We are entering a season that is well suited for some deeper, more complex wines than we drank during the hot summer months. While there is still time to drink up all those young rosés and other lighter summery wines, here are some great options to consider as you plan not only your upcoming holiday meals — Sukkot begins at sundown on Sunday — but what you want to have around for the fall season.
Hagafen, Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, California, 2016 ($30; mevushal): Opulent, oaky, and creamy with aromas and flavors of butterscotch, vanilla, citrus, apple, pear, pineapple and kiwi, with a lengthy, enjoyable, rich, clean and beautifully refreshing finish that includes notes of melon, vanilla, toasty oak and mild baking spice. Classic Napa Chard.
Golan Heights Winery, Mount Hermon, Red, 2016 ($12.99, though often found for less): This enjoyable and pleasant medium-bodied blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot and petit verdot is flavorful and fruit forward, with ripe red and black fruits (cherry, raspberry, currant, blackberry) and just enough of an herbal backdrop note to vaguely anchor it in Israel’s Galil region.
Borgo Bella, Chianti, DOCG, 2017 ($15-$17; mevushal): This is a really lovely, fresh, young, uncomplicated, everyday style of chianti that is very appealing. Food friendly, but equally nice on its own. This should make a very good restaurant, catering and house-pour option.
Golan Heights Winery 2010 Gilgal Syrah ($17): Rich, fresh and juicy, with aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry, plum and black cherry, with additional notes of black pepper, coffee, anise and subtle menthol flitting around in the background. Interesting and enjoyable.
Cantina Giuliano, “La Gioia,” Costa Toscano i.g.t., Tuscany, 2016 ($19.99-$22.99): This fun and well-made “Super Tuscan” blend of 60 percent sangiovese and 40 percent cabernet sauvignon not only has greater weight and heft than the previous vintage, it also has greater finesse. This is a lovely, fresh, energetic, fruity (black cherry, sweet cassis) and nicely balanced distinctly Tuscan offering that is thoroughly enticing now, but should also evolve and improve with a couple years of cellaring.
Dalton, Alma, Crimson, Galilee, Israel. 2016 ($22-$24.99; mevushal): This lovely, if carnivorous, red Bordeax-style blend offers nice balance and structure, with alluring notes of black cherry, blackberry, plum, pomegranate, chocolate, as well as violet, lavender and juniper. The tannins are supple, the balance is nice, the body is medium and the finish offers some agreeable dry, herbal Mediterranean notes. Yet another winner from Dalton.
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 ($32.99): This latest vintage is a solid entry —better than the 2012, though not as good as the 2013 — and another fine example of the flagship quality Israeli cabernet from GHW that first put Israel on the quality map. Rich, beefy and creamy, with notes of ripe and juicy blackberry, cherry, plum, herbs, cocoa, some anise and a little mint, all bounded by still integrating, grippy tannins and noticeable but not over-the-top oak influence. Drinking very well now, but should reward additional cellaring. L’chaim!
Next week, Joshua E. London will answer your wine and spirits questions. Contact him at [email protected].