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Domaine Du Castel Petit Castel 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from Israel
  • RP89
  • WS89
14.5% ABV
  • RP90
  • WE90
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Petit is a blend of the wines which were not used for its big brother. Again the blend will be mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest, in order of importance is Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The wine is aged for 16 months in French oak barrels.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Petit Castel is quite an interesting “second” wine at this point. It offers an awful lot. Most wineries would be happy to have it as a first wine. Of course, it should be good –it isn’t exactly cheap, either. While it always shows better than the Grand Vin young, on first taste this year, I thought this might be the year when it would literally match or surpass the Grand Vin. It is a Bordeaux grape blend of Merlot (54%), Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Cabernet Franc (8%), Malbec (4%) and Petit Verdot (2%). It seemed surprisingly lush (the dominant Merlot component?) and relatively deep this year, granting that it is young and may thin and that the early impression of concentration may exceed the ultimate reality as it ages. The plush demeanor makes it seem very full bodied, very differently styled than the more focused and powerful ’08, still beautifully constructed, with well integrated tannins, seductive texture and that impression of richness. It also has earthy and complex flavors, which devolves into a bit of funk on the wine. Although that nuance did moderate a bit with 90 minutes of air, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for that, I might well have preferred it to the Grand Vin. Despite the impression of depth, I don’t think that this overall shows as well as its predecessor, the 2008, but this relatively rich, earthy and seductive Petit Castel still offers a lot in its own style.
WS 89
Wine Spectator
There's fine power and focus to the dried berry and crisp currant flavors, with lots of minerality and plenty of savory herbal notes as well. The muscular finish features hints of smoke and spice. Sauve. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Kosher.
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Domaine Du Castel

Domaine Du Castel

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Domaine Du Castel, Israel
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This is a winery that does not like to be described as a boutique winery but as a small winery managed by a family. We believe that our success is mainly the result of our personal involvement in all aspects of the business – from viticulture to winemaking and from management to distribution. We have managed to create a very close-knit team.

After being born in cosmopolitan Alexandria and educated in England, Italy and Switzerland, Eli Ben Zaken moved to Israel, first working in agriculture and then later in the restaurant business. Eli has no formal winemaking education, and so when he had to decide whether or not to turn Domaine du Castel from a hobby into a formal business he was faced with a formidable challenge. Eli recalls how a sentiment voiced by Winston Churchill was very apt at this time as he felt as though he "were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial … I was sure I should not fail."

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.

Bordeaux Blends

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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/or 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.

In the Glass

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. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

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 Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

SWS147616_2009 Item# 122054