Don’t let the name foul you, there is nothing petit about Petit Castel 2009. The Petit Castel is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdo.
The Petit Castel 2009 was aged for 12 months in one year old used French oak barrels so the tannins are not as gripping as the Grand Vin but the wine has a nice complexity of fruits, tannins and a long finish. When you open this wine you get an instant aroma of rich raspberries and vanilla. I can smell this wine for 30 minutes and be fascinated with each whiff. The color is near purple in the glass and is very rich and dense. The initial taste may make your cheeks pucker a bit but once the wine settles down it is a juicy, red fruit wine with characteristics of dark chocolate at the end. Although very enjoyable now, the 2009 vintage is still considered a young and is best to be cellared for another couple of years.
By Esther Cohen
About Domaine du Castel
The story of Domaine du Castel is inspiring and one that should be revered, as Castel is a leader in the modern day Israeli wine industry.
In the early 1980s Eli established Mama Mia, a fine Italian restaurant in Jerusalem. He wanted the same quality of wine to go with his delicious food so he sampled the Israeli wine that were available at that time, although was not satisfied with the selection. Having Israeli chuzpa he decided he was going to make his own wine. Since he grew up with the knowledge and taste for French wine, he planted Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in his backyard in 1988
The winery was set up in empty stables next to his home, where he made the first 600 bottles of wine. In 1992 Eli released the first batch and with much enthusiasm from his friends and family, his wine was declared excellent!
As much as Eli appreciated his friend’s feedback, he wanted someone in the professional realm to judge his wine so he sent a bottle of his “Grand Vin” to Serena Sutcliffee MW, Head of Sotheby’s Wine Department in London. She faxed a raving review of the wine, in which Eli carried around with him in his shirt pocket for a month because he was so proud of his accomplishment. From then on Castel grew from a boutique winery to a mid-sized winery producing 100,000 bottles a year.
It is important to note that the vineyards are five minutes away from the winery in the Jerusalem Hills. Having the grapes in close proximity to the winery gives the winery the benefit of being able to check the vineyards and grapes on a daily basis and when the grapes are transported to the winery, they are not sitting in a truck for a long period of time.