I have a favorite wine shop in Wichita (KS), Anton's Vintage Wine & Spirits (highly recommended), and the owner has become a friend over the past few years. But we had never had the chance to taste wines together. So, we got together the day after Christmas. He was interested in tasting an Israeli Cab, so I brought one, and he provided some other Cabernet based wines. He enjoyed the Israeli, and the wines he provided were quite a treat!
Galil Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee 2003
Medium ruby toward garnet. Love the nose - sweet, and very aromatic, with raspberry, marmalade, and roses - not quite heady, but rich. On the palate, sweet cherry upfront with overtones of cassis, followed by a midpalate of sweet raspberry, orange rind, and roses. Finish drops off, however. Medium bodied, with nice aromatics. Fills the senses (even with the short finish). Seems to be holding nicely - for drinking soon, but without fear. Lovely wine. Kosher. Excellent (87 - 90). [12/26/08].
Chateau La Louviere, Pessac-Leognan 2005
Nice color - deep ruby with a touch of purple. Awesome nose of earth, black fruit, and tobacco - but subtle and reserved at this stage, and not as good as it will be in time! Similar notes on the palate, but very tight at this stage. Full bodied. Very impressive - a great wine. I'd give it 10 more years, and I'll guess it will last for 10 - 20 years after that. Should be something really special in time. Love it! Exceptional (90 - 93), and potentially Extraordinary (93 - 95) with time. [12/26/08]
Paul Hobbs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2005
Last glass from a bottle opened the day before, but kept under inert gas. Nice color - deep ruby with a touch of purple. Big, rich, heady, Napa nose of cassis, earth, and tobacco. On the palate, cherry, cassis, tobacco, and earth. Big but not huge. Great fruit! Not a wine to evaluate, but one to sit back and enjoy. Should last another 10 - 15 years. Can't decided whether this or the Beringer Private Reserve 1997 tasted after it is the best California Cabernet I've had, although they are in very different styles. Extraordinary (93 - 95). [12/26/08]
Beringer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Private Reserve, Napa Valley 1997
Impressive color - deep, youthful ruby, going to pink with a touch of brown at the edge (but notably, no garnet). Funky, candied nose at first, but after that blows off, red and black currants, with Graves-like earthiness, a hint of tobacco, and a touch of espresso - a great nose! On the palate, cherry, red currant, cassis, raspberry, orange rind, and espresso. Touch of earthiness on the finish. Full bodied, with good balance. Somewhat Bordelais in style. A very high quality wine. In its prime, and should hold there for another 5 years, but probably won't improve any further. This would be the best California Cabernet I've had if not for the Paul Hobbs Napa 2005 tasted just before it - can't really decided between the two, although I'd say the this one has the edge, although in a very different style. Extraordinary (93 - 95). [12/26/08]