Yesterday (Monday, 11 Aug 2008), I attended a Tel Aviv tasting of the wines of Alexander Winery.
Located on Moshav Beit Yitzhak in the Sharon region, the winery, founded in 1996 by Yoram Shalom, receives grapes largely from contract vineyards over which it has full control at Kerem Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee. Primary output to date has been of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and now coming on line are Syrah and Grenache. Growth has been steady, increasing from about 12,000 bottles in 2002 to 45,000 in 2005 and 2006. With the 2006 vintage the winery switched over to kosher production and output for that and the 2007 harvest was 48,000 bottles for each year. In addition to producing two top-of-the-line series, Alexander the Great and The Wine of Alexander, the winery also releases two blended wines, Sandro and Gaston, and white wines in the Liza series.
Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Made from grapes from 26-year-old vines and blended with 10% OF Syarh and oak aged for thirty-six months, this medium to full-bodied dark garnet-red wine shows soft tannins, generous spicy and dusty wood and an array of mineral, black fruit, herbal and chocolate aromas. On the long finish, cloves and a hint of iodine. Best from release–2012. Tentative Score 88-90. (Re-tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Reserve, Double-Oak, 2004 (Advance Tasting) Reflecting its 48 months in mostly new oak barriques with far too generous smoky and vanilla overlays and gripping tannins, those yielding slowly in the glass to reveal moderate levels of plums, blackberries and currants, those with overlays of mocha and herbs. More powerful and intense than elegant, a wine primarily for those who care for a deeply oak-laded wine. Drink from release-2011. Score 86. (Re-tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander the Great, 2004: Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004:Blended with 5% Merlot, full-bodied and reflecting the barriques in which it developed for 36 months with firm, near-sweet tannins and generous spicy wood. Generous and long with a complex array of currant, herbal and mineral aromas and flavors but mostly for those who enjoy a great deal of New-World oak with their wines. Drink now–2011. NIS 230. Score 88. (Re-tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. Medium to full-bodied, dark ruby in color, with soft tannins; showing vanilla and spices from the casks in which it aged. On the nose and palate, rich black currant and blackberry fruits along with hints of earthiness. Drink now–2010. Score 88. (Re-tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Merlot, 2005: Dark garnet towards royal-purple, with firm but nicely integrating tannins, generous spicy wood and hints of tobacco balanced nicely by a generous array of black plum, raspberry, cassis and chocolate aromas and flavors. Drink now. Score 89. (Tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Sandro, 2006: A medium- to full-bodied blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% and 5% Sauvignon Blanc. Dark ruby in color, reflecting its 14 months in barriques with dusty wood and soft but gently gripping tannins. Opens to reveal appealing currant, wild berry and orange peel notes, with tannins and fruits rising on the finish. Drink now-2010. Score 87. K (Tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Syrah, 2006: Medium-bodied, soft and round, showing gentlyspicy and vanilla rich wood notes and opening on the palate to reveal red berries and plums, those supported nicely by a light meaty hint and a milk-chocolate finish. Very nice. Drink now-2010. Score 88. K (Tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Gaston, GMS, 2005: Despite the order and hint of its labeling, a blend of 76% Merlot and 12% each of Granache and Syrah. Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, aged in barriques for 12 months. On first attack generous wood on both nose and palate but that recedes nicely to reveal currant, wild berry and plum fruits on a just spicy-enough background. Well balanced and long. Drink now-2010. Score 88. (Tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Chardonnay, Liza, 2006: When I first tasted this wine about a year ago, I had hoped that it might open and show greater charm. It has not. Flat on the nose, aged in oak for about 16 months, showing primarily citrus and apple fruits but lacking acidity that would have made it lively. Clumsy and without charm. Drink up. Score 79. K (Re-tasted 11 Aug 2008)
Alexander, Sauvignon Blanc, Liza, 2007: Aged partly in stainless steel and partly in oak for 7 months, showing primarily pineapple and green apple notes, a simple wine, lacking acidity and meant for early drinking. Drink up. Score 80. K (Tasted 11 Aug 2008)