Carmel Limited Edition (OU Kosher) 2014
Blend: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 15% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Carmel Winery is the historic winery of Israel. It was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, owner of Château Lafite in Pauillac, Bordeaux. The story of Carmel represents the story of Israel, and the recent developments of Carmel's wine, symbolizes the revolution of Israeli wine in recent years.
Carmel Winery has 3,472 acres of vineyards, which cover the land of Israel from the Upper Galilee in the north, to the Negev in the south. Carmel's winemakers can therefore choose from vineyards with different terroirs from all the wine regions in Israel. Carmel has a particularly strong vineyard presence in the cooler climate of the Upper Galilee, from where many of the leading wines are sourced.
Carmel's Zichron Ya'acov Wine Cellars, built in 1892, is the largest winery in Israel. On the premises is a modern, state-of-the-art facility making small quantities of quality wines from Carmel's finest vineyards. The most advanced, modern winemaking technology blends in with the historic 120 year old cellars. The name of the winery is in memory of Edmond de Rothschild's father, Baron James Jacob (Ya'acov) de Rothschild, who purchased the famous Bordeaux winery, Château Lafite, for the Rothschild family. Zichron Ya'acov is a charming town which still has an atmosphere of pre-state Israel. It is situated south of Haifa on the southern slopes of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
With a rich history of wine production dating back to biblical times, Israel is a part of the cradle of wine civilization. Here, wine was commonly used for religious ceremonies as well as for general consumption. During Roman times, it was a popular export, but during Islamic rule around 1300, production was virtually extinguished. The modern era of Israeli winemaking began in the late 19th century with help from Bordeaux’s Rothschild family. Accordingly, most grapes grown in Israel today are made from native French varieties. Indigenous varieties are all but extinct, though oenologists have made recent attempts to rediscover ancient varieties such as Marawi for commercial wine production.
In Israel’s Mediterranean climate, humidity and drought can be problematic, concentrating much of the country’s grape growing in the north near Galilee, Samaria near the coast and at higher elevations in the east. The most successful red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, while the best whites are made from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Many, though by no means all, Israeli wines are certified Kosher.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.