In vineyards not far from Kiryat Arba, on the line where the Judean Hills meld into the Judean Desert, Menachem Livni has been raising Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz grapes since 1994. In 2003 he opened his own winery and the first releases from the Livni winery were of 3,000 bottles. Today, with the winery located on Moshav Carmel in the Hebron Hills and working with French born winemaker Bruno Darmon, Livni is producing about 10,000 bottles annually. The wines are available at selected stores in Jerusalem. Best contact for those wanting to know precisely where to find the wines is by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This early afternoon I met with Menachem Livni and Bruno Darmon to do a first tasting of the wines of this boutique winery. The wines are available at selected stores in Jerusalem. What can I say other than that the wines impressed me very favorably. My thanks to Livni and Darmon for coming to Tel Aviv to meet with me.
Livni, Pinot Noir, 2009: Made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes grown at an altitude of 875 meters and aged for 12 months in French and American barriques, a full-bodied, impenetrably dark garnet wine with almost chewy tannins. Opens with a black fruit nose, goes on to show crushed wild berries, ripe cherries and raspberry fruits, those with overlays of licorice and earthy minerals. Rich, deep and layered, perhaps not fully typical of the variety but certainly very tempting Pinot Noir. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from mid-2012. Score 90. K
Livni, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sdeh Kalev, 2009: Full-bodied, and dark garnet in color with orange and purple reflections, reflecting its 13 months in oak with just chewy enough tannins and notes of spicy cedar. Opens with a distinctly black fruit nose, goes on to reveal traditional Cabernet Sauvignon aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, blackberries and freshly turned earth and, from mid-palate on notes of red licorice and cherries, all lingering nicely. Rich, with tannins and fruits rising nicely on the long finish. Approachable now but best from mid-2012. Score 90. K
Livni, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sdeh Kalev, 2007: Medium- to full-bodied (leaning towards the full), reflecting its 22 months in second and third year barriques with soft tannins, showing round and generous. On first attack wild berries and cherries, those followed by notes of currants and notes of roasted herbs. Round and generous. Drink now-2014. Score 90. K
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