Rogov's Feb 2008 visit to Golan Heights winery

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Rogov's Feb 2008 visit to Golan Heights winery

Postby Barry K » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:18 am

In an effort to perserve some of the more searched posts from our previous board I have taken the liberty of makinng a copy of the Golan Heights visit topic for posting here... Rogov feel free to delete if you have any concerns
Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 16:53 February 14,2008
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Tuesday, 12 February found me quite early in the morning making my way north to visit and do extensive tastings at the Golan Heights Winery. A pleasant breakfast and some technical but thoroughly interesting talk with senior winemaker Victor Shoenfeld about state-of-the-art vineyard (and sub-vineyard, down to blocks and even individual rows) control was followed by visits to several of the winery's vineyards and then back to the winery for tastings.
Reflecting the thorough professionalism of the winery, all but the sparkling wines had been opened about an hour before our arrival and completion of the pouring was taking place as we arrived and the tasting was set up in three "stations", each of those with three or four flights of wines. In addition to myself, the tasting was attended by CEO Shalom Blayer, Shoenfeld, the winemaking staff and several others of the professional staff of the winery. All in all 57 wines were tasted , those containing vertical re-tastings, advance tastings and barrel tastings. That may sound like a good many wines but at a winery of this size that is barely scratching the surface of all that is offered and all that is already in barrels for offerings in the future.

Being somewhat of a self-confessed romantic, I have to admit that there is something enchanting about sitting in a room with seven other people, all in all with more than 385 glasses set out, each waiting to be tasted and evaluated. And yes, the pulse still jumps a bit at such events and that for a combination of reasons most of which I sum up as "the aesthetic of wine". I will also confess that following completion of each of the three stations, I took a break for a cigarette.

Before my tasting notes three quick comments:

(1) The 2007 barrel tastings of red wines were tasted from components and the tasting notes are, as always in such cases, projections. Informed projections, but projections nevertheless.

(2) Some may note that I report not on the 57 wines tasted but only on 52. That is simply because two of those tasting notes are destined to appear first in the 2009 edition of my book and three are of experimental wines, the fate of which are yet to be determined by the winery. My guess is that some positive surprises await.

(3) Definitely worthy of note is that several of the vertical tastings of both reds and whites revealed that many of the wines re-tasted are showing even more cellar-worthy than originally predicted.

Enough…. My tasting notes follow. My sincere thanks to Victor, Shalom, the winemakers and the others that arranged the tasting, for their good company and for the tasting itself. Special thanks to Arnon for good company, fine conversation and a welcomed driving break for good espresso coffees on the way to the winery.


Sparkling Wines

Golan Heights Winery, Blanc de Blancs, Yarden, 1999: Made by the traditional methode Champenoise, just yeasty enough to enchant, with rich citrus, peach and nectarine fruits and hints of spring flowers. Mineral-rich crispness, sharp, well-focused bubbles, a long mousse and a long and a tempting near-creamy finish. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Blanc de Blancs, Yarden, 2001: As I have written at earlier tastings, the best Blanc de Blancs to date from the winery. Made from Chardonnay grapes by the traditional methode Champenoise, this medium-bodied sparkling wine shows just the right balance between yeasty sour-dough bread, peaches, citrus and minerals. With a generous mousse and sharp, well-focused bubbles that go on and on, this crisp and sophisticated wine goes on to a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2012. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Gewurztraminer

Golan Heights Winery, Gewurztraminer, Yarden, 2007: Golden straw in color, off-dry, medium-bodied, with appealing spicy and floral notes running through, those including white pepper, anise and cinnamon, a lovely wine with tempting summer and litchi fruits. On the long finish hints of rose petals and grapefruit peel. Drink now-2010. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)


Viognier

Golan Heights Winery, Viognier, Yarden, 2006 (Advance Tasting): As during earlier tastings, this release reminds me of the white wines of Condrieu and shows traditional a thoroughly traditional Viognier personality. Following an aromatic and floral nose, flavors and aromas of ripe Anjou pears, peaches, spring flowers and minerals along with hints of citrus. Lively, clean, fresh and long, the best local Viognier to date. Drink now-2010. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Viognier, Yarden, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-bodied but gives the comfortable illusion of floating on the palate. Opens with citrus and light herbal and peach blossom notes, those going on to litchis, pears and papaya, all coming together in manners that are simultaneously lively and hedonistic but complex enough to give pause for thought. Long and generous. Drink from release-2011. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)


Chardonnay

Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, 2002: As do all of the Chardonnay releases from this vineyard, this one continues to show its buttery-oak pattern. Maturing gracefully and showing a bright golden-straw color. Ripe and complex flavors of pears, tropical fruits, hazelnuts and spices opening on the palate to reveal flinty and floral overtones along with generous but well-integrated oak and a long, vanilla-cream finish. Drink now. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, 2004: Showing every bit as nicely as at earlier tastings. Rich and complex full-bodied and creamy, with pears, ripe apricots, citrus and mango fruits backed up by light spicy and mineral overtones. With its generous oak now in fine proportion the wine is drinking beautifully now and should cellar comfortably until 2010. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Showing very nicely indeed. Full-bodied, opening with floral and citrus, those going on to tropical fruits and figs, all set off by hints of smoky oak, ginger and, on the long finish ripe pears. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2009-2012. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Full-bodied, opening with subtle aromas of figs, pears and apples, going on to show a generous dash of smoky, toasty oak and then blossoming forth with pineapple, citrus peel and minerals leading to a long finish that is simultaneously creamy and bright. Enjoyable now but best 2009-2013. Score 92. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Deep golden in color with orange and green reflections, opening with notes of grilled nuts and then going on to show pear, fig and pie crust aromas and flavors. Finishes with apple and pineapple pie notes. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)


Pinot Noir

Golan Heights Winery, Pinot Noir, Yarden, 2002: Medium- to full-bodied, with its soft tannins and gentle wood influence now integrated nicely. The floral note that was once here has faded but the wine continues to show the red berries, cherries and light herbal, coffee and vanilla overtones of its youth. Drinking well but not for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Pinot Noir, Yarden, 2004: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins well integrated and showing a generous array of blackberry, plum and black cherry fruits, those supported very nicely by hints of pine nuts. On the generously fruity finish a tantalizing hint of anise. Drink now-2012. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Pinot Noir, Yarden, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): My second barrel tasting of this wine and my earlier note holds firmly: Intense ruby towards garnet, medium to full-bodied, with well-focused cherry fruits at the core, those opening to reveal plums, dark chocolate and espresso coffee, all leading to a long blackberry-rich finish. Generous, balanced, and long, with wood and tannins integrating nicely. Best from 2009. Tentative Score 90–92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Pinot Noir, Yarden, 2007 (Barrel tasting): Medium-bodied, supple, fragrant and graceful, with silky tannins and almost jammy blackberry and currant fruits on a background of white pepper. On the moderately-long finish, hints of sandalwood and black cherries. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)


Nebbiolo and Sangiovese


Golan Heights Winery, Nebbiolo, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Smooth and supple, with licorice, tar and plums on the nose, those needing a bit of time in the glass to part and reveal blackberry, strawberry and freshly picked porcini mushrooms. Complex for a young-vine wine and with a long chewy finish. Possibly a varietal release; possibly destined as a blending agent. Worthy of our attention. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2000: I had predicted the demise of this wine as long as three years ago and two years ago I advised "drink up". Truth is I thought never to taste this one again but taste it I did and to my surprise, although past its peak, still giving pleasure. A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, still showing medium-bodied, with its soft tannins now fully integrated and continuing to show berry, cherry, sage and tobacco notes. Still alive and kicking but truly best to drink up any you might have on hand. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2001: Another wine well outliving its predicted drinking window, in fact, although not destined for further cellaring still drinking quite nicely indeed. Dark garnet, still showing ripe but firm tannins and appealing currant, plum, tobacco and sweet oak. Drink up. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2002: Well, at least this one did not disappoint me. Following through on the "2002 curse" a very nice little wine in its youth but now definitely beyond its peak, the once generous black fruits fading, the chocolate turning just a bit overly bitter and a hint of not-really wanted caramel creeping in. Drink up. Original Score 87. Current Score 82. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla 2003: Dark garnet, medium-bodied, with soft tannins and gentle vanilla influences from the wood integrated nicel. Opens to show spicy berry, red plum, violet and red cherry aromas and flavors. Soft round and still youthful. Not complex but very appealing. Drink now-2009. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2004: Reflecting its 12 months in barriques with a gentle hand and with its now soft tannins settled in nicely, showing soft round and caressing. On the nose and palate black and red berries, black cherries, licorice and spring flowers and, on the comfortably long finish a hint of orange peel. Drink now-2009. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2005: Medium- to full-bodied, with chewy but gentle tannins coming together to show an appealing array of berry, minted chocolate and spiced tea. Drink now-2010.Long and caressing. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Aromas and flavors of raspberries, strawberries and cassis, those on a medium-bodied frame with soft tannins and showing appealing hints of spicy oak and sawdust, all leading to a fresh finish. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Sangiovese, Gamla, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied, with caressing tannins, a smooth, round wine with raspberry and blackberry aromas and flavors on a chocolate and mocha scented background, all lasting through the long and easy-going finish. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Merlot

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 2003: Drinking beautifully now but with quite a future in front of it. Dark garnet, full-bodied, and with generous tannins but a well-polished wine showing a generous array of cherry, currant and berry fruits, those supported nicely by layers of Mediterranean herbs, vanilla and a gentle hand with smoky oak. On the long finish a tantalizing hint of green olives tip-toes in nicely. Drink now-2014. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 2004: Dark garnet towards purple, medium to full-bodied, with tannins and wood integrating nicely and showing a generous array of berry, cassis and plum fruits, those supported by minerals, sweet cedarwood and, rising on the medium-long finish, an overlay of spices and tobacco. Drink now–2011, perhaps longer. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Inky dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and opening to show mineral, blackberry and raspberry aromas and flavors those supported by hints of licorice. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): The most full-bodied Yarden Merlot in several years, with gripping but velvety smooth tannins and toasty oak. On first attack ripe raspberries and currants, those parting to make way for light herbal and earthy notes and finally plums and Oriental spices, all culminating in a long mineral-rich finish. Best from 2010. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Ortal Vineyard, Yarden, 2001: Deeply aromatic, reflecting its 14 months in mostly new French barrels with generous spicy oak, that in harmony with ample but seamless tannins, all coming together in a dense but plush and luxurious wine. Full-bodied, showing appealing aromas and flavors that open in layer after layer, those including blackberries, near-jammy plums, chocolate, fresh herbs and, on the long finish, a rising hint of Oriental spices all with a light herbal bitteness, that offset comfortably by a hint of orange peel. Drink now–2014. Score 94. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery Merlot, Ortal Vineyard, Yarden, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Dark ruby towards garnet, full-bodied, with once firm tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely now. Opens to reveal a tempting array of blackberry, raspberry, plum and cassis fruits, those supported nicely by hints of smoky cedar wood and licorice, all leading to a gently spicy and notably long finish. Simultaneously complex, concentrated and elegant. Approachable on release but best 2009-2015. Score 93. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Sha'al Vineyard, Yarden, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Rich and concentrated, a powerhouse at this time waiting for its elements to come together. Already showing fine balance between still gripping tannins and wood with bold aromas and flavors of plum, currant, blackberry, licorice and spices all rising to a long tannic and mineral-rich finish. Approachable from release but best from 2009-2015. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Tel Faraj Vineyard, Yarden, 2005: Full bodied, with caressingly soft tannins and an abundance of blackberry, violet and lightly toasted oak on first attack, those opening to raspberries, mocha and sweet cedar, all building to a long and succulent finish. Best 2009-2014. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Syrah

Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden, 2003: Developing beautifully. Dark garnet in color, with soft, mouth-coating tannins and an appealing overlay of spicy wood reflecting its 18 months in oak. Opens with blackberry, purple plums and chocolate notes, those yielding to near-jammy raspberries, hints of earthy minerals and a note of peach pit. Long and generous with hints of spring flowers on the long finish. Drink now-2013. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Medium-dark ruby towards garnet, with firm tannins and spicy oak integrating nicely. Shows a generous array of near-jammy raspberries, blackberries, black cherries and plums, those supported nicely by hints of spices and herbs and a hint of polished leather. Drink from release-2013. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Garnet, but so dark that one might describe it as inky. Full-bodied, with spicy oak and generous soft tannins, showing fine structure and balance. Opens with raspberry and red currant notes, those going on to show generous hints of black pepper, anise and wild berries all coming to a long and generous chocolate and smoky finish. Best 2009-2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing nicely since my last barrel tasting (about a year ago). Full-bodied with firm tannins, tangy acidity and spicy wood integrating nicely. Opens to reveal a complex array of plum, currant, and berry fruits, those supported nicely by notes of earthy minerals, and generously peppered game meat with tannins and fruits rising comfortably on the long finish. Best from 2010. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Still tightly wound and intense but showing good balance and structure that bode well for the future. On the nose and palate almost creamy oak and rich spicy, peppery and meaty overlays on supple blackberries blueberries and dried currants. Needs time to show its luxurious nature. Best from 2010-2015. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Ortal Vineyard, 2004: Moderately dark ruby, full-bodied, with tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood. Opens with a burst of almost jammy aromas of raspberries and kirsch liqueur, those yielding beautifully to blackberry, cherry and plum fruits. In the background generous hints of anise and Oriental spices and a hint of freshly tanned leather. Best 2009–2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Cabernet Sauvignon

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2000: Full-bodied, still youthful, with firm tannins and generous oak well balanced by currants, blackberries and spicy cedar wood those opening to plums and black cherries, all matched nicely with vanilla and an appealing herbal overlay followed by a long finish. Drink now–2011. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2001: Full-bodied with finely tuned balance between wood, tannins and fruits. Showing plum, wild berry and spicy currant fruits, and reflecting its 18 months in oak with appealing overlays of vanilla, cedar, tobacco and cocoa. Drink now–2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2002: Dark garnet towards royal-purple, full-bodied, with firm tannins and spicy oak yielding nicely to reveal flavors and aromas of red currants, cherries and berries on first attack, those giving way to layers of sweet cedar, vanilla, leather and, on the long finish, a hint of anise. Rich, generous and elegant. Drink now–2012. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Aged in French oak for 18 months and showing generous but gentle wood influence. Soft mouth-coating tannins support generous blackberry, back cherry and plum fruits and, on the long finish, hints of Oriental spices and a light herbal-tobacco sensation. Best 2009–2015. Score 93. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2004: A wine that outshines its vintage year. Deep, dark, and brooding. Generous smoky oak and tannins now settling down to reveal rich currant, cherry, blackberry and plum fruits along with hints of asphalt, earthiness and Mediterranean herbs all leading to a generous and spicy finish. Drink now–2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Brooding dark ruby-red, full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and spicy oak wrapped around black currants, berries, spices and a hint of dark chocolate. Look as well for enchanting hints of citrus peel and vanilla on the long finish. Fine balance and structure bode well for the future. Best 2010–2018. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, with soft tannins and spicy oak integrating nicely. On the nose and palate ripe black and red berries and currants on a background of spicy oak, all touched with hints of spices, vanilla and a light mineral-earthy overtones. Best 2010-2015. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components but already showing a clean, fresh mineral note that runs through. Full- to medium-bodied, with soft, nicely integrating tannins and gentle hints of sweet-and-spicy wood, opens to reveal fine currant and berry fruits. Best from 2010. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elrom Vineyard, 2001: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. Dark, almost impenetrable garnet-purple, full-bodied, with finely-tuned balance between generous well-integrated tannins and judicious oak, this exquisite wine shows complex tiers of aromas and flavors of red currants, berries, and spices on the first attack, those opening to include light earthy and herbal overlays. Plush and opulent, with a long, complex finish. Among the best ever made in Israel. Drink now–2013. Score 95. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elrom Vineyard, 2003: Intensely dark ruby towards royal purple, full-bodied, with caressing tannins and a moderate oak influence. Opens with blackcurrants, blackberries and minerals, goes to meaty, earthy and herbal aromas and flavors, and then to spices and a long and elegant fruity finish. Firmly structured with excellent grip and complexity. Best 2010–2020. Score 95. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elrom Vineyard, 2004 (Advance Tasting): God, the gods, the vintners and the winemakers must be doing something right at the Elrom Vineyard which seems to be giving usconsistently exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied, with still firm tannins and spicy wood well on the way to integrating and already showing elegance and finesse. Look for layer after layer of currant, blackberry and wild berry fruits, those supported beautifully by notes of cedar, sage and tar, all leading to a near-sweet fruity finish that lingers on and on. Approachable now but best 2010-2016. Score 94. K (Tasted 12 Feb 2008)


Katzrin


Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin, 2000: A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Showing beautifully now, its blackberry, cherry and currant fruits supported by spicy oak, notes of cigar tobacco and hints of freshly turned earth. Dense, deep and intense, with finely tuned balance and structure, a simultaneously bold and elegant wine. Drinking very well now but not yet at its peak. Best 2009-2015, perhaps longer. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery Katzrin, 2003: Dark garnet, a full-bodied blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, with gently mouth-coating tannins and smoky oak integrating nicely. Shows layers of black currant, black cherry and berry fruits, those yielding and coming together with peppery and herbal aromas and flavors culminating in a long blueberry and white chocolate finish. Best 2010–2018. Score 93. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008)

Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Showing every bit as well as during barrel tastings. Dark garnet towards royal purple, with orange and violet reflections. Shows generous oak and still firm tannins, those in fine proportion and well balanced by blackberry, blackcurrant and cherry fruits, those on a background of white pepper, Mediterranean herbs and, on the long and generous finish hints of vanilla and peppermint. Best 2009-2016. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 12 Feb 2008) *


*Scheduled for release approximately December, 2008





Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: newlawyer at 17:57 February 14,2008


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Am I wrong in concluding that the 04 and 06 vintages (in general) in Israel were problematic?



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (newlawyer)
Posted by: Rogov at 18:02 February 14,2008
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Bill, Hi.....

Not so much problematic (as was 2002) but certainly not up to the overall hopes inspired by 2003 and 2005. Wait until you see the results for 2007 though - a truly schizophrenic year that will yield some very good wines and some that might only envy 2004 and 2006.


Best
Rogov





Post Title:
Posted by: Isi at 18:14 February 14,2008


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Great TN's, thanks.
No Pinot Noir 2003 tasting ?



Post Title: Re: (Isi)
Posted by: Rogov at 18:35 February 14,2008
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Quote, originally posted by Isi »
No Pinot Noir 2003 tasting ?


Isi, Hi....

Nope, but following is my most recent tasting note (about six months ago)

Best
Rogov

Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2003: Garnet-red, medium to full-bodied, with soft, mouth-coating tannins and a moderate hand with spicy oak. On the nose and palate forward but elegant black cherry, blackberry, and cassis fruits supported nicely by hints of lightly spicy floral and earthy notes. Drink now–2011. Score 91. K





Post Title:
Posted by: Isi at 01:41 February 15,2008


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I was told that they were dropping the Pinot Noir completely from production.



Post Title: Re: (Isi)
Posted by: Rogov at 04:46 February 15,2008
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Isi, Hi

Takes a bit to shock me after my first coffees but you succeeded. Considering that the winery is increasing its Pinot Noir vineyards, and that I'd already tasted the 2007 in barrels, I was most skeptical of what you had heard. I just phoned Shalom Blayer and he informs me that the plan is precisely the opposite - to increase both development and output of Pinot Noir.

Best
Rogov





Post Title:
Posted by: Isi at 04:53 February 15,2008


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I was also amazed when I saw your 2007 barrel tasting.
But this is what I was told during a wine course (please do not ask me names..!).




Post Title:
Posted by: dannyre at 09:15 February 15,2008


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Daniel,
If I remember correctly, your original TN for the 2003 Merlot was drink from release to 2010.
This is an impressive increase!
What happened?
Regards,
Danny



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: bkessler at 09:32 February 15,2008


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Hi Rogov,
Did you taste the 2005 Yarden Pinot?

Same question the the 2005 Yarden Merlot (I noticed only single vineyard notes in your review)?

Thanks!
Bill



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (bkessler)
Posted by: drinking at 10:25 February 15,2008


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Interesting notes, thanks.
Any news on the Malbec front?


Lior.




Post Title: Re: (dannyre)
Posted by: Rogov at 12:28 February 15,2008


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Quote, originally posted by dannyre »
If I remember correctly, your original TN for the 2003 Merlot was drink from release to 2010. This is an impressive increase! What happened?

Danny, Hi....

One of the many delights of wines is that, like people, they sometimes surprise us by showing either better or worse at a second, third or fourth encounter. The basics may be predictable but sometimes major shifts do occur.

As noted above, I am seeing an lengthening drinking window with many of the wines of the winery. I think this merely reflects that positive shift.

Best
Rogov






Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (drinking)
Posted by: Rogov at 12:30 February 15,2008


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Lior, Hi...
With re what you appropriately refer to as "the Malbec front", I do hear rumors but rumors make for yelow journalism and low-class criticism. I'll hold until I have something other than rumors to report....

Best
Rogov





Post Title: Re: (Rogov) - Yarden Merlot 2003
Posted by: elir at 17:07 February 15,2008


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Hi Daniel,
I was hoping to enjoy the 2003 vintage over the next three year.
In view of your latest TN, can I plan for 5-6 years?
Would a bottle that has been kept in the winery cellar age much better than a bottle that has done the travel to the distribution channel wine shop and private home - assuming it has been given the best treatment throughout its route?

Thanks

Eli





Post Title: Re: (Rogov) - Yarden Merlot 2003 (elir)
Posted by: Rogov at 17:17 February 15,2008


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A two part question, thus a two part response.
(a) I would indeed count on the wine in question for another 5 years.

(b) If a wine has been transported and cellared well differences in longevity when compared to those that have remained in the winery's cellar will show only after 30 or more years. That is often the case with Bordeaux wines. Not though with Israeli wines....

Best
Rogov





Post Title: Re: (Rogov)
Posted by: elir at 17:41 February 15,2008


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10x for the quick answer.
You may have missed this one:

Quote, originally posted by bkessler »
Hi Rogov,
Did you taste the 2005 Yarden Pinot? Same question the the 2005 Yarden Merlot (I noticed only single vineyard notes in your review)?



I would second this question and try to be more specific:

Will the Yarden Merlot 2005 be made of the any of the component you have tasted,
or, Is it one of the surpises you hold for your 2009 book?

Eli



Post Title: Re: (elir)
Posted by: Rogov at 17:51 February 15,2008


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Eli, Hi....
I did indeed miss the second part of that question. Thanks for pointing it out.

I did not taste the 2005 Yarden Merlot on this visit but did taste it from barrels about 10 months ago. No surprises waiting here.... My tasting note follows. Will post again after an advance or release tasting.

Best
Rogov

Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 2005: Still in embryonic form but showing the potential for a medium to full-bodied spicy red, with currant and plum aromas and flavors, and overlays of smoke and herbaceousness. Long and elegant. Drink from release–2011. Tentative Score 89–91. K





Post Title: Yarden 2005 Pinot and Gamla 2005 Cabernet
Posted by: bkessler at 11:39 February 16,2008


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Hi Rogov,
Thanks for the answer on the Yarden 2005 Merlot.

Did you taste the Yarden 2005 Pinot?

Also do you have a note for the 2005 Gamla Cabernet?

Shavuah Tov!

Bill





Post Title:
Posted by: Neil at 12:07 February 16,2008


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Any clue when the Ortal Merlot will be released?



Post Title: Re: (Neil)
Posted by: Rogov at 12:55 February 16,2008
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Neil, Hi....

Speculating here, but I'd say to keep your eyes peeled for another month or two.

Best
Rogov





Post Title: Re: Yarden 2005 Pinot and Gamla 2005 Cabernet (bkessler)
Posted by: Rogov at 04:37 February 18,2008


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Bill, Hi...
Sorry I missed these requests earlier. Neither of the wines in question was tasted at this particular tasting but I hav tasted them both on earlier occasions. My tasting notes follow.

Best
Rogov


Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2005: Promises to be the best Pinot Noir yet from the winery. Dark ruby, full-bodied enough to be thought of as fleshy and with spicy wood and gentle tannins in fine balance with acidity and fruits. Opens with near-sweet, liqueur-like berry aromas and fla-vors, those yielding in the glass to reveal a crisply dry wine on which you will feel hints of kirsch, dark chocolate and lightly smoked meat, all climaxing in a long and generous blackberry finishing. Best from 2009. Tentative Score 91–93. K

Gamla, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: Medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet, a traditional Bordeaux blend showing soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and opening to reveal blackcurrant, wild berry and light Mediterranean herbal notes. Fine balance between oak, tannins, acidity and fruit and a generous, just spicy enough finish. Score 88. K





Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: Rogov at 17:45 February 18,2008


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During recent hours I have received three emails asking the same question – that relating to whether the decision of the Golan Heights Winery to release the Katzrin and several of its single vineyard reds from the 2004 vintage is more of a marketing ploy than a sign of quality. I believe such thinking has come about partly because we are used to receiving these special releases only from special vintages and not always one year following the other..

All I can do is speculate as I am not privy to the marketing or any other internal meetings of the winery but speculate I shall and in fairly full confidence. It is true that this is the first time that the Katzrin has been released in two consecutive years. That, in and of itself, means nothing. In short - knowing senior winemaker Victor Shoenfeld, I doubt very, very, very much that he would put his signature on or give the go-ahead to any of the Katzrin, Yarden or Single Vineyard Yarden wines that he did not believe were up to his standards. I'll go a step further and suggest that anyone who feels these wines might not be up to par might do well to take a good look at my tasting notes.

I will also speculate a bit in suggesting that the vines used for the single vineyard releases are maturing and are better understood. That too might well play a role in quality of wines from successive vintage years.

Best
Rogov




Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: mikeb at 18:42 February 18,2008


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May I add my own personal bit of speculation as well. In my own very limited experience, the quality of wines from 2004 and 2003 is similar. I know many of us look at 2003 as being somewhat special, but maybe that is because it followed the 'curse of 2002'. So I am not at all surprised that there are a number of special releases of both 2003 and 2004. (One example: Castel Grand Vin 2003 and 2004 both get a score of 94 from Daniel - I would personally rate the 2004 as being a touch better).



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: newlawyer at 23:54 February 19,2008
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Daniel, hi Do you by any chance have a TN for the 2000 Blanc de Blanc?



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: ehud at 00:24 February 20,2008
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Quote, originally posted by Rogov »
...All I can do is speculate .... It is true that this is the first time that the Katzrin has been released in two consecutive years.

Let me further speculate, with no real solid information whatsoever, except for the thorough knowledge of the vintages quality here - not only this is the first time the Katzrin Red has been released back to back, in 2003 and 2004, I further expect that there will be a 2005 Katzrin Red, and probably many of the Single Vineyard editions!
Anything else will surprise me a lot.

Ehud




Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (ehud)
Posted by: Rogov at 00:48 February 20,2008


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Ehud, Hi....

Considering the high quality of the 2005 vintage, I would go along with your speculation.


Best
Rogov





Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (newlawyer)
Posted by: Rogov at 00:57 February 20,2008


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William, Hi...

My tasting note for the wine in question follows

Best
Rogov

Yarden, Blanc de Blancs, 2000: Made entirely from Chardonnay grapes in the traditional method of Champagne, this tempting sparkling wine shows appealing summer fruits, citrus and kiwis, those on a background of minerals and just a hint of yeast. A somewhat short mousse but sharp bubbles that linger nicely. Drink now Score 89. K





Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: newlawyer at 09:12 February 20,2008


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Daniel, hi, did I miss something or is there no TN for the '03 Odem Organic Chardonnay?



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (newlawyer)
Posted by: Rogov at 11:28 February 20,2008
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Bill, Hi....
Not sure where you were looking but my most recent tasting note follows.

Best
Rogov

Yarden, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, 2003: Lightly burnished gold in color, rich and elegant, with ripe pear, honeysuckle and melon flavors coming together beautifully with generous oak, minerals and nutmeg. On the long finish a hint of hazelnuts. Drink now–2009. Score 90. K





Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: DavidW at 07:34 February 21,2008


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On an altogether more banal note, when will the winery be updating the labels on the Yarden series? While the quality of the wines should be the key factor in securing sales, I can't help but wonder whether they are losing some marginal ("floating" might be a better word) sales through a lack of investment in the brand's look and feel. Even among kosher wines, the label looks tired. Ditto for Gamla.
David



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (DavidW)
Posted by: drinking at 11:12 February 21,2008


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Hi David,
Unlike you, I like the simplicity of the labels, perhaps their unpretentiousness. For me they say "You know the name, you know the quality - this is it". I'm not sure what portion of the crowd for 30$+ wines chooses by the appearance of the label. I can think of wineries with much better looking bottles and quality not even close to what's in the Yarden bottles. Maybe that's why I became indifferent to the outside.

Another example, on the lower price range: Chillag Giovane series which I had last week. The label is rather plain, but the content is exactly the opposite. Perhaps such a small winery, which is unheard of by some - would be better with a more attractive bottle, but this is not the case with GHW and consumers for 30$+ wines.
Picture: http://drinking.files.wordpres...5.jpg

Lior.




Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (drinking)
Posted by: DavidW at 10:56 February 22,2008


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Lior, I think you misunderstand me. I'm quite happy with their simple labels too - I've probably drunk more Yarden bottles than all other Israeli wine put together. But no-one exists in a vacuum - none of us is immune to the lure of a well labelled and well-marketed bottle of wine. Since there is growing competition for the wine-drinker's wallet, I would have thought that the winery needs to invest in its image in order to help sell its wines, particularly among those who do not instantly know that Yarden is a good brand.
You are right on one thing though: there are a number of, if you like, three star wineries with five star labelling. Tihsbi is one that comes to mind immmediately.

Anyway, what do I know, I'm just a lawyer. There must be some marketing people out there who know something about this issue.

Regards, David



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (DavidW)
Posted by: drinking at 12:53 February 22,2008


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Another example: Yiron and Yiron Syrah - almost zero marketing, unimpressive label - but I don't think they have any problem being sold out.
Another? Vitkin.
This is exactly what I seek: Marketing/Quality ratio approaching zero. This is often accompanied by reasonnable prices as well, such as the case with Vitkin and Galil Mt.

Lior.




Post Title:
Posted by: exabgen at 12:54 February 23,2008


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Lior,
I think you bring a good point that Galil Mountain doesn't do much marketing nor try to "spiff" up their designs. This Shabbat, I actually just noticed the similarity of the "swoosh-like" symbols between Tabor Winery and that of Yatir. The former winery definitely has been mass-advertising in the past year or two. Carmel does this especially in TV commercials, but also seems to invest heavily on graphic design for the packaging. . .

- E.Y.



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (Rogov)
Posted by: YoniM at 10:35 July 2,2008


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Quote, originally posted by Rogov »

(2) Some may note that I report not on the 57 wines tasted but only on 52. That is simply because two of those tasting notes are destined to appear first in the 2009 edition of my book and three are of experimental wines, the fate of which are yet to be determined by the winery. My guess is that some positive surprises await.


Hi Rogov,

I am not sure whether this would be one of the aforementioned "missing" wines, but an informed source told me today that there will soon be a sparkling wine released under the Gamla label. Might you be able to confirm this?



Post Title: Re: Visit to The Golan Heights Winery + Tasting Notes (YoniM)
Posted by: Rogov at 11:23 July 2,2008


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Yoni, Hi....\


Absolutely true. In the quite near future we will see the introduction of Gamla |Brut.


Best
Rogov
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