This wine could cause the unawares to contract oenophilia. No, this is not a disease, but rather, an ease of feeling the aroma of a fine wine waft into the olfactory system and stimulate the palate with a gentle wave of pleasure. But first, before you hear my opinions,let me relate the basic facts of this wine to you. I was in a crowded grocery store after several hours of physical labor with Naftali pruning his avocado trees. This store happens to have an outstanding wine department including two wine tastings each week. I keep meaning to go to them, but so far, I haven’t made it. I looked around for something to drink with our lunch but most of the wines were either not up to our standards or were special ones for special occasions and a bit more than I wanted to pay for a luncheon wine. And then it jumped out at me. Yarden Merlot from 2006 was on sale, marked down from 119 ₪ to 79.99 ₪. In US currency, this would be down from about $33 to about $22, making it more reasonable, though still a bit of a splurge. Good wine just aint cheap any more. I always think of our trip to Italy in 2003 when I had lunch from grocery store purchases of delicious cheese, tomatoes, bread for Nurit but not for this celiac sufferer, and a liter of red table wine in a carton for 1 €. I don’t know how much it costs now, but certainly not 16 €. Back to the reality of the present….. I made my purchase and stopped by the humouseria (small restaurant specializing in houmus, perhaps also selling other middle eastern fast food) on the way to Naftali’s home. There, Michal had set a spread of meats and veggies to go with the french fries and “hamutzim” (olives, pickles, and pickled cauliflower) that came with the houmus. Mmmmmm good. So what about the wine, you ask?
Not generally being a lover of Merlot, except in blends, interwoven with Cabernet, I was pleasantly surprised by its richness and full body. I brought the bottle, with wine we had not imbibed, home for Nurit’s tasting comments. Sure enough, she came through, with its reminding her of a “sun baked raspberry thicket.” She drank a bit and exclaimed, “Oh, that’s so good. It’s like drinking a rich fruit juice made from a combination of pears, raspberries, grapes and pomegranates, but it is really a dry red wine!” For my part, it had a boldness from its tannins without the astringency that too often accompanies the tannin taste. It has a lingering finish and, as you would suspect, I gave it a grade of “A” and I think I’ll go back and buy a few more.