Leket Wine Club – Inagural Wine Dinner

At the inaugural wine dinner for the Leket Wine Club, we had a number of great wines, including the top-tier “Rom” blend from the Golan Heights Winery and many wines not currently available in the United States. Listed below are my published notes for a number of the wines served at the dinner (additional notes will be posted as they are transcribed from my tasting book scribblings):

Bashan, Eitan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009: A medium bodied wine that, once it had about 30 minutes in my glass, opened up into an easy drinking wine with sufficient sophistication and depth to warrant my attention. Nice black fruit on both the nose and palate with a pleasurable “dusty” or earthy overtone and hints of spicy oak. A medium finish with hints of mint and tobacco leaf rounded out a delightful drinking experience.

Bashan, Nave, 2009: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that spent over a year in oak resulting in soft and well integrated tannins that provided a round and mouth filling sensation on first attack. Give this wine some time to open up in your glass and you will delight in the blackberries, dark plums and currants surrounded by rich back earth, sweet, Mediterranean herbs and slightly spicy wood all leading into and continuing with a medium to long finish that encourages another sip (again and again).

Binyamina, Reserve, Shiraz, 2007: As I have written before, I find myself drinking a lot of Syrah recently and think Israel is doing a really great job with the grape. It’s still a little unclear to me the direction in which Israel will end up with this varietal, but it’s a great adventure with more and more quality Syrah wines are being produced. Syrah is also a primary component in many of the Super-Israelis like the recently released Rom. A wine that is easy to drink right out of the bottle with a medium body and soft tannins beautifully integrated with blackberries, black cherries and some cassis along with some leather and hints of smoked meat. A medium finish with more fruit and leather rounds out this smooth and mouth filling wine.

Carmel, Appellation, Carignan, 2007: The Carignan grape was probably a significant contributor to Carmel’s prior horrific reputation for terrible wines given that it was a major component in cheaper and unappealing wines. This wine really puts the much maligned grape in a whole new (favorable) light. Using grapes from 40 year old vines and blended with some Petit Verdot for good measure, this wine has great fruit and is slightly spicy with hints of espresso and a nice finish. Not many folks do well by this grape but Carmel certainly does.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Blanc De Blancs, 2005: Fortunately this wine finally made it to our shores as it is easily a YH Best Buy and the best substitute for true kosher Champagne at a much lower price. After successive (and successful) releases in 1998, 1999 and 2000, the last marketed vintage of this wine was the delicious 2001 vintage. I am not sure why they waited four years to make another, but am happy they finally did!. I have also heard rumors of a late disgorged 2000 version which I’d love to lay my hands on and compare with my last remaining bottle of “regular” 2000, so if anyone has any info on that, please let me know. If I needed to sum up this wine in one word it would be an easy task (even for me) – delicious. Grapefruit, lime, apple, melon and hints of pineapple abound in this delicious wine which is bone dry and loaded with crisp acidity. Toasted yeasty brioche and sharp, long-lasting bubbles make this wine a delight and an awesome match with almost any dish you care to throw its way. Stock up while you can since, at around $20 a bottle, it won’t be around for long.