Grenache Faceoff

This is not intended to be a proper comparative tasting, since I compared different vintages and drank the wines on different days, but it's still something I've been wanting to look into.

Feldstein, Grenache, 2016

2014 was the first vintage and what I loved about it, perversely enough, was how challenging it was to get into. The 2016 starts out the same way, the nose fierce with herbal notes, almost a thorny bush covering the red fruit aromas. Quite the kind of aromatic attack you would associate with a Southern France Grenache. The palate is massively sculpted, the high ABV creating a sweet impression that coats the tannins and acidity.  Do not expect a Chateauneuf, though. There is elegant fruit beneath all that, but even when air and time nudge it at an equilibrium, its emergence feels like weathering a storm rather than mastering the elements. Unique.

Vitkin, Grenache Noir, 2018

If versatility is an indication of a wine region's quality and/or interest level, then what would you make of how wildly different this is, compared with the Feldstein? You'd need to be an expert on Grenache to recognize that this is the same grape, let alone that the two wines come from the same country or climate. This, too, has an herbal side, but it's a more gentle, genteel wine, with a floral freshness. There's a mellow sweetness on the finish, without the other's mass. It plays Volnay to the Feldstein's Pommard. I recently praised the 2017 and how confidently Assaf Paz has been raising this grape, but this might be the best version yet.

I recommend anyone that anyone with any love or interest for Israeli wines buy at least two each of every vintage of these two. Even of you don't like Grenache. Hmmm, especially if you don't like Grenache.