Yak's Home Page
Introducing Yak
Yak's Rating Scale
Yak's Burgundy Primer
Tasting Notes Archive
Wine & Food Adventures

Katzrin Chardonnay..... Yarden Cabernet..... Bonnes Mares.....


This year we were invited for Passover "Seder" to our good friends Oded & Nitza Lerer. The Lerers are four, we are two, there was another couple and a lone man. All in all were nine people, three of which hardly touched any wine apart from the cursory toasts.

Gefilte Fish
Chopped Liver
1995 'Katzrin' Chardonnay, Golan Wineries
Oriental-flavored chicken soup with Kneidlach
1985 'Yarden' Cabernet, Golan Wineries
Suckling-veal-throat meatballs on rice and vegetables
1983 Bonnes Mares, G. Roumier
Mango Parfait

Different dishes were prepared by the guests and of course by Nitza, the hostess. The (more or less) traditional dinner was great - with Nitza's Gefilte Fish among the very best I ever tasted. Both the company and atmosphere were fun, entertaining and convivial.

Katzrin - Chardonnay 1995 Golan Wineries

4/98. From Oded's cellar but used to cost $23 when it was available.
The flagship Israeli white wine of the Golan wineries. Although I have a few bottles, this is the first time I tasted the wine.
COLOR: Normal color for Chardonnay.
NOSE: Lovely nose of spring flowering, apples and minerals. Noticeable but not overpowering oak. The bouquet did tone down a bit after about 30 minutes.
TASTE: Very good, concentrated and mouthfilling. Not American-style tropical fruit but neither Bourgogne-style toasted almonds and butter on the palate. An 'endemic' Israeli-style emerging here? If so than it's a good style!
LENGTH: Not that concentrated...
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Full bodied white wine with very good concentration. Slightly less oak and slightly more acidity would have resulted in a perfectly balanced wine.
OVERALL: Very-good-plus. The best Israeli white wine I ever tasted.
MARK: 16.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Yes.

Yarden - Cabernet Sauvignon 1985 Golan Wineries

4/98. Bought locally on Sept-93 for $80.
My last bottle of this specific wine and vintage. The '85 Yarden is considered to be the best wine ever made in Israel. $17 upon release back in 1988, it reached a maximum $150 around 1995. Up until a few years ago this wine was indeed superb. About a year ago I had a chance to taste a bottle in a tasting organized by the Golan Wineries. It was totally dead...
COLOR: Perhaps a trifle lighter than in its heyday, but it would take a lot more than 13 years to affect the color of an Israeli Cabernet. Tons of sediment were left on the bottle shoulder and on its bottom.
NOSE: Old, acetic and sulphuric tones overpowered the aroma at first. But after about 20-30 minutes the nose 'cleaned' up and became harmonized and enticing. Soft pleasant fruit came forward, not shouting perhaps but neither whispering.
TASTE: As with the nose, the wine had to stand for a while to rid itself of unpleasant elements on the palate. When it did so, the wine revealed its charm with a smooth and silky complexity that haven't yet lost its grip on the palate.
LENGTH: Medium-long pleasing aftertaste (used to be very long!).
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Age has turned this one from a blockbuster into a medium-bodied harmonious wine. Perfectly poised and very well balanced. This wine had seen better days for sure, but even today its classical elements still proudly show.
OVERALL: Still Excellent! I was mildly surprised (in lieu of my last experience, and especially after the initial harsh nose and taste) to see the wine performed so well. This wine ain't dead yet, though it is obviously on its downhill road. Drink up if you have any.
MARK: 17/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? No.

Bonnes Mares 1983 G. Roumier

4/98. Again from Oded's cellar, but I acquired in auction the same wine for $100 on March-95.
I was really glad when I saw what Oded was going to open for the main course. It has been more than two years since I last tasted this wine, but this Bonnes Mares has always been one of my favorite (B).
COLOR: After 15 years, the wine still boasts an extremely healthy color. Lighter than the Yarden of course, and with some slight clearing around the rim, this old (B) still looks younger than many young ones.
NOSE: Beautiful discernible black fruit, surrounded by the mature and fantastic 'Bourgogne Nose'. Powerful yet elegant bouquet, perhaps a touch less complex than I remember.
TASTE: Extremely tasty and mouthfilling. Sweetish flavors with plenty of winyness. Multi-layered as it ever was, but here too, maybe lost some of the majestic grip it used to have. Still a flawless pleasure on the palate.
LENGTH: Very long and loud aftertaste that was felt in spite of the mildly spicy meatballs dish.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Medium-full body. Fruit, depth, soft tannins, good perceived acidity - all combine to create a very finely balanced wine. Not lean by any means, but texture-wise this once-perfect Bonnes Mares did lose some of the generosity.
OVERALL: A Superb (B) no doubt! Yet this wine used to be extraordinary and even more...
MARK: 18/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.

Reach Me? yak@yakshaya.com

Yak's Home Page
Introducing Yak
Yak's Rating Scale
Yak's Burgundy Primer
Tasting Notes Archive
Wine & Food Adventures

Copyright 1996-2003.
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.