Starting some time back a discussion started on the form about the Elone Mamre and the Isaac's Ram wines of the Hevron Heights Winery*. Among other things, it was reported that the 2006 Elone Mamre and the 2006 Isaac's Ram from the winery were one and the same except that they had been bottled under different labels, one of which was said to be a private label made exclusively for a store in Jerusalem. It was also said that despite perhaps being the same wine, one was priced considerably higher than the other. Somewhere along the way, I invited the people of the winery to do a blind tasting, not only by me but by other wine critics or winemakers, including their own representative if they so wished. That invitation did not receive a response so I went on to a set of further tastings on my own.
My three-phase tastings of the Elone Mamre and the Isaac's Ram wines was completed today. Following, in this order, are my first tasting note for the Elone Mamre wine and then composite notes, those from follow-up tastings I did comparing the two wines. At both of the later tastings two separate bottles of each of the wines were tasted blind, those matched with other three or four other kosher Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon wines of the 2006 vintage, the only other requirement being that each of the wines had to be composed of a minimum of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.My original tasting note of the 2006 Elone Mamre
Hevron Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elone Mamre, Reserve, 2006: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color, full-bodied, with generous but soft and gently mouth-coating tannins and a temperate hand with the oak in which the wine aged for 20 months. On first attack red plums and spices, those parting to make way for traditional Cabernet blackberries and blackcurrants, those on a background of earthy minerals. Long, generous and mouth-filling. By far the best wine to date from this winery. I look forward to re-tasting from additional bottles in future years. Drink now-2014. Score 90. K (Tasted 16 Apr 2010)First Follow-Up Tasting of Elon Mamre and Tasting of Isaac's Ram
Hevron Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elone Mamre, Reserve, 2006: Tasted from two bottles and in both cases the I identified the wine in two separately numbered glasses as the same. My earlier tasting note (16 Apr 2010) holds firmly for both bottles in today's tasting. Drink now-2014. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 11 May 2010)
Hevron Heights Winery, Isaac's Ram, 2006: Tasted from two bottles, both showing consistency across the tasting. Medium- to full-bodied, perhaps leaning to the full, with smoky wood, that yielding slowly to unfolding black fruits on the nose and then opening to show blackcurrants, raspberries and dark chocolate, the wine marred somewhat by a bitter-herbal sensation that comes in from mid-palate and then lingers on to the moderately short finish. Drink now-2011. Score 87. K (Tasted 11 May 2010)My tentative conclusion from this tasting was that at least I found very few similarities between the two wines and would not conclude that they were the same wine.Second Follow-Tasting of Elone Mamre and Isaac's Ram
Hevron Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elone Mamre, Reserve, 2006: Tasted from two bottles. From one of the bottles my earlier tasting notes (16 Apr and 11 May 2010) hold firmly but the second bottle in today's tasting showed quite differently, still full-bodied but with the tannins somewhat firmer and a bit more chunky, the fruits somewhat more subdued and the oak making itself felt somewhat more. Easily attributable to normal bottle variation. Drink now-2013. Score 89 K. (Re-tasted 28 May 2010)
Hevron Heights Winery, Isaac's Ram, 2006: Tasted from two bottles with a good deal of bottle variation between them but that within what might well be normal bottle variation. The first bottle matching my earlier tasting (11 May 2010), with smoky wood, blackcurrants, red berries and bitter-sweet chocolate, the bitter-herbal sensation that I felt earlier more subdued in this sample. The second bottle, fuller in body, with more firmly gripping tannins opened more slowly in the glass but when it did showed generous smoky oak, gripping tannins and appealing black fruits. Drink now-2011. Score for the first bottle 85. Score for the second bottle 87. K (Re-tasted 28 May 2010)My Conclusions – Both the Elon Mamre and the Isaac's Ram wines are good, even very good wines at this stage of their drinking but in my opinion the variation between the two wines after tasting on multiple occasions leads me to conclude that the differences are more than bottle variation and, if they are, in fact,, the same wine (which is indeed possible), perhaps somewhat different blends or separate or multiple bottlings. At any rate, at this stage of their drinking both wines are recommended. It will be interesting to follow these wines in another year and then two years and I shall be doing that if at all possible. To those interested in testing my conclusions themselves, I strongly recommend purchasing one bottle of each the 2006 Elon Mamre and the Isaac's Ram, opening those at the same time and pouring two glasses for each person. I suggest further (and strongly) that each person write his/her tasting notes or reactions to the wines, including a comment on whether they are indeed the same wine, before any discussion is undertaken.
Those wishing to follow the entire discussion should see, in the following order the somewhat convoluted threads at: