Special to WJW
With Passover underway, I’d like to share some of the fabulous wines I sampled in the run-up to the holiday.
Psâgot Rose, Jerusalem Mountain Vineyards (Israel), 2016 ($20): This fun, crisp, clean, refreshing rosé offers bright aromas and flavors of stone fruits, ripe strawberry and watermelon and just enough balancing acidity to keep it fresh and vibrant.
Hagafen Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($27): Another stunning, aromatic, vibrant, and simply delicious vintage of Sauvignon Blanc from Hagafen, with robust aromas of white peach, kiwi and citrus zest all against a fresh, grassy backdrop. These notes carry on through the palate, with additional enticing related flavors of mango, green apple and a mineral rich citrus characteristic. It’s wonderfully balanced and refreshing.
Shirah, Alder Springs Furmint, 2015 ($35): This lovely, golden, rich, full-bodied, complex and unusual white wine is a great California take on the noble Hungarian white varietal — with honeysuckle, spice, pear, apple, a little honey, a dollop of tropical fruits and subtle stone fruits, all buttressed by brilliant, bracing acidity and a little toasty oak. Fabulous.
Goose Bay, Two Hemisphere Selection, Evans Vineyard Heritage, Columbia Valley, 2012 ($25): This full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was aged in French and American oak for 16 months, then blended and further aged for three years before bottling in mid-2016, resulting in a lovely, fruity, rich, full wine offering dark berry fruits, still firm tannins and enough balancing acidity to keep it fresh and lively.
The name highlights the collaborative effort by Philip Jones (winemaker and proprietor of the kosher Goose Bay wines in New Zealand and the kosher Pacifica by Evan’s Vineyard wines in Washington State) and his right-hand man, Matthew Rutherford (winemaker and managing director of Jones’ Spencer Hill Estates winery in New Zealand).
Domaine de Boissan, Selection Bokobsa, Gigondas, Grande Reserve, 2014 ($30): A charming, supple, medium-bodied French blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah with aromas and flavors of cherry, blueberry, graphite, wild herbs, violets, milk chocolate and earth.
Chateau Haut-Piquat Lussac Saint-Emilion (Bordeaux), kosher edition, 2012 ($30): A solid, enjoyable and straightforward example of the region, offering inviting aromas and flavors of ripe red and black fruits, vanilla, oak and a good old-world earthiness, with overall good structure, agreeable tannins and reasonably lengthy finish.
Herzog, Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County (California), 2014 ($38): It needs a couple of years before it’ll be at its best, but is enjoyable now with inviting aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, and some subtle cocoa powder and vanilla, followed by concentrated flavors of cherry, dark berry fruits and spice, all wrapped in nicely integrated tannins and highlighted by balancing acidity. It has a nice long finish, too.
Psâgot Peak (Israel) 2014 ($50): This very nice, proprietary red blend is soft and inviting, yet spicy and tannic, stylistically closer to France’s southern Rhône than to Psâgot’s usual offerings, it retains a kiss of sweetness and a dollop of smoky wood that anchors it firmly in the Mediterranean. It drinks well now, but it should evolve nicely over the mid-term.
Château Soutard, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé (Bordeaux), kosher edition, 2014 ($150): This elegant medium-bodied, charming wine is complex, confident and lively. Although a relatively light St-Émilion, this is fresh, evolved, dry, racy, and well balanced offering floral aromas, along with fresh red berries and licorice, with juicy red and black fruit flavors, anise, white pepper and cedar wood on the palate carrying through to the lengthy finish, which includes notes of dark chocolate. Wonderful. L’chaim!