In time, an interest in wine makes one habitually seek out new and exciting wine experiences, which from the comfort of one’s own home usually means simply buying new and exciting wines; and which on a budget of between five and fifteen pounds a bottle generally means seeking out new and exciting grapes or new and exciting wine-producing regions.
They don’t actually have to be new of course, just new to me. And this one – being from Israel, where I didn’t even know they made wine – fitted the bill.
I’m not sure I’d ever have guessed this wine was red if I were blind. While it has a rather lovely hue roughly equivalent (but somehow rather different) to Pinot Noir, its aromas have more in common with a sweet Sherry or a Tokay. Okay, there’s possibly some red fruit in there: maybe a touch of cherry or redcurrant; but I wonder whether I’d be locating such fruitstuffs in it if I didn’t know its colour? I’m sure I’d just as easily say sultanas as raisins if I were blindfolded.
But colours aside, there are hints to that all-important sweetness too. (And not just the word “sweet” being printed on the label.) The thickness and clinginess of the wine suggests a high alcohol content, which is not actually present.
Could that viscosity be a result of residual sugar? I wondered, when swishing it about my glass. But I’m not too up on the molecular structure of wines, or indeed whether their molecular structure dictates their viscosity. It’s all guesswork at this point, and remains so until it enters the mouth, which it must do sharpish.
The clash of expectation and actuality is only soft, and certainly not disappointing. The wine is more Port-like than I’d have supposed. We drank it at room temperature first time around, and although the middleweight ruddy sweetness fared well at this level I somehow sensed that it would be better consumed cold; next time I tried that, and felt vindicated in my judgement.
I haven’t yet looked it up to find out whether this is the official line – sometimes it’s nice to just do what you want. Either way, it’s certainly not as heavy as any kind of port I’ve had. It has an almost-similar richness, but is palpably lighter.
The glacé-cherry moreishness of this sweet Israeli wine is one that’s hard to magine pairing to too many foods. Some desserts, perhaps; but while sweet and somewhat concentrated in it’s sweetness, this wine isn’t heavy like a Port or even like a Tokay or a Sauternes; it’s really rather a delicate and juicy little thing. Sort of like a sugared strawberry: a delight on its own but not a great companion for many meats or cheeses you can think of.
I bought this wine from Waitrose for £7.59, and post-review research tells me this wine is Kosher, Kosher for Passover (not sure how that’s different) and also… out of stock.
Oh well; keep an eye on the website for more bottles. It’s a very pleasant one, and not exactly like anything else I’ve seen in a supermarket of late.