Recanati: My Annual Visit and Tasting Notes (K)

By: Daniel Rogov more »

?By: Daniel Rogov

Today (Tuesday, 2 February) found me at the Recanati winery, there to do barrel tastings, advance tastings and re-tastings. Established in 2000, this modern winery located in the Hefer Valley in the north part of the Sharon region relies on grapes from their own as well as contract vineyards, primarily in the Upper Galilee. Senior winemaker Gil Shatzberg and winemaker Ido Lewinsohn make a talented and versatile team and the winery produces wines in several series: the top-of-the-line age-worthy Special Reserve wines’ and two varietal series, Reserve and Recanati which now include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah-Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Sauvigon Blanc. The winery also has a popular priced series named Yasmine. Production is currently about 900,000 bottles annually.

Also to be noted, the winery will be releasing two wines in their Special Reserve series on 14 February, those being the red blend from 2006 and their first white release in this series, that from the 2008 vintage. To be a bit on the unusual side, before my tasting notes a summary ? that being that the winery is clearly moving in the direction of wines that, while no less complex or sophisticated are less alcoholic, rounder and more distinctly food-friendly. At least part of this goal is being attained by ealier harvest and the increasing use of fine grain Burgundy barrels that will impart a more gentle wood influence to the wines.

My thanks to the two winemakers and to CEO Noam Jacoby for a fine tasting and for their good company, for several cups of espresso during tasting breaks, and for a most pleasant lunch after the tasting.


The 2009 Wines


Recanati, Yasmine Blanc, 2009: An unoaked blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Emerald Riesling, French Colombard and Semillon. With a moderate 12% alcohol, not having undergone malolactic fermentation, showing floral notes to support citrus and tropical fruits. An pleasant enough quaffer. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Sauvignon Blanc, 2009: Unoaked, with a moderate 12% alcohol, a crisp and refreshing wine with fine acidity to highlight citrus and apple fruits, all with a hint of white pepper on the finish. Drink now. Score 88. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Chardonnay, 2009 (Advance Tasting): Developed on its lees, 50% in second and third year barrels, 50% in stainless steel, showing light yeast notes that part to reveal appealing pear, apple and citrus notes on a light flinty mineral background. Lively and generous. Drink from release-2012. Score 87. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Ros?, 2009: A blend of Barbera and Merlot, those almost bright rose petal red, showing light- to medium-bodied, with good acidity to keep it lively and refreshing. On the nose and palate raspberry, cherry and blueberry notes with a tantalizing hint of super-light tannins to add complexity. Very nice indeed. Score 88. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Yasmine, Rouge, 2009: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petite Sirah, made partly by carbonic maceration. Ruby towards garnet, light- to medium bodied and soft, an easy to drink entry leael wine showing wild berry and blackberry fruits. Drink now. Score 86. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Siraz, 2009 (Advance Tasting): Super-dark garnet in color, with lively acidity and gentle wood influences setting off the 13% alcohol content. A floral and mineral-rich nose yields nicely to aromas and flavors of peppery plum and berry fruits, all lingering nicely on the palate. Drink from release-2014. Score 89. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Merlot, 2009 (Advance Tasting): Blended with about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, allowed to ferment partly by carbonic maceration, opens with a fruity nose and then goes on to show purple plum, blackberry and blueberry fruits. Not overly complex but sits very comfortably on the palate. Drink from release-2013. Score 88. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 (Advance Tasting): Deep royal purple, full-bodied, with fine concentration and showing soft and round. Rich in blackcurrant and berry fruits, those supported comfortably by hints of chocolate and espresso coffee. Long, generous and complex enough to grab the attention. Drink from release-2014. Score 89. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati Syrah, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, with depth and breadth, showing full-bodied, concentrated and round. Generous wild berry and cassis here, those complemented by notes of earthy minerals and, on the long finish a note of minted chocolate. Best 2011-2015. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Merlot, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Winemaker Gil Shtazberg says that “2009 was the year of Merlot”. Certainly this wine goes a long way in supporting that hypothesis. Dark royal purple in color, full-bodied, with gently gripping tannins and a moderate influence of spicy wood, opens to reveal comfortably forward black and red berries, those showing light notes of garrigue and earthy minerals. Approachable on release but best 2012-2016, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet towards royal purple with orange and green reflections with a richly fruity nose. Full-bodied, with gently caressing tannins and an appealing light overlay of cedar wood opens to show traditional Cabernet blackcurrants, blackberries and then not-so traditional blueberries. Tannins and a spicy note rise on the finish. Approachable and enjoyable oh release but best 2012-2017. Tentative Score 90-92. 92 K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Petite Syrah-Zinfandel, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A popular blend from the winery, the percentage of Petite Sirah going up annully, this year to 90% of the blend. Medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet towards royal purple, with aromas and flavors of red and black berries on a background of soft tannins, eucalyptus and a spicy wood influence. Drink from release-2014. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Carignan, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): The first varietal Carignan release from the winery. Made from old vines with a very low yield, a concentrated and deep wine with chunky somewhat chunky tannins and an appealing reflection of spicy oak. Opens nicely to reveal generous plum and backberry fruits, those on a light toasty and pepper background. A friendly country-style wine. Drink from release-2013. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Special Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A full bodied blend primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, those flushed out with Petite Sirah and Carignan. At this early stage of its development concentrated and muscular, with firm tannins waiting to settle in but already showing fine balance and structure. Opens slowly to reveal a tempting array of currants, blackberries, anise and spicy oak. Even now tough but oh so gentle and needs time to show its elegance. Best starting in 2013. Tentative Score 91-93. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)


The 2008 Wines

Recanati, Chardonnay, Reserve, 2008 (Adance Tasting): Developed partly in mostly 1 year old barriques and partly in stainless steel, all on its lees for 6 months, light gold in color, medium-bodied, with an appealing note of spicy oak to highlight the citrus, pear and summer fruits, those with light hints of pepper and juniper berries. On the long and generous finish a tantalizing note of bitter citrus peel. Drink now-2012.. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Merlot, Reserve, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Made from low yield, non-irrigated grapes from the Manara vineyard in the Upper Galilee, full-bodied, with soft, gently gripping tannins integrating nicely. Dark garnet and showing a tempting array of wild berry and currants matched nicely by gentle notes of spicy cedar wood. Deep, generous and long, with near-sweet tannins rising on the long finish. Capable of some cellaring. Best 2012-2018. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): My second barrel tasting of this wine. Dark garnet, with a fruit and herb-rich nose. Developing partly in 20% new oak and partly in one and two year old barriques, showing soft, nicely integrating tannins and good concentration. Opens with raspberries, goes to plums and then to black currants and wild berries, all supported nicely by dried spices. A long concentrated finish. Best 2011-2015, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Cabernet Franc, Reserve, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Smooth and velvety, with tannins that grip comfortably and stand up nicely to light toasty wood and bare hints of the greenness that can make this variety so appealing.. Notes of rose petals, cherries and raspberries on first attack, those yielding nicely to black cherries, tar and toasted rye bread. Culminates in an impressively persistent finish on which the oak takes on an appealing sweetish note. Drink from release?2014. Tentative Score 90?92. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2010)

Recanati, Special Reserve, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): An ever-shifting blend from year to year, this vintage primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Syrah and Syrah (the Petite Syrah from old vines). Developing in Burgundy oak casks, 80% of which are new. The second time I have tasted this one from barrels. Super-dark, almost inky garnet in color, already showing remarkably supple and well balanced, a big wine that even in its youth shows rich, ripe and intense with well-focused currant, blueberry and blackberry fruits, all on a background of chocolate, tobacco and sweet spices. Still fairly tannic but destined to be a seamless, deftly balanced and elegant wine. Approachable on release but best 2012-2018, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 91?93. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2010)

And One Wine From 2007

Recanati, Syrah, Reserve, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Blended, as is the winemakers’ wont, with 3% of Viognier (precisely how that white grape adds depth and color to a red wine escapes me but by heaven, it does). Intensely dark royal purple in color, with a complex fruit and herb-rich nose, opening to reveal aromas and flavors of purple plums, blackcurrants and wild berries, those on a background that hints comfortably of saddle leather and earthy-minerals. Approachable and enjoyable on release but best 2011-2016. Score 90. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2010)

I will be officially tasting the 2006 red Special Reserve and the 2008 white Special Reserve on 14 February. I shall post that night about those.

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