Full-bodied, showing finesse and elegance. Traditional blackcurrant and blackberry fruits, those supported by notes of tobacco and roasted herbs. Long, generous and mouth-filling with an appealing note of bitter herbs on the finish. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2012-2016. Score 90.


Adom

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, both full-bodied, one from the Alma Vineyard and the other from Kadita, both in the Upper Galilee. A wine that some would describe as "masculine" – that is to say, muscular, solid and even somewhat brash with still firm tannins waiting to settle down but showing balance and structure that bode well for the future. On the nose and palate red currants, plums and figs, those with notes of sweet cedar wood and espresso. Destined not for elegance but for power. Best starting in 2013. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 22 Nov 2011)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Almost impenetrably dark garnet, showing full-bodied and round, with silky tannins and notes of spicy oak that caress gently. On the nose and palate traditional Cabernet Sauvignon blackcurrants and blackberries, those highlighted by hints of licorice and espresso coffee. Ripe, generous and long. Best from 2013-2017. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2007: Living up nicely to its barrel-tasting promise. Deep garnet in color, full-bodied, reflecting its 20 months in barriques (40% of which were new) with near-sweet tannins and notes of spicy and vanilla-rich wood, those in fine balance with fruits. On the nose and palate blackcurrants, blackberries and black cherries, those complemented by notes of mocha and unsweetened cocoa. Drink now-2016. Score 90. (Re-tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Saslove, Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2007: A super-dark garnet, full-bodied, deep royal purple blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, in which both varieties make themselves felt nicely. Developed in barriques for 20 months, its elements coming together nicely and showing opulence, the generous 14.5% alcohol never imposing. On the nose and palate a tempting array of currants, plum, blueberries and black pepper, those on a background that hints at one moment of earthy minerals, at another of saddle leather and at yet another of freshly hung tobacco. Delicious now, but with its best still in front of it. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2012-2016. Score 91. (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Saslove, Shiraz, Adom, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A deeply extracted wine, deep garnet in color with a royal purple robe. Full-bodied, with generous wood and soft tannins in fine balance with fruits and acidity On the nose and palate currants, wild berries, red licorice and, on the long finish a note of crushed berries. Best 2013-2017, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 88-90.

Saslove, Shiraz, Adom, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Still early days for this wine but already showing full-bodied, with gently caressing tannins. On first attack notes of minerality underlying raspberries and cherries, those parting to make way for spicy blackberries. On the long finish notes of saddle leather and green tea. Ripe and generous. Best from 2012-2016, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)


Aviv

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aviv, 2008: Deep, almost impenetrable garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, reflecting its exposure to oak with gently gripping tannins and a notes of spicy oak. On first attack raspberries, those parting to make way for red and blackcurrants and blackberries and notes of brown spices and white pepper. Simultaneously easy to drink and complex. Drink now–2014. Score 90. (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Saslove, Merlot, Aviv, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Dark ruby toward garnet, reflecting its six months in barriques with soft, gently gripping tannins and hints of near-sweet cedarwood. Medium- to full-bodied, with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries, cassis and generous hints of cloves and cinnamon. On the generous finish tannins and hints of milk chocolate rise nicely. Drink now–2013. Score 89. (Re-tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Saslove, Marriage, 2008: Showing very differently than at an earlier barrel tasting, the blend having shifted considerably. Based on 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, those fleshed out with 10% of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Nebbiolo, reflecting its 6 months exposure to oak with soft, gently caressing tannins. Medium- to full-bodied, with an array of spicy red and black berries, bittersweet chocolate and from mid-palate on an appealing note of eucalyptus. Drink now-2014. Score 90. (Re-tasted 22 Feb 2011)

Lavan (White)

Saslove, Lavan, 2010: A half-dry blend of 45% each of Gewurztraminer and Viognier and 10% of Sauvignon Blanc. Cold fermented over a prolonged period and developed entirely in stainless steel, showing aromas and flavors of grapefruit, litchis and apricot leather. With its moderate sweetness complemented by fine balancing acidity a wine that coats the palate comfortably, the flavors lingering very nicely indeed. As good as an aperitif as with beef carpaccio, tuna tartar as with grilled or fried fillets of small fish. Most pleasant. Score 90. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by David Raccah » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:31 pm

Always impressed with Saslove and I am happy that when he decided to make kosher wine, it would not be the same unhappiness that Carmel did to him and Orna with the Mediterranean K.

Also, he is the second winery, that I know of, to call their white wine Laval, along with Covenant. Very different wines of course, with Covenant being an oaky beast, but would be fun to taste them side by side.

David
Checkout http://www.kosherwinemusings.com for my blogs on the world of kosher wines and follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/kosherwinemuse.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Or Shoham » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:00 pm

Saslove's wines were among the first higher-end wines I had a chance to taste, and to date I've never been disappointed with the winery's Adom / Reserved series (though the Aviv series has often featured wines not to my taste - not bad, but not necessarily my cup of tea). Good to see Barry and Roni continue with the good work...

One question -
Daniel Rogov wrote:...I have no objection at all to the use of chips, blocks or staves – that however on the condition that these be used (as Saslove does) for wines that are meant to be consumed at a relatively early age of anywhere from 2 – 4 years after release.

Not sure whether this is my inexperience or my ignorance (or both) showing, but why does using chips/blocks/staves in wine impact its drinking window in this manner?


P.S. Now that I posted in a thread covering 90-93 score wines, am I off the hook for posting in the Segal/Barkan thread? (-;
Last edited by Or Shoham on Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:05 pm

Or Shoham wrote:Not sure whether this is my inexperience or my ignorance (or both) showing, but why does using chips/blocks/staves in wine impact its drinking window in this manner?



Neither inexperience nor ignorance in this case because the issue is subject to debate. Some (including myself) feel that the impact of chips, blocks or staves is too immediate on the wine, that is to say because the wine is exposed to an overall greater surface of wooe than it might be in a barrique or larger barrel this builds in what we can think of as a "genetic" environment that seals an early demise for the wine. This is especially true of winemakers who are foolish enough (and I am not referring to the Sasloves in this case) to use a too heavy dose of chips, the wood almost oozing into the wine rather than impacting on it in a prolonged fashion. Forgive the simile, but something akin perhaps to premature ejaculation.

Barry or Roni are warmly invited to respond to this issue if they feel it appropriate. And that, of course, whether they agree or disagree with me.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Barry Saslove » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:14 pm

First of all, I want to thank each of you for your kind words of support.

Regarding the use of chips, blocks, staves etc., I have integrated them into my winemaking processes since 1998 and can say, with some confidence, that wines aged in oak chips have aging ability not significantly different than new barrels. When you think about it, the surface area of the wood chips is much greater than in barrel (hence a more immediate impact on flavours) allowing a far greater amount of tannins to be imparted into the wine, therefore increasing the ageability of the wine significantly.

If any of you have the opportunity to taste some of my 2002 or 2003 Aviv Cabernets you should be impressed by two factors; the youthfulness of the fruit, and, the wood spices are indistinguishable from barrel aged wine.

There are many myths about the use of chips, most incorrect. I find them to be fun, easy, and a welcome addition to the "spices" that I want to add to my wines.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Alexander F » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:32 pm

Always excellent wines in Adom and Reserve series. When comparing wines of this quality, it's not the score/quality rating, but a matter of personal taste that make you like the wine more than others. For me, this is exactly my favorite style.
Looking forward to taste Lavan and hope to see new Adom reds in the future, e.g. Bordeaux blend or varietal CF, PV, or maybe Petit Syrah or even Malbec?

All the best,
Alex
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Or Shoham » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:00 pm

Thank you to both Daniel and Barry for enlightening me (albeit in opposite directions of the same subject) - one of my favorite things about wines and winemaking is how easy it is to ask a question to which there is no definitive answer (and get people to present the different possible answers for you). Unfortunately, Saslove's 2002/3 Aviv Cabernet wines predate my meager, newly-founded collection and are no longer commercially available, but if any of our forum members has a chance to taste one, I'd love to hear their opinion as to whether the wines hold as Barry suggests.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Barry Saslove » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:15 pm

Hi Or,
If you would like to put together a group of no more than 15 people, I would be happy to host you at the Winery for a vintage tasting of Avivs and Adoms and maybe some Reserveds. If you are interested, just let me know.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:24 pm

A most generous invitation on Barry Saslove's part. In fact, an invitation too good to refuse. I hope one of our forumites volunteer to organize such visit.

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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Allen S » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:27 pm

Generous indeed. I think the easiest way to do this is to just have people express interest right here in this thread (maybe a good enough reason for some lurkers to let themselves be known). Then we can decide on a date that will work for Barry. Obviously, if more than 15 people express interest it should be based on who posted earliest.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Eli R » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:15 pm

Count me in.

Eli
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Z Spigelman » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:55 am

Daniel,
What is the drinking window for the Lavan 2010?
Zvi
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:58 am

Zvi, Hi...

Saslove, Lavan, 2010: ....Drink now-2013.

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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Z Spigelman » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:48 am

Daniel, thank you.
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Z Spigelman » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:00 am

Hi Daniel.
Have you tasted the Saslove April 2010 kosher red blend?
Zvi
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:54 am

Zvi, Hi...

I spoke with Barry Saslove about half an hour ago. The wine has just been bottled and is still in bottle shock. Barry promises me a bottle for tasting as soon as the wine has attained its own.

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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Ori C » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:23 am

I would be happy to join the vintage tasting offered by Barry, hope others will join along...
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Z Spigelman » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:38 am

Daniel,
A month has passed since you spoke with Barry. Have you received the kosher April 2010 for tasting?
Zvi
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:04 pm

Zvi, Hi....

Did not receive the wine for tasting from Barry but had one of my spies purchase a bottle. My tasting note follows.

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Rogov

Saslove, April, 2010: Developed in French and American oak for 4 months, a rather hode-podge blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Nebiolo, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium-bodied, with chunky tannins, a simple rustic wine with notes of red and black fruits an overlay of spices and cinnamon, as well as a hint of banana oil on the finish. Drink up. Score 84. K
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Z Spigelman » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:10 pm

Thanks, Daniel.
Expected better for Barry's first kosher red.
Zvi
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Re: Saslove:Tastings-Including the Winery's First Kosher Release

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:17 pm

Zvi, Hi...


As noted above Saslove's "first" kosher wine (at least the one released first) was his 2010 Lavan.

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Rogov

Saslove, Lavan, 2010: A half-dry blend of 45% each of Gewurztraminer and Viognier and 10% of Sauvignon Blanc. Cold fermented over a prolonged period and developed entirely in stainless steel, showing aromas and flavors of grapefruit, litchis and apricot leather. With its moderate sweetness complemented by fine balancing acidity a wine that coats the palate comfortably, the flavors lingering very nicely indeed. As good as an aperitif as with beef carpaccio, tuna tartar as with grilled or fried fillets of small fish. Most pleasant. Score 90. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2011)

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