Clos de Gat: Revisit and Barrel Tastings

By: Daniel Rogov

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?By: Daniel Rogov

Continuing yet further on my wine-tasting ramblings of Tuesday, 27 January, I made my way to Clos de Gat. Some may recall that I visited Clos de Gat not that long ago (15 December 2008), then for a broad tasting of ready-to-be released wines as well as several wines of older vintages. I rarely visit the same winery twice in the same year (I simply cannot fight with the Gregorian calendar with its mere 365 days annually) but at that earlier visit the 2008 wines were all still undergoing malolactic fermentation and barrel tastings were impossible. Considering the excellence of this winery, the opportunity now to taste from the 2008 vintage was simply an invitation I could not refuse

My thanks to winemaker Eyal Rotem and to William White for a fine tasting and very good company. I must say that Rotem refuses to install an espresso machine at the winery and that if the truth be told his caf? botz (near-boiling water poured over finely ground coffee) is nothing to boast about. I forgive him for two reasons ? first that his wines are often breathtakingly delicious and second because I have fallen in love with one of his dogs.

In reading the notes that follow, please keep in mind that tastings were made from components and the projections for the future are entirely my own. Tasting notes?


Clos de Gat, Chardonnay, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Already showing rich, complex and opulent, with generous fig, citrus and melon fruits on a full-bodied background of minerals and butterscotch. On the long and mouth-filling finish a tempting and delicate note of kumquats. Drink from release-2014. Tentative Score 92-94. (Tasted 27 Jan 2009)

Clos de Gat, Syrah, Har’el, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied and supple, with fine balance between wood, tannins and a loamy earthy note. Opens to reveal currant and wild berry fruits, those followed by blackberries and black cherries, all supported by a gentle spicy note. Tempting on release but best 2011-2017. Tentative Score 93-95. (Tasted 27 Jan 2009)

Clos de Gat, Merlot, Har’el, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Round, ripe, concentrated and generous, showing full-bodied, with still gripping tannins needing time to settle down. On the nose and palate ripe blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits, those matched nicely by hints of toasted rye bread and spices that linger on the long and fruity finish. Approachable on release but best 2011-2016. Tentative score 92-94. (Tasted 27 Jan 2009)

Clos de Gat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Har’el, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Deep, dark and deeply tannic, a rich, full-bodied red showing fine balance and structure, with spicy and vanilla-tinged oak and still firm tannins yielding to highlight well focused blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry fruits. On the long finish, with chewy tannins rising tempting notes of licorice and mint. Best 2012-2017. Tentative Score 93-95. (Tasted 27 Jan 2009)

From there to the terrace of the winery, there to enjoy the mild winter weather, the pastoral view, the winery dogs and two of the Sycra Syrah wines.

Clos de Gat, Syrah, Sycra, 2006 (Advance Tasting): An opulent wine, almost impenetrably deep garnet in color, full-bodied, with silky-smooth tannins that caress gently and opening in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of wild berries, grilled meat and spices, those leading to a fruit-rich finish on which you will find tempting chocolate and vanilla undertones. Long, round and generous. If this one does not make you fall in love you’re a hard-hearted wine lover indeed. One of the best wines ever from Israel. Approachable now but best 2011-2016. Score 95. (Re-tasted 27 Jan 2009)

Clos de Gat, Syrah, Sycra, 2004: Oak-aged for 20 months. Full-bodied, with oak that at one moment seems spicy and at the next smoky but never dominating; with firm tannins integrating nicely now. A dense, almost muscular wine but one that sits gently and opens to show a tempting array of cherry, berry and currant fruits, those on a just-spicy-enough background to highlight hints of freshly roasted coffee. Well focused, intense and long. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2010-2014. Score 93. (Re-tasted 27 Jan 2009)

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