Amazing grapes

Why are some wines better than others, and why are the prices asked for top wines so high?

wine glasses 88 (photo credit: )
wine glasses 88
(photo credit: )
Why are some wines better than others, and why are the prices asked for top wines so high? Great wines are often made in small quantities and priced accordingly, but there are many wine lovers for whom only the best will do and who are willing to pay the extra money just to put their hand on a wine that they will remember. Actually, it does cost more to make better wines. The necessary care in the vineyard, the economic factor of lowering yields in the search for quality and the cost of good new oak barrels ramp the price up. What turned to be the hottest word in wine for the past decade is terroir, the French term describing the influence of the place where the grapes are grown (climate, soil, altitude). It is obvious that the same grape varieties grown in different locations will make wines that are somewhat different, even when treated the same way in the winery. And of course - like with many other products - there is the issue of reputation, which matters especially in the world of wine. We tend to bring a lot of expectation to bottles of wine crafted in a well-established winery, where the quality is supposed to be rather good. Although our senses of taste and smell can easily be fooled even by a sophisticated label adorning the bottle, exceptionally great wines are to be found, just don't expect to find them in the neighborhood supermarket. Here are three highly recommended local wines, each of them a different winery's flagship. Golan Heights Wineries, Yarden Katzrin Red 2003: As the flagship wine of the Golan Heights Wineries, this wine displays the distinctive characteristics of fruit grown in the region. The Katzrin 2003 is the fifth generation in the Yarden Katzrin series, in which the wines are made only in years of excellent harvest. The weather after the winter of 2003 was exceptionally stable and allowed a 17-week harvest at optimal conditions, where at each plot of the vineyards the fruit reached its maximal quality and ripeness. There are 12,000 numbered bottles of this richly flavored wine made of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon 14% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Each lot was aged separately in new French oak barrels for 18 months prior to the final blend, then returned to the barrels for another six months. The wine was bottled unfiltered and is showing aromas of ripe plums and cassis with layers of oak and vanilla. It has a great cellaring potential and should age well for at least 15 years. NIS 230 Recanati, Special Reserve 2004: Made mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Kerem Ben Zimra and a touch of Merlot from the vineyard at Manara, the fruit was hand-picked and carefully selected for optimal ripeness, then gently crushed to avoid bitterness. This is a full-bodied, elegant wine presenting an array of blackberries and cherries, with a hint of eucalyptus and dark chocolate. It was aged for 19 months in oak and is absolutely delicious now but will hold and improve through 2015 at least. NIS 159 Yatir, Ya'ar Yatir 2004: Named after the forest surrounding the vineyards, this is the flagship of this boutique winery. The vineyards at 900 meters above sea level are situated in the southern Judean Hills, a premium wine growing area since biblical times. A blend made of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 6% Shiraz grapes, this dark red, nearly purple in color wine is full and creamy-textured on the palate with rich aromas and flavors that hint at ripe berries and cassis with notes of coffee and vanilla. It was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels prior to bottling, and matured in the bottle for another 18 months before release. Should be great starting in 2010, and the only problem - just 19,800 bottle were produced. NIS 180