Recanati Winery
The Recanati Winery in the Hefer Valley.
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Founded by Lenny Recanati and now marking a decade since its founding, the modern Recanati winery uses their own grapes, on top of contract vineyards, primarily from the Upper Galilee.

The winery's original winemaker, Lewis Pasco, returned to California in 2007 and since then new senior winemaker Gil Shatzberg (formerly of Amphorae ) and winemaker Ido Lewinsohn have made a talented and creative team.

The Hefer Valley winery produces 900,000 wines yearly in several series: the top-of-the-line age-worthy Special Reserve wines and two varietal series, Reserve and Recanati, which now include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah-Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The winery also has a popular-priced, entry-level series named Yasmine and a Special Edition series produced entirely for the Derekh Hayayin wine chain.

The winery has begun moving in the direction of wines that, while no less complex or sophisticated, are less alcoholic, rounder and more distinctly food-friendly. Part of this goal is being attained via an earlier harvest and the increased use of fine-grain Burgundy barrels that will impart a more gentle wood influence to the drink.

The white wines

Recanati, Chardonnay, Special Edition, 2009: Unoaked and blended with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc, both from the Upper Galilee, a most pleasant wine. Light gold in color, medium-bodied, with crisp and fresh aromas and flavors of citrus (leaning toward red grapefruit ), citrus peel and a hint of tropical fruits on a light, flinty, mineral background. Not at all a "great" wine but a sophisticated quaffer, ideal for warm spring or summer days. Drink now or in the next year or so. NIS 59. Score 88. K

Recanati, Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, 2009: From older vines at the Ben Zimra vineyard, developed partly sur lie and partly in stainless steel, showing notes of sweet and spicy cedarwood. Opens to reveal generous tropical and citrus fruits on a background of ginger and Oriental spices and newly mowed grass. Fresh, lively and with enough complexity to be an attention-grabber. Drink now-2011. NIS 69. Score 88. K

Recanati, Chardonnay, 2009: Developed on its lees, half in second and third-year barrels and half in stainless steel, showing light yeast notes that part to reveal appealing pear, apple and citrus notes on a light, flinty, mineral background. Lively and generous. Drink now-2012. NIS 59. Score 88. K

The rose wine

Recanati, Rose, 2009: A blend of 80 percent Barbera and 20 percent Merlot, those almost bright-rose-petal red, showing light to medium-bodied, with good acidity to keep it lively and refreshing. On the nose and palate raspberry, cherry and blueberry notes with a tantalizing hint of super-light tannins to add complexity. Very nice indeed. NIS 69. Score 88. K

The red wines

Recanati, Special Reserve, 2006: My recent earlier tasting notes hold firmly. A blend of 82 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 18 percent Merlot. Aged for 19 months in barriques, of which 80 percent were new, showing full-bodied with still firm tannins along with generous wood and acidity. No fear, however, for those are settling in nicely and show fine balance with fruits yielding a structure that bodes very well for the future. On the nose and palate hints of chocolate, espresso coffee and tobacco to support rich berry, currant and licorice notes, all coming to a powerful but long and graceful finish. Approachable now but best to cellar this one as best drinking will start only in 2012. The wine should cellar well until 2018. NIS 165. Score 93.

Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2007: Dark, full-bodied, loaded with chocolate, spices and licorice, opening to reveal a generous array of currants, black cherries and blueberries, all of which linger through a long and supple finish. Drink now-2015. NIS 95. Score 90. K

Recanati, Cabernet Franc, Reserve, 2008: Oak-aged for 18 months in some new and some used oak. Smooth and velvety, with tannins that grip just right and stand up nicely to light toasty wood. Notes of rose petals, black cherries and raspberries on first attack, yielding nicely to notes of currants, tar and toasted rye bread. Culminates in an impressively persistent finish on which the oak takes on an appealing sweetish note. Drink now-2014. NIS 95. Score 90. K