This year was total madness regarding both the wines and food we enjoyed for Yom Haatzmaut with plenty of entrecôtes steaks, veal and lamb chops...
Herzog, Zinfandel Old Vines Lodi 2008: This wine was almost undrinkable. It wasn't spoiled nor past its peak it was just bad, I really disliked it so it found its way down the drain pretty quickly.
Herzog, Special Reserve, Merlot Alexander Valley 2002: Well, this was a mature wine that was still well alive and delicious! Dark garnet with on the nose crushed berries, vanilla and cedar wood. Medium to full-bodied and juicy with on the palate again forest berries, sweet and spicy wood, cherries, vanilla and milk chocolate on a long finish. Tannins have integrated, time to drink up but still nice acid to keep things interesting, liked it quite a bit.
Food: Entrecotes, veal sausages (really good, from Tirat Zvi) and lamb chops. All was fresh israeli meat from the North. Absolutely delightful.
Food: Entrecotes, merguez spicy sausages (the best i had in a very long time, not too spicy, well-balanced), white veal and lamb chops as well as sirloin and chuck steaks. All was delicious and char-grilled to perfection (rare).
Domaine du Castel, Rosé 2011: As the 2012 vintage of this wine will only be released in May we decided to still honor the tradition and open one of our last 2 bottles of the '11. Well, I don't regret having only one bottle left as the wine has well started its path down the hill. While it was still drinking fine, it was nowhere as fruity and exotic as it used to be. It remains a good wine but not a great one and I recommend to drink up before it's too late!
Eden, Wild Red 2008: Only the second time I had the '08 and was even better than the first, my one and only bottle but my friend still has one left. It was incredible! Dark garnet with some purple at the rim, on the nose crazy bursting sweet red PEARS along notes of blue and raspberries and freshly picked cassis and a touch of vanilla. Full-bodied with on the palate again juicy red pears (the pears where only on the nose the first time), cassis and raspberries with a touch of blueberries, sweet wood and vanilla with integrating tannins on the long and mouth-filling finish. AWESOME wine!
Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac 2003: I've had tasted this wine before but this was the first time I actually drank it. WOW! What a blockbuster wine and so youthful at 10 years from vintage! Israel is still a long way behind regarding its wines' longevity, this beauty is not going anywhere anytime soon!
Dark royal purple, almost night blue, with on the nose intense cassis, plums, anis and pencil lead with a touch of aromatic herbs. Full-bodied, deeply extracted and uber concentrated with on the palate very intense black fruit and licorice followed by multiple layers of dark plums, herbs, graphite minerals, loamy dirt, mocha, bracing acid, more black fruit and leather with some toasted wood and backers chocolate as well as polished, well-focused tannins lingering on the seemingly endless finish. Smooth, rich and powerful, this wine is a masterpiece and the best red Bordeaux I ever had the luck to drink and enjoy. Un chef d'oeuvre!
Shirah Wine Co., Bro Deux 2010: So I finally enjoyed this very special wine!
This is quite an interesting and appealing Bordeaux-plus blend. Dark purple with on the nose plenty of green notes such as bell pepper, wet wood and tobacco leaves as well as cherries and raspberries. Medium, maybe medium to full-bodied with on the palate ripe cherries, blueberries and blackberries, green pepper, wet forest floor and spice with a hint of saddle leather and tobacco and some ripe sweet raspberry rising with toasted oak and silky soft tannins on the long finish. Very nice with quite some complexity.
Ella Valley, Vineyard's Choice Petite Sirah 2008: Dark inky purple, concentrated nose of black and blue fruit alongside cracked pepper and toasted oak. Full-bodied and deeply extracted with on the palate blackberries, blueberries, sweet tobacco and near-sweet chewy and teeth-staining tannins with bold acid as well as chocolate covered coffee bean on the very long finish. Now that's a great PS!
GMW, Yiron 2005: Now this bottle was stored in the most pristine conditions since the wine's release in 2008 and it showed! Given how well it was doing I believe it could well hold another 2-3 years before falling off the cliff. Absolutely magnificent at this point so I highly recommend not to play with fire and simply open and enjoy now.
And to top off the meal with a nice cigar, some Carmel 120 Brandy that remains the best kosher brandy/cognac IMHO. This opinion might change as I intend on tasting it again side by side with a bottle of Godet XO in a few days.