Sunday, November 28, 2010

Teperberg Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Chardonnay Reserve



Teperberg vinyard, Ella valley
Teperberg winery is situated just outside Beit Shemesh with vineyards primarily in the Ella valley. The company was founded in 1870 in Meah Shaarim by the family Teperberg under the name "Efrat Wines". For over 100 years it has produced sweet Kiddush wine for the religious market with the highest kosher certification.

But in the early 1990s they decided to experiment with more refined wines. Because of its reputation for cheap Kiddush wines, the family business decided to change its company name to Teperberg 1870 and to market itself as a small boutique vinery despite being actually one of Israel's largest wineries!

Their cheap and cheerful Efrat range is still sold under the Efrat label in Israeli supermarkets. I have already mentioned that their White Zinfandel (around NIS 30) is actually quite good. Served straight from the fridge, it has a beautiful blush colour, floral perfume aroma and deliciously light sweet refreshing taste. Their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are what you would expect from NIS 30 wine. I'll say no more about them.

"Yayin Ismach"Wine shop on 3 Yaakov Meir Street

Last week I was taking a walk through Geula when I came across this tiny Wine shop called "Yayin Ismach" on 3 Yaakov Meir Street, one of the small turnings off of Malke Yisrael. It's actually half a shop, sharing the other half with a tie shop.

The owner is a young man named Avi who I witnessed was very patient with every customer who walked in. I was impressed that he voiced his opinion on wines that he had tried and even recommended wines that were cheaper than the wine the customer had in mind. For instance, an American was asking him about a NIS 200 bottle of wine from 2004 vintage. Avi told him that the 2005 vintage tasted nicer although this was NIS 60 cheaper! I could see that Avi's main intention was to build up a clientele who would be coming back on a regular basis to hear his latest recommendations.

I explained to Avi that I was very familiar with the Golan winery and wanted to try some other high quality wine from Eretz Yisrael. He directed me to the Teperberg shelf and showed me a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. I told him that I wanted to say Kiddush over the wine and had not had a good experience with saying Kiddush over Cabernet Sauvignon in the past due to the rough taste of the tannin on an empty stomach. Avi replied that it was true that Cabernet Sauvignon should ideally be drunk with food but this particular wine was exceptionally smooth and would be fine for Kiddush. I decided to buy the Teperberg Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006 (NIS 110). Next I asked Avi if he could recommend a white wine for Shabbos morning. He directed me to the Teperberg Chardonnay Reserve 2009 (NIS 60). From experience I have found that it is best to buy a Chardonnay that is slightly matured. Being a 2009 I was a bit hesitant but again Avi told me that it tasted mature well beyond its age.
Teperberg Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Tasting the Wine

Before leaving for shul, we took the Cabernet Sauvignon out of the fridge to warm up for a couple of hours before opening. Returning from shul we opened the wine and let it breathe during Shalom Aleichem, Eishes Chayil and the kid's brachos. The label stated that the wine had been matured in French Oak barrels for 15 months.

Indeed, pouring the wine out into glasses brought an immediate and unmistakable sweet whiff of a musky damp wine cask from a winery storehouse. Having recently been to quite a few whisky storehouses as well as the Golan Winery winery, the aroma was very recognisable and familiar to us. The colour was a beautiful deep red berry red with a good body to it.

An Old Winery Warehouse
The musky smell was so overpowering that I was slightly worried that the wine would taste of musky storehouse cask wood, brick and cobwebs in a liquid form. I nonetheless commenced Kiddush with confidence.

Initial tasting was very surprising. A deep smooth fresh taste combined with its strong aroma seemed to transport us to the winery from whence this wine came. It was like we were sitting in the warehouse, surrounded by wine barrels, drinking this wine. It tasted of freshly squashed berries served in a damp wooden bowl. A slight dry hazelnut taste on the palette and a long heavy fruity berry aftertaste.

A very enjoyable wine yet I think the pungent musky smell of the barrel was ever so slightly over done . I wonder if a younger vintage would fair better? I'll have to go back to the shop and buy a 2007 and let you know. Definitely one  to buy again.


Teperberg Chardonnay Reserve
  Shabbos day, coming back from shul on a hot day, we always look forward to a white refreshing wine to quench our thirst after not drinking the whole morning. Out of all the white wines, Chardonnay is our favourite choice so we were really looking forward to this young Teperberg Reserve 2009.

Like all white and blush wines, we took the Teperberg straight out of the fridge just before we said Kiddush. Looking at the label it states that the Chardonnay had been matured in French oak barrels for 10 months. Opening the bottle our noses were immediately hit with the same powerful aroma of musky damp sherry barrels being stored in a winery warehouse mixed with spirit alcohol. This was certainly not what we expected from what we assumed was a young wine. My kids remarked that it smelled remarkably similar to a Glen Moray (Speyside) Single malt whisky.

Our next surprise came as I began pouring the wine. A Chardonnay should be a light yellow colour. Indeed the label states that it has a golden yellow colour. What we observed was a green colour similar to a Sauvignon Blanc.

After Kiddush I took my first sip of the wine. The barrel aroma and the heaviness of the wine were quite overpowering. To say that this wine had body was an understatement. I'd say it was well overweight. My family were likewise unimpressed. Whereas we would usually take more wine, this time nobody took seconds.

The wine sat on the table for half an hour or more. I decided to give the Teperberg another try. Now that it had had a chance to warm up to room temperature its flavour came bursting through. It now had a heavy sherry like taste with layers of complexity ranging from cider apples to hazelnuts and a hint of Speyside style whisky (that has a light and sherry like spirit - light for a whisky that is).

Here was a white wine behaving more like a heavy red! At room temperature it was a lot more interesting. However if we had wanted a heavy red wine then we would have bought one. As far as I'm concerned, a white wine ought to be light to medium body with a refreshing fruity taste. A Chardonnay ought to have more body but still retain that fresh fruity taste. The Teperberg reminded us so much of Glen Moray Single malt that we moved on to the actual whisky and forgot the wine.

If you like heavy white wine then I'd suggest you try this but remember to take it out of the fridge an hour or so before you drink it. I'd even suggest you open it and let it breathe for 20 mins. Sounds like I'm talking about a dry red wine? That's exactly my point.

1 comment:

Reb Mordechai said...

I've added a photo of the wine shop in the Teperberg post.