An exceptional expression of a common grape, capturing that special combination of Old World and New World character contained in the best of modern Israeli winemaking. Derived from the ancient, biblical land of the Galilee, the nature of this particular Merlot fruit—and the weather, soil and vines that engendered it—has the hallmarks of the Old World. Rich, sappy and delicious, the wine is a product of the perfect weather for grape-growing the country is blessed with—it draws comparisons to a Napa Valley-produced Merlot with its ripeness and boldness, but the terroir is distinctly Middle Eastern. The winemaker’s New World touch brings a caressing silkiness and finesse to the texture that adds allure. There is gorgeous length and substantial power on the finish. The 2011 RECANATI Reserve Merlot, Manara Vineyard is a modern wine that beats to an ancient heart. Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” This has to be one of the finest Merlots in the civilized world. –J.M.