Wine and Spirits A Heady Bunch

Bravdo winery founded in 2001 sits in heart of vineyards at Karmei Yosef on western slopes of Judean Mountains.

Daniel Rogov
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Daniel Rogov

The Bravdo winery was founded in 2001 by two oenology professors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Ami Bravdo and Oded Shosheyov. The winery sits in the heart of the vineyards at Karmei Yosef on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains.

The winery released 2,800 bottles of its first wine in 2001 and current production is about 45,000 bottles annually. The winery relies largely on grapes grown in their own vineyards, among those Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay. The wines have been kosher since the 2007 vintage.

Karmei Yosef, Coupage, Bravdo, 2009

The winery's first blended wine, in this case Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Cabernet (40 percent, 33 percent and 27 percent respectively ). The grapes are vinified separately and oak-aged for 12 months before blending. A chewy wine, showing the traits of each of the varieties, black fruits and spicy berries from the Cabernet Sauvignon, an appealing note of earthy greenness from the Cabernet Franc and notes of plums and leather from the Shiraz. Full-bodied and concentrated, needs time to show its elegance. Approachable by 2012 but best from 2013-2017, perhaps longer. NIS 120. Score 92. K

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2009

Almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, a true Cabernet nose of black fruits and cigar-box aromas, those parting to reveal a rich, full-bodied and gently tannic wine with currant, blackberry and blueberry fruits on a background of Oriental spices. Tannins and an appealing note of crushed berries rise together on the long finish. Best from 2013-2017. NIS 120. Score 91. K

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2010

Half of the wine is developed sur lie in French oak for three months, the rest in stainless steel tanks, showing bright shining gold. Full-bodied, a generously aromatic wine with fine balancing acidity and a bare hint of wood, opens in the glass to reveal citrus, ripe summer fruits and a hint of mango. On the long near-creamy finish an appealing hint of honeydew melon. Drink now-2014. NIS 88. Score 90. K

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2009

Deep garnet toward royal purple, medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full ) with gently caressing tannins reflecting its development in oak with a not at all exaggerated note of spicy wood. On the nose and on first attack red plums, parting to make way for a generous array of black currant, wild berry and raspberry fruits. Deep and round, with notes of cigar tobacco and tantalizing hints of both sweetness and bitter almonds on the long finish, matched nicely by a note of earthy minerals. Finely tuned balance make this an elegant wine. Best from 2012-2016, perhaps longer. NIS 120. Score 92. K

Karmei Yosef, Shiraz, Bravdo, 2009

Full-bodied and well extracted, showing super-dark garnet toward black in color. On the nose spicy cedar wood and purple plums, parting in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of blackberries, black olives and roasted herbs. Still firm tannins here but those in fine balance with wood and fruits and needing only time for the elements to come together. A powerful wine at this stage but one whose muscles will become more discrete over time and show the wine's elegance. Approachable now but best 2013-2017. NIS 120. Score 91. K

High quality, good value

The Meishar winery sits on an eponymous moshav in the southern coastal plain near Gedera. Founded in 1991 by Ze'ev and Chaya Smilansky, the small concern relies entirely on its own vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Muscat grapes, and currently produces about 10,000 bottles annually of high quality red wines in a Reserve and a Meishar series.

Meishar, Reserve, 730, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007

Developed in barriques for about 16 months, showing dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied. A round wine, with silky tannins and appealing notes of sweet and spicy cedar wood, opens in the glass to reveal traditional Cabernet Sauvignon aromas and flavors of black currants and blackberries. Lively acidity and overlays of dark chocolate and Mediterranean herbs add to the complexity of the wine. Drink now-2015. NIS 75. Score 90.

Meishar, Reserve, 731, Merlot, 2008

Medium- to full-bodied, medium dark garnet with a violet robe and showing silky soft tannins and a bare kiss of spicy wood that caress gently. Opens in the glass to reveal raspberries, red currants and light notes of roasted herbs. On the long finish tannins rise together with fruits and a hint of red licorice. Drink now-2016. NIS 75. Score 90.

Meishar, Merlot, 2006

Deep ruby, medium- to full-bodied, oak-aged for 18 months and showing soft tannins that grip gently and stand up nicely to notes of spicy wood. Opens with raspberries and black cherries, making way for blueberry, cassis and citrus-peel notes, on a background of freshly picked Mediterranean herbs. Simultaneously complex and easy to drink. Drink now-2013. NIS 50. Score 90.

Meishar, Shiraz, 2007

Dark ruby, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a gentle touch of the oak in which the wine is aged for about 10 months. Not an intense or concentrated Shiraz but a gentle and elegant one, showing rich and round, with aromas and flavors of wild berries and ripe plums complemented by notes of what at one moment seems like bittersweet chocolate and at the next espresso. Drink now-2015. NIS 50. Score 90.

Meishar, Blended Red, #41, 2006

Oak-aged for 11 months, a blend of 60 percent Shiraz and 20 percent each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Moderately dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with a red fruit nose opening to reveal aromas and flavors of red plums, black cherries and bitter citrus peel all on a background that hints of cigar tobacco and saddle leather. Very nice indeed. Drink now-2013. NIS 50. Score 89.



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