Yatir: Six New Releases (K)
By: Daniel Rogov
Late this afternoon (Sunday,29 May), I attended the official unveiling of six wines from the Yatir Winery. Before my tasting notes, my compliments to Mira Eitan, Adam Montifiore and the Carmel and Yatir staffs for a thoroughly professional tasting.
One entered the tasting room, free of extraneous aromas and without a drop of food in sight. There, on a long white clothed table were the six wines, each at its correct temperature, each opened enough in advance to let the aromas start to develop and enough glasses that each wine could be tasted completely on its own. Even more, during this formal part of the tasting winemaker Eran Goldwasser purposely stayed outside of the tasting room knowing full well that his presentation would follow afterwards. And that presentation was well done indeed, giving required information about vintages, vineyards, the use (or non-use) of oak (be there no question but that Goldwasser prefers older oak in order not to let the wood dominate the wine).
My thanks to all of those from the winery for an interesting tasting and for a job well done. Interesting perhaps to note that I had tasted all but one of these wines at least once in the past and that my tasting notes (checked on returning home) hold rather firmly. Always a good sign in a winery!!!
Yatir, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010: Fermented in stainless steel and then transferred to primarily older oak for two months, dark golden straw with a a green tint and just a bare -- and thus tantalizing -- hint of the oak. Light- to medium-bodied, ined, as fresh and lively on the nose as on the palate, showing aromas and flavors of citrus, pear, melon and apples, those along with notes of guava and minerals that arise from mid-palate on. A fine balance between ripeness and finely tuned acidity. Drink now-2012. NIS 70. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 29 May 2011)
Yatir, Viognier, 2010: Made entirely from Viognier grapes, unoaked, thus maintaining its fresh-fruit character and crisp nature. Light golden straw with a tint of glistening green. Light- to medium-bodied, opening with floral and nutty aromas and flavors, going on to show a generous mouthful of pear, apricot and litchi fruits, all on a background that hints of spices and, on the finish, a note of kiwi. Round, lively and generous. Drink now-2014. NIS 80. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 29 May 2011)
Yatir, Merlot-Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008: Considering that the grapes listed on the label are not the only ones used in the wine, I am often tempted to refer this wine not by its grapes but as "Yatir, Blended Red". A blend of 44% Merlot, 25% Shiraz, 21% Merlot and 10% Malbec, intentionallydeveloped in used barriques to preventing the wood to dominate. Dark royal purple in color, with a nose replete with crushed berries and white pepper, showing full-bodied with generous but gentle tannins. On the nose and palate black fruits "all the way", those including blackcurrants, blackberries and black cherries, those on a comfortably spicy background. Long and generous. Best 2013-2018. NIS 110. Score 91. K (Tasted 29 May 2011)
Yatir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008: Blended with 11% Shiraz, showing dark garnet with a royal purple rim. Medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full ) with still gripping tannins needing only time to integrate, opens with rich near-sweet raspberries and plums, unfolds to show blackberries and spices. Developed in one year old barriques, concentrated and deep, long, round and generous. Best 2013-2018. NIS 135. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 29 May 2011)
Yatir, Shiraz, 2008: Blended, as is the winemaker's wont, with 1% of Viognier and developed partly in used barriques for 12 month, partly in 3,600 liter vats.. Super-dark garnet with a royal purple robe, full-bodied and with generous tannins now integrating nicely with wood and fruits. Look for the traditional leathery, licorice, blackberry and plum aromas and flavors that we have come to associate with this grape but then stand back as clear and pronounced notes of raspberries, citrus peel and roasted herbs make themselves felt. This one will always be a firm and muscular wine but through that there is a clear sense of elegance. Approachable now but best from 2013-2018. NIS 140. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 29 May 2011)
Yatir, Petit Verdot, 2008: A blend of 85% Petit Verdot, the varieties developed separately in one year old oak. Dark, almost impenetrable garnet, full-bodied, with still-gripping tannins waiting to settle down but already showing fine balance and structure. Opens with aromas and flavors of black fruits, those yielding to notes of bittersweet chocolate and roasted herbs. On the long, long finish notes of what at one moment seem like black olives and another like eucalyptus. Perhaps or perhaps not to be released as a varietal wine. Fascinating and, for my two cents, delicious. Best 2013-2018. Score 93. K
P.S. And, as they like to say on the radio, "do stay tuned" for there will be an additional and most interesting update on Yatir in 7-10 days.
Yatir Forest, 2008: An "Oh, wow!" wine. Dark, almost impenetrable garnet, full-bodied, with soft, gently grippng tannins and notes of sweet-and-spicy cedar. On first attack traditional currant and blackberry fruits, those followed by purple plums, bittersweet chocolate, espresso coffee and, on the finish, that goes on and on, seemingly without end, tempting notes of anise and black olives. Approachable now but best 2013-2022. Perhaps the best yet from Yatir. And by any standards one of the best ever Israeli wines. Score 95. K