After recovering from the pre-Passover wine rush, I recently had the opportunity to taste new ‘premium’ wines from The Cave and Amphorae wineries.
In this article, I will not get into the discussion re what places a wine in the ‘premium’ category. However, I will mention, that in general, the fact that a specific wine bares a high price tag, is positioned by the winery as such, or even received impressive scores from well know wine critics, does not necessarily mean that it will be to your liking and in the more extreme cases, may not even be a good, enjoyable or well balanced wine.
The Cave – A boutique winery that operates independently but owned and managed by the Binyamina team – was established in 2000. Some vintages have been better than others, but overall the wines (at least the ones that I sampled) are quite enjoyable and definitely of quality.
The Cave, 2008 – a Bordeaux style blend comprising Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, 24 months in oak, medium – full bodied, on the nose and palate generous fruit (though not jammy at all), cloves, chocolate and slight notes of refreshing mint leading to a long finish. Surprisingly approachable and with good structure, overall this is a very enjoyable wine.
The Cave, Old Vines, 2008 – starting with 07 vintage, the Cave began producing a second label coined Old Vines. This time, based solely on Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, dark ruby towards purple in color, concentrated and layered aromas and flavors of dark berry fruits, plums, fresh herbs that continue to develop in the glass. Full bodied and with a long and satisfying finish, it will be interesting to see how this wine develops in the coming years.
Amphorae Winery – a winery that has gone through some major changes in recent years before relocating to their beautiful facility in the Makora farm on the slopes of the Carmel. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend calling up and scheduling a visit.
With winemaker Arcadi Papikian currently at the helm, Amphorae has also secured the services of internationally renowned French consultant Michel Rolland who visited the country last year. With this team and the major investments that have been made, it will be very interesting to sample additional Amphorae wines from the 07 as well as wines 08 and 09 vintages.
Amphorae, Makora, Merlot-Barbera, 2007 – a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Barbera, bright ruby in color, this is a full bodied and concentrated red vino. The 36 months in barriques are still quite evident, opening in the glass with toasted oak, coffee and dark chocolate. Those followed by pleasant red berry fruits, cherries and overall generous and good balancing acidity leading to a long and mouth filling finish. I would set aside for at least a year or two before sampling again.