Katlav Winery: My Annual Visit and Tasting Notes (K)

By: Daniel Rogov

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?By: Daniel Rogov

As those who have been following my recent posts have come to realize, Monday, 15 December, was a busy day for me. My final tasting stop was at Katlav winery, there to do primarily re-tastings of wines that I had tasted earlier, some in earlier stages of barrel development, some as advance tastings.

Founded by Yossi Yittach on Moshav Nes Harim in the Jerusalem Mountains in 1996, the winery released its first wines from the 2000 vintage. Drawing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Verdot, Chardonnay and Viognier grapes from local vintages, production for the 2007 vintage was for about 18,000 bottles. Because of the shnat shmita (Sabbatical year for the vineyards), no wines will be produced from the 2008 vintage but production will ensue once again in 2009.

One of the pleasures in visiting Katlav is in following the steady development of the winery and the annually noticeable increase in the quality of the wines. Another is in the good company of Yossi Yittach, to whom my thanks for a warm greeting and his courtesies during my visit.


Katlav, Chardonnay, 2007: Blended with 10% Viognier and oak aged in used barrels for 13 months, an unfiltered wine, medium- to full-bodied, with spicy oak and generous alcohol but those in good balance with acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate grapefruit, tropical fruits and citrus peel, those matched by floral notes. Finishes with a light creamy texture. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Wadi Katlav, 2006: Medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet towards royal purple, and oak-aged for 24 months, this blend of Cabernet Sauvigjnon, Merlot and Shiraz (60%, 30% and 10% respectively) shows still firm tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood and opening to reveal blackberry, black cherry and red currant fruits, those on a background of spices and earthy minerals. Drink now-2011. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006: Oak-aged for 24 months, dark ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and light spicy oak coming together nicely with notes of red plums, cherries and raspberries. Faulted only by a light medicinal note that rises on the medium-long finish. Drink now-2010. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Merlot, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. Katlav, Merlot, 2006: Garnet toward royal-purple, medium to full-bodied, with soft tannins promising integrating nicely with light oak. Showing dried currants and berries, those overlaid with spices and mint and a tantalizing hint of earthy bitterness. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dessert Wine, 2006: Not Port-style, not Madeira- or Sherry-style, a rather unique dessert wine, super-dark garnet in color, full bodied, with generous but now soft tannins yielding in the glass to generous sweetness, that balanced by natural acidity. On the nose and palate generous ripe plums, berries and cassis, those with overlays of white pepper and chocolate, all leading to a fresh and long finish. A one-off, not to be repeated. Best from 2010. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Kartlav, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Showing much as it did a year ago at an earlier barrel tasting. Dark ruby in color, full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and light spicy and cedar notes. Opens to reveal a tempting array of black currant, blackberry and purple plum fruits, those complemented by hints of mocha and Mediterranean herbs, all lingering nicely. Drink from release?2012. Tentative Score 88?90. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Merlot, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark ruby toward garnet in color, medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and showing black cherry, cola and nutmeg on toasty oak, those yielding on the finish to hints of mocha and sage. Deep and long enough to hold our interest. Drink from release?2011. Tentative Score 87?89. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Petit Verdot, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with tannins as intense as the acidity and fruits. Opens slowly to reveal blackcurrants, blackberries and black cherries, those complemented nicely by mocha and spicy oak notes. Potentially the best yet from the winery. Besf from 2010. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 15 Dec 2008)

Katlav, Syrah, 2005: Showing better than at an earlier tasting. Oak-aged for 22 months, medium- to full-bodied, with traditional Syrah leathery, meaty and spicy notes to highlight plum, cherry, wild berry and pomegranate fruits. Soft tannins rise together with hints of orange peel on the long finish. Drink now-2011. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 15 Dec 2008)


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