Itay Lahat - As elegant as it can get
The launch of Itay Lahat's personal brand at the Grape-man, was a journey of flavours, roots and identity. A story of connection and the expression of a man coming home.
Just like the person - His wines have so much to say but do it very elegantly with no need to shout.
Truth be told, Itay is one of our favorite people in the industry & To those who don't know - one of the busiest.
He consults to so many wineries with he's usual patience and modesty, that one must wonder how is it that he has time to do anything else or even sleep??
But that's Itay,
Super professional & super humble.
Before that, something interesting is happening in the wine industry in Israel. It's easy to forget that we are such a young country, especially in wine making & that we are still in the midst of a process of forming our identity and studying our ground whilst studying ourselves.
You can hear it along many wine makers, that just nowadays they understand where they are going and what they want to be.
In this particular tasting - The wine maker's identity was felt throughout each and every wine.
Itay laughs and says it's the Galilee "Rhone".
He found that the grape varieties he loves most are the Rhone ones.
So here's what we had:
We started in 2018, "Lahat white" & "Leichter".
The glass had two beautiful colors, the Lahat white a deeper golden hue, while the Leichter a mineral greenish color.
Lahat White 2018, last one from the Judean Hills.
10% Sauvignon Blanc
Nose was insane - floral, perfume, depth, like running through a field while blossoming.
The palate - I felt all my palate coming to life. Each and every taste bud was getting in on the action! My mouth was awake, Elegant yet refreshing. Deep youthful.
A wine I call - "Dress to impress" The perfect dinner rockstar to get "Wows" all evening.
Leichter 2018- Upper west Galilee
27% Grenache Blanc
Nose - Was more dramatic and needed a moment.
This wine to me needed more attention. Honey comb & wax scents, flowers but not the sweet kind.
The palate- Green super bouncy. sharp with great sasty notes, followed by bitter ones in a very good way.
Very very refreshing on a hot August morning. can be drunk all day but keeps revealing layers and secrets as you go. This wine might confuse you. it can act light but is very deep and complex as you listen to it.
Off to the reds!
"Lahat Red" 2018 Upper west Galilee:
15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Itay said that the Cab was for the "meaty" touch. Nose - The Cab was felt in the nose and got me excited to see what more is to come. Great meaty aromas and lovely earthy Syrah notes. Palate- I felt high salt levels (i say it in a good way, i love it) The acidity was perfect, kept everything alive and juicy. The Cab gave it depth and body but definitely did not make the wine heavy. It's a very sexy wine, not tannic and super elegant.
"Lahat GSM" 2018 Upper west galilee & Judean hills
Nose - Beautiful marzipan aromas, fruits and depth evolving in the glass.
Palate- Ok guys, there wasn't a single person around the table that didn't go nuts over this one. Explosion of tastes in the mouth, fruit & depth. This wine is perfectly balanced and lingers in your mouth forever, revealing more and more layers. Heaven really. Great Tannins, so pleasant. Itay said he wants more depth and structure but I say : Itay - this wine is perfect.
"Lahat Syrah" 2018 Blend of Syarh from Ben Ayun & Elkosh vineyard Upper west Galilee
Nose - I felt Jamon like notes, Meaty & Bloody. Berry's the purple good ones.
This wine feels cold, as if it came from a very cold land. Again great acidity that balances the earthy Syrah characteristics.
This wine, like Itay, feels European. reserved, elegant but with a dash of spice and twists, because we are still in the middle east.
Lahat whites 2019
This time we started with the Leichter!
"Leichter white" 2019 Upper west galilee
27% Grenache Blanc
I call this wine - a bastard. Because it's a confusing one. You might think it's the perfect refresher for the summer. Easy to drink, Green, Sassy & full of acidity, But make no mistake - this is one to follow. You can drink it at 11 AM without noticing you're on the fourth glass, BUT, It has a great complexity and will evolve within time. Listen carefully to this one.
"Lahat white" 2019 Upper west galilee
10% Sauvignon Blanc
This Lahat white is now fully Northern born and raised. I guess Itay chose the Galilee for a reason. Exquisite wine, layer after layer after layer. Depth, Elegance at it's finest. Really if this wine were a person it would be Princess Diana. So noble, so deep. Super clean and has it all - floral, acid, honey, freshness, silk.
I will follow this one for years to come, aging potential without a doubt.
In conclusion - Itay's wine making method and works are one of the best in the country on my list.
I want to finish with Itay's quote:
"A person can consider himself lucky if on the corse of time, what he wants to do meets right on time what people are talking about. Now is that moment, that exact spot on the time line where the wine that people want to drink , is the wine i make."
Much love Itay <3