I chose the Petit Castel from our wine cellar as a treat for the israelwinetaster’s 71st birthday, and I was not in the least disappointed. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot was aged in French oak casks for 16 months and was purchased on our visit to the Castel Winery two months ago. It has been reclining in our temperature controlled wine cellar since that time. I opened it tonight more than an hour before serving supper and tasted it before eating.
We were amazed at its complexity of aromas which brought to mind a walk in the forest with molds, sunshine and pine trees titilating the nose. It also had an element of sweet orchids. Upon putting some into the mouth, the bold, velvety, smoothness was apparent with tastes of cinnamon toast which is made with butter, bread, sugar and cinnamon. The tastes were all of these and more and the woody oak was there in the background. There were lots of tannins but no acidity or bitterness at all. The extra long aftertaste kept on reverberating the outstanding flavors over and over and over again. Waves of pleasurable sensations wafted up into the nose and around in the mouth just like the ocean waves crashing onto the sandy beach, one after the other, with huge white clouds in the blue sky above. Incidentally its alcohol content 14.5% does not betray this high level with any heat and certainly does not sear the throat. The alcohol level of wine has become a dividing point for wine lovers and I recommend an article from the Wall Street Journal for some insight into this subject.
This is truly an exceptional wine. It is well worth every bit of the cost of 140 shekels or just under $40 and the present rate of exchange. Yes, it is expensive, but it is without a doubt the best that we have tasted this year. It deserves an “A+” israelwinetaster wine grade and I would hazard a guess that connoisseurs would give it a 93 or even more on the Parker grading system. But hey, the year is young and maybe soon we’ll be tasting the Grand Vin Du Castel. For now, I can say that it is hard to believe that the Petit Castel can be outdone.