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Tags - barbera
As I make my rounds to Israeli wineries, I've visited some wineries more than once. My schedule of visits is based on a few factors: Finding a good time that works well with me and the winemaker, new developments and releases by the winery and the convenience of visiting any one winery in relation to where I am on any given day in Israel. Of course, it helps if I like their wines and enjoy talking wine with the winemakers. Additionally, wineries that stand out as harbingers of what is coming up in the country or as an example of the potential of winemaking in Israel have a special attraction. The Recanati Winery is one such winery.
Recanti Winery in Emek Hefer
Recanati has just started releasing it's second generation of wines as the wines of Gil Shatsberg are coming into maturity. As founding winemaker Lewis Pasco moved to America, Gil was brought over from Amphorae to fill Lewis's big shoes. Since their Reserve & Special Reserve reds can take a few years to make before release and even more before their fully appreciated it will be 2-5 years beofre Gil's impact on the reds become evident to the public and critics at large. Though, the 2007 & 2008 whites and roses are examples of the change in leadership. The 2008 Recanti series reds are being released which might give a hint of what's to come but the jury is still out until their higher end 2008 reds start appearing in the marketplace in 2010 and 2011.
It's a matter of opinion if the wines will be better than Pasco's award winning years but they seem destined to be different and worthy of attention from a different segmant of wine drinkers than before. I did get to taste their 2008 Recanati Cabernet Franc Reserve that was still maturing in the bottle and it reaffirmed my belief that Cab Franc's have a great potential to be a flagship wine for Israel.
Rich and Expressive 2008 Recanati Cabernet Franc
Their 2009 Carigan also shows great potential as it ages it continues to age in the barrel. This will be Recanati's first release of Carignan and it's slated for release as a Reserve wine. It's shows a lot of concentrated black fruit flavors, intense colors and tannins and indications that this wine has the potential for
One reason I call what's happening a new genration in wines at Recanati is an evolution in style. Under California trained Pasco, Recanati had been one of the better producers of "big, New World Israeli wines." In fact, a Recanati just won "best Israeli wine" and a gold medal at the VinExpo in France (Barkan also won a gold medal tying Israel with France for the two medals in the compettion. No small feat considering Israel makes less than 1% of the wine of France). It was one of Pasco's wines that won so it's brave change to make wines that deviates from critical and commercial success. Gil seems to favor Old World preferences for lower alcohol though still flavorful wines that shouldn't disappoint Recanti's loyal base and even attract an even wider following.
Another asset of the Recanati Winery that shouldn't be overlooked is the presence of winemaker Ido Lewinsohn. Serving under the leadership of Gil Shatsberg, for a winery it's size Recanati might have the best one-two winemaker combo in Israel. Ido trained principally in Italy at the University of Milan but also had worked several vintages in France, Israel and far off Tasmania before landing at Recanati. He even has his own garagista wine "Garage de Papa" that has been gaining quite a cult-following.
The winery offers a four series of wines much like other medium and larger wineries in Israel. This gives the winery flexibility in offering different levels of quality and pricing depending on the quality of grapes available and used and the efforts at the winery expended.
The Yasmin Series is their introductory series and comes in the Yasmin White and the Yasmin Red. It's an irony of winemaking that blending of varietals in New World wines typically happens at the highest and lowest ends of production.
The Recanati Series is their second tier of wines and as for most wineries it's where quality and value seem to coincide. A Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay make uo the Whites with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah available as Reds. A commitment to make a Rose every year has proven to be successful as well.
Where their Rose in the past had been made from their Cabernet Franc (like many wineries) , it's now being made exclusively from Recanati's Barbera grapes, an Italian variety known for it's high acidity and fruitiness. This has lent itself to Recanati's 2008 Rose as being one of the best if not the best Rose in Israel. Winemakers Gil
Winemaker Ido Lewisnsohn stands behind Recanti's 2008 Rose featuring 80% Barbera and 20% Merlot grapes
The top two tiers are made up of their Reserve and Special Reserve series and offer mostly expected varietals with a few pleasant surprises.
In the Reserve series, a Chardonnay is the only white offered. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc make up their single varietals with a unique award winning Petite Sirah/Zinfandel blend pioneered by founding winemaker Lewis Pasco rounding up the mix.
Their one Special Reserve offered each year is reminiscent of popular Cabernet/Merlot Bordeaux blends
Recanati has no current plans to make any dessert or sparkling wines.
Industrial Zone Emek Hefer
telephone: 04 6222288
the winery is off Rt 4 north of the Kfar Vitkin turn off and south of Hadera (though much of their grapes come the Galilee)
go west into the Emeq Hefer Industrial Park and take the first right going North
at the end of the road go left (west) and it will be dow nt e oad about 100 meters on the north/right side of the street
give onself about an hour and a half driving from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv
as for most Israeli wineries for best results call ahead of time for the best experience.
David Rhodes worked at wineries in California & Israel, hosted over 100 wine parties.as a sommelier & adviser for the SDSU Business of Wine program. He speaks weekly about wine on Rustymikeradio.com & writes for ESRA magazine. Israeliwineguy@gmail.com