My afternoon tastings today, also of the wines of boutique wineries, had far more success and reward than those of the morning. Among the wines tasted were those of the small Bustan winery.
Precisely once a year I receive a phone call from Ya'akov Fogler to let me know that he has released his new wines and to ask when it will be convenient to bring over sample bottles for tasting. When Fogler arrives, I go downstairs, meet him at his car, exchange a few pleasant words and then take the bottles to my cellar, there to be set aside for tasting in the near future. Simply stated, whatever Fogler is doing he is doing it very well indeed, does it without brouhaha or braggadocio and continues to demonstrate that his is one of the very best boutique wineries in the country.
Founded in 1994, situated on Moshav Sharei Tikva in the Shomron region the winery draws Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grapes from the Jerusalem and Judean Mountains, and produces about 6,000 bottles annually. The winery has earned a good name for its distinctly French-style wines, which have had a formal kashrut certificate since 1999.
Frankly, very well worth searching out!!!!
Bustan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: Deep, almost inky garnet in color, full-bodied, with intensity and concentration. Generous but remarkably soft tannins and spicy wood meld comfortably into the background to highlight traditional Cabernet aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, blackberries and spices, those with appealing overlays of minted chocolate, and earthy minerals. On the long finish an appealing hint of near-sweet cedar. Approachable now but best 2011-2015. Score 92. K
Bustan, Merlot, 2005: Full-bodied, with deep, near-sweet and gently mouth-coating tannins, a muscular but simultaneously elegant Merlot. On the nose and palate, wild berries, currants, spices, Mediterranean herbs and garrigue, all coming together as a coherent whole. Long and generous. Approachable now but will show its elegance only starting in 2011 and then cellar well until 2014. Score 92. K
Bustan, Syrah, 2006: Not Australia and not the Rhone but Syrah with a distinctly Mediterranean note. Full-bodied, with generous but gently mouth-coating tannins in fine balance with spicy wood and fruits. On first attack wild berries and plums, those yielding comfortably to notes of blackberries and cassis and, in the background tantalizing hints of leather and game-meat. Long, generous and mouth-filling. Best 2011-2015. Score 92. K