One day in the not-too-distant future a sharp PhD candidate will write a thesis about the three-sided relationship between psychology, winemaking and the marketing of wine and a good starting point for that thesis might be the recent release of the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot wine in Carmel's Private Collection Series.
Few question but that the wines in this series have risen in quality during recent years, to the point where one might say the Carmel revolution is now reaching their mid-quality, mass market series. The wines in the Private Collection series were never been destined for the most sophisticated wine lovers, but at their best they did provide good drinking for many. If two problems remained with the series the first was that the wines destined for the USA and UK markets were mevushal and thus quite often lost their charm within six months after release. The other problem was one of image, many people recalling the not at all enviable quality of wines released as recently as the 1990s and even the first years of this still young century.
As revealed by the just released wine (for which my tasting note follows) – the times they are continuing to change. First of all, in the way of quality – from the 2007 vintage and on, none of the wines in this series will be mevushal. Not those destined for sale in Israel and not those destined for sale abroad. Even the rear label has changed, providing more useful information, that including the suggestion that this wine be chilled in the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes to bring it to about 16 degrees Celsius. I concur with Carmel that with wines of this nature that is a close to ideal serving temperature in Israeli climate.
Second, with the introduction of a new, well designed and far more elegant label, Carmel is making its bow to the psychology of branding and thus striving to overcome whatever image problems this series has had. (I should be receiving an image of that label in the next day or two and will post that on receipt).
For those new to our forum and to Israeli wines, the top level series of Carmel are their often notably excellent Limited Edition; Single Vineyard Series; and Regional (Appellation) Series, many of which consistently earn scores of 90 or higher. Those are followed by Private Collection, Selected (Called Vineyards in the USA) and by Young Selected and Vino.
One of these days I will reveal a very amusing anecdote that relates to both the new Private Collection labels and the Vino red wine, that reflecting not at all on Carmel but on several of my colleagues. If I were to tell that story now, the CEO of Carmel would probably put out a contract on me and at least two of my colleagues would be glad to break my legs, neck or other parts just for the pleasure of it.
As to the newly released wine, my tasting note follows.
Carmel, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2007: A blend of 50% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged partly in stainless steel and partly in French and American oak. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a gentle spicy wood influence, opening in the glass to show black and red berries and notes of purple plums on a background that hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Drink now-2010. Suggested retail price NIS 50. (About US$ 14) Score 87. K (Tasted 2 Aug 2008)