Gil Shatzberg and Ido Lewinsohn are the talented winermakers at Recanati in the Hefer Valley, which is moving toward wines that are less alcoholic, rounder and more distinctly food friendly.
Recanati, Special Reserve, 2008: This year a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the rest made up by Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Developed in Burgundy oak barriques. Supple and elegant wine, showing fine balance and structure that bode well for its future. Currant, blueberry and blackberry fruits, on a background of bittersweet chocolate, freshly hung cigar tobacco and sweet spices, with tannins integrating nicely. Deamless, deftly balanced. Drink now-2018. NIS 180. Score 94. K
Recanati, Carignan, Reserve, Kerem Ba'al, 2009: A "wild" wine, says the label, the grapes raised as bush vines. Even better than at a barrel tasting. Full-bodied, its once chunky tannins now softened nicely. Unmistakable aromas of raspberries and spices, opens to reveal generous blackcurrant and blackberry, notes of spicy oak, licorice, pepper and tobacco. Powerful but gentle on the palate with hints of mesquite and fresh acidity livening up the generous finish. Perhaps best with entrecote, T-bone or porterhouse steaks. Drink now-2016. Possibly the most "Israeli wine" I have tasted. On a hedonistic basis, it would earn a score of 96-97 for its sheer pleasure. Standard view score: Score 93. K 5,990 bottles were produced, going now for NIS 180. Worth hunting several bottles.
Recanati, Special Reserve, White, 2009: Blend of Viognier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, developed sur lie for eight months in Burgundy oak barrels. Full-bodied, mineral-rich, only the barest trace of wood. Rich and generous - abundant peach, nectarine, nectarine and apricot aromas and flavors. Hint of sweetness from mid-palate but plenty of juicy acidity here to stay lively through its long finish. Drink now-2014. NIS 140. Score 93. K
Recanati, Shiraz, 2010: About 3% of Viognier. Appealing floral and red plum notes - a round, well-balanced and distinctly Mediterranean Shiraz. Red and black fruits complemented by hints of spices, citrus peel and saddle leather on the long finish. As this one develops in the bottle look for hints of lightly peppery cream sauce. This wine is finesse. Drink now-2016. NIS 59. Score 91. K
Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2008: Black fruits and chocolate on the nose. Reflects its development in barriques with gentle notes of spicy oak, berries, currants and crushed spices. Concentrated and showing muscle held to allow elegance to be felt. Enjoyable now but best 2012-2016. NIS 100. Score 91. K
Recanati, Merlot, Reserve, 2008: Living nicely up to its barrel-tasting promise. Made from low-yield, non-irrigated grapes from the Manara vineyard in the Upper Galilee, full-bodied, with soft, gently gripping tannins integrating nicely. Tempting array of wild berries, black cherries and currants, matched by gentle notes of spicy cedarwood. Deep, generous and long, with near sweet tannins rising on the long finish. Best 2012-2018. NIS 100. Score 91. K Recanati, Petite Sirah-Zinfandel, Reserve, 2009: With about 90% Petite Sirah blended with Zinfandel. Medium- to full-bodied; soft tannins; notes of spicy wood opening in the glass to show red and black berries, purple plums and hints of eucalyptus. Spicy wood, fruits and tannins rise nicely on the finish. Drink now-2015. NIS 100. Score 90. K
Recanati, Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2008: Oak-aged, smooth and velvety, with tannins that grip gently and stand up to light toasty wood. Rose petals, black cherries and raspberries, yielding to currants, tar and toasted rye bread. Full-bodied, with tannins and wood in fine balance with the fruits. Long finish. Drink now- 2015. NIS 94. NIS 100. Score 90. K
Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010: Full-bodied. Just a kiss of the oak and showing silky tannins. Unmistakably Cabernet Sauvignon, opening with crushed blackberrie and then blackcurrants, black cherries and bay leaf. Earthy minerals and mint chocolate in the background. Soft, round and long. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from 2012-2016. NS 60. Score 90. K