Rogov's WTN from Strat's Place - Israel's leading wineries

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Rogov's WTN from Strat's Place - Israel's leading wineries

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:02 am

Hi everyone,

20 more leading wineries, listed in Alphabetical order:

Agur
Alexander
Amphorae
Avidan
Barkan and Segal
Bazelet Hagolan
Binyamina
Bravdo
Bustan
Chateau Golan
Chilag
Dalton
Ella Valley Vineyards
Saslove
Sea Horse
Tabor
Tishbi
Tulip
Tzora
Vitkin

Eli
Eli R
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:22 pm
Location: Rehovot, Israel

WTN: Agur winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:06 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visits to Tzora, Flam and Agur: With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)



Post Title: Visits to Tzora, Flam and Agur: With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 04:13 January 5,2007



Yesterday (Thursday, 4 Jan 2007) had me leaving Tel Aviv quite early in the morning to visit three wineries in the Judean Hills – Tzora, Flam and Agur. The espresso coffee at Tzora was not at all special but the café botz that followed was just fine; I did not get coffee at Flam but we did share a pleasant pizza after the tasting; and the macchineto coffee at Agur was just fine. More important, the company was warm and welcoming, the discussions lively and the tasting most rewarding.
My warm thanks to Eran Pik of Tzora (I was only sorry that Ronnie James was indisposed and could not take part in the tasting with us), to Flam Fils et Pere, and to Shuki Yashuv for their courtesies and for the tastings. My tasting notes follow. Note please that several of the barrel tastings were of wines destined for blending and those are therefore not given scores.

AGUR

2006 Barrel And Advance Tastings

Agur, Rosa, 2006: Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, this rose wine shows dark pink towards orange color, medium-bodied. Not much on the nose but tempting flavors of blackberries, raspberries and a hint of spiciness. Technically completely dry but with an illusion of sweetness, calling to mind the roses of Anjou. Meant for early drinking from release. Score 86. (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Franc, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Agur's first Cabernet Franc. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and relatively short skin contact in order to maintain the fruitiness. An appealing sweetness overlays this cherry, wild berry red, that opening to reveal herbal, sage and tobacco notes. Easy to drink and with just the right hint of complexity. Destined for blending so no score awarded. (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with good balance between dusty wood, black currants and blackberries, those supported nicely by a potpourri of spices and cedar. With a hint of minerals on the finish, firm and complex. Tentative Score 86-88. (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Merlot, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Super-dark, almost impenetrable purple in color, with gripping tannins that turn supple from midpalate and reveal cherry cola, black cherry and plum fruits, those on a background of mocha and spicy oak. Potentially the best yet from Agur. Best 2008-2012, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

2005 Barrel Tastings

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark royal purple in color, full-bodied, with generous spicy oak integrating nicely with fine but chewy tannins and fruits. A concentrated wine, showing generous currant and plum fruit along with hints of cedar, green olives and sage, with the tannins rising on the persistent finish. Best 2008-2012. (Tentative Score 87-89)

Re-Tastings
After having completed barrel tastings, we selected bottles from the winery's library and did retastings of nearly all of the wines made since the winery's inception.

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve 2004: Dark garnet in color, with still firm tannins and spicy oak integrating nicely now and showing an appealing array of currant, blackberry, licorice aromas and flavors, all leading to a gripping and moderately-long finish. Drink now-2008. Score 86. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2003: With its once firm tannins now integrating nicely with generous oak and spicy blackberry and currant fruits, the wine is drinking nicely now. At its peak and should hold that until 2008. Score 86. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)
Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2001: Deep garnet in color and showing a first hint of browning, this medium to full-bodied, firmly tannic and generously oaky wine offers up currant and berry fruits on a background of spices and Mediterranean herbs. Drink now. Score 86. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Kessem, 2004: My earlier tasting note (22 Nov 2006) holds firmly: Garnet red, medium-bodied, with soft tannins balanced by a gentle wood influence and forward berry, black cherry and cassis fruits and, on the finish hints of dried apricots and orange peel. Drink now. Score 86. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Kessem 2003: Medium-bodied, with good balance between country-style tannins, spicy wood and berry, black cherry and currant fruits. At its peak now. Drink up. Score 85. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2002: Dark garnet, with a bit of clearing around the rim, this light- to medium-bodied, softly tannic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot is now showing mature plum and cassis fruits, those with a generous overlay of spicy oak. Drinking well but not for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 85. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, 2000: Dark garnet, with a hint of browning and clearly moving to sweetness but still showing berry, black cherry and cassis fruits on a lightly spicy background. Drink up. Score 84. (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Elul, 1999: This wine, the first wine released during the time when Shuki Yashuv of Agur and Ze'ev Dunie (now of Sea Horse Winery) were working together. This blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, was aged for 14 months in barriques. Now well past its peak (I will re-tasted this one from a magnum bottle that I have in my cellar). When first opened shows some of its former charm, the plum and currant fruits still there but after only a few minutes those show distinct signs of caramelization. Well past its peak and thus no longer scoreable.

June 7,2007

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Kessem, 2005: A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and about 5% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Developed in barriques for 12 months, showing gentle overlays of spices and a hint of vanilla, with soft tannins integrating nicely and with generous blackberry, red currant and red plums, all leading to a round and nicely lingering finish. Drink now-2009, perhaps somewhat longer. Score 89. (Tasted 7 Jun 2007)


October 6,2007
As far as this wine critic is concerned, "that time of the year" is now approaching – that time being the period starting towards the end of the harvest and then taking a short break to wait until the wines have completed their malolactic fermentation, for it is during this period and until early spring that I physically visit some 150+ wineries in Israel. Some of those visits/tastings take a full day, on other days one can visit five, six or even more small wineries.
I opened my own visiting year on Wednesday, 3 October with visits to five of the wineries in the Yoav-Yehuda area – the area located in the Jerusalem Hills and the Ella Valley I shall continue my tastings this coming Thursday (11 October) with a visit to a late-afternoon/evening tasting being hosted by more than 25 of the wineries of the region Between 8 October and 3 November the region will be hosting their "Celebration of The Wines of The Wineries of Yehuda. See my announcement of these events on the Wine Events side of the Forum at http://stratsplace.zeroforum.c...15244
Following are my tasting notes from my visit the other day. As will be seen, surprises awaited – some quite positive others not quite so positive. My thanks to those at the wineries that received me and to Arnon Geva whose good company I enjoyed as he accompanied me during my visits.
Best
Rogov
Agur
Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Kessem, 2005: This unfiltered medium-bodied blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and about 5% each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was developed in barriques for 12 months, and is showing gentle overlays of spices and a hint of vanilla, with soft tannins and generous blackberry, red currant and red plums, all leading to a somewhat acidic but lingering finish. Drink now-2009. NIS 77, Score 87. (Re-tasted 3 Oct 2007)

Agur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2005: Dark royal-purple, medim- to full-bodied, with generous spicy oak integrating with chewy tannins and fruits. A blend of 85% Cabernet sauvignon with equal parts of Petit Verdot and Merlot, oak-aged for 18 months, the wine is concentrated, showing currant and plum fruits along with hints of cedar, green olives and sage, with the tannins rising on the persistent finish. Drink now–2011. NIS 100. Score 87. (Re-tasted 3 Oct 2007)

Agur, Special Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): A medium- to full-bodied blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, with firm tannins and generously spicy wood integrating nicely to show appealing blackberry, black cherry and sweet herbs on the nose and palate. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 86-88. (Tasted 3 Oct 2007)
Eli R
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WTN: Alexander winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:10 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Israeli Tastings - A Vertical Tasting of the Wines of Alexander (Printable Version)


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Post Title: Israeli Tastings - A Vertical Tasting of the Wines of Alexander
Posted by: Rogov at 03:40 July 22,2003

Last night (Monday, 21 June 2003) I attended a vertical tasting of the wines of Alexander Winery. The tasting was held at Yama restaurant in Tel Aviv Port, the venue chosen because of what might be thought of as a “special relationship”, the winery producing several special edition wines especially to match the culinary offerings of the restaurant. (One note – the 1999 Cabernet was not tasted last night but this morning in my own tasting room).
The winery is currently producing about 12,000 bottles annually and is planning in 2003 to produce about 22,000 bottles. Planning at this time is to rise to 40,000 bottles and then to accept that as at least a temporary plateau. I cannot help but comment that when the first wine of Alexander was released it earned a score of 84. It does not take a complex graph to see that the wines have been on a steady course of improvement since then, now comfortably earning scores from 89 – 92 putting Alexander well into the category of those boutique wineries that should be taken quite seriously indeed.

Alexander, Chardonnay, 2001 (Advance Tasting): Clear straw yellow in color this medium to full bodied oak-aged Chardonnay was intentionally made without subjecting the wine to malolactic fermentation. A bit more acidic and less buttery than most of the Chardonnays we see today but this no drawback for even though the wine aged in oak for 16 months it has a sparkling and crisp sharpness and tempting green apple and white peach flavors and aromas. Not one for long-term aging but enjoyable from release (in several months) and then until 2005. Estimated price on release NIS 95 (about $22). Score 89. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Chardonnay, Yama, 2001: With the addition of 15% Sauvignon Blanc, this light straw yellow colored, medium bodied wine was especially blended for Tel Aviv’s Yama restaurant. The blend is successful as the wine was born to be served with food. Plenty of fresh pineapple, yellow peach and citrus flavors and aromas on a crisply acidic background. Meant for early consumption, that is to say now or in the next year or so. About NIS 90 in the restaurant. Score 87. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Shiraz, 2002 (Barrel Tasting): Still in its infancy and this barrel sampling tempered with the addition of 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this firm, tight and flavorful medium to full bodied wine has a chewy blackberry and plum personality, plenty of spices and the promise of settling down to become tannic and spicy but smooth and harmonious. Best only from 2005. Tentative Score 89. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, HaYain Shel Yama, 2001: This is the second year that a red blend (60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot) was made to match the dishes at Yama restaurant. Medium bodied, with a good touch of the wood, soft tannins and appealing currant and berry fruits, all just spicy enough to match the food, the wine will drink nicely now – 2004. About NIS 110 at the restaurant. Score 88. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Sandro, 2001: Think of this one as the second wine of Alexander if you like. A medium bodied, oak-aged blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, this is an easy to approach and easy to drink wine, with soft tannins already well integrated, just enough sweet wood and vanilla to appeal and plenty of up-front currant, black cherry and berry fruits. A wine to be enjoyed in its youth, that is to say now – 2005. NIS 65. Score 87. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Alexander The Great, 2000 (Advance Tasting): Based on 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot, this firm, rich and concentrated, thoroughly dark ruby towards garnet wine shows a rich, almost luxurious texture with layers of currants, wild berries, black cherries and plums. Good toasty oak flavors and a long finish on which there are rich fruit, oak and tannins. Approachable now but best from 2004 – 2008. Score 92. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000: Still a bit reticent but with the balance and structure that bode well for its future development, this medium to full bodied wine is integrating nicely now and continue to show warm blackcurrant, berry, toasty oak and vanilla flavors, all on a delicate spicy background. Mouthfilling and with a moderately long finish the wine will be at its best from 2004 – 2008. Score 89. (Re-tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Merlot, 2000: That I keep running across this wine (my most recent previous tasting was on 5 Apr 2003) is no source of complaint whatever. My earlier note holds fully: Now showing medium to full bodied, and with its tannins starting to integrate nicely, this cherry-berry and currant flavored wine continue to show good balance between oak, fruits and tannins. Look for a very appealing herbal aftertaste as the wine lingers on the palate. Drink now - 2005. Score 89. (Re-tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander the Great, 1999: Deep purple, this medium to full bodied blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot spent 24 months in American and French oak barrels. This re-tasting a nice surprise for what was once a perhaps overabundance of vanilla and oak has settled down nicely now, allowing the complexity of the primary varietal to be even better felt. Rich and concentrated flavors and aromas of currants, plums and orange peel along with what are now chocolate, vanilla and light spicy overlays all coming together with a distinct hint of mint on the long finish. A slight upgrading in score and an extension of my original drinking window are in order. Best drinking now – 2007. (Re-tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1999: Full bodied, with generous, well integrated tannins and flavors and aromas of currants, berries, herbs and a light earthiness, this wine remains much as it did at my previous tasting (10 Mar 2002) elegant and complex. Drinking very nicely now, the wine promises to cellar for another 2 – 3 years. Score 90. (Re-tasted 22 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Merlot, 1999: Medium to full bodied, with abundant soft tannins and berry-cherry and toasty oak flavors and aromas, those with appealing spicy notes, the wine offers up a generous and rich mouthful on a moderately long finish. Clearly at its peak now and not meant for further storage. Drink now or in the near future. Score 88. (Re-tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998: One of earlier efforts of the winery, and a pleasant round Cabernet still showing freshness and good fruits but now taking on overtones and a finish of bitter herbs. Still drinking nicely but not meant for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 86. (Re-tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997: An interesting wine that earned only 84 points when first released (11 Dec 1998) and then improved somewhat (earning 86 in a later tasting (14 Jun 2000). Now somewhat past its peak, showing surprisingly rich and up-front fruits but showing hints of oxidation. If you have any on hand, this is the time to finish it off. Score 85. (Re-tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1996: To my regret, this was the first time I tasted this particular wine which is now showing signs of rapid caramelizing and oxidizing. No longer drinkable and no longer scoreable. (Tasted 21 Jun 2003)

Those who want to read my tasting notes from barrel tastings of the Alexander Cabernet and Merlot and Alexander the Great of 2001 can find those at http://www.stratsplace.com/cgi-bin/sear ... =&UserID=4
Best,
Rogov

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Post Title: Re: Israeli Tastings - A Vertical Tasting of the Wines of Alexander (charlieh)
Posted by: Rogov at 13:38 July 23,2003

The Port was offered but I opted not to re-taste it on the night of this particular tasting. Only reason for this is that I will only rarely taste sweet after dry. Drink yes, taste not. At any rate, following is my most recent tasting note for the Alexander "Port". I have re-tasted it on several occasions since and my notes hold consistently.
Best,
Rogov

Alexander, Port, 1998: I am opposed to calling any wine “Port” if it has not come from Portugal and if it has not been made from a combination that includes at least some combination of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao grapes but from South Africa and Australia to California and even here in tiny little Israel wineries from time to time insist on releasing what they call “Port Wine”. The version released by Alexander, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sirah may be said to be “made in the style of Port” but is as far from true Port as you can get. After 42 months in French oak, this full bodied, unabashedly sweet wine shows flavors and aromas of dried cherries, raisins, and cinnamon. That the wine is well balanced, smooth on the palate and has its charms is beyond question. All that remains to be answered is why it had to be called “Port”. Drink now – 2010. Score 89. (Tasted 20 Oct 2002)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Alexander Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Alexander Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 03:08 March 14,2006
________________________________________

Yesterday, (Monday 13 Mar 2006) found me at the Alexander Winery, there in the company of owner-winemaker Yoram Shalom and two of his staff doing barrel tastings and advance tastings.
Founded in 1996 by Shalom and located on Moshav Beit Yitzhak in the Sharon region, the winery receives its grapes largely from contract vineyards at Kerem Ben Zimra, the winery having full control over those vineyards. Primary output to date has been of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Currently coming on line are Syrah and Grenache.
Growth has been steady, increasing from about 12,000 bottles in 2002 to 45,000 in 2005. With the 2006 vintage the winery will switch over to kosher production and anticipated production for that harvest is 60,000-70,000 bottles. In addition to producing two top-of-the-line series, Alexander the Great and The Wine of Alexander, the winery also releases Sandro, which might be thought of as a second wine, a Port-style wine and private label wines for several restaurants. The winery continues to comfortably earn its four stars in my book, those indicating a winery consistently producing high-quality wines.
On a potentially amusing note, the winemaker commented that he is considering making a GSM wine. The usual Australian GSM is of course a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Considering that the winery has no access to Mourvedre grapes, he is thinking in terms of Grenache-Syrah-Merlot.
On a more serious note, my tasting notes follow.
Best
Rogov

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander the Great, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Made from grapes harvested from 26 year old vines (and believe me, in Israel that is vieilles vignes indeed), this medium- to full-bodied dark garnet red wine shows soft tannins, spicy wood and a tempting array of mineral, black fruit, herbal and chocolate aromas. On the long finish look as well for cloves and a teasing hint of iodine. Best starting in 2009 and then cellaring comfortably for 4 – 5 years longer. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander the Great, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Reflecting the oak in which it developed with firm, near-sweet tannins, hints of smoke and a complex array of currant, herbal and mineral aromas and flavors. Generous and long. Best 2008-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Re-tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander the Great, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Generous wood and tannins here but those in fine balance with currant, plum and herbal aromas and flavors, those complemented on the long and concentrated finish by mocha and sweet cedar. Long and geneous. Best 2007-2011. Tentative Score 89-91. (Re-tasted 13 Mar 2006)
Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, bright and clear dark ruby in color, with generous soft tannins and already showing vanilla and spices from the casks in which it is aging. On the nose and palate rich blackcurrant and blackberry fruits along with hints of earthiness. Generous and long. Approachable from release but will cellar nicely until 2010. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Merlot, 2005 (Barrel): Deep royal purple in color, with firm but nicely integrating tannins and hints of spicy wood and tobacco balanced nicely by a generous array of black plum, raspberry, cassis aromas and flavors. Seductive black plum, raspberries, cassis and chocolate coming together and lingering as an elegant whole. Best from 2008. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Merlot, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Dark cherry towards garnet, medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely. Round and generous with cassis, blackberry, black cherry fruits accompanied by hints of pepper and nutmeg. Drink from release-2008. Tentative Score 86-88. (Re-tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Grenache, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): No final decision has been made yet as to whether this will be released as a varietal wine or as a blending agent but oh, what a lovely wine at this early stage of its development. Dark garnet towards royal purple, full-bodied, with firm tannins that give the wine some sharp edges at this stage but already opening to reveal dark plum, blackberries, herbal and spicy aroma and flavors. Potential for excellence. Best starting in 2008. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Syrah, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark royal purple in color, full bodied, with deep but remararkably soft tannins. Already showing hints of spicy wood, freshly turned earth, and spices, those on a background of black fruits, all the time with a hint of smoked meat. Best starting in 2008. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Rose, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Made entirely from Grenache grapes, this deep pink towards ruby wine shows light- to medium-body, crisp acidity and a fun array of tutti-frutti aromas and flavors that is bound to make you smile, those including bananas, raspberries, strawberries and chopped citrus peel. Especially pleasant on its own or with Japanese food. Drink from release. Score 87. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Sauvignon Blanc, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Unoaked, straw colored, with good concentration and bright and lively, offering up generous lime, citrus peel, green apple and grapefruit matched by hints of herbs, honeysuckle and sweet peas on a tart and lively finish that lingers nicely. Drink from release. Score 88. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Chardonnay, Lisa, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Medium bodied but sitting plump on the palate, developing in new Burgundy oak casks and already showing an appealing oak influence. Lively and appealing with citrus, melon, and apple aromas and flavors, those lingering nicely on the long finish on which you will find hints of figs and pie crust. Drink from release. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Chardonnay, Lisa, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Light golden straw in color, medium-bodied, with tantalizing hints of cream and yeast. Opens with a distinct pineapple hint but that turns in the glass to fig, pear and apples, all with a spicy and pleasingly light bitter overtone. Drink now. Score 87. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

Alexander, Chardonnay, Yama, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Opens quietly on the nose and palate but with time in the glass opens beautifully to reveal gentle smoky wood, pears and melon, those with overlays of caramel and toffee. Subdued elegance. Drink now -2007. Score 88. (Tasted 13 Mar 2006)

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Post Title: Visits to Amphorae, Margalit, Alexander, Vitkin, Zemora, Ramim - 68 TN's
Posted by: Rogov at 02:22 March 18,2005

http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zeroth ... nt&id=8182

ALEXANDER

Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Youthful deep royal purple,full-bodied and with firm tannins well-balanced, by complex currant, herb, mineral and herbal aromas and flavors. Generous and long. Best 2007-2010. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with chunky tannins and a touch of herbaceousness that add an appealing rustic earthiness. Mocha, currant, plum, spice and cedar aromas and flavors lead to a rich, concentrated and firm wine with ample tannins for bottle aging. Best 2007-2011. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002 (Advance Tasting): A full-bodied, well bodied Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 7% of Merlot. Generous tannins and wood here, the tannins now integrating to reveal the promised blackcurrant, berry and sweet cedar aromas and flavors, all leading to a comfortably long finish. Best now-2008. Score 90. (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with gripping tannins and wood needing time to settle down but inherent good balance that bodes well for the future. A fruity, mouthfilling wine that will drink well from release-2009. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Not as aromatic as earlier editions of the wine but opening to a tempting array of flavors, those including black fruits, Mediterranean herbs and licorice. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a moderately long vanilla and mint finish. Best 2006-2008. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002 (Advance Tasting): Deep royal purple in color, with tannins now integrating nicely, and showing good black currant, berry and earthy-herbal aromas and flavors, but lacking somewhat in depth and length. Drink now. Score 86. (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2005)
Alexander, Merlot, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deep cherry red, medium-bodied, with soft tannins and promising to be round and fruity. On the nose and palate plums, black cherries and hints of pepper and nutmeg. Best from release-2008. Tentative Score 86-88. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander, Merlot, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Well-balanced with ripe plum, black cherry currant, sweet cedar and hazelnut aromas and flavors. Smooth, supple, with soft tannins and a hint of mocha on the finish. A wine more on the palate than for the nose. Best from release-2008. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander, Merlot, 2002 (Advance Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with anise and menthol aromas and flavors backing up cherry, plum and currant fruits. As the wine opens on the palate look as well for
Layers of green olives, herbs and tobacco. Elegant and supple but not meant for long-term cellaring. Drink now-2007. Score 89. (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Alexander, Chardonnay, Lisa, 2003: Deep golden in color, this oak aged, medium- to full-bodied white shows a tempting array of melon, pear and summer fruits, those backed up by moderate oak and a gentle creme brule finish. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

Sandro, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Medium bodied, dark garnet in color, with soft tannins and reflecting a gentle hand with the wood, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot offers up currant, cranberry and red plum fruits. Soft, round and easy to drink. Best now-2007. Score 87. (Tasted 21 Feb 2005)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Alexander Winery: Five New Releases-Tastings and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Alexander Winery: Five New Releases-Tastings and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 14:31 September 5,2007
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Located on Moshav Beit Yitzhak in the Sharon region, Alexander 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 out-put to date has been of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Charonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and now coming on line are Syrah and Grenache.
With the 2006 vintage the winery switched over to kosher production and planned output for that harvest is 60,000–70,000 bottles. In addition to producing two top-of-the-line series, Alexander the Great and The Wine of Alexander, the winery also re-leases two blended wines, Sandro and Gaston

Alexander, Merlot, 2004: Dark cherry towards garnet, medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely. Round and generous, with cassis, blackberry and black cherry fruits accompanied by hints of pepper and nutmeg. Drink now. Score 86.
Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Generous wood and tannins in fine balance with currant, plum and herbal aromas and flavors, those complemented on the long finish by mocha and sweet cedar. Drink now–2011. Score 89.

Alexander, Syrah, 2005: Dark royal-purple, full-bodied, with deep but remarkably soft tannins. Hints of smoky wood, freshly turned earth and spices on a background of black fruits and, on the finish, light smoked meat. Drink now–2010. Score 90.

Alexander, Chardonnay, Liza, 2005: Medium-bodied, showing an appealing oak influence. Lively, with citrus, melon, and apple aromas and flavors leading to a short finish which shows hints of figs and pie crust. Drink now. Score 85.

Alexander, Sauvignon Blanc, Liza, 2006: Light golden-straw in color, with appealing citrus, green apple and light herbal and floral overtones.One dimensional. Drink now. Score 84.K
Alexander, Sandro, 2005: A medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with soft tannins and light spicy wood, opening in the glass to reveal traditional blackberry and currant fruits. Soft, round and easy to drink. Drink now–2009. Score 87.

Alexander

Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Full-bodied and reflecting the barriques in which it developed with firm, near-sweet tannins and hints of spicy wood. Generous and long with a complex array of currant, herbal and mineral aromas and flavors. Drink now–2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Nov 2007)

Alexander the Great, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Generous wood and tannins in fine balance with currant, plum and herbal aromas and flavors, those complemented on the long finish by mocha and sweet cedar. Drink now–2011. Score 89. (Re-tasted 14 Nov 2007)

Alexander, Sandro, 2005: A medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with soft tannins and light spicy wood, opening in the glass to reveal traditional blackberry and currant fruits. Soft, round and easy to drink. Drink now–2009. Score 87. (Re-tasted 14 Nov 2007)

Alexander, Chardonnay, Liza, 2006: Showing somewhat better than at an earlier tasting but still fails to excite with its one-dimensional citrus fruits and far too much acidity. Drink up. Score 79. K (Re-tasted 14 Nov 2005)

The Wine of Alexander, Sauvignon Blanc, Liza, 2006: Light golden-straw in color, with appealing citrus, green apple and light herbal and floral overtones. Drink now. Score 84. (Re-tasted 14 Nov 2005)
Eli R
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WTN: Amphorae winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:15 am

With no preface whatever (this post is going to be long enough as is), following are my tasting notes from recent visits to the wineries of Amphorae, Margalit, Alexander, Vitkin and Zemora. Next week I will be posting tasting notes from visits to the various Carmel wineries as well as to those of Castel and Tzora.
Best,
Rogov
http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=8182

AMPHORAE

Amphorae, Chardonnay, 2003 (Barrel Tasting):Deep gold in color with orange reflections, this medium- to full-bodied white reflects its 12 months in barriques with complex, rich and concentrated aromas and flavors of figs, tangerines, nectarines and hazelnuts. Light buttery-oak shadings on the finish add a sense of understated elegance. Best white to date from Amphorae. Drink from release-2008, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Cabernet Franc, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet, with bright raspberry and plum flavors, this dark, rich and plush wine shows thick, earthy tannins and gamy currant and cedar wood aromas and flavors. With generous firm tannins this is not destined to be so much an elegant wine as it is to be powerful and complex. Needs time. Best from 2007-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Shiraz, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Firm and well structrued, with chunky tannins and a solid core of leather, earth, currants, blackberries, anise and violet aromas and flavors that yield on the long finish to mocha and toffee. Needs time to show its elegance. Best 2007-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): True to its varietal characteristics, this outstanding Merlot offers cherry, currant, anise and cedar aromas and flavors, those coming together nicely with still firm tannins and the judicious use of oak. Concentrated, elegant, graceful and long, the wine needs time to come into its own. Best from 2006–2010. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Blended with a small percentage of Petite Sirah, this full-bodied, harmonious wine shows excellent balance between still firm tannins, wood, and juicy currant and cherry fruits and spices. With intriguing raspberry, chocolate and mocha flavors on the finish, this is a complex and delicious wine. Best 2006–2011. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae,Rhyton, 2003 (Advance Tasting): A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah and 4% of Shiraz and Merlot, reflecting nearly 24 months in used oak with a gently felt oak influence, well integrating tannins and medium-body. On the nose andpalate black fruits, white chocolate and a welcome hint of spiciness. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Med.Red 2003: Deep garnet red in color, medium-bodied, with spicy oak balanced and soft tannins backed up nicely by blackcurrant and black cherry fruits. An oak aged blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot, with appealing wild berries and spices on the moderately-long finish. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)
Also three re-tastings, the first of which showing somewhat more aromatic than earlier, the second two that follow holding firmly from earlier experiences.

Amphorae, Merlot, 2001: Medium to full-bodied, with its firm tannins now integrating nicely and with tempting berries, plums, herbs and light spices and more aromatic now than during earlier tastings, this is a wine that clearly reflects its Mediterranean terroir. Good balance and structure and a long ripe finish. Drink now–2008. Score 90. (Re-tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Rhyton, 2002: Medium-bodied, with overall good balance between soft tannins, a gentle hand with the wood and almost sweet currant and berry aromas and flavors. Soft and flavorful. Drink now– 2007. Score 88. (Re-tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Rhyton, 2001: This medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah from 25-30-year-old vines has soft, well-integrated tannins and abundant currant and berry aromas and flavors, all leading to an almost sweet fruity finish. Soft and comfortable on the palate. Drink now–2006. Score 89. (Re-tasted 16 Feb 2005)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Amphorae and Margalit Wineries: Barrel Tastings and Advance Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Amphorae and Margalit Wineries: Barrel Tastings and Advance Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 12:52 January 14,2007
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Today (Sunday, 14 January 2007) was devoted largely to tastings at the Amphorae and Margalit wineries. My thanks to Gil Sthazberg and Roey Ben-Basat at Amphorae and to Yair and Assaf Margalit, not only for their courtesies while visiting but for two sets of intriguing tastings. The first time I saw the bumper sticker "Life is too short to drink bad wine" was on Margalit's auto many years ago. That bumper sticker was indeed right on the mark and today I tasted some very good wines indeed. My comments and tasting notes follow.

Amphorae

Amphorae, now settled comfortably into their new winery on the Makura Ranch on the western slopes of Mount Carmel is fortunate to find itself in an exquisite setting, the ranch set in a green and luxuriant mouth o a long dormant volcano. Here winemaker Gil Shatzberg, now working with assistant winemaker Roey Ben-Basat is well on the way to adding to my relatively new hypothesis – that is to say that the better Israeli wines are moving more and more in the direction of elegance and away from the sometimes sharp-edges to which some objected. In an interesting sense, more in a European than a New World direction.
Although production for Amphorae was as high as 70,000 bottles during the 2004 and 2005 vintage, low yields and a good deal of war damage (tanks digging up major sections of vineyards, cutting water-supply lines, and tearing down fences allowing the cows and wild boars free access to the grapes in the Upper Galilee) production for 2006 will be only about 40,000 bottles. As always the winery's top-of-the line series is Amphorae, second wines appear under the Rhyton label and the wines in the Med.Red series are destined for early drinking. Look in the near future for new releases in the Med.Red series – those including a Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of Cabernet and Syrah and a white, probably of Chardonnay and Viognier.
Keep in mind while reading my tasting notes that many of the Amphorae wines were tasted from yet unblended component parts (much as happens at the Bordeaux tastings). The challenge to the taster in such cases is increased five-fold and the true test (not of the wine but of the critic) will be how closely wines will be to the barrel-tasting estimates on release and afterwards.

Amphorae, Reserve, 2003 (Advance Tasting): A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (70%, 15% and 15% respectively). Dark royal purple in color, deeply aromatic, full-bodied, with caressing fine tannins and on the nose and palate a complex array of currant, blackberry, blueberry, cedar and herbs as well as hints of cola on the long, generous finish. Delicious now but showing its elegance and at its best from 2009-2014. Score 93. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a gentle hand with the wood, this is a supple and velvety wine offering blackcurrants, blackberry and raspberry fruits, those supported nicely by hints of tobacco and anise. Tightly wound now but with time will show complexity and elegance. Approachable early but best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 92-94. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet in color, full-bodied, with mouth-coating near-sweet tannins well balanced by cedary oak. Concentrated and intense but remaining elegant and balanced, showing generous aromas and flavors of spicy plums, currants and mocha. A long mineral and sage rich finish. Tentative Score 91-93. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deeply aromatic, full-bodied, with firm but gently caressing tannins and showing fie balance and structure. On the nose and palate blackberries, currants, and black cherries, those set off nicely by mocha, vanilla and oak that is simultaneously spicy and creamy. As I wrote last year at an earlier barrel tasting, forward but not at all vulgar and on its way to elegance. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 91-93. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Garnet to adobe-brick red, this full-bodied, firmly tannic but harmonious wine shows fine balance and structure. On the nose and palate currant, black cherry, spices and hints of minted chocolate on the long finish. Best from release-2011. Score 91. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Merlot, Organic, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Made from grapes raised organically and by fully organic methods in the winery, this deep ruby red wine and deeply aromatic wine is showing medium- to full-bodied, with still gripping tannins but showing fine balance and structure that bode well for the future. On the nose and palate near-sweet black cherries, blackberries and currant fruits, those showing appealing hints of spices and spring flowers. Comes together in a plush, long, open-textured finish. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark ruby towards garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins need time to settle down and a gentle hand with the wood, this seductive wine shows ripe blackberry, currant and wild berries, those with overlays of dark chocolate and freshly ground Arabica coffee beans. Complex and concentrated but even now showing elegance and very good length. Best starting 2009-2010 and then cellaring comfortably until 2013. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Firm, with chewy tannins matched handsomely by spicy wood, both of those integrating nicely and revealing currant, black cherry, vanilla bean and near-sweet cedar wood. This one will be tight, focused and rich from release but will show its elegance only from 2009 and then cellar well until 2013. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple in color, medium- to full-bodied, this outstanding Merlot offers up aromas and flavors of black and red cherries, cassis and cedar wood and appealing spicy overtones from the wood. Best from release-2010. Score 91. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Syrah, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark cherry red, medium- to full-bodied, with rich, ripe tannins and generous peppery and leathery overlays highlighting blackberry, boysenberry and red plum fruits. Destined for length, breadth and elegance. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Syrah, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Developing in American and French oak barrels, full-bodied, with softly caressing tannins. Round, ripe and generous, with red plums, raspberries, cherry and exotic spices supported nicely by hnts of black pepper, vanilla and citrus peel. Best 2009-2015. Tentative Score 92-94. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Syrah, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): My earlier barrel tasting holds firmly: Firm and well structured tannins now integrating and showing a core of leather, spicy wood and earthiness that highlight rich currant, wild berry, anise and lightly beefy flavors. On the long finish generous hints of espresso coffee, violets and toffee. Destined for elegance. Drink from release–2012. Tentative Score 90–92. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Chardonnay 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing 1/3 in new French barriques and 2/3 in stainless steel, this light golden colored wine shows medium-bodied with appealing citrus and pear fruits, those highlighted by stony minerals and a light but tantalizing hint of figs. Floats on the palate but fills the mouth generously. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Viognier, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Light golden straw in color, medium-bodied, with peach, nectarine, pear and mineral aromas and flavors balanced by flinty minerals and hints of almonds that run through to the long and vibrant finish. Surprisingly long for a Viognier. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 14 Jan 2007)

Amphorae, Rhyton, 2003 (Advance Tasting): A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Merlot and 9% Syrah. Medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins integrating well with generous but gentle oak and showing raspberries, cherry and cassis fruits along with white chocolate, a hint of spices and, on the moderately-long finish, a tantalizing hint of freshly turned earth. Best from release-2009. Score 89. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Amphorae and Ella Valley Vineyards: Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Amphorae and Ella Valley Vineyards: Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 10:16 June 5,2007
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Several days ago I attended the unveiling of newly released wines from Amphorae. Today I retasted those. Also re-tasted from an earlier tasting were two wines from Ella Valley Vineyards. As will be seen, my reactions were quite positive.
Best
Rogov

Amphorae, Reserve, 2003: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (70%, 15% and 15% respectively). Dark royal purple, deeply aromatic, full-bodied, with caressing tannins and on the nose and palate a complex array of currant, blackberry, blueberry, cedar and herbs as well as hints of cola on the long, generous finish. Best 2009-2014. NIS 175 (on sale only at the winery). Score 93.

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Garnet to adobe-brick red, this full-bodied, firmly tannic but harmonious wine shows fine balance and structure. On the nose and palate currant, black cherry, spices and hints of minted chocolate on the long finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 115. Score 91.

Amphorae, Syrah, 2004: Firm and well structured tannins integrating and showing a core of leather, spicy wood and earthiness that highlight rich currant, wild berry, anise and lightly beefy flavors. On the long and elegant finish, generous hints of espresso coffee, violets and toffee. Drink now–2012. NIS 85. Score 91.

Amphorae, Merlot, 2003: Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, this outstanding 100% Merlot based wine offers up aromas and flavors of black and red cherries, cassis and cedar wood, all with long-lingering spicy overtones. Drink now-2010. NIS 80. Score 91

Amphorae, Viognier, 2006: Light golden straw in color, medium-bodied, with peach, nectarine, pear and mineral aromas and flavors balanced by flinty minerals and hints of almonds that run through to the long and vibrant finish. Drink now-2010. NIS 65. Score 90.

Amphorae, Rhyton, 2003: A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 9% Syrah. Medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins integrating well with generous but gentle oak and showing raspberries, cherry and cassis fruits along with white chocolate, a hint of spices and, on the moderately-long finish, a tantalizing hint of freshly turned earth. Drink now-2008. NIS 80. Score 89.

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With no preface whatever (this post is going to be long enough as is), following are my tasting notes from recent visits to the wineries of Amphorae, Margalit, Alexander, Vitkin and Zemora. Next week I will be posting tasting notes from visits to the various Carmel wineries as well as to those of Castel and Tzora.
Best,
Rogov

AMPHORAE

Amphorae, Chardonnay, 2003 (Barrel Tasting):Deep gold in color with orange reflections, this medium- to full-bodied white reflects its 12 months in barriques with complex, rich and concentrated aromas and flavors of figs, tangerines, nectarines and hazelnuts. Light buttery-oak shadings on the finish add a sense of understated elegance. Best white to date from Amphorae. Drink from release-2008, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Cabernet Franc, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet, with bright raspberry and plum flavors, this dark, rich and plush wine shows thick, earthy tannins and gamy currant and cedar wood aromas and flavors. With generous firm tannins this is not destined to be so much an elegant wine as it is to be powerful and complex. Needs time. Best from 2007-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Shiraz, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Firm and well structrued, with chunky tannins and a solid core of leather, earth, currants, blackberries, anise and violet aromas and flavors that yield on the long finish to mocha and toffee. Needs time to show its elegance. Best 2007-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): True to its varietal characteristics, this outstanding Merlot offers cherry, currant, anise and cedar aromas and flavors, those coming together nicely with still firm tannins and the judicious use of oak. Concentrated, elegant, graceful and long, the wine needs time to come into its own. Best from 2006–2010. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Blended with a small percentage of Petite Sirah, this full-bodied, harmonious wine shows excellent balance between still firm tannins, wood, and juicy currant and cherry fruits and spices. With intriguing raspberry, chocolate and mocha flavors on the finish, this is a complex and delicious wine. Best 2006–2011. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae,Rhyton, 2003 (Advance Tasting): A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah and 4% of Shiraz and Merlot, reflecting nearly 24 months in used oak with a gently felt oak influence, well integrating tannins and medium-body. On the nose andpalate black fruits, white chocolate and a welcome hint of spiciness. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Amphorae, Med.Red 2003: Deep garnet red in color, medium-bodied, with spicy oak balanced and soft tannins backed up nicely by blackcurrant and black cherry fruits. An oak aged blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot, with appealing wild berries and spices on the moderately-long finish. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Tasted 16 Feb 2005)
Also three re-tastings, the first of which showing somewhat more aromatic than earlier, the second two that follow holding firmly from earlier experiences.

Amphorae, Merlot, 2001: Medium to full-bodied, with its firm tannins now integrating nicely and with tempting berries, plums, herbs and light spices and more aromatic now than during earlier tastings, this is a wine that clearly reflects its Mediterranean terroir. Good balance and structure and a long ripe finish. Drink now–2008. Score 90. (Re-tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Rhyton, 2002: Medium-bodied, with overall good balance between soft tannins, a gentle hand with the wood and almost sweet currant and berry aromas and flavors. Soft and flavorful. Drink now– 2007. Score 88. (Re-tasted 16 Feb 2005)

Rhyton, 2001: This medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah from 25-30-year-old vines has soft, well-integrated tannins and abundant currant and berry aromas and flavors, all leading to an almost sweet fruity finish. Soft and comfortable on the palate. Drink now–2006. Score 89. (Re-tasted 16 Feb 2005)

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As might be said "today was the day"..... Following are my tasting notes for three of the newly released Amphorae wines. In the next day or so I shall also be tasting the 2006 Chardonnay and will post again after that.
Best
Rogov
http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=14660

Amphorae, Rose, Organic, 2006: Made entirely from organically raised Merlot grapes, with six hours of skin contact and a minimal addition of sulfites. Pink towards light ruby in color, medium-bodied, with an appealing array of raspberry, blueberry and cassis fruits, those on a crisply dry, mineral rich background. Round, generous and refreshing with just the right hints of complexity. Drink now. Score 88, (Tasted 23 Jul 2007)

Amphorae, Med.Blend, 2004: A first release and not to be confused with the Red.Med blend of the winery. A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% each of Syrah and Merlot, aged in French oak for 14 months showing medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and a well measured hand with spicy oak. On first attack red currants and wild strawberries, those leading to bitter cherries, tobacco and appealing herbal overtones. On the long finish tantalizing hints of bay and anise. A wine that demands a fine T-bone, Porterhouse or sirloin steak. Drink now-2010. Score 90. (Tasted 23 Jul 2007)

Amphorae, Merlot, Organic, 2005: Made from organically raised Merlot grapes, aged in French oak for 12 months and bottled unfiltered, this deep, almost inky garnet wine shows full-body and generous but soft tannins. Blueberries on the nose and then opens in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of blackberries, blueberries and ripe plums, those on a spicy and lightly earthy-herbal background. Approachable and enjoyable now even though a bit hot on the finish and needs a bit more time in the bottle. Best 2008-2011. Score 90. (Tasted 23 Jul 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Amphorae Winery: Tastings, Re-Tastings and Barrel Tastings (Printable Version)

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Post Title: Visit to Amphorae Winery: Tastings, Re-Tastings and Barrel Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 05:44 April 4,2008

Wednesday morning (2 Apr 2008) found me at the Amphorae winery to do a series of tastings, re-tastings and barrel tastings. From the founding of the winery in 2000, the senior winemaker was Gil Shatzberg. In 2008, a generous handful of winemakers playing musical chairs, Shtazberg moved to Recanati Winery and Italian trained winemaker Roey Ben-Basat has now settled into that position.
Production from the 2000 vintage was 23,000 bottles, and current production is about 80,000 bottles annually. Top-of-the-line series is Amphorae with a Reserve wine issued in selected years; second wines are under the Rhyton label. Both of these series are age-worthy as are the wines in the regular Amphorae series. Wines in the Med.Red and Med.Blend series are meant for relatively early drinking.
For those curious enough, amphorae is the Greek term for tall, double-handled jugs with narrow necks and bases, often made of clay, that were used by the Greeks and later by the Romans for storing and shipping wine. The original rhyton was an ancient Greek cup, most often shaped like a drinking horn.
My thanks to Roey for a good tasting , his good company and for his courtesies during my visit.
Best
Rogov

Amphorae, Chardonnay, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Developing partly in barriques and partly in stainless steel, light golden in color, showing a light oaky note that yields to citrus, peach and tropical fruits, those on a light mineral background. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amhorae, Viognier, 2007 (Advance Tasting): The color of damp straw and blended with 5% of French, Colombard, this unoaked white shows lively floral, peach and nut flavors, those opening to hints of apricots. Not complex but a good quaffer meant for early drinking. Drink now. Score 86. (Tasted 2 Apr 2008)
Amphorae Reserve, 2003: Made only in years considered especially good (first release was from 2000 and the next will be from 2005). A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (70%, 15% and 15% respectively). Generously but not offensively oaked, dark garnet to royal purple,, deeply aromatic and full-bodied, with caressing tannins. On the nose and palate an elegant array of currant, blackberry, blueberry, cedar and herbs with hints of cola on the long, generous finish. Best 2009–2014. Score 93. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet, full-bodied with very generous smoky and dusty oak on first attack, that happily settling down as the wine sits in the glass. A deep-garnet blend of 90% Cabernet Saucvignon with 5% each of Syrah and Cabernet Franc, showing fie balance between the wood, soft tannins and aromas and flavors of spicy plums, currants and espresso coffee. A long mineral-rich and sage finish. Drink from release-2011. Tentative Score 89-91. .(Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Deeply aromatic, full-bodied with firm tannins, showing fine balance and structure. On the nose and palate blackberries, currants, and black cherries, those off-set by mocha, vanilla and spicy oak. Drink now–2010. Score 91. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with its once chewy tannins now settling down nicely and matched comfortably by spicy wood all in fine balance with currant and black cherry fruits, those supported by hints of chocolate and licorice and, on the long finish a hint of sweet cedar. Tight, focused, rich and long. Best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 90-92. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Merlot, 2004: Garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins integrating nicely with generous wood, all coming together with purple plum, raspberry and briar notes, all lingering nicely with a tantalizing hint of bitter herbs that rises on the finish. Drink now-2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Syrah, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing in French oak and showing notes of appealing dusty wood. Medium- to full-bodied, opening with traditional Syrah spices, black pepper, leather and earthy-minerals, those yielding nicely to blackberry, boysenberry and plums. Long and elegant, with tannins and fruits rising simultaneously on the finish. Tentative score 90-92. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Syrah, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A full-bodied, aromatic and generous blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, showing soft, caressing tannins and generous peppery plum, wild berry, exotic spices and hints of roasted meat and earthy minerals. Round, ripe and long with notes of citrus peel and vanilla on the long finish. Best 2009-2014. Score 92. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Rhyton, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet towards royal purple, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot with the Cabernet dominating. At this early stage showing a bit flabby, the tannins soft, the fruits holding back and spicy and chocolate notes dominating. Builds as it sits in the glass, so perhaps better with time. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. (Tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Rhyton, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Showing darker garnet in color and more concentrated than at an earlier tasting. Medium to full-bodied, a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah (50%, 30% and 20% respectively) opening nicely and offering blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits. Look for hints of chocolate and spices on the generous finish. Drink from release–2009. Tentative Score 87–89. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Ryhton, 2004: A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot, dark garnet, medium to full-bodied, with distinctly Provencal aromas and flavors of wild berries and cassis matched by hints of fresh mushrooms and spices. A few sharp edges add to the wine’s country-style charm. Drink now–2009. Score 88. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Rhyton 2003: This medium to full-bodied blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 9% Syrah shows firm tannins integrating well with generous but gentle oak; revealing raspberries, cherry and cassis fruits along with white chocolate, a hint of spices and, on the moderately long finish, a tantalizing hint of freshly turned earth. Drink now-2010. Score 89. (Re-tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amhorae, Med.Blend, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-bodied, garnet with purple reflections, and showing soft, gently mouth-coating tannins. A blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 4% Merlot, showing racy black fruits and spices. Round and ready and easy to drink. Drink from release. Score 88. (Tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Med. Blend, 2005: Medium-bodied, soft and round, with gentle wood and tannins highlighting aromas and flavors of currants, black cherries, raspberries and spices, all with hints of tobacco and chocolate on the finish. Drink now-2009. Score 89. (Tasted 2 Apr 2008)

Amphorae, Med.Blend, 2004: . This blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% each of Syrah and Merlot, was aged in French oak for 14 months and is showing medium to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and a well-measured hand with spicy oak. On first attack red currants and wild strawberries, those leading to bitter cherries, tobacco and appealing herbal overtones. On the finish a tantalizing hint of anise.. Drink now. . Score 89. (Re-tasted. 2 Apr 2008)

Winemaker Ben-Basat is also making what he calls a ratafia. I suppose he and I could debate over this for a while for I would call it a reinforced wine. Whatever, although the French are convinced that they coined the term "ratafia", the word actually originated in New Orleans as part of the special Creole dialect. When first used the term referred exclusively to liqueurs made from a large variety of fruits (kumquats, cherries, melons, watermelons, quince) that are steeped in either wine, brandy or distilled alcohol. It was never used to refer to liqueurs made from grapes. Somewhere in the mid-19th century the usage of the term shifted somewhat, and since then when used accurately the term is refers almost exclusively to fruit based liqueurs produced either at home or on small farms. As to tasting notes…

Amphorae, Late Harvest Chardonnay, Ratafia, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Call this one a liqueur, call it an aperitif or call it a reinforced dessert wine as you like. Made from late-harvested Chardonnay grapes, reinforced with especially imported Italian grape alcohol to 17% alcohol content, showing deep sweetness but that well balanced by acidity, and although generously alcoholic there is no heat felt here. Deep gold with an orange tint, showing honeyed apples, dried apricots and appealing spicy hints. Probably at its best for dipping biscotti. Drink from release. Score 88. (Tasted 2 Apr 2008)
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WTN: Avidan winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:17 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Avidan Winery: Re-tastings and Barrel Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Avidan Winery: Re-tastings and Barrel Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 11:42 February 20,2006
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This morning was partly devoted to re-tastings and barrel tastings at the Avidan Winery. Originally set in a shed near the home of founders Tsina and Shlomo Avidan in the town of Ra’anana in the Sharon region and now located on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region, this boutique winery relies on Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Shiraz and Merlot grapes selected from various vineyards in the Upper Galilee. The winery produced 1,300 bottles in 2002, 2,500 in 2003 and is currently producing about 10,000 bottles annually. Plans are to hold at this level of production at least for a while in order to focus on increased quality. Following are my tasting notes. Prices for the 2004 wines, which can be found at Hinawe in Jaffa and Herzliya as well as at Avi Ben and Shachar in Jerusalem are give in Israeli Shekels.
Best
Rogov

Avidan, Chardonnay, Petit Soleil, 2004: Deep golden in color, reflecting 6 months in Burgundy style oak barrels with gentle smoky wood and spices, those overlaying tropical fruits, citrus peel and a light herbal essence. Full-bodied, with a near crème-fraiche finish, a wine perhaps at its very best with aged cheddar or fine Gruyere cheeses. Drink now. NIS 79. Score 88. (Tasted 20 Feb 2006)

Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Aged in oak for 10 months, this medium-bodied, softly tannic, dark garnet blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Merlot and 5% Shiraz offers up jammy plum and red and black berry flavors and aromas. Lacking depth or length but an acceptable quaffer. NIS 69. Score 85. (Re-tasted 20 Feb 2006)
Avidan, Blend de Noirs, 2004: Dark cherry red, this medium-bodied blend of 70% Shiraz and 30% Merlot spent ten months in oak. Fresh, fruity and aromatic, with plum and spicy wood aromas and flavors. Perhaps lacking complexity but a good match to veal and beef dishes. Drink now. NIS 75. Score 85. (Re-tasted 20 Feb 2006)

Avidan, Shiraz, Limited Edition, 2004: Dark garnet in color, medium-bodied, this oaked, unfiltered wine shows good balance between soft tannins, spicy oak and berry, currant and cassis aromas and flavors. Moderately long. Drink now-2007. NIS 89. Score 86. (Re-tasted 20 Feb 2006)

Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2004: Showing much better than at an earlier tasting. Dark garnet in color, medium-to full-bodied, with soft tannins, this blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvingon and 15 Merlot spent about 16 months in oak. On the nose and palate wild berry and blackcurrant fruits with a hint of spiciness on a moderately long finish. NIS 99.Score 89. (Re-tasted 20 Feb 2006)

Barrel Tastings:

Avidan, Petite Sirah, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Still in embryonic form but already blended with a small amount of Shiraz and showing deep garnet in color, full-body and firm tannins, those in fine balance with spicy wood and plum, currant and berry fruits. Definite potential here. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 20 Feb 2006)
Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from yet unblended components, one in French and the other in American oak, both showing true Cabernet blackcurrant and berry fruits and firm tannins but those already coming together in one case with spicy wood in the other with spices and herbaceousness. Destined to be a firm but perhaps elegant wine. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 20 Feb 2006)

Avidan, Merlot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Soft and round, with silky tannins that allow berry, black cherry and currant notes to make themselves felt on a light background spicy wood. Tentative Score 85-87. (Tasted 20 Feb 2006)

Avidan, Shiraz, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): The most positive surprise of the tasting. Full-bodied but not dense, a rich, polished and thoroughly modern style, with generous plum and blackberry fruits backed up nicely by dark chocolate, pepper and hints of licorice. Potentially excellent. Tenative Score 89-91.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Avidan Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (12 Apr 2007) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Avidan Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (12 Apr 2007)
Posted by: Rogov at 10:50 April 12,2007
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A good part of this morning (Thursday, 12 April) was devoted to barrel, advance and re-tastings of the wines of Avidan Winery. Founded in 2000 by Shlomo and Tsina Avidan who are now also working with their daughter Shira, this boutique winery is located on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region. The winery relies on Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Merlot grapes selected from various vineyards in the Upper Galilee and the Judean Hills and is currently producing about 15,000 bottles annually. The winery is soon to move to larger facilities on the kibbutz. Wines are released in three series – the age-worthy Reserves, the varietal Avidan wines and the Blend des Noirs series, meant for earlier consumption. The Avidan wines have been of interest since they first appeared and this year the winery rises to my list of "up-and-coming" wineries.
My thanks to the Avidans for an interesting tasting and for their courtesies.
Best
Rogov

Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A traditional Cabernet with a twist. Oak aged for 16 months, full-bodied, blended with 15% of Merlot, and showing traditional blackberry and blackcurrant aromas and flavors but (and this is where the twist comes in), bold for its firm tannins, and distinctive peppery and anise overtones leading to a long and mouth-filling finish. Best 2008-2012. Perhaps the best from the winery to date. Best 2008-2012.Projected release price - NIS 119. Score 91. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Avidan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Made from an Australian clone but with a distinctly Rhome nose and palate. Developed for 16 months in French oak, a generous mouthful of blackberry, blueberry, plum and cherry fruits, those overlaid nicely by hints of leather, earth and Oriental spices that go on to a long finish. Best 2008-2011.Projected release price - NIS 119. Score 90. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Avidan, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Blend des Noirs, 2005: A blend of 1/3 each of the varietals named, each oak-aged for 10 months before the final blend was made. Medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet, with tannins now integrating nicely with spicy wood and showing an appealing array of currant, plum and berry fruits, those supported nicely by hints of tobacco and saddle leather. Drink now or in the next year or two. NIS 69. Score 87. (Re-tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Avidan, Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz, Blend des Noirs, 2005: Oak-aged for 10 months, dark garnet towards royal-purple, this blend of grapes (50%, 35% and 15% respectively as listed on the label) shows
medium- to full bodied, with firm, almost gripping tannins, those opening to reveal aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants and espresso coffee, all leading to a medium-long near-sweet finish. Drink now-2008. NIS 59. Score 86. (Re-tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Avidan, Peite Soleil, 2006: Call this Vendange Tardives or late harvest as you like. Made from Chardonnay grapes, with a nice hint of wood from six months of aging in Burgundy style barrels, and showing citrus, tropical and crème brulee aromas and flavors. Intentionally off-dry so perhaps not for everyone but lively, appealing and with just enough complexity to make you think. NIS 69. Score 87. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)
As to barrel tastings,the following notes are based on not yet blended wines and the projections are my own. As sometimes, I say, another opportunity at waiting a few years to see (a) how accurate and thus how wise or (b) how inaccurate and thus how foolish I was. Also tasted were several varietal wines destined for blending, but those will hold for the article I am now writing about the challenges, the joys and the dangers of barrel tastings.

Avidan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Almost impenetrably deep garnet in color, opening with a light but pleasing musky aroma that fades in the glass and opens to reveal a wine so dense full-bodied that one might think of it as having the consistency of syrup. All of which is fine though as the wine unfolds on the palate revealing soft tannins, rich blackberry, dark plum and peppery spices. Generous tannins here but those nicely integrated and overall showing fine balance. Long and generous. Drink from release-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Avidan, Petite Sirah, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet in color, full-bodied, and with ripe and supple tannins. Opens with a mint-like nose, that going on to aromas and flavors of plums, blueberries and huckleberry fruits, all backed up by light hints of spices and grilled meat, all lingering nicely on the chewy finish. Best 2008-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep royal purple in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, mouth-coating tannins and generous black fruits supported by earthy minerals. Given time will develop intriguing tobacco and chocolate aromas and flavors. Generous fruits rise on the long finish. Best 2008-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)

And finally, two dessert wines:

Avidan, Ruby, n.v (Advance Tasting).: Call this a Port-style wine or call it Ruby as written on the label if you like and I'll forgive you for this brandy reinforced red wine, by whatever name, is one of the few worthwhile red dessert wines made in Israel today. Naming names aside, dark ruby in color, rich and complex, loaded with spices, walnut, nutmeg and espresso coffee on raspberry and cassis fruits. Smooth, well balanced, with no syrupy feeling the wine will be ready to drink from release. Score 89. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)

Gold (Tentative Name), n.v. (Advance Tasting): A white dessert wine based on Chardonnay grapes, the wine reinforced with brandy to a 17% alcohol level. Generous maple syrup sweetness set off nicely by spices, orange peel and an appealing floral hint that lingers nicely. Drink from release. Not complex but easy to enjoy. Score 87. (Tasted 12 Apr 2007)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Four Wines From Avidan (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Four Wines From Avidan
Posted by: Rogov at 03:57 June 7,2008
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Included in this morning's tastings and retastings were four wines from the definitely up-and-coming Avidan winery.
With specific regard to the 2006 Grenache in the winery's Premium series, many have asked my reaction to the price of NIS 240. As will be seen in the tasting note that follows, this is a very good, even excellent wine. I cannot help however but think that the pricing is a strategic error on the part of the winery, such a price stating, almost boasting, that "we are as good if not better than some of the very best wines in the country". Granted, the wine was made from very old vines and in a very limited quantity (about 300 bottles), but I cannot help but feel that this price is just a bit overboard. I wonder if the winery might not have done better to restrict sales of this wine to regular customers, that giving devoted clients a sense of having received something "special".
Whatever, my tasting notes for the wines follow.
Best
Rogov

Avidan, Grenache, Premium, 2006: Rich and concentrated, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and reflecting its 10 months in barriques with gently spicy oak. On the nose and palate an generous and intriguing array of aromas and flavors, among those currants, blackberries and plums, nutmeg, sag and vanilla and ending with the tannins and oak rising on the finish together with hints of grilled beef and cloves. Drink now-2011. NIS 240. Score 90. (Re-tasted 7 Jun 2008)

Avidan, Reserve, Shiraz, 2006: Deep garnet in color, dense, intense and full-bodied and unfolding on the palate to reveal soft, mouth-coating tannins, rich blackberries, dark plums and peppery spices, along with overall fine balance. Long and generous. Drink from release (late 2008) 2012. Tentative Score 89. (Tasted 7 Jun 2008)

Avidan, Blend des Noirs, Orange, 2006: Garnet towards royal-purple, an oak-aged blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Medium to full-bodied, with ripe blackberry and cassis fruits, those opening to show notes of orange peel and chocolate. Drink now–2010. Score 86. (Re-tasted 7 Jun 2008)

Avidan, Blend des Noirs, Red, 2006: Aged in French and American oak for 10 months, a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah (45%, 35% and 20% respectively). Medium to full-bodied, with chunky, somewhat coarse tannins, showing straightforward berry and currant notes. A pleasant country-style wine. Drink now. Score 85. (Re-tasted 7 Jun 2008)
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WTN: Barkan and Segal wines, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:20 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Barkan and Segal: Tastings, Advance Tastings and Barrel Tastings
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Post Title: Visit to Barkan and Segal: Tastings, Advance Tastings and Barrel Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 03:03 March 8,2008
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On Wednesday morning, 5 March, I made my way to Kibbutz Hulda to do extensive tastings at Barkan Wineries, those including of course the wines of Segal which can be thought of as a daughter-company of the winery. Among pleasant surprises that awaited were to see the now well-under-way construction of the new, very impressive and architecturally appealing barrel room and visitors' center. That the barrel room is now fully functional means that the winery has now completely withdrawn from their facility at Barkan on the Trans-Samarian Highway. The visitor's center, currently in advanced states of construction promises to be one of the most modern and aesthetically pleasing I have seen
Most important from my perspective were advance tastings, re-tastings and barrel tastings of 58 wines. My sincere thanks to winemakers Ed Salzberg, Yotam Sharon, Avi Feldstein and Irit Boxer for their good company and many courtesies during my visit – Yotam who accompanied me through the entire tasting and the others who sat, talked and tasted with us as time allowed.
Following are my tasting notes from the day. The notes are presented basically in the order of the tasting.
Best
Rogov
Segal
Segal's top wines are their Single Vineyard and Unfiltered releases, those followed by Rehasim, Marom Galil (including those wines labeled Single and Fusion), and both the Batzir and popularly priced Shel Segal wines.

Segal, Chardonnay, Marom Galil, 2006: Light golden in color, with a light buttery not from the wood in which part of the wine was aged for six months, showing medium-bodied, with lively acidity and appealing citrus and pineapple notes. Crisp and appealing. Drink now. Score 86. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Chardonnay, Marom Galil, 2007 (Barrel Tasting):Medium-bodied, golden straw in color showing hints of smoky oak, with a note of mint overlaying pineapple, lemon and lime fruits. Drink from release. Score 85. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Rose, Fusion, 2006: A light, nicely acidic and crisply dry blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Syrah . Dark pink in color, showing raspberry, strawbbery and tutti-fruitti notes. Think of this as the bubble-gum of roses but fresh, light and fun to drink. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Dey Red, Shel Segal, 2006: The winery's annual best sellar a fine entry-level wine showing light- to medium-bodied, with soft tannins, fine royal purple color and easy to take red fruits. A blend this year of 75% Argaman, about 20% Merlot and the balance of other various grapes. Simple but honest. Drink now. Score 84. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Fusion, Marom Galil, 2006: An unoaked, medium-bodied blend of 60% Merlot and 20% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. With soft tannins and a basic cherry-berry personality a good everyday wine. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Merlot, Single, Marom Galil, 2005: A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and oak-aged for 14 months. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and showing appealing blackberry, blueberry and violet notes, the fruits and tannins rising on the finish. Drink now-2010. Score 87. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Single, Syrah, Marom Galil, 2005: A wine that calls the Rhone to mind. Blended with 6% of Cabernet Sauvignon, medium to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and showing spicy red and black fruits, those complemented by near-sweet tobacco and meaty notes on the finish. Drink now–2009. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marom Galil, Single, 2004: Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from several Galilee vineyards. Dark garnet in color, with generous spicy and dusty wood influence reflecting 19 months in oak, showing currants, blackberries, bittersweet chocolate and stony minerals on lightly spicy bacground.. Drink now–2010. Score 88. K Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Cabernet Sauvigon, Marom Galil, Single, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet with orange and green reflections, medium- to full-bodied and showing soft tannins, generous oak and forward blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits on a background of minted chocolate. Generous and long. Drink from release-2010. Score 89. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Merlot, Rehasim Dovev, 2003: Developed in French and American barriques for 19 months, this full-bodied red shows firm tannins and spicy wood integrating well. Opulent blueberry, currant plum flavors, those with spices, floral notes and hints of licorice and Mediterranean herbs in the background. Long, smooth, round and polished. Drink now–2011. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Merlot, Rehasim, Dovev, 2004: Dark garnet, this medium to full-bodied, herbal, spicy and generously tannic wine shows fine balance and structure. Aromas and flavors of black cherries, blackberries and currants matched nicely by spicy oak accents and, on the long finish, hints of espresso and dark chocolate. Drink now–2012. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Merlot, Rehasim, Dovev, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Deeply aromatic, full-bodied with chewy tannins needing time to settle in but showing good balance and structure. Opens to reveal spicy oak along with black cherry and raspberry fruits, goes on to reveal a tempting herbaceousness and, on the finish a hint of eucalyptus. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Merlot, Rehasim, Dovev, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, full-bodied, with firm tannins just now starting to settle down. With generous spicy wood and crisp acidity, opens to reveal an array of near-sweet black fruits. Needs time for its elements to come together. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Merlot, Rechasim, Dovev, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Still in embryonic form but already showing garnet towards royal-purple in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, somewhat fatty tannins still holding the wine back somewhat. As it does open the wine shows a basic blackberry-black cherry personality, the fruits overlaid with freshly cut Mediterannean herbal aromas and flavors. Tentative Score 85-87. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, Dishon, 2003: Full-bodied, with generous, near-sweet tannins and smoky wood now integrated nicely and opening to reveal red currant, wild berry, vanilla and hints of tar, all lingering nicely. Drink now–2009. Score 90. K (Re-tasted

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, Dishon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, almost inky garnet in color, concentrated and intense. Full-bodied and tannic enough to be thought of as chewy. Good black fruits here but not so much a fruity wine as one led by aromas and flavors of smoked bacon, licorice and espresso coffee. Best from 2009. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, Dishon, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet towards purple, medium- to full-bodied, already showing a rather generous hand with smoky wood that tends to hold back the fruits and herbal notes here. Perhaps better with time. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Unfiltered, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from a single component. Full-bodied, concentrated, deeply tannic and with generous wood even at this early stage, the tannins and wood holding back the black fruits and Oriental spices that are trying to make themselves felt. Perhaps better with time and blending. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Segal, Caberent Sauignon, Unfiltered, 2004: Blended with 10% of Merlot and oak-aged in French and American barriques for 22 months, showing dark, firm and intense. Full bodied, with still gripping tannins and generous but not dominating oak with good balance between those and the red and black currants, black cherries, sage and spicy cedar wood on the nose and palate. On the long finish a generous overlay of minerals and an appealing hint of bitterness. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan

Note: It is worth keeping in mind that Barkan, the second largest winery in the country, releases wines in four series – from the most complex to the least – Superieur, Reserve (of which the Altitude wines may be considered a sub-label), Classic and Domaine.

Barrkan, Sauvignon Blanc, Classic, 2007: Light straw colored, unoaked, light- to medium-bodied with straightforward citrus and lemon-grass notes on a lively background. Not complex but an easy to drink quaffer. Drink now. Score 84. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. With 20% of the wine aged sur lie in new wood for three months and the remainder developed in stainless steel, this light golden-straw colored, medium-bodied white shows deeply aromatic with good balancing acidity. On the nose and palate tropical fruits, citrus peel and hints of Mediterranean herbs. Drink now. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Chardonnay, Classic, 2007: Light gold in color and medium-bodied, this unoaked Chardonnay shows aromatic and generous on the palate with citrus, pineapple and light spicy notes. Not complex but a good quaffer. Score 85. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Chardonnay, Reserve, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Light gold in color, one-third of this medium-bodied white was aged in oak. Shows appealing peach, melon and citrus fruits, those complemented by gentle hints of wood. Crisp, fruity and mouth-filling. Drink now. Score 87. K
(Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Chardonnay, Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Showing light spicy and vanilla notes from the oak in which it was aged for a short while, lively golden in color and showing an appealing array of tropical fruits, red grapefruit. Bright and zesty. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Emerald Riesling, Classic, 2007: Just a wee bit too sweet and missing just a wee bit of acidity but showing floral, citrus and tropical notes. The kind of thing for people who like this kind of thing. Drink now. Score 80. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Emerald Riesling, Reserve, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Light to medium-bodied, with mild sweetness set off by balancing acidity and fresh aromas and flavors of pineapple, citrus fruits and dried apricots. Drink up. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan Emerald Riesling, Reserve, 2007 (Advance Tasting): With moderate sweetness, appealing citrus and ripe pineapple notes, showing good balancing acidity to keep it lively. Drink from release. Score 84. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan Shiraz Rose, Classic, 2006: A fun wine. Rose-petal pink, medium-bodied, crisply dry, showing appealing quince, red berry and citrus peel notes all lingering comfortably.Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Shiraz Rose, Classic 2007 (Advance Tasting): Blush pink, light- to medium-bodied, soft, round and lively with berry, cherry and tutt-fruitti notes that make for ideal breakfast or warm-weather quaffing. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86.K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Merlot Classic 2006: Soft and round, with a bare hint of spicy wood and straightforward berry, cherry and cassis fruits. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)
Barkan, Shiraz, Classic, 2006: Royal purple in color, medium-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and good acidity to keep it lively. Few varietal traits here but appealing black and red fruits on a lightly spicy background make this a good quaffer. Drink now. Score 85. K (tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Classic 2006: Medium- perhaps medium- to full bodied, with notes of spicy oak and soft tannins integrating nicely and showing appealing blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Pinotage, Classic, 2005: Garnet red in color, medium-bodied, with plum, strawberry jam and toasty notes along with a hints of smoke and cocoa on the finish. Easy to drink. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Pinotage, Classic, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, with near sweet tannins and opening to show plum, currant jelly, eucalyptus and smoky notes. A comfortable "walk on the wild side". Both fun and interesting. Drink from release. Score 87. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)
Barkan, Tempranillo, Reserve, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Dark ruby in color, with firm tannins now softening and integrating nicely and showing an appealing array of plum, cherry, licorice and tobacco aromas and flavors, all reflecting 16 months in oak with sweet cedar wood. Drink now.
Score 88. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan Pinotage, Reserve, 2005: Garnet towards purple, medium-bodied with soft, near-sweet tannins and reflecting its 12 months in oak with generous spicy wood. Opens to show straightforward berry, cherry and plum fuits on a lightly spicy background. Neither complex nor deep.. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Shiraz, Reserve 2005: Oak-aged for 14 months, medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet, firm, and faithful to the Shiraz variety, this red shows oak-accented berry, cherry and licorice flavors backed up by light hints of leather and mint. Lingers nicely. Drink now. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Merlot, Reserve, 2005: Aged in oak for 14 months, dark garnet, medium to full-bodied, with gripping tannins on first attack which yield in the glass to reveal good balance between gentle wood and cassis, red plum and wild berry fruits complemented by hints of pepper, licorice and chocolate.
Lingers nicely on the palate. Drink now. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauignon, Reserve, 2004: A distinctly Old World style of wine. Dark cherry red towards garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied but showing fine concentration with generous layers of currants, berries and red plums supported by now well integrating tannins and a gentle hand with the
wood. On the finish look for a tempting note of Mediterranean herbs. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 412, 2005: Dark garnet in color, medium to full-bodied, with soft, near-sweet tannins and reflecting its 14 months in oak with spicy wood. On the nose and palate red plums berries and, currants, those with nice hints of chocolate and tobacco on the finish. Drink now. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 624, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Deep, almost impenetrable garnet in color, this medium to full-bodied wine shows on first attack firm, drying tannins and spicy oak but those receding in the glass to add a near-sweetness to the black and red fruits,
oriental spices and hints of freshly picked mushrooms and green olives. Long and generous. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 720, 2005: Drinking even better than at earlier tastings. Opens with a smoky, spicy nose, and goes on to deliver appealing plum, blackberry and currant fruits, those overlaid with Oriental spices. Soft, caressing tannins and gentle wood add to the complexity of the
wine. Look as well for a tantalizing hint of earthy bitterness that comes in on the long finish. Drink now-2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Superieur, 2003: Dark, almost impenetrable royal-purple in color, Firm and concentrated, this is one of the best ever from Barkan. Full-bodied, with gently mouth-coating tannins and a judicious hand with spicy oak, shows intense aromas and flavors of black currants,
blackberries and black cherries, those complemented by hints of dates, sage and near-sweet cedar wood. A long chocolate and tobacco finish bursting with minerals and black fruits. Drink now–2010. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Merlot, Superieur, 2004: Dark garnet, medium to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely; showing smoky blackberry, berry, black cherry and cassis fruits, those on a light background of swet herbs and vanilla, all leading to a long, smooth, mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2010. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Pinotage, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing in American oak, showing dark royal purple at this stage. Juicy, with near-sweet notes and showing plum, crushed berry and licorice notes with a hint of briar wood on the finish. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 5 Mar
2008)

Barkan, Pinotage, Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Actually a pre-barrel tasting as the wine was still in stainless steel tanks waiting to be transferred to barrels. A potentially good effort for the vintage, concentrated, with plum grape and blackberry notes along with sweet and spicy notes that run through this medium- to full-bodied wine. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet red, medium- to full-bodied developing in French and American oak and showing near-sweet tannins opening to reveal raspberry, currant and earthy minerals leading to a medium-long finish. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 5 Mar
2008)

Barkan, Merlot, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing in new French barriques, showing almost inky garnet in color, full-bodied with firm but near-sweet tannins and spicy wood. Opens to reveal wild berry, cassis and citrus peel notes, those supported nicely by hints of spices and, on the finish a rising hint of mint. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep youthful royal purple, developing in French oak casks and showing smooth and refined, with a light minty edge to ripe cherry and berry fruits. Full-bodied and soft, with hint of spices that linger on a long finish. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 89-
91. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvigon, Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark and ripe, with crisp tannins and an array of near-sweet blackcherry, smoky and creamy notes. Perhaps a bit too soft on the opening but intensity rises on the finish. Perhaps better with time. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 85-87. K (Tasted 5 Mar 2008)

As the winemakers like to do during my visits to Barkan-Segal, there was also one mystery wine, an experiment that may or may not come to fruition, was unveiled for my "guessing pleasure". Oh boy, did I guess wrong on this one!
Barkan, Experimental Wine, 2007 (Pre-Barrel Tasting): So dark in color and so full of blueberries plums and cherries that my first reaction was "must be Cabenet Franc". A few moments passed and what rose were dark berries, earthy spices and licorice and my mind went to Mourvedre (perhaps a
blend of Mourvedre and Syrah). Lawsyy, lawsy, did I guess wrong. A blend of 80% Carignan and 20% Argaman, a wine so wild in nature that it completely fascinates. I'll beg for another tasting after this one has been in oak for 6 – 9 months.
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Re: Rogov's WTN: Bashan Organic winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:23 am

http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=14976

Bashan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Eitan, 2005: Living up to its barrel tasting promise. Medium to full-bodied, this organic wine shows good balance between sweet oak, generous yeasts and on the nose and palate appealing ripe and spicy black fruits. Drink now–2009.NIS 95. Score 88. K
Bashan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Eitan, 2004: Oak-aged for 16 months, with vanilla and spice laded smoky wood backed up by soft, nicely integrating tannins and forward currant and blackberry fruits. A moderately-long finish with hints of chocolate and Mediterranean herbs. Drink now or in the next year or so. NIS105. Score 86. K

Bashan, Merlot, Eitan, 2005: Dark ruby towards garnet, reflecting its 16 months in oak with firm tannins and spicy wood, those yielding in the glass to show black fruits, eucalyptus and black olives all coming to a medium-long finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. NIS 85. Score 86. K
--
Bashan, Port-Style, 2005: Stewed plum and wild berry fruits here, those with overlays of walnut skins, earthy overtones and odors and aromas of alcohol leading to a hot, foxy finish. Not my cup of Port-style wine. Score 72. (Tasted 25 Mar 2007)
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WTN: Bazelet Hagolan winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:26 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Vertical Tasting-Bazelet Hagolan (28 Nov 2005) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Vertical Tasting-Bazelet Hagolan (28 Nov 2005)
Posted by: Rogov at 03:10 November 30,2005
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On Monday, 28 November, I attended a vertical tasting of the wines of Bazelet Hagolan. The tasting, held at the offices of the new branch of the supermarket chain Tiv Ta'am was a formal one although not blind. Those interested in such things may note that starting with the 2004 vintage the wines are kosher. I believe the regular edition of the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon is already on the shelves in the United States. The 2004 reserve wine is scheduled for release in July 2006. My tasting notes follow.
Best,
Rogov

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and destined to be aged in French and American oak barrels for 20 months this dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied red shows excellent balance between acidity, still firm tannins, wood and fruits. Ripe fruits include blackcurrants, wild berries and cassis, those matched nicely by hints of lightly bitter herbs and licorice. Long and generous, as the wine matures it will become more round and elegant. Best 2007-2011. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Medium-dark ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, reflecting its 10 months in French and American barriques with soft tannins. Good balance here and an appealing array of cherry, raspberry and currant fruits, those with a light spicy overlay. Drink now-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2003: Full-bodied, with soft tannins well balanced by a rich array of aromas and flavors, those including berries, black cherries, orange peel, star anise and white pepper. Long, round and generous. Drinknow-2008. Score 89.. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Deep garnet in color, medium to full-bodied with aromas and flavors of spicy cherries, currants, Mediterranean herbs, and chocolate leading to a medium-long finish. Long and generous. Drink from release–2010. Tentative Score 89. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazeket Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2002: Inky dark purple, with firm tannins and generous wood but those integrating nicely to reveal complex aromas and flavors of blackcurrant and black cherry fruits and Mediterranean herbs. The once light earthiness on the finish seems to be on ascendant. Drink now. Score 87. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2001: Medium- to full-bodied, with tannins now fully integrated, this rich and concentrated wine offers up a generous mouthful of currants and wild berries on a background of spices. Overall good balance between intense tannins, wood and fruit and now showing a tempting hint of bitter chocolate on the finish. . Drink now–2007. Score 88. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001: My most recent tasting note (11 May 2004) holds firmly: Dark garnet toward ink-black in color, this full-bodied still firmly tannic wine shows rich Cabernet aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and blackberries, generous spiciness and nice earthy-olive hints, all on a broad background and with a long finish. Drink now–2007. Score 90. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Millennium Reserve, 2000: Medium to full-bodied, this now dark garnet towards purple wine shows good balance between still firm tannins, oak, and fruits, those including generous and concentrated layers of currants and berries. Look for mint, minerals and earthy flavors on the long finish. At its peak now and not for further cellaring. Drink now. Score 89. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000: Dark purple but starting to brown a bit medium-bodied and with moderate levels of smooth tannins, the winestill has tempting currant, plum, mint and earthy aromas and flavors. Somewhat past its peak so drink up. Score 88. (Re-tasted 28 Nov 2005)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Bazelet Hagolan: Barrel Tastings, Advance Tastings, Re-tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Bazelet Hagolan: Barrel Tastings, Advance Tastings, Re-tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 01:04 January 27,2006
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On Wednesday, 25 January, I started my morning quite early on the Golan Heights with tastings of the wines of the Bazelet Hagolan winery. Because I quite recently (28 November 2005) had a tasting of many of these wines at an event hosted at the Tiv Ta'am supermarket in Rishon le Tzion, this visit was an exceptionally interesting one for me – offering the opportunity for two vertical tastings of nearly every wine ever produced by the winery in a relatively short period of time, such tandem tastings posting challenges both for the winery and my own palate.
Founded in 1998 by Yo’av Levy on Moshav Kidmat Tsvi in the Golan Heights, the first facility of this winery was located in a cow shed and initial production from that vintage year was 1,800 bottles. Today, working with Australian trained winemaker Tal Pelter, the winery produces 25,000-30,000 bottles annually, all from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in their own vineyards on the Golan Heights and target production is 50,000. The wines are in two series: Reserve and Bazelet Hagolan, the first aged in oak for about 20 months, the third for 8 months. The winery, which released its first Chardonnay wine in 2005, has recently completed construction of a new underground barrel room. The wines have been kosher since the 2004 vintage.
As a point of possible interest, the winery is in the planning stages for opening what will be a kosher restaurant and several tzimmers. That makes good sense to me because if there are two truly developing routes de vin within Israel the first, for single day will most assuredly be the Yo'av Yehuda route (in the Jerusalem Hills) and the second, for those caring to devote more than a day to their travels will be the Golan and Upper Galilee.
As a point of more oenological interest, what these tastings demonstrated once again is that the winery continues to show an high level of consistency and style. Following my visit to Bazelet, I followed up by visiting the nearby winery of Tal Pelter but that is the subject for another thread, that soon to be posted.

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Rich, ripe, smooth and generous, with currant, berry and plum flavors coming together with near-sweet and tempting oak. Soft tannins and fine balance bode well for the future. Best 2008-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet HaGolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Soft, round and even in this embryonic state delicious, showing a sold core of currants, wild berries, toasty oak, vanilla and minerals. Fleshy and long. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazeket Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and destined for aging in French and American oak barrels for 20 months this dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied red shows excellent balance between acidity, still firm tannins, wood and fruits. On the nose and palate ripe blackcurrants, wild berries and cassis, those matched nicely by hints of lightly bitter herbs and licorice. Long and generous. Best 2007-2011. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied and reflecting its 10 months in French and American barriques with soft tannins. Good balance and an appealing array of cherry, raspberry and currant fruits, those with a light spicy overlay that lingers nicely. Drink now-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve 2003: Full-bodied, with soft tannins well balanced by a rich array of aromas and flavors, those including currants,berries, black cherries, orange peel, star anise and white pepper. Round and generous, with a long near-sweet finish. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Deep garnet in color, medium to full-bodied with aromas and flavors of spicy cherries, currants, Mediterranean herbs, and chocolate leading to a medium-long lightly spicy finish. Long and generous. Drink now–2010. Score 89. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2002: Inky dark purple, with firm tannins and generous wood but those integrating nicely to reveal complex aromas and flavors of blackcurrant and black cherry fruits and Mediterranean herbs. The once light earthiness on the finish seems to be on ascendant. Drink now. Score 87. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002: Deep cherry-red towards garnet in color, medium to full-bodied, with concentrated red currant, berry, spice and peppery notes. Good balance between wood and soft tannins and a moderately long finish. Drink now–2007. Score 87. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet ha Golan Reserve 2001: Medium- to full-bodied, with tannins now fully integrated, this rich and concentrated wine offers up a generous mouthful of currants and wild berries on a background of spices. Overall good balance between intense tannins, wood and fruit and now showing a tempting hint of bitter chocolate on the finish. . Drink now–2007. Score 87. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001: Dark garnet toward ink-black in color, this full-bodied still firmly tannic wine shows rich Cabernet aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and blackberries, generous spiciness and nice earthy-olive hints, all on a broad background and with a long finish. Drink now. Score 90. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Millennium Reserve, 2000: Medium to full-bodied, this now dark garnet towards purple wine shows good balance between still firm tannins, oak, and fruits, those including generous and concentrated layers of currants and berries. Look for mint, minerals and earthy flavors on the long near-sweet finish. At its peak now and not for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 89. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000: Dark purple but starting to brown a bit. Medium-bodied and with moderate levels of smooth tannins, the wine still has tempting currant, plum, mint and earthy aromas and flavors. Somewhat past its peak so drink up. Score 88. (Re-tasted 25 Jan 2006)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Three New Releases: Bazelet Hagolan (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Three New Releases: Bazelet Hagolan
Posted by: Rogov at 10:15 October 16,2007
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Yesterday (Monday, 15 October) I attended the formal release of three new wines from Bazelet Hagolan. Founded in 1998 when it released 1,800 bottles and currently producing about 50,000 bottles annually, the winery is located on Moshav Kidmat Tzvi on the Golan Heights. Owner-wineaker Yo'av Levy has to date focused entirely on varietal wines instead of blends. Until 2005 the winery released only Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery's first Merlot, from the 2006 vintage, was one of those presented yesterday. The wines are in two series: Reserve and Bazelet Hagolan (sometimes referred to as "Bronze"), the first aged in oak for about 20 months, the second for 8–10 months. Production has been kosher since the 2004 vintage.
Following are my tasting notes for the wines sampled yesterday.
Best
Rogov

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006: Medium-bodied, with soft tannins and reflecting its 8 months in oak, hints of sweet cedar wood, those opening to show traditional Cabernet blackcurrant, blackberry and spicy notes all with an appealing light overlay of Mediterranean herbs. Lovely for grilled steaks or lamb chops. Drink now-2010. NIS 105. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 15 Oct 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Merlot, Reserve, 2006: Full-bodied and intense. Dark, almost inky garnet in color, with still gripping tannins, a generous 15% alcohol content but showing fine balance and structure between spicy and vanilla rich wood and fruits. On first attack red currants and raspberries, those yielding to Oriental spices and wild berries and, on the finish generous hints of bitter-sweet chocolate and espresso. Complex and long but needs time. Best 2009-2014.NIS 140. Score 91. K (Tasted 15 Oct 2005)

Bazelet Hagolan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005: Full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely. Opens with blackcurrants and wild berries, those opening to reveal generous notes of purple plums, sweetened chewing-tobacco and eucalyptus. Generous and long. Drink now-2012. NIS 140. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 15 Oct 2005)
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WTN: Binyamina winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:32 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > More Positive Surprises from Binyamina (Printable Version)
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Post Title: More Positive Surprises from Binyamina
Posted by: Rogov at 13:40 October 14,2005
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This morning and early afternoon found me at Binyamina Wineries with a several colleagues doing advance and barrel tastings. The advance tastings were accompanied by two surprises, the first that the the winery will be releasing a new prestigious series, HaChoshen, the series containing three whites and three reds, all scheduled for relehase in the next 2 – 3 months, and the second that Binyamina winemaker Sasson Ben-Aharon is now using the consulting services of Mounir Saouma, the remarkably talented winemaker of Burgundy's Lucien Le Moine (to see reviews of some of those wines I have tasted see the thread at http://stratsplace.zeroforum.c...=9354 )
The wines in the new series have been released in limited quantities – those ranging from 1319 – 3690 bottles each. The whites will sell for about NIS 80 and the reds for NIS 120.
As noted in several earlier recent threads, interesting things are happening at Binyamina. If I have any problem at all with these soon-to-be released wines it is in that in addition to carrying the name of series and the names of the grape varieties, each wine also has a specific name and I fear proliferation may confuse even the most dedicated of wine lovers. My tasting notes follow. One last comment before that though, and that with regard to the reds, all of which as will be seen in my notes have promise – if approached in their youth, these are wines that will require decanting 2, 3 or more hours before drinking.
Best,
Rogov

Advance Tastings:

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc Fume, Leshem, HaChoshen, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Light golden in color, medium-bodied, lively, vibrant and focused, reflecting cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks and then 6 months in oak with a gentle hints of spices and vanilla along with aromas and flavors of pears, melon, honeysuckle and fresh cut hay, all with a pleasing tart edge that lingers nicely on the finish. Drink from release-2007. Score 88. K(Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Chardonnay-Viognier-Sauvignon Blanc, Yishpe, HaChoshen 2004 (Advance Tasting): Golden straw in color, medium-bodied and crisply dry, with good acidity and a long finish. On the nose and palate some spicy oak reflecting the six months the wine spent in barriques, and a spicy background to pear, apple, lemon fruits. On the long finish an appealing hint of licorice. Refreshing and sophisticated. Drink from release-2008. Score 88. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Shoham, HaChoshen, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Lively light golden straw in color, medium-bodied, and needing time in the glass to open its flavors and aromas, but once those do open look for green apple, citrus, melon and tropical fruits as well as an appealing smoky input from the wood. Aged in oak for 16 months but happily not at all dominated by the wood. Drink from release-2008. Score 89. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot, Sapir, HaChoshen, 2003 (Advance Tasting): A full-bodied and firmly tannic blend of 40% each of Cabernet and Shiraz and 20% of Merlot. Oak aged for 15 months, showing good balance between wood tannins and a tempting array of aromas and flavors, those including chocolate, tobacco, dusty-oak and minerals, all on a warm background of blackcurrants, blackberries and spices. Approachable now only if decanted two-three hours before drinking. Best starting in 2007. Score 90. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tarshish, HaChoshen, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Deep garnet towards purple, full-bodied, with mouthcoating tannins and tightly closed unless decanted several hours before drinking. This wine, which developed in barriques for 16 months, will always be firm in texture but given time it will show harmony, and in addition to traditional blackcurrants, sweet berries and spices will show generous mineral, toasty and vanilla notes, all showing their balance from first sip to long finish. Best from 2007-2011. Score 91. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Syrah, Odem, HaCHoshen, 2003: Full-bodied, firm and concentrated, dark garnet in color, with firm and mouthcoating tannins opening in the glass to reveal near-sweet berry, plum, meaty and earthy aromas and flavors, all balanced nicely. Good concentration here to frame generous acidity and tannins, all of which work nicely to highlight the fruits and take the wine to a long finish. Needs decanting if served at this stage. Best 2007-2012. Score 91. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

The Barrel Tastings:

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): In such an embryonic form that it has not yet completed its malolactic fermentation, but already showing medium- to full-body, generous but not overdone acidity and appealing pineapple, peach and citrus aromas and flavors. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Syrah, Special Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple in color, reflecting its 14 months in small oak barrels with still firm tannins and generous smoky wood and vanilla. Blended and developed together with 2% of Viognier grapes, medium- to full-bodied, with good balance and firm structure and already showing clean blueberry, blackberry and plum fruits along with hints of spices and earthiness. Needs time for the wood and tannins to integrate but showing great promise already. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Merlot, Special Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with moderately firm, near-sweet tannins well balanced with currant, wild berry and cherry fruits. A bit acidic on the palate at this stage, so definitely meant for re-tasting. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet in color with orange reflections, made from grapes harvested on the Golan Heights. Full-bodied, with generous blackcurrant and blackberry fruits backed up nicely by hints of tobacco and earthiness and a mouthfillingly long finish. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 14 Oct 2005)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Binyamina Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Binyamina Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 05:39 February 24,2006
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On Tuesday, 21 February, I devoted much of my day to a tasting at Binaymina wineries. After arriving fairly early in the morning I was treated to breakfast at the winery's visitors' center and I must say that the amount of food (quite tasty at that) placed on the table would have been more than enough for a battalion of hungry soldiers just back from a three day field exercise. No complaints though – for the food, the espresso coffee and the good company of winemaker Sasson Ben-Aharon made a good start to the day.
More important - my tastings demonstrated that Binyamina, currently producing about 2.8 million bottles annually continues to earn its place as one of those wineries most definitely "on the way up". What may tend to confuse some, however, is what seems to be the increasing number of series released by the winery: Special Reserve, The Cave, Tiltan, Chushan, Yogev and the entry level Binyamina. My tasting notes follow. To make life a bit easier, I have listed the wines within the series to which they belong.
I also tasted two "twin wines", the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon in the Special Reserve series, twins because one bottle had been sealed with a traditional cork and the other with a screwcap. I am going to start a separate thread about that …..right now though, after a pleasant little lunch of humous, sours, hot sauce, mixed salad and cold beer it's time for a nap, so that will be only this evening.
Best
Rogov

Special Reserve

Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, all showing medium- to full-body, firm but yielding tannins and generous red berry and cassis fruits, those on a background of Oriental spice and light herbaceousness. Best from 2007. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet in color with orange reflections, made from grapes harvested on the Golan Heights. Full-bodied, with generous blackcurrant and blackberry fruits backed up nicely by hints of tobacco and earthiness and a mouthfillingly long finish. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Merlot, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Still in embryonic form but already showing medium- to full-body and firm tannins, those opening to show a good array of ripe and spicy plum, cassis and berry fruits. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina Merlot, Special Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with moderately firm, near-sweet tannins well balanced by currant, wild berry and cherry fruits. A bit acidic on the palate at this stage, so definitely meant for re-tasting. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Shiraz, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Well done! Deep garnet in color, with still firm near-sweet tannins and generous spicy wood but those showing balance and harmony to reveal generous plum, wild berry and currant fruits. On the background hints of leather and chocolate. Best starting in 2007. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Shiraz, Special Reserve, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, reflecting its 14 months in oak with firm tannins and generous smoky wood and vanilla. Blended and developed together with 2% of Viognier grapes, medium- to full-bodied, with good balance and showing clean blueberry, blackberry and plum fruits along with hints of spices, smoked meat and earthiness. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tastings): Showing medium- to full-body, generous but not overdone acidity and appealing pineapple, peach and tropical fruit aromas and flavors. Blended with 30% of unoaked Chardonnay, the wine has a tempting hint of cream on the finish. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Special Reserve, 2004: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Aged sur lie in French barriques, with a lively golden color and crisply refreshing spicy pear and apple fruits, this medium to full-bodied white shows appealing nectarine and vanilla flavors on the moderately long finish. Drink now–2007. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc, Special Reserve, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Medium-bodied, light golden straw in color, this crisp and lively unoaked white shows appealing apple and pineapple aromas and flavors. Not complex but very pleasant. Drink from release. Score 87. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Viognier, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-bodied, light golden in color, with appealing aromas and flavors of citrus and apricot as well as hints of cinnamon and minerals, all with good balancing acidity and a warm earthy finish. Drink from release-2008. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Viognier, Special Reserve, 2004: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Aged sur lie in 80% new barrels and 20% formerly used for Chardonnay, with gentle acidity that yields to buttery-mineral nuances and with lemon and apple aromas and flavors as well as a lightly earthy note on the finish.. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Chushan

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chushan, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, with spicy, vanilla-rich wood and near-sweet tannins in good balance with blackcurrant, wild berries and minerals, all leading to a long and appealing spicy finish. Best stating in 2007. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chushan, Tarshish, 2003: Deep garnet towards purple, full-bodied, with mouthcoating tannins and tightly closed unless decanted several hours before drinking. Given time the wine will show harmony, and in addition to traditional blackcurrants, sweet berries and spices, generous mineral, toasty and vanilla notes. Best 2007-2011. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Syrah, Chushan, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): With 14 months in oak, now showing medium- to full-bodied, with soft, well integrated tannins and light herbal-earthy aromas and flavors complemented nicely by plum, berry and cassis fruits. As the wine develops look for hints of tobacco and chocolate on the finish. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Syrah, Chushan, Odem, 2003: Full-bodied, firm and concentrated, dark garnet in color, with firm and mouthcoating tannins opening in the glass to reveal near-sweet berry, plum, meaty and earthy aromas and flavors, all balanced nicely and with a long finish. Needs decanting if served at this stage. Best 2007-2012. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot, Chushan, Sapir, 2003: A full-bodied and firmly tannic blend of 40% each of Cabernet and Shiraz and 20% of Merlot. Oak aged for 15 months, showing good balance between wood tannins and a tempting array of aromas and flavors, those including chocolate, tobacco, dusty-oak and minerals, all on a warm background of blackcurrants, blackberries and spices. Worth decanting at this stage. Best starting in 2007. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Chushan, Shoham, 2004: Developed for 16 months in oak, now aging more rapidly than originally predicted. Deep golden straw in color, with smoky oak on the ascendant but with appealing citrus, tropical and melon fruits. Drink now-2007. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc Fume, Chushan, 2004: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Light golden in color, medium-bodied, lively, vibrant and focused, reflecting cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks and then 6 months in oak with a gentle hints of spices and vanilla along with aromas and flavors of pears, melon, honeysuckle and fresh cut hay, all with a pleasing tart edge that lingers nicely on the finish. Drink now Score 88. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Chardonay-Viognier-Sauvignon Blanc, Chushan, Yishpa, 2004: Medium-bodied and crisply dry but losing its flush of youth, now a bit darker in golden color than it was, no less fruity (look for pears, apples and citrus) but with the once appealing hint of licorice now taking on an earthy-herbal nature. Enjoyable but not for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Yogev

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yogev, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and sur-ripe plum and berry fruits and generous alcohol that gives the wine a near-sweet finish. Drink from release-2007. Tetative Score 84-86. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Biyamina, Rose, Yogev, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A blend of 50% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, this light- to medium-bodied peach colored towards pale pink rose shows clean and refreshing berry, cherry and strawberry aromas and flavors. Simple but lovely. Drink from release. Score 85. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay, Yogev, 2005 (Advance Tasting): An light golden straw colored and aromatic unoaked blend, this year of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay. Medium bodied, with appealing pineapple, peach and apple aromas and flavors, a well-done quaffer. Drink from release. Score 86. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Tiltan

Binyamina, Tiltan, n.v. (Advance Tasting) : I confess that I have yet to find the true logic behind producing a dry red wine that is blend between three vintage years, especially when one of those vintage years was particularly problematic. Whatever, this is the third release in this series and by far the best to date. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages, this medium- to full-bodied blend shows generous wood and tannins but those in good balance with spicy and lightly earthy black fruits. On the finish nice hints of herbs and vanilla add charm. Drink from release. Score 88. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

The Cave

The Cave, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2002: Developing nicely, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot was oak aged for 20 months. Now showing medium- to full-bodied, with solid tannins that open in the glass to reveal a generously fruity and elegant wine. On the nose and palate blackcurrants, blackberries and vanilla, those matched nicely by hints of Mediterranean herbs and leading to a moderately long and mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2008. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

The Cave, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, those coming together to provide a full-bodied, now firmly tannic red with generous spicy oak, all crying for time to integrate and show their potential. Already showing potential elegance with blackcurrant, plum and blackberry aromas and flavors. Best from 2007. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-bodied, with gentle smoky and spicy influences from the wood and with soft, nicely integrating tannins. Not overly complex but with appealing currant, black cherry and berry fruits backed up nicely by a hint of spiciness. Drink from release. Tentative Score 84-86. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Merlot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Soft and round, medium-bodied, with silky tannins integrated nicely with gently spicy oak and berry-cherry aromas and flavors. Not complex but a good quaffer. Score 84. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Tempranillo, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): The best Tempranillo from Binyamina to date. Medium-bodied and supple, with soft tannins and a hint of spice from the oak along with black cherry, mineral and light earthy flavors and a hint of rhubarb on the finish. Drink from release-2008. Tentative Score 85-87. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Tempranillo, 2004: Ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, with firm tannins and black cherry, grape, mineral and earthy aromas and flavors. A simple quaffing wine. Drink now. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, 2005: Not at all complex but fresh, fruity and appealing, with green apple, citrus and peach fruits set off nicely by good balancing acidity. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 21 Feb 2006)

Binyamina, Emerald Riesling, 2005: Aromatic and floral, with flavors of citrus and summer fruits. Moderately but not offensively sweet. Drink now. Score 83. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)
Binyamina, Muscat, 2005: Floral, with hints of peppermint backing up its lemon and grapefruit personality. Moderately sweet but lacking the acidity that would have made it more lively. Drink now. Score 82. K (Tasted 21 Feb 2006)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Binyamina Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Binyamina Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 07:10 January 19,2007
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This past Wednesday (17 Jan 2007), my morning was devoted to barrel, advance and re-tastings of 25 of the wines of Binyamina. As has been the case in recent years, under the leadership of foward-thinking CEO Ilan Hassan, the winery, the fourth largest in the country with annual production of about 3 million bottles, has come a long way not only in the modernization of the winery but of gaining control over ever-improving vineyards and in the overall quality of their wines.
Visiting this particular winery on an annual basis offers a special pleasure for the critic, for one can easily see the ongoing improvement from vintage year to vintage year. My time was spent quite comfortably in the company of senior winemaker Sasson Ben-Aharon and winemaker Assaf Paz and I thank them, Ilan Hassan and the staff of the winery for their courtesies and an interesting tasting.
The winery releases wines in several series of interest: Special Reserve, Avnei HaChoshen, Yogev, Tiltan and wines and wines from what the winery considers it's boutique arm, The Cave. One change is being made. Wines that were until now produced in the winery's basic Binyamina series will undergo a name change and that series will now be known as Teva.
For those not fully familiar with Hebrew terminology, Avneh HaChoshen refers to the precious stones that adorned the chest-covering of the high priests during the days of the First and Second Temples; Tiltan is the name of a plant that has three distinct leaves on every branch (the logic being that these wines are blends of three different vintage years); Yogev is a man who works the soil, in this case a clear bow to the grape-growers; and Teva means nature or, less formally, personality, each wine in the series said to have its own nature.
My notes from the day's tastings follow.
Best
Rogov

The White Wines

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Special Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing partly in oak, partly in staniless steel, this bright golden, medium-bodied white shows appealing apricot and citrus aromas and flavors, those leading to an appealing buttery note on the long finish. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007).

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Special Reserve 2005 (Advance Tasting): Light golden in color, medium- to full bodied, with fine balancing acidity and a hint of spices from the oak in which it aged..On th nose and palate citrus, peach and tropical fruits matched by an appealing hint of cream on the finish. Drink from release-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Special Reserve 2004: Lively golden in color with a hint of bronze creeping in, a medium- to full-bodied peaches and cream wine, showing spicy pear and apple fruits and hints of vanilla. Drinking nicely but not meant for further cellaring. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Teva, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Light golden straw in color, unoaked, purposely not having undergone malolactic fermentation and thus as crisp, lively and refreshing as one could want, with grapefruit, nectarine and a flinty dryness that cannot help but call to mind a Petit Chablis. Lovely and at the scheduled release price of about NIS 25 one of the best buys on the market today. Scheduled for release in February so keep an eye out for this one. Drink from release and for the next year or so. A damned good quaffer. Score 86. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc, Special Reserve, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Light straw in color, medium-bodied, this unoaked white shows bright and lively aromas and flavors that shift nicely on the palate, at one moment orange blossoms and nectarines, at another a hint of gooseberries, and at yet another green apples and light grassy hints rising. Drink from release or in the next year or so. Score 88. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc, Leshem, HaChosen, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Light golden straw in color, medium-bodied, with citrus, sweet pea, herbal and grassy aromas and flavors that come together as a lively and appealing whole and finish with a light creamy sensation. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Viognier, Special Reserve, 2005: My most recent tasting note holds firmly: Medium-bodied, light golden in color, with appealing aromas and flavors of citrus and apricot as well as hints of cinnamon and minerals, all with good balancing acidity and a warm earthy finish. Drink now–2008. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Viognier, Special Reserve, 2002: The first Viognier wine released in Israel. Unoaked and not fully reflecting the characteristics of the grape during its youth but now showing somewhat darker in color and with appealing citrus blossoms, orange and lemon notes as well as hints of fresh earth, those turning to ripe pears on the finish. Not re-born but clearly singing it's swan's song so drink up. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Gewurztraminer, Special Reserve, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Lively golden straw in color, medium-bodied, this off-dry and aromatic white opens with,litchis and a hint of spiciness and then goes on to a lemon almond and dried apricot character. Reminds one of the Gewurztraminer wines from Alto Adige. Drink from release. Score 86. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Gewurztraminer, Special Reserve, 2005: As during its youth, a pleasantly aromatic wine with grassy, pear and apple aromas and flavors but lacking any of the spicy or litchi notes that would give this a Gewurztraminer personality. Drink up. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Muscat of Alexandria, Teva, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Light- to medium-bodied, this semi-dry white shows generous floral aromas, opening on the palate to reveal fig and apricot flavors. Faulted because it lacks the acidity that would have kept it lively. A wine for people who like wines like this. Drink from release. Score 84. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

The Red Wines

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Showing better than at an early barrel tasting (about 1 year ago). Full-bodied, with firm tannins integrating nicely with spicy and lightly smoky wood, those yielding nicely to generous red berries, cassis and spices. Concentrated and intense but on its way to elegance. Best 2008-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and reflecting a generous but well-balanced wood influence from its 18 months in oak. On the nose and palate currant and blackberry fruits supported nicely by generous hints of Mediterranean herbs and, on the medium-long finish, a note of tobacco. Drink now-2008. Score 87. K

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvigon, Teva, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Dark cherry red towards garnet, medium-bodied, with light hints of spicy oak and an appealing cherry, blackberry personality. On the short but generously fruity finish an appealing hint of tobacco. Drink from release-2008. Score 85. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Merlot, Special Reserve, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Developing nicely in the barrel and now showing dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, reflecting its aging in French oak barrels with hints of spicy wood and generous near-sweet tannins. On the nose and palate raspberry, strawberry and vanilla, those supported nicely by herbal and spicy notes. Best 2008-2011. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Merlot, Special Reserve, 2004: With its youthful acidity now integrated, this garnet-red medium- to full-bodied wine now shows near-sweet tannins and spicy oak in good balance with wild berry plum and currant notes. Drink now-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Shiraz, Special Reserve, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Showing even better than at a barrel tasting a year ago. Dark garnet in color, with once firm tannins now settling down nicely and showing a gentle hand with spicy oak. Fine balance between those and plum, black cherry and cassis and, on the background, appealing hints of lather and chocolate all leading to a long, mouth-filling finish.. Drink from release-2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Syrah, Hachoshen, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, dense and concentrated, but showing fine balance and structure. Firm tannins need time to integrate with spicy wood and to show the black and red berries, cheriesand licorice flavors that are here, lingering comfortably and showing a long fruity finish. Potentially the best wineto date from

Binyamina. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 91-93. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)
Binyamina, Syrah, Hachoshen, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Blended with 2 – 3% of Viognier as is the rule with this wine for Binyamina, medium- to full-bodied and softly tannic wine shows smooth, and ripe, bright and lively. True to the Syrah traits, with berry, cherry and plum aromas and flavors all of which linger nicely on a well balanced finish. Best starting in 2008. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Syrah, Hachoshen, 2004 (Advance Tasting): My earlier tasting note holds firmly: With 15 months in oak, showing medium to full-bodied, with soft, well integrated tannins and light herbal-earthy aromas and flavors complemented nicely by plum, berry and cassis fruits. Hints of tobacco and chocolate on the finish. Drink now–2008. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Titlan, n.v.: This wine, the fourth release in the series and definitely to best to date. Made from grapes harvest in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 harvest, each developed in woo for a different period of time. Full-bodied, with soft, caressing tannins and a moderate hand with peppery wood, the wine opens on the palate to reveal currants, black cherries and herbal aromas and flavors, all of which are concentrated but never heavy or clumsy. Finishes with generous tannins and an appealing hint of sage. Best 2008-2012. Score 90. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, The Cave, 2003: Dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with still firm tannins and generous spicy oak but those integrating nicely, the wine showing fine balance and opening on the nose and palate to reveal currant, blackberry and plum fruits, those supported nicely by hints of tobacco and Meditrranean herbs. Drink now-2009. Score 89. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Yogev, 2005: My most recent tasting note holds firmly: A medium-bodied blend of 50% each of Cabernet and Merlot, aged in oak for 8 months. Generous currant, raspberry, red plum and cedar aromas and flavors, a smooth textured appealing wine with a moderately long lightly herbal finish. Drink now-2008. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2007)

Binyamina Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz, Yogev, 2005: Medium-bodied, with light spicy oak and bright cherry as well as red and black berry aromas and flavors that linger nicely. Ripe and open and, on the moderately long finish appealing hints of licorice. Drink now-2009. Score 88. (Tasted17 Jan 2007)

Dessert Wine

Binyamina, Gewurztraminer, Late Harvest, Special Reserve, n.v.: Declared a non-vintage wine even though the grapes all came from the 2005 harvest, this light golden, medium-bodied, dessert wine shows generous sweetness balanced nicely by acidity. On the nose and palate good Gewurztraminer spiciness and litchis together with hints of dried apricots. Finishes with a tempting peppery-smoothness. Drink now-2009. Score 88. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2007)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Binyamina - The Teva Series Re-Examined (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Binyamina - The Teva Series Re-Examined
Posted by: Rogov at 07:16 July 20,2007
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That Istanbul was once Constantinople and New Amsterdam is now New York is as undeniable as today that the "Binyamina" series of Binyamina wineries is now "Teva". Whether one thinks of this as an exercise in image-building or as a somewhat different and more sophisticated approach to the series is open to debate but the simple truth is that the newly released Teva wines are definitely a step-up from the wines in the older Binyamina series. Indeed, not a step towards greatness, but that is not the goal, but a step in elevating both the image and the quality of these entry-level wines.
"Teva" for those who do not speak Hebrew, means "nature". It can also be taken to mean "personality" and according to the materials released by the winery, each wine has a different personality – e.g. the Muscat is described as tropical, the Tempranillo a exotic, the Merlot as friendly.
It may be a bit odd for me to taste an entry-level series of wines on two, three or in some cases, even four times but the fates can be playful. I first tasted several of these wines during a visit to the winery on 19 January, then again in my own tasting room on 16 March. I tasted them yet again just a few days ago on 16 July at the formal unveiling of the series and today, again in my own tasting room, re-tasted the entire series.
What is most impressive about this series may not be the wines themselves but the continuing and successful efforts for Binyamina to improve the quality of all of their wines, from the simplest series to their flagship wines. Binyamina moves up yet another notch on my list of fastest improving wineries in the country.
My tasting notes follow.

Best
Rogov

Binyamina, Emerald Riesling, Teva, 2006: Half-dry, light, floral and with citrus, peach, tropical and green apple fruits. Moderately but not overly sweet and with a pleasant citrus finish Drink now. NIS 30. Score 82. K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Cabernet Blush, Teva, 2006: Attractive light pink with an orange hint in its color, light in body and with red berry and cherry fruits. Barely off-dry but lacking the acidity that might have made it a bit more lively. Drink now. NIS 30. Score 80.K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Muscat of Alexandria, Teva, 2006: Golden-straw in color, this light to medium-bodied semi-dry white shows generous floral aromas, opening on the palate to reveal fig and apricot flavors. A bit more natural acidity would have made this a more interesting wine. Drink now. NIS 30. Score 83. K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Pinotage, Teva, 2006: Bright royal-purple in color, medium-bodied, with soft tannins balanced by lively acidity and just the barest hint of spicy wood. On the nose and palate cherries, and a hint of cassis, those matched by a light hint of white pepper. Nothing complex here but a round, easy to drink quaffer. Drink now. NIS 38. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Tempranillo, Teva, 2006: Blended with 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon, treated lightly to American oak barriques, this medium-bodied and softly tannic wine shows appealing black cherries, purple plums and hints of cigar tobacco leading to a round and moderately-long finish. Drink now-2009. NIS 38. Score 85. K (Tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Merlot, Teva, 2006: Ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied with soft tannins. Not-at-all complex but with pleasant blackberry and black cherry fruits on a light spicy background. Drink now. NIS 38. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Teva, 2006: Dark cherry-red towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, with light hints of spicy oak and an appealing cherry, blackberry personality. On the short, fruity finish an appealing hint of tobacco. Drink now. NIS 38. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Teva, 2006: Light golden straw in color, medium-bodied and unoaked, this, crisp, lively and refreshing white shows grapefruit, nectarine and flinty minerals that add charm. Drink now. NIS 35. Score 85 K (Re-tasted 20 Jul 2007)

Binyamina, Shiraz, Teva, 2006: Dark garnet in color, medium-bodied, with caressing tannins, a soft, round and easy to drink red with blackberry and spicy aromas and flavors that sit comfortably on the palate. Drink now. NIS 38. Score 85. K (Tasted 20 Jul 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Binyamina Winery: Tastings, Re-Tastings and Barrel Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Binyamina Winery: Tastings, Re-Tastings and Barrel Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 06:16 March 29,2008
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On Thursday (27 March), I visited the Binyamina winery, there with winemakers Sasson Ben-Aharon and Assaf Paz first to see some of the new equipment that has come aboard, to visit what seems to be an ever expanding barrel room (now with almost 30% more barrels than on my previous visit about a year ago), and then to an extensive set of tastings.
With far better control over their vineyards than in the past, with increasingly modern equipment now in the winery, and with two talented winemakers aboard, it is clear that the winery is making quality steps forward on an annual basis not only in their top-of-the line series, Avnei HaChoshen and Reserve but also in their mid-priced Yogev series and their entry-level series Teva. What has surprised me somewhat is that even though the wines are receiving warm reception abroad (about 25% of the winery's output of about 2.4 million bottles annually) the winery has yet to shatter the glass ceiling that will allow greater acceptance, especially of the two top series, among more sophisticated wine drinkers in Israel.
My thanks to both Sasson and Assaf for an interesting tasting, their courtesies, their good company and two good cups of fine espresso coffee.
For those not in the know (that is to say, who do not speak Hebrew: Avnei Hachoshen refers to the precious stones that adorned the vest of the high priest in the days of the Temple; Yogev is the Biblical term for a farmer, in this case a clear bow to the grape-growers; and Teva means nature.
Note: Those wines in the Avnei HaChoshen series noted with prices are just now making their way to the market.
Best
Rogov

Avnei HaChoshen

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc, Avnei HaChoshen, Leshem (Opal), 2006: Reflecting its six months in oak with a gentle overlay of spices, this medium-bodied white shows generous citrus and peach notes along with appealing mineral crispness and hints of freshly cut grass and mint. Drink now-2009. NIS 95. Score 87. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Chardonnay-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier, Avnei HaChoshen, Yashfeh (Jasper), 2006: A gently oaked, medium-bodied blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier (40%, 35% and 25% respectively). Golden straw in color and aromatic, a crisply dry blend of pineapple, citrus and white peaches on a lightly spicy background. Drink now-2009. NIS 95. Score 88. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Chardonnay-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier, Avnei HaChoshen, Yashfeh (Jasper), 2007 (Advance Tasting): Golden straw in color, floral on the nose but crisply dry and with fine balancing acidity. Shows peach, apricot and melon fruits leading to a long, refreshing finish. Drink from release-2010. Score 88. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Avnei HaChoshen, Shoham (Onyx) 2005: Deep golden straw in color, reflecting its 16 months in new oak with full-bodied and generous cedar wood and near-creamy texture. Good balance between those and appealing citrus, tropical fruits and a light hint of mint that comes in on the finish. Drink now-2009. NIS 95. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot, Avnei HaChoshen, Sapir (Sapphire), 2005: As it was last year, a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Shiraz and 25% Merlot. Oak aged for 15 months, showing dark ruby towards garnet, opening with licorice and mint on the nose and palate, those going to bitter-sweet chocolate and Mediterranean herbs and then to red plums, cassis and spicy notes. Drink now-2010.NIS 145. Score 89. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Syrah, Avnei HaChoshen, Odem (Ruby), 2005: Blended with 2-3% of Viognier, intensely darkgarnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with generous near-sweet tannins and smoky oak integrating nicely. Shows red berries, cherries and red plums along with hints of leather and meatiness. Long and generous. Drink now-2011. NIS 145. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Syrah, Avnei HaChosen, Odem (Ruby), 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, soft, round and juicy, with a generous array of blueberries, blackberries, purple plums and a mélange of herbal and spcy notes that lead to a long finish. Best from release-2012. Tentative Score 88-90.. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Avnei HaChoshen, Tarshish (Aquamarine), 2005: Dark garnet with purple and orange reflections, and aged in new French oak for 16 months. Opens with super-soft tannins, those firming as the wine develops in the glass, medium-bodied, with appealing currant and red plums on the nose and palate, those backed up by a hint of sweet herbs on the moderately long finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 145. Score 89. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Avnei HaChoshen, Tarshish (Aquamarine) 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, full-bodied with still firm tannins waiting to integrate but already showing appealing cassis and blackberry fruits, those complemented by hints of minted chocolate. Best 2010-2013. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Reserve

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve, 2007: Light gold, medium- to full-bodied, with gentle oak influences and showing citrus, pear and tropical fruits with an appealing hint of bitterness that comes in on the medium-long finish. Drink now-2009. Score 87. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Reserve, 2006: Developed partly in oak for 10 months, partly in stainless steel, this bright golden, medium-bodied white shows appealing apricot and citrus aromas and flavors, those leading to an appealing buttery note on the long finish. Drink now -2009. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 27 Mar 2008)
Binyamina, Shiraz, Reserve 2005: This dark garnet wine’s once firm tannins are now settling down nicely and showing a gentle hand with spicy oak. Fine balance between those and plum, black cherry and cassis and, on the background, appealing hints of leather, chocolate and minerals all leading to a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Zinfandel, Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): The winery's first release of a varietal Zinfandel and quite a success. Opens with California muscles but those settle down in the glass to reveal wild berry, cherry, raspberry as well as peppery and licorice notes. Powerful but ripe tannins and a long finish. Drink from release-2011. Tentative Score 88-90.K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Yogev

Binyamina, Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay, Yogev, 2007: Unoaked, light- to medium-bodied, with crisply clean aromas and flavors of citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and a near-sweet finish. Not complex but appealing. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 85. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Rose, Yogev, 2007: Rose petal pink with a hint of adobe, a blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Light- to medium-bodied, with generous strawberry and raspberry fruits, a light, easy to drink quaffer. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Teva

Binyamina, Pinotage, Teva, 2007: (Barrel Tasting) Medium-bodied, dark and youthful royal purple in color at this stage and showing a generous core of blackberry, wild berry and cherry fruits, those on a background of firm but ripe tannins. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Tempranillo, Teva, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark royal purple, with near-sweet tannins, a soft, round red with aromas and flavors of blackberries, vanilla, toast and minerals. A thoroughly modern Tempranilo showing balance and complexity. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Cabernet Blush, Teva, 2007: Semi-sweet, bright pink in color with generous red fruits. A bit more balancing acidity would have helped. Drink now. Score 82. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Binyamina, Muscato, Teva, 2007: This light, sweet, pleasantly frizante wine shows appealing floral, citrus and citrus peel notes with just enough acidity to keep it lively. Meant for youthful drinking. Score 85. K (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)

Miscellaneous

Binyamina, Petite Verdot, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Made from Negev Desert vines. Medium- to full-bodied, an unusual, almost unique wine Intense aromas and flavors of stony minerals, pomegranate and cassis fruits, those supported by a fascinating array of dill, anise and licorice. From a variety that is rarely bottled on its own and lacking a bit of backbone, almost surely to be used as a blending agent. (Tasted 27 Mar 2008)
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WTN: Karmei Yosef (Bravdo) winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:03 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Karmei Yosef (Bravdo) Winery + Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Karmei Yosef (Bravdo) Winery + Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 10:26 December 1,2004
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Among the simultaneous chores and joys of having to update my little guide to Israeli wines on an annual basis is that involving visiting and re-visiting wineries even more frequently than I have done in the past. Today found me on the train to Lod (I do enjoy train travel, even when short), from there to make my way to meet Professors Ben-Ami Bravdo and Oded Shosheyov of the Karmei Yosef (Bravdo) winery.
During my visit I tasted the winery's first Chardonnay (scheduled for release approximately April 2005) and retasted the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon of 2003 as well as the Cabernet Sauvignon of 2002. On my return to Tel Aviv I set up a blind tasting from my own cellar that included (in a flight of 11 wines all in all) their 2001 Cabernet and the 2002 Merlot, this therefore having allowed me to taste or re-taste all of the wines to date of this still young winery.
Following are my tasting notes.
Best,
Rogov

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): After undergoing very cold fermentation in stainless steel, 1/3 of the wine then transferred to French oak and another 1/3 to American oak for three months and then re-assembled to develop in stainless steel, this medium- to full-bodied white is on its way to being as crisply dry and aromatic as one could want. Rich, concentrated, complex and somewhat bold, with crisply dry aromas and flavors of citrus and citrus peel, melon, apple fruits together with light oak shadings, well on its way to being rich, complex, concentrated and somewhat bold. Tenative Score 91-93. (Tasted 1Dec 2004)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Developing beautifully and living up nicely to its promise from an earlier barrel tasting. A fascinating blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon harvested in the usual manner, 10% Cabernet that was intentionally late-harvested, and 10% Merlot. Full-bodied, aromatic and packed at this stage with plums, currants and berries, reflecting excellent balance between fruits, wood and acidity, well on its way to becoming an elegant and graceful wine. Best from 2006. Tentative Score 91-93. (Re-tasted 1 Dec 2004)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2002: As predicted earlier, this blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, full-bodied, young wine is now opening beautifully and showing excellent focus. A leathery base with a complex array of ripe aromas and flavors of currants, black cherries and a tantalizing hint of anise, as well as an appealing hint of bitterness that makes itself felt on the long, fruity finish. Generous soft tannins and good balance. Drink now–2007. Score 92. (Re-tasted twice with consistent notes 1 Dec 2004)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2001: My earlier notes hold firmly: Deep garnet toward purple, this oak-aged, unfiltered blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot is now showing excellent balance between soft, well-integrated tannins, natural acidity, wood and a tempting array of currant, blackberry and black cherry fruits, those on a background of toasted nuts, black licorice and Mediterranean herbs. Mouth-filling, long and delicious, the wine opens beautifully in the glass and on the palate, and then lingers long and gently. Drink now–2008. Score 91.(Re-tasted 1 Dec 2004)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Again, my earlier notes hold firmly: A rich, generous Merlot, with minty and licorice accents to ripe blackberry, currant, spice and anise flavors. Soft tannins well in balance with fruits and the first influence of the wood bode very nicely for the future development of this wine. Best 2006–2010. Tentative Score 90-92. (Re-tasted 1 Dec 2004)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2002: No need whatever to revise my earlier notes: Ripe, bold, well focused and delicious, with layer after layer of blueberry, plum and currant fruits, this medium-bodied wine boasts soft tannins along with hints of mocha and Mediterranean herbs that seem to dart in and out on the palate, all culminating in a long, near-sweet finish. Drink now–2007. Score 91 (Re-tasted1 Dec 2004)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Open House and Sale of 2003/2004 Bravdo Wines (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Open House and Sale of 2003/2004 Bravdo Wines
Posted by: Rogov at 05:17 March 27,2005
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Karmei Yosef Winery, probably more commonly although mistakenly known as Bravdo (because that is the name of their wines and not of the winery) will be holding an open house and sale of their 2003 wines on two consecutive Fridays - 8 and 15 April 2005. Following are my quite recent pre-release tasting notes on the wines

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2003: Still young but already showing ripe, generous and mouthfilling aromas and flavors of plums, currants, black cherries and berries, with hints of minty spice and wood. A well-balanced, well structured blend of 80% Cabernet Suvignon and 20% Merlot, on its way to becoming an elegant and graceful wine. Best from 2006-2010. Score 91.

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2003: A rich, generous Merlot, with minty and licorice accents to ripe blackberry, currant, spice and anise flavors. Soft tannins well in balance with fruits and the first influence of the wood bode very nicely for the future development of this wine. Best 2006–2010. Score 91.

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied, rich, concentrated, complex and somewhat bold, with crisply dry aromas and flavors of citrus and citrus peel, melon, apple fruits together with light oak shadings, well on its way to being rich, deeply aromatic complex, concentrated and bold. Drink now-2007. Score 91.
The winery will be open on each of the two dates from 11:00 – 17:00 and every hour (on the hour) a brief lecture will be given about the wines and in comparing New and Old World wines. Prices for the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot are set at NIS 110 per bottle and the Chardonnay is priced at NIS 85. Further details and a map on how to reach the winery, which is located at Moshav Karmei Yosef on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains, can be obtained by phoning 08-928-6098.

Best,
Rogov
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Karmei Yosef (Bravdo): Barrel Tastings and Advance Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Karmei Yosef (Bravdo): Barrel Tastings and Advance Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 08:15 February 2,2006
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Today was partly devoted to visiting the Karmei Yosef Winery (probably more commonly known by the name of their wines "Bravdo"), there in the company of Oded Shosheyov to do barrel and advance tastings of the wines of 2004 and 2005.
Founded in 2001 by Ben-Ami Bravdo and Oded Shosheyov, both professors of oenology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the winery sits in the heart of a vineyard at Karmei Yosef on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains. This boutique winery released 2,800 bottles of its first wine in 2001 and has more-or-less doubled its production annually since. Current production is 18,000-20,000 bottles annually, and the winery hope to be producing about 25,000 bottles annually by 2010. Among the varieties under cultivation in the winery-owned vineyards are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Carignan, French Colombard, Emerald Riesling and Muscat of Alexandria grapes. From 2001 to 2003 releases included red wines only, and the winery’s first Chardonnay is from the 2004 vintage. The winery is also considering releasing a Muscat-based ice wine. Among other interesting things concerning the winery is the attempt at presenting wines that are as true as possible to their varietal traits as possible.
An item of possible note: During my visit today the possibility was raised of a visit by forum members. That might be especially fascinating for this is a young and small winery and such a visit might allow a vertical of every wine ever released by the winery. I am putting fingers out to see which of our members might be interested in working to organize such a visit.
My tasting notes from my visit follow. I will, of course be doing re-tastings of the releases of 2001, 2002 and 2003 but those will be blind, in my own tasting room. Got to save something for the 2007 edition of my little book, n'est-ce-pas? Indeed, by the way, when I made my way back to Tel Aviv it was with two bottles, those of magnum formats of the 2003 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines to be set aside in my cellar for future tasting and then to measure aging potential between regular and large format bottles.
Best
Rogov

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Developed partly in stainless steel, partly sur lie in French and American barriques. Light golden in color, medium- to full-bodied, crisply dry, with lively acidity well balanced by citrus, citrus peel, pineapple and melon fruits, those with a gentle overlay of spicy oak. Promising long elegance. Best from release-2008. Score 91. (Tasted 2 Feb 2006)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Developed in French and American barriques for 12 months, with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, this medium- bodied red shows appealing smoky oak and moderately firm tannins impeccably balanced with cassis, blueberry and black cherry fruits all picking up hints of anise, sweet cedar, sage and tobacco. A long, rich intricate finish, not soft but caressing, that resonates with vanilla and fruit. Approachable from release but best 2007-2010. Score 90. (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2006)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Living up to its barrel-tasting promise. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft ner-sweet tannins already integrating nicely with spicy wood, black currant, wild berry and black cherry fruits. Soft, round and long. Approachable early but will show its elegance with a bit of time. Best 2008-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2006)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Just starting on its way but already showing dark ruby, medium-bodied, and round. Fine balance between silky smooth tannins, gentle acidity and wood with an appealing array of blueberry, currant, coffee, mocha and black cherry aromas and flavors, all of which come together in a round and elegant package. Approachable from release bt best 2008-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 2 Feb 2006)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet red, medium- to full-bodied but remarkably light, round and soft on the palate with a well defined array of currant, blackberry, plum, sage and lead pencil aromas and flavors. Tannins and fruits rise nicely on the long and concentrated finish. Best from 2008-2012. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 2 Feb 2006)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Release of 3 Wines by Karmei Yosef (Bravdo): 24 and 31 March (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Release of 3 Wines by Karmei Yosef (Bravdo): 24 and 31 March
Posted by: Rogov at 10:24 March 19,2006
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The Karmei Yosef Winery (Bravdo) will be holding open houses on two consecutive Fridays, 24 and 31 March from 10:00 – 17:00 in order to unveil three new wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines from 2004 and the Chardonnay of 2005.
Advance reservations are not necessary but those wanting further information or a map showing how to reach the winery can telephone 08 9286098 or by sending an email to loshos@netvision.net.il
Following are my tasting notes for the wines being released. I do not yet have prices on hand but will post those as soon as I receive them.
Best
Rogov

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied, with soft near-sweet tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood, black currant, wild berry and black cherry fruits. Soft, round and long. Best 2008-2012. Score 91.

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2004: Developed in French and American barriques for 12 months, with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, this medium- bodied red shows appealing smoky oak and moderately firm tannins impeccably balanced with cassis, blueberry and black cherry fruits all picking up hints of anise, sweet cedar, sage and tobacco. A long, rich intricate finish that resonates with vanilla and fruit. Drink now-2010. Score 90.

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2005: Developed partly in stainless steel, partly sur lie in French and American barriques. Light golden in color, medium- to full-bodied, crisply dry, with lively acidity well balanced by citrus, citrus peel, pineapple and melon fruits, and a gentle overlay of spicy oak. Promising long elegance. Drink now-2008. Score 91.
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Karmei Yosef Winery (Bravdo): Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Karmei Yosef Winery (Bravdo): Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 10:53 February 19,2007
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This morning (Monday 19 February 2007) was partly devoted to a visit to the Karmei Yosef winery. Although most people continue to think of this as the Bravdo winery, that is at least technically correct as Bravdo is the name of the single series produced by the vineyard, the wines in that series consisting of annual releases of oak-aged Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines.
Founded in 2001 by Ben-Ami Bravdo and Oded Shosheyov, both professors of oenology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the winery sits in the heart of a vineyard at Karmei Yosef on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains. The winery released 2,800 bottles of its first wine in 2001 and current production is about 26,000 bottles annually. Among the varieties under cultivation in the winery-owned vineyards are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Carignan, French Colombard, Emerald Riesling and Muscat of Alexandria grapes and one of the major goals of the winemakers is the encouragement in their wines of those aromas and flavors most traditionally associated with the wines they release.
My tasting notes follow. The wines from the 2005 and 2006 harvest were tasted at the winery. The 2004 wines were sampled on my return home in my own tasting room. My thanks for Professors Bravdo and Shosheyov for their courtesies and an interesting tasting.
Best
Rogov

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Fermented partly on its lees in new French and American oak and partly in stainless steel. Deep golden, with a green tint and light cedar oak and bursting with layers of fig, apple, apricot, melon and light cedary oak. Rich and lively with mineral flavors that linger nicely on a fine-textured finish. Drink from release -2010. Tentative Score 90-91. (Tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2005: Now, as during its youth, a bright and generous wine, light golden in color, medium- to full-bodied, with light hints of spice-tinted wood and concentrated layers of citrus, citrus peel, nectarine and melon fruits, all lingering very nicely on the finish. Elegant. Drink now-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2004: Light golden in color, medium- to full-bodied, crisply dry with hints of flinty minerals and spicy oak, showing concentrated but elegant aromas and flavors of citrus, citrus peel, fig, melon and green apples, those lingering nicely in a crisply mineral finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 90. (Re-tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Still in its infancy and developing in French and American oak, already showing almost impenetrable dark purple in color and with gripping tannins, those in fine balance with spicy wood and opening to reveal a generous core of plums, blackberries, currants, and exotic spices, those yielding on the long finish to blueberries and mocha. Needs time. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2005 (Advance Tasting): After developing for 12 months in French and American oak, 20% of which was new, showing dark ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and dusty wood highlighting intense currant, blackberry, black cherry and mocha aromas and flavors, those with a long, generous and elegant finish. Best 2008-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2004: With the exception of a 1 year reduction in projected drinking windows, my earlier tasting note holds firmly: Oak-aged for 12 months, with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, this medium-bodied red shows appealing smoky oak and moderately firm tannins well balanced with cassis, blueberry and black cherry fruits. On the long finish hints of anise, sweet cedar, sage and tobacco. Drink now–2010. Score 90. (Re-tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep youthful purple in color, mdium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins showing fine balance
between wood, acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate a generous array of minty cherry, raspberry, cassis those with light spicy overtones adding depth. Enough fruit at this time that you might think the wine a bit sweet but give this one time to show its depth and elegance. Best from 2009. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauignon, Bravdo, 2005 (Advance Tasting): As during barrel tastings, dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with generous soft tannins integrating nicely and showing generous but well-proportioned blackberries, currants, lead pencil and sweet herbal aromas and flavors. Intense with the tannins and fruit rising on a long finish. Best 2008-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 19 Feb 2007)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied with soft near-sweet tannins and spicy wood well balanced by generous blackcurrant, wild berry and black cherry fruits. Round, generous and long. Drink now-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 19 Feb 2007)
The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Karmei Yosef Winry (Bravdo): With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Karmei Yosef Winry (Bravdo): With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 21:38 March 31,2008
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Yesterday morning (Monday, 31 March 2008) I visited the Carmei Yosef winery (known to many by the name of their wines as "Bravdo" to do several re-tastings as well as new tastings and barrel tastings.
Founded in 2001 by Ben-Ami Bravdo and Oded Shosheyov, both professors of oenology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the winery sits in the heart of the vineyards at Karmei Yosef in which their families have been vintners for many years. The vineyards are located on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains. The winery released 2,800 bottles of its first wine in 2001. Production from the 2007 vintages was of 24,000 bottles and anticipated production for 2008 is for 40,000 bottles. Among the varieties under cultivation in the winery-owned vineyards are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Carignan, French Colombard, Emerald Riesling and Muscat of Alexandria grapes. Starting with the 2007 vintage, the wines will be kosher.
My thanks to Professors Bravdo and Shosheyov and the others of the winery for an interesting tasting and for their courtesies during my visit. My tasting notes follow. Those wines noted with prices are now on or will shortly be making their way to market.
Best
Rogov

Karmei Yosef, Chardonnay, Bravdo, 2007: Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, developed in oak for only three months to guard the aromas and freshness of the variety, this medium-bodied white shows forward pineapple, citrus and pear fruits those with good acidity and a light mineral note keeping the wine lively. Lacks complexity but refreshing and easy to drink. NIS 85. Score 88 K (Tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2005: After developing for 12 months in French and American oak, this dark-ruby-towards garnet wine is showing medium to full-bodied, with soft, near-sweet tannins and dusty wood highlighting intense currant, blackberry, black cherry and mocha aromas and flavors. Tannins and a hint of sweetness rise on the long finish. Drink now-2010. Score 89. (Re-tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2006: Blended with 15% of Cabernet Sauignon, aged in barriques for 12 months, deep garnet towards royal purple in color, with once gripping tannins now integrating nicely with spicy wood. Full-bodied, the wine opens to reveal a core of plums, blackberries and blueberries, those on a background of exotic spices and hints of chocolate and mocha that linger nicely on the palate. Drink now-2012. NIS 120. Score 90. (Re-tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Berlot Bravdo, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, near-sweet tannins and showing a generous array of blackberry, blueberry, spicy and earthy aromas and flavors. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2005: Opens with a light medicinal aroma but that blows off quickly. Dark garnet towards royal-purple, medium to full-bodied, with soft tannins and gentle dusty cedar notes integrating nicely and showing forward ripe blackberries, currants, lead pencil and sweet herbal aromas and flavors. Intense, with tannins and near-swet fruit rising on the finish. Drink now–2010. Score 89. (Re-tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Showing more tannic and with a somewhat heavier wood influence than at barrel tastings. Dark royal purple in color, medium- to full-bodied and with overall good balance between still firm tannins and spicy wood that allows the fruits to sow nicely. On the nose and palate currants, wlld berries and mint notes, those lingering nicely. Best 2009-2012. NIS 120. Score 90. (Re-tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Still in embryonic form but already showing firm, deep tannins and spicy wood, those parting to reveal a core of currant, raspberry, toasted white bread and licorice notes. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 31 Mar 2008)

Karmei Yosef, Shiraz, Bravdo, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): The winery's first Shiraz, as always made with grapes from their own vineyards. Garnet towards purple, medium- to full-bodied, with still brooding tannins waiting to settle down but showing good balance and structure. Opens to show juicy plum and red berry notes on a background of spices and licorice. Has the potential to be soft, round and elegant. Drink from release. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 31 Mar 2007)
Eli R
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WTN: Bustan winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:05 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Two New Wines from Bustan. Continued Happy Surprises. (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Two New Wines from Bustan. Continued Happy Surprises.
Posted by: Rogov at 03:57 July 13,2007
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The first time I sampled the wines of Bustan in 1995, I was surprised in very positive ways. Winemaker Ya'akov Fogler has never stopped surprising me in those positive ways. Fogler, whose small winery (I am always tempted to think of it as an "artisanal winery") located on . Moshav Sharai Tikva near Tel Aviv draws Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes from the Jerusalem and Judean Mountains, and produces about 2,000 bottles annually. The winery has earned a good name for its distinctly French-style wines, which have had a formal kashrut certificate since 1999. Yesterday I re-tasted his two releases from the 2003 vintage, those just making their way to market now. My tasting notes follow.
Best
Rogov

Bustan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Dark ruby to garnet, medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrating well and with generous but not overwhelming spicy oak. Spicy currant and berry fruits along with chocolate and tobacco on the powerful but elegant finish. Drink now–2011. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 12 Jul 2007)

Bustan, Merlot, 2003:Deeo, dark, rich and aromatic. Full-bodied, with soft tannins, a smooth and round wine opening to reveal generous blueberry, cherry and currant fruits, those on a spicy, floral background all of which linger very nicly on the generous finish. Drink now-2012. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 12 Jul 2007)

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Bustan Winery - Three New Releases Tasted (K) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Bustan Winery - Three New Releases Tasted (K)
Posted by: Rogov at 11:03 April 26,2008
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As there are near ego-maniacs in the wine field, so are there gentle souls who almost strive to avoid publicity. Ya'akov Fogler, who founded Bustan Winery in 1994 is one of those gentle souls. More important, his wines have consistently been excellent and interesting and with only two exceptions since his first release, have earned scores of 90 or above.
Fogler's small winery, situated on Moshav Sharai Tikva in the Shomron area, draws Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grapes from the Jerusalem and Judean Mountains, and produces about 2,000 bottles annually. The winery has earned a good name for its distinctly French-style wines, which have had a formal kashrut certificate since 1999. The winery has just released three new wines. Following are my tasting notes.
Best
Rogov

Bustan, Syrah, 2005: Wow! Full-bodied, with super-soft tannins and opening with a burst of sweet and savory tannins, those parting in the glass to reveal layer after layer of blackberry, plum and citrus peel notes, those complemented by notes of black tea, white pepper and, on the long finish a hint of peppermint. Concentrated, intense, well focused, supple and harmonious with a super-long finish. Perhaps Bustan's very best to date. Drink now-2013. Score 92. K (Tasted 22 and 26 Apr 2008)

Bustan, Merlot 2004: Aged in barriques for 22 months, dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color but despite that casting purple and orange reflections. Full-bodied, with big but velvety smooth tannins and showing a tempting array of blackberries, spices, dark chocolate, green olives and a light note of grilled meat. Luscious and long. Best 2009-2012. Score 92. K(Tasted twice with consistent notes 22 and 26 Apr 2008)

Bustan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Showing even better than at an advance tasting. Dark, almost impenetrable royal purple in color, full-bodied and powerful, with soft, mouth-coating tannins along with aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, blackberries, plums and spices, all with notes of chocolate, minerals and spicy cedar wood. Long and generous. Best 2009-2014. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 22 Apr 2008)
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WTN: Chateau Golan winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:12 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Barrel Tastings at Chateau Golan (29 Dec 2003) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Barrel Tastings at Chateau Golan (29 Dec 2003)
Posted by: Rogov at 10:34 December 29,2003
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Hello to All...

This morning was spent profitably and pleasantly in barrel tastings with winemaker Uri Hetz at Chateau Golan. As will be seen in the tasting notes that follow, tastings from the 2003 vintage were especially impressive. For the most part 2002 reinforces once again my earlier prediction that this will largely be a year for good, even some very good but not many excellent wines. Happily, nearly every generalization has its exceptions and as will be seen the 2002 Eliad of the winery is most assuredly going to be one of those exceptions.
To those who may be curious – rejoice with me, for I have not a single tasting scheduled between now and 1 January. I plan to drink some nice wines in the next few days but have no intention whatever of sitting down in my own tasting room or anywhere else to do a formal tasting.
Best,
Rogov

2003

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, Royal Reserve, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Medium bodied but mouthfilling and gentle but assertive, with citrus and pear fruits rising immediately to the surface, those coming together nicely with generous grassy and herbal flavors and aromas. Plenty of alcohol here but that well balanced by natural and not at all excessive acidity, a wine that will make many think of Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Tentative Score 90 – 92. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

Chateau Golan, Grenache, Royal Reserve, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Fully loyal to its varietal traits this temptingly attractive pale ruby wine has the potential (with apologies to Charles Dickens) to be a far, far better thing than has ever been done before in this country with Grenache. Medium bodied, with soft tannins and tempting blackberry, black cherry and red currant fruits, and just the right hint of spices, a promising young wine, possibly to be blended with a small percentage of Syrah during the final blend. Tentative Score 87 – 89. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Classic Syrah with distinct Mediterranean overtones, managing to combine assertiveness with complexity, this spicy, gamy wine offers up appealing smoke and black pepper along with deep raspbery and floral aromas and flavors. Tentative Score 89 – 91. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

Chateau Golan, Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2003: Fuller in body and somewhat more tannic than earlier Merlot releases, with the promise tobe bold, ripe and delicious with layers of currants, plums, and black cherries and a rich, long aftertaste. Tentative Score 90 – 92. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)
Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Young and tight at this early stage but already showing god focus and ripe flavors of rich currant, cherry, anise and earthiness. Full bodied, still packed with tannins waiting to integrate but with the inherent balance to develop beautifully, the tannins integrating with time to reveal a smooth and supple wine, certainly destined to pick up attractive herbal overtones and perhaps hints of green olives as well. Tentative Score 91 – 93. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

2002

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2002 (Barrel Tasting): Showing the varietal loyalty for which the winery is earning a good name, this wine is more concentrated and intense than the 2001 release. With sweet spices that call to mind peppery-cinnamon cookies and delicious plum and berry fruits, this promises to be a well balanced and satisfying wine. Due for release in Autumn of 2004, a good chance that the wine will be drinkable from its youth and until 2006. Tentative Score 87 – 89. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve 2002 (Barrel Tasting): Blended with about 9% of Cabernet Franc, this medium to full bodied wine has an appealing array of ripe cherry, currant, plum and spic flavors, those overlayed by light toasty oak all culminating a moderately long near-sweet finish. A wine that will be accessible during its youth. Score 87 – 89. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

Chateau Golan, Eliad, 2002 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot. Now young and tight with crisp tannins and generous currant, black cherry, cedar and, from mid-palate leathery-earthy aromas and flavors. A long finish in which the tannins, wood and fruits come together beautifully. Approachable during its youth but this is one that will cellar nicely for a decade or longer.
Tentative Score 92 – 94. (Tasted 29 Dec 2003)

Those who care to see my reviews of earlier tastings of wines from Chateau Golan can find them at http://www.stratsplace.com/cgi...rID=4
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Chateau Golan - Three New Releases - Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Chateau Golan - Three New Releases - Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 04:59 September 28,2004
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Not too long ago several people asked if I had tasted the newly released wines of Chateau Golan. Those wines were part of my blind tastings this morning (Tuesday, 28 Sep 2004). Following are my tasting notes.
Best,
Rogov

Chateau Golan , Syrah, Cuvee Naturel, Royal Reserve, 2001: Surprisingly intense, tannic and concentrated for a medium- to full-bodied wine but now opening beautifully. Deep purple in color, reflecting its 14 months in French oak with spices and a generous dash of vanilla, those complemented nicely by jammy black fruits. Enjoyable now but best from 2005-2008. Score 90.

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2002: Still young but already showing medium to full-body, good balance, concentration and length, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and about 9% Cabernet Franc offers an appealing array of ripe cherry, currant, red plum, jammy strawberry and spicy flavors overlaid by light toasty oak, and a moderately long, near-sweet finish. Look as well for a hint of tobacco on the finish. Drink now–2007. NIS 128. Score 89.

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, Royal Reserve, 2003: Made entirely from Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the northern Golan, fermented in stainless steel and then partly oak aged, a multi-layered wine, showing at first citrus and pineapple, those yielding nicely to pear, floral and herbal aromas and flavors. Generous alcohol (14%) but that balanced by natural acidity. Long, mouthfilling and elegant. Drink now-2007. NIS 115. Score 91.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Chateau Golan - With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Chateau Golan - With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 10:29 February 11,2005
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Tuesday, 25 January 2005, found me at Chateau Golan for extended tastings with winemaker Uri Hetz. In addition to early 2004 barrel tastings, I also did advance and re-tastings, among the most fascinating of which were those wines that Hetz allowed to undergo spontaneous fermentation relying on wild yeasts. Because I posted not that long ago about several recently released wines from Chateau Golan (see http://stratsplace.zeroforum.c...=7030 ), and those re-tastings were fully consistent with earlier, notes I will not post here again. Following, however are my tasting notes for wines tasted or re-tasted and not posted upon recently.
Considering that the subject of coffee served at wineries has come up before and quite a few continue to IM me about that, let me comment that this was an excellent tasting, the company and the discussion was most rewarding and many of the wines I tasted were excellent but the coffee, for lack of a better term "lacked charm". It's okay. Considering all of the rest, I forgive them!
Best, Rogov
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Royal Reserve, Merlot 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with generous but yielding tannins and tempting layers of plum, currant and black cherry fruits matched nicely by a light hint of herbaceousness. Rich and long. Best 2006-2010.Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 25 January 2005)

Eliad, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): A barrel-aged,deep garnet blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc. Rich, intense and complex, with concentrated fruits and spices on the noise and palate. Look for layers of plums, blackberries, currants and spicy oak. Needs time to show its elegance. Best 2007-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 25 January 2005)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2003 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, earthy and aromatic, with an appealing array of currant, vanilla and herbal flavors that fold together well. A long, deep finish showing richness and concentration. Best 2006-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 25 January 2005)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Deep and tannic, still young and tight but showing excellent focus and concentration. Full bodied, packed with tannins waiting to integrate but with the inherent balance to develop beautifully, the tannins integrating with time to reveal a smooth and supple wine with aromas and flavors of currant, black cherries, anise, attractive earthy- herbal overtones and hints of green olives. Tentative Score 91 – 93. Best 2006-2012. (Re-tasted 25 January 2005)

Royal Reserve, Syrah, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Blended with 15% of Grenache to flush out the elegance of the wine, this remains as it did during barrel tastings a year earlier a classic Syrah with distinct Mediterranean overtones. Combining assertiveness with complexity, this spicy, gamy wine offers up appealing smoke and black pepper along with deep raspberry and floral aromas and flavors. Tentative Score 89 – 91. (Re-tasted 25 January 2005)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Franc, Rose, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Somewhere in color between bright cherry red and that of red rose petals, far deeper than one might think at first glance, this medium-bodied, soft and round rose shows very appealing aromas and flavors of raspberries, cassis and cranberries, turning almost sweet on the surprisingly long finish. Meant for youthful drinking, that is to say from release and then for another year. Score 87. (Tasted 25 January 2005)

2004 Barrel Tastings

It is very early days for these wines, but not so early that one cannot form some firm impressions, the most important of those being that winemaker Uri Hetz continues to develop a series of often fascinating signature wines.

Sauvignon Blanc, 2004: Several samples, one developing in three year old barrels, showing citrus, melon, pear and grapefruit flavors; another in newer barrels reflecting figs, bees' wax and light herbaceousness; and yet another, having been allowed to ferment spontaneously, now in larger barrels showing greater roundness and (in the most positive sense) a truly savage nature. All with promise but the last demonstrating that J.J. Rousseau might have been right after all – there truly can be a "noble savage"

Syrah, 2004: Allowed to undergo spontaneous fermentation and relying entirely on wild yeasts, this dark, tannic and remarkably bright wine opens at first with an almost passionate raspberry sensation, that yields to reveal a medium-bodied somewhat rugged, lightly peppery and chewy wine that will call to mind the wines of St. Joseph in the Rhone Valley.

Grenache, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied, with moderate levels of soft tannins on a background of syrupy plum, cassis and wild berry flavors. Probably to be blended with the Syrah.

Petite Verdot, 2004: Dark purple, with orange and violet reflections, deeply tannic, with earthy, tobacco overtones opening to reveal tempting black fruits.

Merlot, 2004: Deep garnet, dark, full bodied and firmly tannic. Anything but a wine that would be thought of as "feminine" and with enormous potential.

Cabernet Franc, 2004: Deep royal purple in color, with generous black fruits and already showing hints of lead pencil, herbal and black fruits.

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Dark purple towards black, with cassis, wild berry fruits and already showing good balance between tannins, wood and ripe fruits. Potentially excellent.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Chateau Golan: Tasting Notes for Five New Releases (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Chateau Golan: Tasting Notes for Five New Releases
Posted by: Rogov at 11:40 January 22,2006
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From the moment that Chateau Golan released its first wines, those from the 2000 vintage, a great many people have chuckled not-so-quietly at the winery's choice to label their wines somewhat pompously as Royal Reserve, at the perhaps questionable taste of the poem on the rear labels of their wines and at the shape of the bottles which are difficult to stack in wine refrigerators. Even more people have commented that at prices of up to NIS 165 per bottle on release, these wines are simply beyond the means of many wine lovers.
The fact, however is that despite the chuckling and the complaints, the winery is managing very nicely to sell all of their wines. Perhaps even more important, winemaker Uri Hetz has managed within just a few short years to turn this into one of most up-and-coming wineries in the country, the wines often attaining high levels of excellence. Following are reviews of five recently released wines. No one will call the wines "good value for money" but calling them excellent is most definitely in order.
I shall, by the way, be visiting the winery for barrel, advance and re-tastings on 9 February and will post detailed notes after that visit.
Best
Rogov

Chateau Golan, Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2003: Aged in oak for 12 months, this deep garnet towards royal purple medium- to full-bodied blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon (86%, 13% and 1% respectively) shows fine balance between generous tannins, spicy wood and currant, berry fruits, those backed up nicely by hints of herbaceousness and, on the long finish hints of licorice and green olives. Concentrated well focused. Approachable now but best from 2007-2010. NIS 140. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2006)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2003: A oak-aged blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% of Cabernet Franc, still young and tight but with excellent focus and concentration. Full-bodied with still firm tannins waiting to settle down and already showing tempting aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, black cherries and anise, those matched nicely by hints of herbaceousness on the generous finish. Best 2007-2012. NIS 130. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Jan 2006)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, Limited Edition, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Blended with 15% of Grenache to flush out the elegance of the wine, this is a classic Syrah with distinct Mediterranean overtones. Combining assertiveness with complexity, this spicy, gamy wine offers up appealing smoke and black pepper along with deep raspberry and floral aromas and flavors. Drink now–2009. NIS 165. Score 90. (Re-tasted 17 Jan 2006)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Franc, Royal Reserve, Limited Edition, 2003: Showing even better than at an earlier tasting. Full-bodied, earthy and aromatic with an appealing array of currant, plum and wild berry fruits, those backed up nicely by vanilla and spices from the oak as well as an appealing hint of earthiness that appears on the moderately long finish. Rich and concentrated. Drink now-2010. NIS165. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 20 Jan 2006)

Chateau Golan, Eliad, Royal Reserve, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: A barrel-aged,deep garnet blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc. Rich, intense and complex, with concentrated fruits and spices on the noise and palate. Look for layers of plums, blackberries, currants and spicy oak. Needs time to show its elegance. Best 2007–2012. NIS 152. Score 91. (Re-tasted 20 Jan 2006)

Note: Prices are in Israeli Shekels and the exchange rate today is approximately US$1.00 = NIS 4.6
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Chateau Golan: Barrel Tastings, Advance Tastings and a Few Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Chateau Golan: Barrel Tastings, Advance Tastings and a Few Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 09:31 February 11,2006
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On Thursday, 9 February 2006, I devoted much of a very rewarding and pleasant day to barrel tastings, advance tastings and several re-tastings at Chateau Golan.
Located on Moshav Eliad in the Golan Heights, Chateau Golan released their first wines from the 2000 vintage under the hand of Oregon and California trained winemaker Uri Hetz. Vineyards owned by the winery currently yield Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Mouvredre and Viognier. Other grapes are being planted, these including Rousanne and Grenache Blanc. Production is currently between 70-75,000 bottles and future production is estimated at somewhat over 100,000 bottles annually. To date the winery has released wines in one series, Royal Reserve, that including the proprietary blend, Eliad. What continue to fascinate at Chateau Golan is the increased devotion and success that the winemaker has in maintaining varietal loyalty.
Three weeks ago I reviewed the recently released wines of the 2003 vintage (see http://stratsplace.zeroforum.c...10359 ) so will not bother to repeat those notes here. I will, however, say that Hetz, possibly because he reads our forum occasionally and knows that I tend to comment about the quality of the coffee served at the various wineries I visit, went out of his way to bring his personal macchinetta* to the winery and the coffee I received (I drank three cups after the wine tasting) was delicious. That adds not a single point to any of the wines I tasted but it did add to the pleasure of my day.

Barrel Tastings

Royal Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from two unblended components, one in stainless steel, the other in oak casks and already showing the potential to be an aromatic, medium-bodied wine, somewhat of a variation on a theme because although clearly reflecting terroir without the usual herbaceous and sometimes pungency of Sauvignon, delightfully aromatic, with a tempting array of spices and peppery character and showing tempting pear, apple, melon and mineral flavors that linger very nicely. Impeccably balanced and long. Best from release and with definite cellaring potential. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Grenache, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Ripe, rich and with generous oak-accented blackberry, black cherry, spicy and black pepper flavors. True to its variety, with an attractive hint of greenness and, despite full-body and still moderately firm tannins, almost floating on the palate. Best from release-2010, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Syrah, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, those already showing the potential for a bold, dark-hued and thoroughly rich wine, thick and plush on first attack, opening to reveal a tempting array of spicy blackberry, boysenberry, pomegranate and citrus peel, those with light green and meaty notes as the wine lingers comfortably on the palate. Best 2007-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Merlot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): A thoroughly modern wine with soft tannins, forward fruits and generous wood but plush and delicious, packed with fruits, herbaceousness, mocha and vanilla, those coming together nicely and opening on the long, gently sicy finish to show hints of currants and blueberries. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Subtle and seductive, with generous tannins integrating nicely and fruits and spices lingering comfortably and long. On the nose and palate fresh currant, dark berry and black cherry fruit matched nicely by bell peppers, cigar box and lead pencil notes. Promising length, depth and elegance. Best 2008-2011, possibly longer. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, those showing a firm, full-bodied but vibrant style, with spicy, mocha-tinged blackcurrant, blackberry and herbal aromas and flavors, all finishing with hints of leather. Best 2008-2011, possibly longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Petit Verdot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Not yet known if this wine is to be bottled as a varietal or used as a blending agent but my advice would be to bottle it on its own. As intense in its cassis, red berry and red plum fruits as in generous overlays of game meat, dark chocolate and smoky oak, all of which seem to be integrating nicely, this is a wine with the potential for being "something special". On the long finish reminding one somewhat of a chocolate ice-cream sundae with raspberrysauce. Best 2008-2012, possibly longer. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Eliad, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Not yet a final blend but showing deeper, more earthy and a generous hint of tobacco than found in earlier releases. With generous cherry, currant and plum aromas and flavors set off nicely by lightly smoky wood, fine-grained tannins, those in fine balance and blossoming on a long finish to reveal red cherries and a hint of licorice. Best 2008-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Advance Tastings

Royal Reserve, Rose, 2005 (Advance Tasting): As it was last year, made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes. With the color of peaches in their first bloom, medium-bodied and far more complex than one usually anticipates in a rose. On the nose and palate peaches, strawberries, rosewater and wild berries. As dry as one could want but with an irresistible near-honeyed finish Drink from release. Score 88. (Tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Grenache-Syrah, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Deep purple in color, a blend of 39% Grenache and 61% Syrah, with gripping tannins well balanced by spicy wood, chocolate and an array of black cherry, plum, tar, and spices, all of which linger nicely on the finish. Best starting in 2007. Score 89. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Syrah, 2004 (Advance Tasting): On first attack dense and muscular but opening nicely in the glass to show a high level of faithfulness to the variety. Ripe and balanced, with firm tannins in fine balance with acidity, wood and minerals. On the nose and palate blackberries, red currants, licorice, Oriental spices and mineral aromas and flavors that go on to a long and supple finish. Drink from release-2009. Score 90. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Merlot, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Blended with 5% Cabernet Franc and 6% Syrah, complex, concentrated and elegant, showing a rich array of currant, blackberry and wild berry fruits, those supported nicely by hints of earthy minerals, sage and anise. Well focused, generous and long. Approachable young but best 2008-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Advance Tasting): Blended with 15% of Cabernet Franc, dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with layers of black currants and plums matched nicely by minerals, toasty oak and hints of spices. On the long finish generous hints of cocoa powder and nutmeg. Best 2008-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Eliad, 2004 (Advance Tasting): A blend this year of Caernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (70%, 21%, 3% and 6% respectively), this may be the most intense wine released to date by the winery. Dark garnet in color, ripe and complex, showing ripe plum, berry, floral, coffee and earthy aromas and flavors all of which come together beautifully and lead to a long and graceful finish. Approachable early but best from 2008-2012. Score 92. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Re-Tasting Two Wines

After barrel and advance tastings I went on to re-taste one red and one white, both of which I have written about on more than one occasional earlier. Re-tastings such as these are always fascinating because in addition to giving one the opportunity to see how a wine has developed over time, it also gives the critic (or the wine lover) a chance to see how accurate his original predictions were.

Royal Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc, 2002: As lively and fresh as it was during earlier tastings. My original tasting note holds firmly: Fermented partly in stainless steel vats and partly in oak and then allowed to rest sur lie for six months, this medium-bodied, deep golden straw white offers up aromas and flavors of melons and pears on the first attack, those then yielding to tropical fruits, all with generous herbal-tobacco overlays. Crisp, long and elegant. Drink now–2007. Score 91. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

Royal Reserve, Merlot, 2001: Since my last tasting (14 Jan 2005), this wine has picked up a bit of depth and length. Other than that, my original tasting note holds firmly. Medium to full-bodied, this elegant and intense Merlot, blended with 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon, was aged in French oak casks for one year. Dark in color, the wine has deep, still firm tannins, well balanced by raspberry, plum and currant fruits, those on a complex background of dark chocolate and vanilla, and a long, sweet finish. Drink now–2008. Score 91. (Re-tasted 9 Feb 2006)

* For those not familiar with the macchinetta, this is the Italian name for various, often aluminum, stovetop espresso makers. These simple but brilliant gadgets, available almost everywhere and at generally quite reasonable prices work by heating water to create pressure, that pressure forcing the water quickly through the coffee grinds. Use fine quality coffee and the result can be splendid. See the attached illustration.
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Chateau Golan: Tasting Notes for New Releases (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Chateau Golan: Tasting Notes for New Releases
Posted by: Rogov at 11:56 December 14,2006
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Yesterday (Wednesday, 13 November), part of my afternoon was passed at a tasting of seven newly released wines of Chateau Golan. The tasting, led by winemaker Uri Hetz, was held at Tel Aviv's Messa restaurant and the new wines were served formally, that is to say, before food was served.

Chateau Golan, Rose, Royal Reserve, 2006 (Advance Tasting): One of the few rose wines you will find that actually has a rose petal reddish-pink color. Medium-bodied, made from Cabernet Franc grapes, with strawberry, raspberry, nectarine and wild berry fruits. Crisply dry and refreshing with just enough complexity to enchant. Drink now-2008. Score 87. (Tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, Royal Reserve, 2005: Light straw in color and deeply aromatic, this medium-bodied white, developed partly in oak and partly in stainless steel, shows tempting pear, citrus, apple and melon fruits, those supported nicely by minerals and a nice hint of white pepper. Drink now-2008. NIS 132. Score 90. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2004: Aged in large oak barrels for 14 months, this medium- to full-bodied and firmly tannic wine opens beautifully in the glass to reveal ripe blackberry, currant and raspberry fruits, all with a delicate hint of near-sweetness and spring flowers. On the long and generous finish hints of spices, licorice and smoked meat. Best 2008-2011. NIS 153. Score 90. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Geshem, Royal Reserve, 2004: A new blend from the winery, this of 62% Syrah and 38% Grenache. Dark ruby towards garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, ripe tannins integrating nicely and showing currant and berry fruits, those matched nicely by spices, freshly crushed herbs and, as the wine sits on the palate hints of orange peel and black tea. A long super-fruity finish here. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2008-2010.NIS 185. Score 91. (Tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2004: A blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc (89%, 6% and 5% respectivey), aged in oak for 13 months, this medium-dark garnet wine shows near-sweet tannins and a light earthy minerality, those supporting generous red currant, berry and cherry aromas and flavors. On the long finish hints of sage and anise to tantalize. Best 2008-2012. NIS 142. Score 92. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2004: Blended with 15% of Cabernet Franc, aged in French and American oak for 12 months, medium- to full-bodied, with tannins and lightly smoky wood integrating nicely to highlight blackberry, currant and purple plum fruits, those opening to hints of strawberries and spices. Best 2008-2012. NIS 136. Score 91. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Eliad, 2004: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: A blend this year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (70%, 21%, 3% and 6% respectively), this may be the most intense wine released to date by the winery. Dark garnet in color, ripe and complex, showing deep plum, berry, floral, coffee, peppery and earthy aromas and flavors all coming together beautifully in a long and graceful finish. Best 2008–2012. NIS 154. Score 92. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)
Also tasted, two somewhat more mature wines from the winery:

Chateau Golan, Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2001: My most recent tasting note (13 May 2006) holds firmly: Medium to full-bodied, this elegant and intense Merlot, blended with 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon, was aged in French oak casks for one year. Dark in color, the wine has deep, still firm tannins, well balanced by raspberry, plum and currant fruits, those on a complex background of dark chocolate and vanilla, and a long, sweet finish. Drink now–2008. Score 91. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, Royal Reserve, 2002: When last I tasted this wine (14 Apr 2006), I advised "drink up". That was good advice, for wine is now declining rapidly, turning to sweet but not entirely fresh caramel and picking up medicinal and far too herbal overlays. Perhaps still drinkable but most definitely well past its peak. No longer scoreable. (Re-tasted 13 Dec 2006)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Chateau Golan: Barrel and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Chateau Golan: Barrel and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 15:01 April 17,2007
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My day today (Tuesday, 17 Apr 2007) was devoted largely to traveling to, visiting and doing tastings at Chateau Golan. My thanks to winemaker Uri Hetz and to the staff of the winery for a fascinating tasting and their many courtesies (including at least one very good French cheese after the tasting)
Best
Rogov
A fully modern winery located on Moshav Eliad on the southern Golan Heights, overlooking the intersection of theYarmuch and Rokad rivers, Chateau Golan released their first wines from the 1999 vintage and the winery continues under the hand of Oregon and California trained winemaker Uri Hetz.
Vineyards owned by the winery currently yield Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Carignan, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Mouvredre and Viognier grapes. In the planning stages are vineyards planted in Roussane, Touriga Nacional and Grenache Blanc. Production is currently about 65,000 bottles and potential future production is estimated at somewhat over 100,000 bottles annually. To date the winery has released wines in one series, Royal Reserve, that including the proprietary blend, Eliad.
As reflected in the tasting notes that follow, the 2005 vintage is going to prove splendid for the winery and the wines of 2006, although good, even excellent, will lack both the boldness and the aging potential of their 2005 brothers and sisters. More important, winemaker Hetz continues to put his personal signature on his wines, perhaps more than any other winemaker in the country showing us the charm of Old World wines from the distinctly New World.
As reading my tasting notes, keep in mind that the 2006 barrel tasting notes were made from as yet unblended components. The projected tasting notes are thus my own and time will tell how accurate they are.

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-dark garnet, with a hint of sweetness on the nose, turning firm on the palate with mouthcoating tannins and hints of wood. High alcohol here but no sense of hotness as the wine opens to light oak and mocha, those supporting currants, blackberries and a hint of vanilla bean that adds a nice touch and tannins and fruits rising on the finish. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Advance Tasting): One of those "oh wow" wines that you come across from time to time. Almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, showing an intriguing combination of intensity, concentration and elegance A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc, opening with spicy, mocha-tinged blackcurrants, those yielding to blackberries, herbs and light oak. Hints of light sea salt and leather on the super-long finish make the wine intriguing. Perhaps the best yet from the winery. Best 2009-2015. Score 94. (Re-tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Syrah, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components but already promising to be ripe, fruity and floral. Medium-dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with a generous but softly tannic structure and spicy wood in fine balance and showing blackberry, spices, a light veggie overtone and a hint of at what this stage feels like lime peel. Promising refinement. Best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Syrah, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Showing even better than at barrel tastings Blended with 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in large French barrels for 11 months. Dark, rich and plush from first attack, opening to show a tempting array of spicy blackberry, raspberry, red currants and pomegranate fruits those matched nicely by hints of citrus peel. Bold, with distinctly Old-World charm showing a light greenness, minerality and tantalizing meaty notes. Long and generous. Drink from release-2012. Score 92. (Re-tsted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Geshem, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from yet unblended components, those including Grenache and Syrah now developing separately. Medium dark garnet towards royal purple, showing moderately soft but mouth-coating tannins and tantalizing dusty oak, those yielding to blueberry, plum, vanilla and bitter-sweet chocolate. Not concentrated but plush, with flavors that linger long and gently on the palate. Best 2008-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)
Royal Reserve, Geshem, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Medium dark garnet, a blend this year of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, reflecting its aging in French oak for 11 months with a light, pleasingly musky overtone Opens with a near raspberry liquor nose, that settling down to reveal oak-accented aromas and flavors of blackberries, cherries and black pepper. Deep and with impressive length, without ever feeling heavy on the palate. Best 2008-2014. Score 93. (Re-tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Merlot, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-dark purple in color, medium-bodied with soft tannins and opening with a green, veggie nature but that moving quickly in the glass to currants and damson plums, all with an exotic spicy note that creeps in from mid-palate and lingers through the finish. Vibrant and just complex enough to grab the attention. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Merlot, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A thoroughly modern but still "old-worldish" wine, with good acidity, gentle wood and fruits in good balance. Showing a bit green now but that opening to currant and blueberry fruits, those complemented nicely by mocha, chocolate and vanilla. Look for a long, lightly spicy finish. Balance, harmony and finesse here. (Note to myself: Why does this wine remind me of the Merlot of Sicily's Cusomono winery?) Drink from release-2010. Score 90. (Re-asted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Eliad, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet towards royal purple with orange reflections. Full-bodied, intense and concentrated, opening with a core of raspberry and red currant fruits, going on to black cherries. With ripe tannins, a hint of saltiness that tantalizes, a ripe and complex wine in which the oak plays only a minor role. Best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Eliad, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Another absolute winner from the vintage. Aged in oak French oak for 13 months, a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Syrah, opens with rich almost syrup-like fruits on the nose, goes on to show depth and grace. Soft tannins, light smoky wood, find-grained tannins in fine balance with berry, black cherry, currants and licorice. Drink from release-2012. Score 93. (Re-tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Royal Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Light golden in color, aromatic, bright and lithe but showing fine concentration and balance. On the nose and palate good balance between ripe fruit, smart acidity and a silky texture echoing lime, passion fruit and the barest hint of spicy oak that go on to a long finish. Drink from release. Score 90. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Also tasted from barrels, but destined for blending and not for varietal releases

Cabernet Franc, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet, with a distinct veggie nature and hints of boiled peanuts on the black fruits here. Intriguing. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)
Petit Verdot, 2006 (Barrel Tasting); Super-dark garnet in color, a dense, almost chewable wine, opening slowly to reveal plum, blackberry, coffee and earthy-herbal aromas and flavors. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

Petite Sirah, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): The only debate with this wine is whether to call it "huge" or "immense. Inky purple towards black in color, rich, loaded with eucalyptus, plums, black cherries, sage and meaty overtones. Big enough to tame the tannins here. (Tasted 17 Apr 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Chateau Golan + Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Chateau Golan + Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 10:54 January 24,2008
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Yesterday (Wednesday, 23 January 2008), I made my way to the Golan Heights to visit and do tastings with winemaker Uri Hetz at Chateau Golan. To my surprise and pleasure, the sky was blue and although crisply cool, far from cold, in fact the coldest place we visited being the extensive cellars of the winery. Tastings took two forms – barrel and tank tastings from the 2007 vintage, those almost entirely from components and advance tastings from the 2006 vintage.
My tasting notes follow. Also posted, recent tasting notes for the 2005 wines now released. For those trying to decode my methodology – those wines tasted from components almost surely meant for blending, the blends yet unknown even to the winemaker are now awarded scores. The great advantage to tasting such wines is to gain a glimpse into how both vineyards are developing and how the winemaker perceives the future development of his wines.
My thanks to Uri and others at the winery for a fine tasting, for good discussion and good company, and for some nice cheeses, salami and pate after the tasting. And, of course, for several cups of espresso.

2007 Barrel Tastings

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, Royal Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): With 60% of the wine fermented and developing sur lie in 350 liter barrels and 40% of the wine developing in stainless steel but already showing the promise of being an medium-bodied, aromatic wine with generous notes of citrus and orange peel together with a charming hint of what Jancis Robinson so appropriately called "cat's peel on a mulberry bush". Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Grenache, Royal Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Medium-dark ruby towards garnet, smooth and velvety with generous plum, cherry and currant fruits all hinting at sweet spices and leading to a long finish on which mineral and a light salty note creep comfortably in. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied and concentrated enough to be thought of as dense, and well structured enough that the 15.5% alcohol content slides by comfortably. Whether the light sensation of sweetness comes from the tannins or the alcohol is difficult to say at this moment but a stylish wine with plum, licorice, violet and graphite notes that run to a long and generous finish. Enticing. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 89-91 (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Franc, Royal Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): This could be a textbook Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, especially when one looks at the area of Chinon. Smooth and velvety, with plenty of tannins but those soft and gently mouth-coating and opening to show black cherry currant, blueberry and tobacco notes, those complemented by hints of tobacco. As this one develops look for hints of green olives and briar. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 22 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, well extracted, deep and concentrated, showing generous soft tannins. Generous blackberry, licorice and chocolate here, those parting to revel hints of raspberries and cassis all leading to a long, lightly toasty finish. Delicious even at this super-early stage but deserves time. Best from 2010. Tentative Score 90-92 (Tasted 22 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, one medium-bodied with gentle tannins and distinct hints of elegance, the second darker in color, more intense and concentrated. As predictions go, destined to be medium- to full-bodied, smooth and with gentle but mouth-coating tannins opening to show blackberry and currant fruits that become supple and hold one's attention to the end. Best from release-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 22 Jan 2008)

2007 – From the Barrel But Strictly Component Tastings
Chateau Golan, French Colombard, 2007 (Tank Tasting): Fresh and lively, loaded with pear, citrus and floral aromas and flavors a refreshing and thoroughly pleasant but not overly complex white, almost certainly destined for blending. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)
Chateau Golan, Grenache Blanc, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): A distinctive white, with floral aromas and flavors matched nicely by spicy nuts, ginger, figs and green apples all with a hint of lime on the finish. Reminds me of the delightful Grenache Blanc wines of Languedoc's Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes. Alas, destined for blending. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)
Chateau Golan, Viognier, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Relatively light but rich, ripe and fragrant, with pear, spicy and floral aromas and flavors that hold through to a long finish on which generous metallic and flinty elements rise along with a hint of almonds.. For blending. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)
Chateau Golan, Mourvedre, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Its medium-body and cherry red color reflecting that this was made from very young vines, but with soft tannins a gentle and round wine with raspberry, black cherry, blackberry and chocolate notes with just the barest hint of grilled meat creeping in. Might make a lovely quaffer but destined for blending. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)
Chateau Golan, Petit Verdot 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Delicious even now but another "alas" for destined only for blending. Supple and velvety, with gently mouth-coating tannins and appealing currant, berry and floral notes that carry on nicely to a long fruity and lightly minted finish. (Tasted 23 Jan 2008)

2006 and 2007 Barrel and Advance Tastings

Chateau Golan, Eliad, Royal Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet, full-bodied and with fine balance and structure, a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.5% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Opens with red and black berries, those joined by blackcurrant and black cherries, those supported by a light note of spicy oak and sweet cedar wood. Ripe, round and generous, will most assuredly call to mind Bordeaux with a Mediterranean hint added by notes of fresh herbs and black olives. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 91-93. (Re-tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Gsehem, 2006 (Advance Tasting): A blend of 81% Grenache, 14% Syrah and 5% of Mourvedre, each developed separately and having spent a total of 13 months in barriques. Medium-dark garnet, medium-bodied, opening quietly on the nose but showing very nicely indeed on the palate, opening to reveal raspberry, blueberry, cherries and red currant fruits, those supported nicely by vanilla and hints of spices and bittersweet chocolate. Long and generous. Best 2009-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Medium-dark garnet towards royal purple in color, full-bodied, this blend of 89% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 3% Syrah was aged in oak for 12 months. Soft tannins and spicy wood are in fine proportion with fruits and acidity. On the nose and palate ripe blackberries and plums, those matched nicely by spices and hints of citrus peel and saddle leather. Best 2009-2012. Score 90. (Re-tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Showing much as at barrel tastings. Medium-bodied, with soft, near-sweet tannins, opens with a green, veggie nature but changes quickly in the glass to currants and damson plums, all with an exotic spicy note that creeps in from mid-palate and lingers through the finish. Vibrant and just complex enough to grab attention. Drink from release–2011. Score 89. 9Re-tasted 23 Jan 2008)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Cabernet Sauvignon bended with 9% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Syrah and 1.5% Petit Verdot. Oak aged for 12 months medium-dark garnet, with a hint of sweetness on the nose, turning firm on the palate with mouth-coating tannins and hints of wood. Opens to light oak and mocha, which support currants, blackberries and a hint of vanilla bean that adds a nice touch; tannins and fruits rising on the finish. Best 2009–2012. Score 89. (Re-tasted 23 Jan 2008).

2005- Currently on the Market

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2005: Almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, this wine is both concentrated and elegant. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc, opening with spicy, mocha-tinged black currants, those yielding to blackberries, herbs and light oak. Hints of light sea salt and leather on the super-long finish make the wine intriguing. Perhaps the best yet from the winery. Best 2009–2015. Score 94.

Chateau Golan, Eliad, 2005: Aged in French oak for 13 months, this blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Syrah opens with rich, almost syrup-like fruits on the nose, and goes on to show depth and grace. Soft tannins, light smoky wood, fine-grained tannins in good balance with berry, black cherry, currants and licorice. Drink now–2012. Score 93.

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2005: Blended with 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in large French barrels for 11 months. Dark, rich and plush from first attack, opening to show a tempting array of spicy blackberry, raspberry, red currants and pomegranate fruits, those matched nicely by hints of citrus peel. Bold, with distinctly Old-World charm, showing a light greenness, minerality and tantalizing meaty notes. Long and generous. Drink now-2012. Score 92.
Eli R
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WTN: Orna Chillag winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:15 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to The Winery of Orna Chillag - With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to The Winery of Orna Chillag - With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 11:22 February 13,2005
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On Wednesday, 2 Feb 2005, I visited the winery of Orna Chillag (which, for the uninitiated is housed in the winery of Barry Saslove, the two working in cooperation but completely independently). My goal was primarily to accompany barrel and advance tastings, and these demonstrated that Chillag indeed deserves to be thought of as one of the "rising stars" on the local wine scene.
In addition to Chillag's regular releases, I also had a first opportunity to taste her first kosher wine, "Orna" by Chllag, the wine having been produced at Carmel's Rishon le Tzion facliity and approximately 15,000 bottles are now making their appearance in North America, the UK and France.
Following are my tasting notes.
Best,
Rogov

Primo Riserva, Merlot Govanni, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deep purple, with sweet, soft tannins, well balanced by currant, plum and spicy aromas and flavors. Soft, round and long. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 2 Feb 2005)

Primo Riserva, Merlot Govanni, 2003 (Advance Tasting): Dark royal purple with orange and violet reflections, needing some time for the still firm tannins to integrate but already showing an elegant array currant, cherries and spices along with a gentle modicum of oak. On the finish hints of coffee and herbs. Best 2006-2009. Score 90. (Tasted 2 Feb 2005)

Riserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Still in embryonic form but already rich, ripe and intense, with a tight core of currant, plumand black cherry aromas and flavors, those complemented nicely by hints of anise. Plush tannins promise to settle in nicely. Best 2007-2010. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 2 Feb 2005)

Riserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003(Barrel Tasting): Harmonious and supple, with a generous array of currants, cherries and plums, those with tempting overlays of toasty oak, spices and soft but mouth-coating tannins. Best 2006-2009. Score 90. (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2005)

The Kosher Edition

Orna, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2003: Made from grapes specially selected at the Zarit Vineyard in the Kadesh Valley of the Upper Galilee and aged in French oak casks for 14 months. Well balanced, ripe and chewy, with plum and blackcurrant aromas and flavors that linger nicely on the palate. Not overly tannic, the wine is drinking nicely despite its youth. Best now-2007. Score 89. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2005)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Saslove and Chillag Wineries: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Saslove and Chillag Wineries: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 12:58 March 16,2006
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Yesterday (Wednesday, 15 March 2006) found me on Kibbutz Eyal, there visiting the winery of Barry Saslove. Because the physical facility also hosts the winemaking facilities of Orna Chillag, I happily doubled-up my work and first, in the good company of Barry Saslove and his daughter Ronni and then in the equally good company of Orna Chillag to do tastings of the wines of both wineries. Happily for me and despite that yesterday was the Ides of March, no-one carrying a sharp knife made even the hint of an appearance. In fact, I was even offered a good cup of coffee.
As a point of information, Saslove is currently moving his operations to a now under construction facility in the industrial area of Ramat Dalton in the Upper Galilee, that quite near his own vineyards, and Chillag is in the process of relocating to a new facility in the industrial area of the town of Yahud.
Chillag
After studying oenology in Piacenza, Italy and working at the Antinori wineries in Tuscany, Chillag released her first wines in Israel in 1998. Now located in a new facility in the industrial area of the town of Yahud, and the winery relies on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Upper Galilee, the winey has recently planted its own Syrah, Petit Verdot and Petit Sirah.. Production has grown from 4,000 bottles in 2002 to 12,000 each in 2003 and 2004 and 15,000 in 2005. Anticipated future production is 20,000 bottles.
In addition to regular releases in two series, Primo Riserva and Giovani, Chillag also produces a line of kosher wines under the label “Orna” at Carmel in Rishon Letzion. Made from hand-selected grapes grown in the Zar’it vineyards in the Upper Galilee, 15,000 bottles of Chillag’s first kosher Cabernet Sauvignon were released in mid-2005.

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Primo Riserva, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Delicious stuff. Full-bodied, deeply tannic and even now with generous but judicious wood, all in fine balance with tempting blackberry, red currant and Oriental spices, all leading to a rich, long and blueberry-laded finish. Best from 2008-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 15 Mar 2006)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Primo Riserva, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet towards purple in color, with firm tannins but those well balanced with wood and fruits. Rich blackberry, cherry and licorice flavors with overlays of spicy oak and licorice. Long and elegant. Best 2008-2012. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 15 Mar 2006)
Chillag, Merlot, Primo Riserva, 2004: Impressive aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, minerals and toasty oak, with somewhat firm tannins that seem not to want to integrate and a somewhat medicinal aroma that lingers. Perhaps better with time. Score 86. (Tasted 15 Mar 2006)

Chillag, Merlot, Primo Riserva, 2002: Medium- to full-bodied, with velvety tannins, this elegant and harmonious red shows tempting fresh black currant, berry and plum flavors, those with hints of cedary, spicy notes. Look for a long, vanilla and berry rich aftertaste. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 90. (Re-tasted 15 Mar 2006).

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Giovane, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Relying on Montalcino yeasts to give the wine a distinct Italian flair, this deep, dark and round wine already shows soft tannins and temptingly forward fruits, those including cherries, wild berries and cassis, those on a warmly spicy background. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 15 Mar 2006)

Chillag, Merlot, Giovane, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): As deep in its rich garnet-red color as it is in tannins and reflecting the oak casks in which it is developing with a gentle hand, this medium- to full-bodied wine is already showing generous berry, black cherry and cassis fruits, those matched with gentle hints of bitter herbs and, on the long finish a hint of peppermint. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 15 Mar 2006)

Chillag, Merlot, Giovane, 2004: Dark royal purple in color, full-bodied and with firm but caressing near-sweet tannins opening to reveal lush blackberry, currant, plum, vanilla and mocha aromas and flavors, those leading to a fruit-loaded long herbal finish. Soft, round and long. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Re-tasted 15 Mar 2006)

The Kosher Wines

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Orna, 2004: Dark royal purple in color, full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins integrating nicely. Look for aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, plums and berries, those with a nice spicy overlay. Drink now-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 15 Mar 2006)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Orna, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Made from grapes specially selected at the Zar’it Vineyard in the Kadesh Valley of the Upper Galilee and aged in French oak casks for 14 months. Ripe and chewy, with soft tannins and plum and blackcurrant aromas and flavors that linger nicely on the palate. Drink now–2007. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 15 Mar 2006)

Also tasted from barrel an experimental blend of 2005 Petit Sirah and Petit Verdot, those fermented together and now developing in oak. Ri pe and complex, beautifully focused plum, blackberry, floral, coffee and earthy aromas and flavors, those ending with toasty and herbal hints. Simultaneously intense and elegant. Best from 2008. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 15 Mar 2006)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Tasting of 6 Wines from Orna Chillag (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Tasting of 6 Wines from Orna Chillag
Posted by: Rogov at 11:16 April 28,2007
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Today's tastings included six wines from Orna Chillag. For those not familiar with Chillag or her wines, after studying oenology in Piacenza, Italy, and working at the Antinori wineries in Tuscany, she released her first wines in Israel in 1998. Now located in a new facility in the industrial area of the town of Yahud, on the central plain, the winery relies on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Upper Galilee and recently planted its own Syrah, Petit Verdot and Petit Sirah. Production has grown from 4,000 bottles in 2002 to 12,000 each in 2003 and 2004 and 15,000 in 2005 and 2006. Plans are to grow to 20,000 bottles annually.
In addition to regular releases in two series, Primo Riserva and Giovani, Chillag also produces a line of kosher wines under the label Orna at the Carmel winery in Rishon Letzion. Made from grapes grown in the Zar’it vineyards in the Upper Galilee, 15,000 bottles of Chillag’s kosher Cabernet Sauvignon were released for sale in the United States from the 2003 and 2004 vintages. Chillag also released her first rose wine from the 2006 vintage.
My tasting notes follow.
Best
Rogov

Chillag, Primo Riserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Deep garnet towards purple in color, with firm tannins well balanced with smoky wood and fruits. Rich blackberry, cherry and licorice flavors with overlays of spicy oak and licorice. Long and elegant. Drink now–2010.Score 90. (Re-tasted 28 Apr 2007)

Chillag, Primo Riserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Aged in French oak for 18 months, with a small amount of Merlot blended in, this full-bodied red shows appealing aromas and flavors of blackcurrant and ripe berry fruits, those matched nicely by spicy oak and, on the long finish, tantalizing hints of freshly turned earth and mushrooms. Needs a bit of time to let the tannins settle in. Best 2009-2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 28 Apr 2007)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Giovane, 2005: Showing a distinct Tuscan flair, this deep, dark and round medium- to full-bodied wine shows soft tannins and a tempting array of cherries, raspberries and cassis all on a warmly spicy background. Drink now-2009..Score 90. (Re-tasted 28 Apr 2007)
Chillag, Primo, Riserva, Merlot, 2004: Showing better than at an earlier tasting. Medium- to full-bodied, with now soft, round tannins, minerals and toasty oak coming together nicely to show appealing blueberries, blackberries and mineral aromas and flavors that linger nicely. Drink now-2009. Score 88. (Re-tasted 28 Apr 2007)

Chillag, Giovane, Merlot, 2005: As deep in its rich garnet-red color as it is in tannins and reflecting the oak casks in which it is developing with a gentle hand, this medium to full-bodied wine shows berry, black cherry and cassis fruits, those matched with gentle hints of bitter herbs and, on the long finish, a hint of peppermint. Drink now-2009. Score 88. (Re-tasted 28 Apr 2007)

Chillag, Rosé, 2006: Made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Rose petal pink towards orange, and medium bodied, interesting at first because of light, meaty and herbal overtones on the cherry flavors but turns flat and earthy on the finish. Drink up. Score 83.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Chillag and Villa Wilhelma Wineries (With Tasting Notes) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Chillag and Villa Wilhelma Wineries (With Tasting Notes)
Posted by: Rogov at 01:30 March 15,2008
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On Tuesday morning (11 March 2008), I made my way first to the industrial area of Yahud, there to do tastings, re-tastings and barrel tastings at the winery of Orna Chillag and afterwards, to Moshav Bnei Atarot to do the same at the Villa Whilhelma winery of Motti Goldman and Amram Surasky. My thanks to Orna, Motti and Amram for their warm reception and for their courtesies during my visit. My thanks as well to Orna for joining me after my tastings for what turned out to be a lunch so mediocre that it gave us both good cause to chuckle.
Best
Rogov

Chillag
After studying oenology in Piacenza, Italy, and working at the Antinori wineries in Tuscany, Orna Chillag released her first wines in Israel in 1998. For several years she used the facilities of the Saslove winery but now located in a still sparkling new facility in the industrial area of the town of Yahud, on the central plain, the winery relies on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Upper Galilee and the Judean Mountains and recently planted its own Syrah, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah. Production has grown from 4,000 bottles in 2002 to about 15,000 annually in 2007 and 2008.
In addition to regular releases in two series, Primo Riserva and Giovane (pronounce that JoVahNee), and a first rosé wine from the 2006 vintage, Chillag also produced a line of kosher wines under the label Orna, of which 15,000 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon were released in the United States from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 vintages.
In retrospective, Orna has received positive reviews from me since she fist started but in recent years her wines have shown even better and the winery has developed its own signature – one that reflects Israeli soil and climatic conditions but that at the same time reveals her deep feelings for the micro-world of Tuscany. Following are my tasting notes. Those wines noted with prices are currently on the market.

Chillag, Merlot, Giovane, 2005: A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 10 months in French barriques and now showing even better than at an earlier tasting.

Giovane, Merlot, 2005: As deep in its rich garnet-red color as it is in tannins, and reflecting the oak casks in which it is developing with a gentle hand, this medium to full-bodied wine shows berry, black cherry and currant fruits, those matched with gentle hints of bitter herbs and, on the long finish, a hint of peppermint. Drink now-2011. NIS 75. Score 90. (Re-tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Giovane, 2005: Blended with 10% Merlot, showing a distinct Tuscan flair, this deep garnet, round and medium to full-bodied wine shows soft tannins and a tempting array of black cherries, raspberries and cassis all on a warmly spicy background. Long and generous. Drink now–2010. NIS 75. Score 90. (Re-tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Primo Riserva, 2003: Aged in French oak for 18 months, this full-bodied red with its youthful tannins now nicely tamed, shows appealing and forward aromas and flavors of black currants, purple plums and ripe berry fruits, those matched nicely by spicy oak and, on the long finish, tantalizing hints of freshly turned earth and mushrooms. Needs a bit of time to let the tannins settle in. Drink now–2011. NIS 110. Score 90. (Re-tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauignon, Primo Riserva, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Dark, almost inky-garnet in color with once firm tannns now settling in nicely and reflecting its 18 months in French barriques with light overtones of smoky cedar wood. Rich blackberry, cherry and licorice flavors with overlays of spicy oak and licorice. Long and elegant. Drink from release-2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Merlot, Primo Riserva, 2004: Medium to full-bodied, with now soft, round tannins, minerals and gentle toasty oak reflecting the 21 moths the wine spent in barriques. Comes together to show appealing blueberries, blackberries and mineral aromas and flavors that linger comfortably. Give this one 15 minutes in the glass to open both its aromas and flavors. Drink now–2010. NIS 110. Score 89. (Re-tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Merlot, Primo Riserva, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Supple and round but with fine structure, Chillag's best to date. Blended with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 22 months in French barriques, showing dark garnet in color. Full-bodied with tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood, fresh acidity and generous fruits. On the nose and palate black cherries, plums, toasty oak and roasted coffee, finishing with plum and lead-pencil notes. Best 2009-2012. Score 92. (Tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Primo Riserva, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Showing every bit as well as during barrel tastings. Blended with 10% Merlot, reflecting its 22 months in French oak with generous but judicious spicy wood in fine balance with soft tannins and opning to show a tempting array of blackberries, currants and oriental spices, all leading to a rich, long and blueberry-laden finish. Best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91. (Re-tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon-Petite Sirah, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Oak aged for 20 months showing medium- to full-bodied and with still firm near-sweet tannins, those just starting to settle down and opening to reveal generous black fruits, those on a light background that hints nicely of licorice and bitter almonds. Easy to drink but with just enough complexity to grab and hold our interest. Drink from release-2010. Score 90. (Tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Merlot, Giovane, 2006 (Advance Tasting): A blend this year of 86% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petite Sirah. Developed for 10 months in French barriques showing medium- to full-bodied with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and opening to reveal plum and blackberry fruits those highlighted by notes of sweet toast, vanilla and minerals. Drink from relese-2010. Score 89. (Tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Petite Sirah, Giovane, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep, dark and rich, full-bodied, with firm country-style tannins and showing beautiful huckleberry, blackberry, lack cherry notes on a background of vanilla, minerals and chocolate covered cherry notes. Long and generous. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 11 Mar 2008)

Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 (Barrel Tasting) Tasted as a component and not yet destined for a specific series. Showing dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and at this embryonic stage showing a gentle hint of spicy French oak. Opens to reveal traditional Cabernet aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and blackberries, those matched nicely by hints of tobacco and chocolate. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 11 Mar 2008)
Eli R
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WTN: Dalton winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:18 am

On Sunday, 23rd of December, I made my way during the early morning hours to the Dalton Winery in the Upper Galilee, there to do extensive tastings and re-tastings in the good company of winemaker Na'ama Mualem and Alex Haruni. My thanks to them and to CEO Moshe Habib for their courtesies and after the tasting a simple but truly lovely and genuine Lebanese luncheon at Lee'ali Beirut: in the village of Jeesh on the Jeesh-Sasa road.

Dalton, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Unoaked, developed on its lees in stainless steel tanks, a crisp, lively and just complex enough wine. Lovely fruit here, with grapefruit running through but also showing citrus peel and a hint of grassiness on a light mineral background. A delight. Drink from release-2009. Score 89. K (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Chardonnay, Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Light golden in color, fermented partly with wild yeasts showing crisp citus, apple, quince fruits that open on the long finish to hints of melon. Fresh, lightly oaked and lingering nicely on the palate. Drink from release-2009, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)
Dalton, Viognier, Reserve, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Perhaps the Israeli Viognier to date most loyal to the grape. Fermented partly with wild yeasts, developing in barriques on its lees, showing intense, vibrant and complex with spice, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. Drink from release-2011. Tentative Score 89-91 K. (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Viognier, Reserve, 2006: Showing every bit as nicely as when first reviewed. Lightly oaked (4 months), medium-bodied, aromatic and with summer fruits, floral notes and hints of caramel and cinnamon. Drinking very nicely. Drink now. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Rose, 2007: Sampled from the stainless steel vat in which it is developing. Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, rose petal pink towards orange, with red berry, dried cherry and a hint of what might be citrus that comes in. Barely off-dry with plenty of acidity to keep it lively and with a pleasing light frizzante note, a refreshing and fun wine. Drink from release. Score 87. K (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton Estate,, Barbera, 2006: Oak aged for 10 months, dark ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, soft and round, showing a light hand with the oak and generous raspberry, plum and currant fruits on a gently spicy finish. Drink now-2010. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton Estate, Shiraz, 2006: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, and with soft and gently mouth-coating tannins in good balance with fresh acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate blackberries, purple plums, licorice, black pepper and hints of saddle leather and vanilla that come in on the generous finish Drink now-2010.. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton Estate,, Merlot, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Garnet towards royal purple, medium-bodied and generously aromatic, showing soft, well integrated tannins and lightly spicy oak. On the nose and palate wild berries, currants and a hint of white chocolate on the long, round finish. Drink now-2009. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrated nicely with lightly spicy wood. Opens to reveal traditional Cabernet blackcurrants and blackberries along with generous hints of berries, mint and vanilla. Not overly complex but soft, round. and generous. Drink now-2010.. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Alma, 2005: Garnet towards purple, medium to full-bodied, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot spent 16 months in French oak. Firm tannins integrating nicely with spicy oak. On the nose and palate blackberries, purple plums and a teasing hint of bitter oranges, the fruits backed up nicely by Oriental spices. Still firm tannins, spicy oak and acidity in fine balance. Drink now-2011. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton Estate, Zinfandel, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Rich and round, showing a light hand with the American oak in which it was developed. Well structured with softly mouth-coating tannins and shwing blackberry, raspberry and cassis along with hints of smoked meat and spices to add charm. Drink from release-2009, possibly a bit longer. Score 88. K (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton Estate, Zinfandel, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: This dark royal-purple wine spent 12 months in new American oak. Full-bodied, with generous near-sweet tannins and smoky and vanilla oak, it opens on the palate to reveal black cherry, raspberry and plum fruits, those backed up by hints of chocolate, vanilla and espresso coffee. A generous and mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2009. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Merlot, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, youthful royal purple in color, full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins integrating nicely with lightly spices and vanilla from the oak in which it is aging. Opens to reveal ripe and generous red plum, raspberry and coffee aromas and flavors, those supported nicely by a tantalizing hint of cigar tobacco. Long, ripe and generous. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Merlot, Reserve, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Soft and round but simultaneously round and well focused, opening in the glass to reveal silky tannins and a gentle touch with the wood, those supporing currant, berry, cocoa and light hints of mint, all of which linger very nicely on the palate. Should be ready early but will cellar nicely. Drink from release-2010. Score 89. (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Merlot, Reserve, 2004: Developing very nicely indeed. Medium- to full-bodied, with tannins that have firmed up somewhat but still remain in fine balance with wood, acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate, generous red and black berries and ripe red plums on a light tobacco and herbal background. Look as well for an appealing hint of vanilla that creeps in on the finish. Enjoyable now but best 2009-2011. Score 90. K. Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Merlot, Reserve, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Aged in oak for 14 months, dark garnet in color, with currant, plum, cherry and herbal aromas and flavors all with a light overlay of vanilla. Showing complexity and finesse. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Cabernet Sauignon, Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from three separate components, one from the Alma, one from the Ben Zimra and one from the Kfar Shamai vineyards. Potentially the best yet from the winery, promising to be super-dark in color, firmly tannic even on release but with fine balance and structure that bode well for the future. A guessing game (but an educated guessing game) on my part but anticipate a full-bodied, rich and concentrated wine, with dense fruit, coffee-hints on the oak and layers of currants, spices, green olives and cedar wood. This one will need some time to show its plushand subtle nature. Best from 2010-2014, perhaps longer. I will follow this one up carefully! TentativeScore 92-94. (Tasted 23 Dec 2007).

Note: My notes for the 2005, 2004 and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve wines, all re-tasted within the last two months, hold firmly.

Dalton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005: Dark garnet with orange and green reflections, medium- to full-bodied, with still firm tannins integrating nicely and showing light spicy oak. Opens with currants and plums, goes on to wild berries and hints of black licorice. Long, round and generous. Drink now-2010. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, , 2004: Medium to full-bodied, with a layer of spicy and toasty wood to show for its 18 months in oak, this dark garnet towards royal-purple wine shows moderately soft tannins and acidity coming together nicely. On the nose and palate blackberries, currants and an intimation of purple plums, those complemented by hints of spices and minty chocolate on the long finish. Drink now–2012. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2003: Darker garnet than in its youth, this medium to full-bodied wine is still firmly tannic, with generous oak well balanced by fruits and natural acidity. On the nose and palate black currant, black cherry and herbal-spicy aromas and flavors. Drink now–2009. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Reserve, Syrah, 2005: Blended with 10% of Viognier, nearly black in color, but a wine of remarkable elegance. Aromatic, with spicy and floral scents on first attack, those yielding to aromas and flavors of berries and plums, all backed up by hints of white pepper, and on the long finish, surprising notes of peaches and apricots. Drink now–2010. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Dalton, Late Harvest Muscat, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): En route to a new wine, not only for the winery but for the country, as this wine is being made by the Solera method. Reinforced with alcohol to a 17% alcohol level, a fortified wine showing clear floral and honeyed notes, those along with fresh and dried apricots, a clear golden color and clean, sweet but remarkably refreshing and complex on both the nose and palate. Don't expect to see a release from this wine until at least 2009, but one whose development and history I shall follow with great care. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 23 Dec 2007)

Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meron, 2004: Perhaps the best wine to date from Dalton. Deep youthful cherry towards garnet, medium to full-bodied, this well balanced wine was aged in French oak for eight months and then bottled without filtration. Generous soft tannins and ample wood, those already integrating nicely to reveal a very appealing array of red currant, raspberry and citrus peel on a peppery, lightly herbal, minty back-ground. Round, long and mouthfilling mouth-filling. Drink now–2010. Score 92. K

Single Vineyard, Merlot, Meron, 2005: Supple, rich and generous. Aged in oak for 16 months, with soft, near-sweet, mouth-coating tannins and fine balancing acidity to add liveliness to the blueberry, currant fruits, those supported nicely by hints of spices and mint that run through to the long finish. Ripe, round and polished.Drink now-2011.Score 91.K
Eli R
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WTN: Ella Valley Vineyards, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:21 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit To Ella Valley Vineyards + Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit To Ella Valley Vineyards + Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 01:06 January 7,2008
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Yesterday (Sunday, 6 January 2008), I made my way to the Ella Valley Vineyards winery, there to meet winemaker Doron Rav Hon first for espresso and gossip and then on to barrel and advance tastings as well as several re-tastings.
I have often stated that one of the keys to success, especially for a small winery, is for its wines to clearly show the signature of the winemaker. Rav Hon is doing that nicely, his wines clearly reflecting the judicious use of oak to respect the traits of the varieties used and reflecting, as closely as possible, the wines without tricks … that is to say, without fining, over-refinement or over-manipulation … that a striving towards elegance.
It should be noted, that several of the 2007 barrel tastings were made from components and, as is often the case with wines still in embryonic taste, my tasting notes are what should be thought of as "informed predictions". I will, of course, be following these wines as they continue to develop.
My thanks to Doron Rav Hon and to the staff of the winery for a fine tasting and for their many courtesies during my visit.
Best
Rogov

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot-Cabernet Franc, Vineyard's Choice, 2006 (Advance Tasting): A full-bodied blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, dark ruby towards garnet in color and reflecting its time in oak with Oriental spices and firm tannins. Opens nicely in the glass to reveal blackberry, raspberry and dried currant fruits. Generously spicy, with a tantalizing hint of red chili rising on the super-long finish. Needs time. Approachable on release but best 2010-2013, perhaps longer. Score 92. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, firm and generous, on first attack offering up a generous mouthful of cherries and berries, those yielding to blackcurrants, figs and light cedar notes, the tannins rising to yield a near-chewy finish. Best from 2009-2012. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and gently spicy wood reflecting its 14 months in oak. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot showing currants, berries and hints of pepper, all eading to an aromatic and fruity finish. Best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008))

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, youthful royal purple in color at this stage, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins. Rich and distinctive with light peppery and licorice hints running through the cherry and blackberry fruits. Look for hints of smoky oak on the long finish. Best from 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Wisely developed in one and two year old barrels and showing even better than during barrel tastings a year ago. Blended with 5% of Merlot, garnet towards royal purple with green and orange reflections, with appealing blackberry and black cherry fruits overlaid with notes of rose petals, opens slowly in the glass to reveal light tobacco and leathery notes, those on a background of crisp minerals. Tannins rise on the long finish to give grip to this elegant wine. Approachable on release but best 2009-2013. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Following through on what now seems to be a tradition, a full-bodied and firmly tannic Merlot but that showing round and well balanced, the tannins complemented nicely by light spicy oak. On the nose and palate generous plum, wild berry and exotic spices complemented nicely by notes of minerals and light toasty oak Best from 2009-2013. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Showing somewhat fuller in body than at barrel tastings, a solid, almost muscular wine but with gently gripping tannins in fine balance with spicy wood. Dark ruby towards garnet, showing a tempting array of raspberries, cherries and spices on a tempting earthy-mineral overlay. Long and generous. Drink from release-2012. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Syrah 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark royal purple at this state of its development, showing full-bodied, with soft, gently gripping tannins and a generous mouthful of red plum, wild berry and boysenberry fruits, those complemented nicely by generous hints of peppery, spicy notes. Destined to be a savory, intense and concentrated but harmonious and elegant wine with a long spicy finish and fine balancing acidity that adds to its length and charm. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 91-93. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Syrah, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Showing every bit as well as during barrel tastings. Blended with 3% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, dark, almost inky garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, deeply aromatic and showing a generous array of blackberry, black cherry and currant notes. Long and mouth-filling. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Ever Red, 2006 (Advance Tasting): A medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah (57%, 35% and 8% respectively) that was developed for 14 months in barriques. In the manner to which we have become accustome, soft, near-sweet tannins integrating nicely with red berries, red currants and light oak, all showing a gentle spicy note. Drink from release-2009. Score 88. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Ever Red, 2005: An appealing, easy to drink and just complex enough medium-bodied blend of 45% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and 10% Petite Sirah. Dark garnet towards royal-purple, medium-bodied, with soft, well-integrated tannins and appealing currant, berry and spicy overlays. Drink now–2009. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Developing partly in barriques, partly in stainless steel, promising to be a medium-bodied, crisply freshly and aromatic wine. Freshly dampened golden straw in color, showing a gentle hand with the wood with the nose and palate opening with hints of honey, flaky pastry and minerals and goes on to show yellow plum, citrus blossoms. Well structured, long and elegant. As the wine develops in bottles look for a gentle honeyed hint that will creep in. Drink from release-2012.
Tentatice Score 91-93. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Developing beautifully, showing medium- to full-bodied, light golden in color and with flavors and aromas that seem to play on the palate, shifting from moment to moment from grapefruit and nectarine to pineapple and lemon peel and finally to orange curd, all on a crisp mineral-rich background. Vibrant and lively with a long, lightly oaky and lemon blossom finish. Drink from release-2009, perhaps a bit longer. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Light straw in color, a bright and lively wine with pear, passion fruit and grapefruit showing nicely on the nose and palate and with some appealing floral, anise and sage notes in the background. Fresh and appealing. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

From here we continued with a mini-vertical tasting of both the regular Ella Valley series and the Vineyards' Choice releases of the winery's Merlot from 2002-2004.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, Vineyard's Choice, 2004: Dark garnet, with firm tannins integrating nicely now and showing sweet-and-spicy cedar notes, and opening to reveal red and black berries, currants and a light tobacco and herbal notes that come in on the long finish. Drink now-2012. Score 91. K (Re-tasted

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2004: Blended with 5% of Cabernet Sauvignon, deep royal-purple towards garnet in color, a firm but round and well-balanced wine showing black cherry, blackcurrant and spicy cedar wood, all coming to a long finish on which the fruits rise nicely. Drink now-2011. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, Vineyard's Choice, 2003: Its youthful royal purple color and generous black cherry, berry and spices show this to be an exuberant wine, but as those come together in the glass showing full-body and firm structure one begins to feel the elegance. Softening nicely now and showing long and round with an appealing spicy oak note that rises on the finish. Drink now-2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2003: My most recent tasting note (about a year ago) holds firmly: medium to full-bodied, deep garnet in color, with tannins now integrating nicely. Supple and elegant, with plum, blackberry, currant and berry fruits going to hints of cedar and spices on the long finish. Drink now–2009. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, Vineyard's Choice, 2002: Holding its own very nicely since a recent tasting and continuing to show full-bodied, with firm tannins and on the nose and palate a generous array of red plums, red currants, and berries those with hints of olives and a near-meaty note on the finish. Maturing nicely. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2002 Dark garnet in color but that now showing first hints of browning. Full-bodied, with a generous but well balanced dosage of wood and firm tannins. When first poured continues to show as it did in its youth plum and black cherry fruits but those now fading in the glass and showing first hints of oxidation. Past its peak so if you have any left, drink up. K (Re-tasted 6 Jan 2008)

Finally….
Ella Valley Vineyards, Muscat Dessert Wine, 2006: Full-bodied with lots of glycerin, avoiding the sometimes too-too flowery nature of the Muscat grape and with fine balancing acidity to set off the generous sweetness. Dark gold in color, sitting almost thickly but comfortably on the palate and showing both fresh and dried, honeyed apricots, those yielding to pear and raisin compote. Generous and long, [erhaps best not with dessert but as dessert. Score 91. K (Tasted 6 Jan 2008)

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http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=15752
On Sunday (2 December), I attended a press tasting for the unveiling of two new wines from Ella Valley Vineyards, both wines from the 2005 vintage. The wines are the winery's first Pinot Noir release and the 2005 Chardonnay which is the first Chardonnay to be released in their Vineyard Selection series.
Special thanks to winemaker Doron Rav Hon for his special courtesies before and during the tasting. My tasting notes follow for the two new wines and others that I sampled during the tasting. My notes are presented in the order of tasting and for clarity, the two new releases are underlined.
Best
Rogov

Ever Red, 2003: Deep purple, medium-bodied, this blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot was developed in barriques for 10 months. Fully mature now but continues to open in the glass to reveal gentle wood, soft tannins and appealing currant and wild berry fruits, and chocolate. A lightly spicy finish but starting to show its age. Drink up. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, 2003: Dark golden straw in color, fully mature now but continuing to show ripe and complex, with spicy pear, apple and hazelnut notes. Reflecting its ten months sur lie, fills the palate with complex and long-lingering flavors, and just the right hints of toasted white bread and yeast. A good dose of oak here but that well integrated. Not for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Medium to full-bodied and aromatic, opening with green apples and figs, those yielding to lush pears and summer fruits. Focused with a long mineral and toasted white bread finish. Drink now–2009. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, Vineyard's Choice, 2005: Reflecting its 11 months in oak with gentle vanilla, buttery and spice notes, this sparkling clear golden straw colored wine shows a complex and concentrated array of green pineapple, citrus and ripe pear fruits all leading to a long and generous finish. Full-bodied and still perhaps a bit coarse but everything you want is here in perfect order and all that is needed for this one to show its elegance is a bit more time in the bottle. Approachable now but best 2009-2012. Score 92. K (Tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2003: My most recent tasting note holds firmly: Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2003: Blended with 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon, this almost impenetrably dark garnet, oak-aged, full-bodied red shows firm tannins and generous wood influence, those balanced nicely by a generous array of black fruits, coffee, vanilla and tobacco, all leading to a long leathery finish. Drink now. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2004: Garnet towards dark royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, perhaps in somewhat of a dumb period now, but continuing to show the cherry, red currant and wild berry fruits backed up by generous hints of vanilla and mint along with notes of lead pencils and cinnamon. Austere tannins rising at this stage of its development along with spicy oak Put this one aside for a short while. Best 2009-2012. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2005: A lovely wine, fully ready to enjoy now despite its relative youth. My most recent tasting note holds firmly: Blended with 12% of Merlot, oak-aged for 15 months this dark garnet, medium to full-bodied wine shows appealing vegetal aromas on first attack, those opening to reveal gently spicy cedarwood, raspberries, blackberries, red currants and generous hints of herbaceousness and white chocolate that come in on the long finish. Drink now–2010. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 2 Dec 2007)

Ella Valley Vineyards, Pinot Noir, 2005: The winery's first Pinot Noir varietal release and a rousing success. Ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, with soft, caressing tannins and generous but not-at-all vulgar or forward cherry, cassis, strawberry and cranberry aromas and flavors, those backed up nicely by minerals, hints of white pepper and vibrant acidity. Approachable and thoroughly enjoyable now but best 2009-2012. Score 92. K (Tasted 2 Dec 2007)

2003 WTN February 13,2008:

http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=16309

Ella Valley Vineyards, Vineyard’s Choice, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Blended with 3% of Cabernet Franc and aged in oak for 17 months, this is a deep and brooding wine. Dark royal-purple, full-bodied, with ripe, rich fruits showing harmony and finesse. Layers of currants, juicy cherries and tempting oak shadings. Drink now–2011. Score 91. K

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Dark garnet, aged for 14 months in oak, this well-crafted red’s once firm and chunky tannins are now integrated nicely and showing generous aromas and flavors of blackberries, black cherries, stony minerals and spices. Drink now–2009. Score 90. K

Ella Valley Vineyards, Vinyard's Choice, Merlot, 2003: Its youthful royal purple color and generous black cherry, berry and spices show this to be an exuberant wine, but as those come together in the glass showing full-body and firm structure one begins to feel the elegance. Softening nicely now and showing long and round with an appealing spicy oak note that rises on the finish. Drink now-2010. Score 90. K

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2003: Medium to full-bodied, deep garnet in color, with tannins now integrating nicely. Supple and elegant, with plum, blackberry, currant and berry fruits going to hints of cedar and spices on the long finish. Drink now–2009. Score 90. K
Eli R
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WTN: Saslove winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:23 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Saslove Winery: Barrel, Recent Releases and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Saslove Winery: Barrel, Recent Releases and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 12:47 March 2,2007
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Yesterday morning was devoted to tastings at the Saslove winery. Established by Barry Saslove in 1998 on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region, this boutique winery has vineyards in the Upper Galilee currently planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, and plans to grow Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Gewurztraminer grapes in the future. Saslove, now working with his daughter Roni, currently produces red wines is in three series: Reserved, Adom and Aviv. The winery occasionally produces white wines as well. Production has grown steadily, from 35,000 bottles in 2002 to 55,000 in 2005 and production for 2006 was about 75,000 bottles.
The winery recently opened a new facility in the Upper Galilee, not far from the winery's vineyards, that primarily for receiving and fermenting grapes The barrel room and visitor's center remains on Kibbutz Eyal.
Note that the 2005 barrel tastings are of yet unblended wines and far from final form. What was most interesting about those tastings was to see the reflection of Barry and Roni's passion for using a large variety of different oak casks, mostly medium- to medium-plus toasted before making their final blends.
My thanks to Barry and Roni for an interesting and pleasurable tasting.
Best
Rogov

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom/Reserved, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from not yet blended barrels, a wine that seems destined to be super-dark garnet in color, with spicy and dusty wood in fine balance with still firm tannins needing time to integrate, acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate an array of currant, blackberry, and notes of the peel of bitter oranges, those backed up nicely by light earthy, asphalt and licorice hints, all leading to a long finish. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 1 Mar 2007)

Saslove, Syrah, Adom/Reserved, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from two separate barrels and not yet known whether these are to be used for blending or for a varietal release. My hope after tasting is for the latter, for although still in embryonic form this is a wine with the potential for a plum and spice-rich nose along with flavors of ripe black fruits and smoked meat, those supported throughout by hints of freshly tanned leather. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 1 Mar 2007)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvigon, Reserved, 2004: Reflecting its 27 months in French Taransaud oak with generous sweet-and-spicy oak but that well balanced by soft, mouth-coating tannins, acidity and fruit. Opens with currants and berries, those blossoming on the nose and palate to reveal earthy, herbal and tobacco notes and, on the long finish a tempting hint of mint. Round, generous and long. Best 2008-2013. Score 92. (Tasted 1 Mar 2007)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied, with soft, mouth-coating tannins in fine proportion to spicy and smoky wood and acidity. On the nose and palate traditional Cabernet blackcurrant and blackberry fruits, those matched nicely by light tobacco and chocolate coated orange peel on the long finish. Drink now-2010. NIS 79. Score 89. (Re-tasted 1 Mar 2007)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marriage, Adom: 2004: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color, opening with generous spicy-dusty oak on the nose but that yielding nicely to black and red currants, crushed berries and appealing hints of licorice. A medium-bodied, smooth and round blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. Best now-2010. Score 90. (Tasted 1 Mar 2007)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvigon, Reserved, 2003: My most recent tasting note holds firmly. An oak-aged blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon. and 12% Merlot. Medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet in color, showing generous sweet-and-spicy wood and tannins but those in fine balance with currant, black cherry and blackberry fruits, those supported by a complex array of herbs, spices and, on the long finish a hint of raspberry liqueur. An elegant wine. Drink now-2009. Score 91. (Re-tasted 1 Mar 2007)
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On Thursday, 15 November, I attended the unveiling of Saslove Winery's 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserved. The event, held at the winery at Kibbutz Eyal offered the opportunity to make a vertical tasting of each of these wines from the 1999 vintage. The tasting was done quite formally but of course was not blind The following morning I retasted two of these wines as well as the 1998 release.
My tasting notes follow, in each case of wines that I have followed from the barrel to pre-release tastings and then on to tastings over the years. Important to note that I have found a notable consistency between the development of the wine and my tasting notes over the year. My thanks to Barry, Nili and Roni for an interesting tasting and good company.
Best
Rogov

Saslove, Reserved, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Reflecting 27 months in French oak with generous sweet-and-spicy oak, that well balanced by soft, mouth-coating tannins, acidity and fruits. Opens with currants and berries, those yielding to earthy, herbal and tobacco notes and, on the long finish, a hint of mint. Round, generous and long. Best 2008–2013. Saslove's best wine to date. Score 92. (Re-tasted with consistent notes 15 and 16 Nov 2007)

Saslove, Reserved, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: This dark-garnet towards inky purple, medium- to full-bodied blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot developed in barriques for 24 months. Medium to full-bodied, showing generous sweet-and-spicy wood and tannins in fine balance with currants, blackberies and purple plums along with a complex array of herbs and spices. On the long finish a hint of raspberry liqueur. Elegant and long.. Drink now–2010. Score 91. (Re-tasted 15 Nov 2007)

Saslove, Reserved, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002: Taking on a nose of sweet herbs, this dark garnet, full-bodied mature wine, made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and aged in oak for 29 months continues to show currant, vanilla and herbal aromas and flavors that come together nicely and lead to a long, rich finish. Fully mature but drinking very well. Drink now. Score 89. (Re-tasted 15 and 16 Nov 2007)

Saslove, Reserved, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000: This full-bodied, deep garnet-toward-purple wine is fully mature now but still showing good balance between wood, still-firm tannins that have never fully receded and fruits. Black fruits together with appealing spices, and on the finish a generous overlay of Mediterranean herbs. Drink up. Score 89. (Re-tasted 15 Nov 2007)

Saslove, Reserved, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1999: Dark, deep and elegant, delicious and full-bodied in its youth but whose tannins have never fully receded and is clearly beyond its peak. For a few moments after being poured continues to show sweet plum, black cherry and red currant aromas and flavors, all opening on the palate to join herbs, vanilla and a light hint of mint all alas, now taking on distinct signs of caramelization. Drink up. Score 86. (Re-tasted 15 Nov 2007)

Saslove, Reserved, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998: Aged in new oak for 21 months, this once elegant wine, in its youth showing a generous core of ripe cherries, wild berries, red
currants, plums, vanilla and spices. Now well beyond its peak and no longer scoreable. (Re-tasted 16 Nov 2007)

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As the sheriff put it so nicely, Barry Saslove "done good"! Four wines from the 2005 vintage, each earning 90 points or above. My tasting notes follow. Although I write "drink now-....", I would advise holding each of these for 6 - 9 months to find them at their best.
Best
Rogov

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved, 2005: Developed in primarily new French and American oak for 24 months, super-dark garnet, full-bodied with once gripping tannins now settling in nicely and well balanced by spicy and vanilla rich wood. On first attack, blackberry and blackcurrant fruits, those with a hint of bitter orange peel and all supported nicely by notes of Oriental spices, licorice, asphalt and vanilla. Long and generous. Drink now-2011. Score 91. (Re-tasted 19 Apr 2008)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2005 Well-crafted. Full-bodied, reflecting its 20 months in oak with firm tannins integrating nicely with spicy and vanilla-rich cedar. Opens with blackcurrants and wild berry fruits, those yielding to notes of black cherries, orange peel and, on the long, generous finish an appealing hint of white chocolate. As the wine develops look as well for notes of sweet spices As the wine develops look for hints of sweet herbs coming in nicely. Drink now-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 19 Apr 2008)

Saslove, Merlot, Adom, 2005: Medium- to full-bodied, with fine concentration yet soft and supple with generous but not imposing wood after 20 months in French and American oak. Opens with bold aromas and flavors of toasty oak and freshly roasted coffee, those yielding nicely to a generous array of cassis, purple plum and black cherry fruits, those complemented nicely by hints of bitter-sweet chocolate and spices. Drink now-2011, perhaps longer. Score 90. (Tasted 19 Apr 2008)

Saslove, Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2005: Developed in oak for 20 months this blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon will remind many of the Mollydooker wines of Australia. Dark garnet, full-bodied, with firm tannins and peppery wood notes, those given a racy feeling by generous currant, cherry and raspberry fruits. On the background, tantalizing hints of pepper and tar, all culminating in a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91. (Tasted 19 Apr 2008)

Few additional WTN:

Saslove, K By Saslove, 2005: Dark garnet, medium-bodied, softly tannic with raspberry and currant fruits. A thoroughly internationalized little wine, lacking complexity, depth or length but easy enough to drink. Drink now. Score 84. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2008)

Saslove, Adom, Marriage, 2003: Aged in a variety of oak barrels, fermented with different yeasts, this full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (60%, 37% and 35 respectively) is one of Saslove's best efforts to date. Full-bodied and tannic but simultaneously soft, round and elegant, on the nose and palate a basic blackcurrant personality but that matched by a generous array of berry, black cherry, and spices, all lingering nicely on the finish. Drink now-2011. Score 92.
Eli R
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WTN: Sea Horse winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:31 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Sea Horse Winery (Elul) - Advance Sale At the Winery (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Sea Horse Winery (Elul) - Advance Sale At the Winery
Posted by: Rogov at 10:53 March 20,2003
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A warm hello to all....
Ze’ev Dunia’s still tiny Sea Horse Winery (1800 bottles produced of the 2001 wine) is making a good name for itself. Truth be told, Ze’ev Dunia is a dear personal friend, so when it comes to tasting his wines I am doubly careful to avoid bias, taking as great care as possible not to even know when his wines have been made part of my tastings and always tasting at least twice to avoid any possible bias on my part. What can I say though – whatever he is doing, he is doing it well, and advance sales of the Elul 2001 wine will be held at the winery on two consecutive weekends – Friday and Saturday 4 –5 and 11 – 12 April. The wine will be selling for NIS 85 per bottle at the winery sale. To arrange for an invitation and to receive instructions on how to reach the winery telephone 02 5709834. Following is my tasting note of the 2001 wine.
Best,
Rogov

Sea Horse Winery, Elul (), 2001: Reflecting about 13 months in oak, this full bodied deep purple, non-filtered blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 2% of Syrah starts off as somewhat closed, chunky and tannic but, given time in the glass to open smoothens out beautifully to reveal earthy and herbal currant, black cherry and mineral flavors and aromas all with lightly toasty oak and tannins that promise to integrate very well indeed. An impressive effort, with a long finish that is rich with fruits, oak and tannins. Drink now only if you must, for the wine has the kind of balance and structure that bode well for its future. Best starting in about another year and then through 2006 – 2008. Score 91+. (Tasted 15 Mar, 18 Mar and 20 Mar with consistent notes).

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Update on Sea Horse-Elul 2000 (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Update on Sea Horse-Elul 2000
Posted by: Rogov at 09:10 November 24,2002
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Nothing gives critics greater pleasure than realizing that they underestimated the potential of a wine. So it is with the 2000 Elul wine of the micro Sea Horse Winery. Following is my updated tasting note:

Sea Horse Winery, Elul, 2000: When I first tasted this wine about six months ago, I wrote that it needed retasting because it was still far too closed to fully evaluate. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah, this medium to full bodied and still tannic wine has opened beautifully in the intervening months and now shows excellent balance between tannins, fruits and wood. Plenty of currants, cherry and plum flavors, all now showing beautifully and with an enviably long just spicy enough finish, the wine will be at its best only starting in 2003 but should then cellar nicely until 2006 or longer. Well worth trying and very good value at about NIS 85. Revised score 91. (The wine can be purchased only from the winery. Telephone 02 570 9834).

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Barrel Tastings at Castel and Sea Horse Wineries - 23 Dec 2003 (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Barrel Tastings at Castel and Sea Horse Wineries - 23 Dec 2003
Posted by: Rogov at 01:30 December 24,2003
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Yesterday (Tuesday, 23 Dec), I visited both Castel and Sea Horse Wineries, both located in the Judean Mountains (the first at Moshav Ramat Raziel, the second at Moshav Bar Giora). At Castel, with Eli and Ariel Ben Zaken, I re-sampled wines from 1998-2001 and then went on to barrel tastings of the 2002 and 2003 wines. At Sea Horse, with Ze’ev Dunie, in addition to barrel tastings of the 2003 wines, I also did several advance tastings.

Sea Horse Winery

With production of about 5,000 bottles in 2002 and anticipated output of about 9,000 from the 2003 harvest, continues to show itself as one of the small but rising stars on the local wine scene. Ze’ev Dunie’s releases to date have included his Elul (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in 2000) and in 2002with the addition of a small amount of Syrah) and a second wine, Take Two (2002). Starting with the 2002 vintage he will also be releasing Camus, a largely Syrah based red and Fellini, a blend of Cabernet and Petit Sirah. Following are my advance and barrel tasting notes. It should be noted that I have not tasted the 2002 Camus but that only because the wine was bottled only recently and is now going through bottle shock. I will taste and report on that one as soon as it has a chance to come into its own.

Sea Horse Winery, Alul, 2002 (Advance Tasting): A full bodied blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Syrah, with generous but soft tannins, jammy currant and berry aromas and flavors set off nicely by spices and toast, all showing a generous and very appealing overtones of Mediterranean herbs. Call this one plush or call it elegant as you like, but an excellent wine with a long, finish that hints of bitter-sweet chocolate. Best from 2005 – 2008. Tentative Score 91 – 93. (Tasted 23 Dec 2003)

Sea Horse Winery, Fellini, 2002 (Barrel Tasting): Medium to full bodied, warm, elegant and with distinctly Mediterranean aromas and flavors of fresh herbs together with spicy vanilla notes to add a deimenstion to the currant, blackcherry fruits. Supple tannins, good balance and concentration come together nicely in this oak-aged blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Syrah. Tentative Score 89 - 91. (Tasted 23 Dec 2003)

Barrel tastings of 2003 wines at Sea Horse during this visit were particularly fascinating because the still embryonic wines have not yet undergone even initial blending and this allowed me to experience the impact of different vineyards on similar varietals. In addition to tasting several highly promising samples of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, there is one potential surprise waiting – be prepared for the possible release of the winery’s first Zinfandel, at this stage showing ripe, juicy flavors of wild berries, cherries and spices, all with the potential to come together in ways that are lush, concentrated and complex and now earning a tentative score of 90 – 92.
Earlier reviews of the Sea Horse wines can be found at: http://www.stratsplace.com/cgi...rID=4
Best,
Rogov
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Sea Horse Winery - Camus to be Released/Sale at the Winery (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Sea Horse Winery - Camus to be Released/Sale at the Winery
Posted by: Rogov at 08:15 March 10,2004
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Not too long ago, I reported about a visit to Ze'ev Dunie's Sea Horse Winery and then gave tasting notes for several of his wines. Dunie's new Shiraz based "Camus" wine had been bottled about 10 days before my visit so I could not taste it at that time as it was in bottle shock. I did taste the wine recently though and now that it is on the verge of being released thought it appropriate to post my tasting note.
Also worthy of note: Dunie will be holding an open-house at the winery on two consecutive Fridays and Saturdays (2 - 3 and 9-10 April) and at that time will be offering both this new wine and his Fellini wine for sale. The Camus will cost NIS 89 per bottle and the Fellini 79 at the sale. Prices will, as we well know, will be higher in the stores once the wine is officially released (probably in the NIS 100 category). In my opinion, even the higher prices represent good value for money. Despite that, worth visiting the winery for advance sales. For instructions on how to reach the winery and to arrange your visit phone Dunie at 051 283216 or send him an email to dunie@seahorsewines.com
Following are my tasting notes for both the Camus and Fellini wines.
Best,
Rogov

Sea Horse Winery, Camus, 2002: Dark garnet towards royal purple, this medium- to full-bodied red, made primarily from oak-aged Shiraz shows deep raspberry flavors with floral accents but with enough tannins to keep it firm. Clean and long, with hints of black pepper and licorice aromas and flavors, and a moderately-long near-sweet finish. All in all, a lovely effort, well worth seeking out. Drink from release-2007. Score 90. (Tasted 1 Mar 2004)

Sea Horse Winery, Fellini, 2002: This medium-to-full-bodied blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petite Sirah is warm and elegant, and has distinctly Mediterranean aromas and flavors of fresh herbs and spicy vanilla notes that add a dimension to the currant and blackcherry fruits. Supple tannins, good balance and concentration come together nicely in this oak-aged blend. Drink now-2006. Score 89. (Retasted 1 Mar 2004)
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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Two New Wines from Sea Horse Winery (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Two New Wines from Sea Horse Winery
Posted by: Rogov at 10:59 August 15,2004
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Sea Horse Winery is currently releasing two new wines, both of which demonstrate nicely that this is a winery well worth watching! The winery will be having an open house in the near future and when dates are supplied I will post on that. The prices given are those in the wine shops. Prices at the winery will be somewhat lower. Following are my tasting notes.
Best,
Rogov

Sea Horse, Take 2, 2003: A fascinating blend of 90% Zinfandel with about 9% Petite Sirah and 1% of Cabernet Sauvignon, this medium- to full-bodied wine reflects its 8 months in American oak with good balance between tannins, wood and fruits. Look for a predominantly Zinfandel personality, round and juicy with spicy berry and cherry flavors on which you will find a firm tannic edge and a moderately-long tar and anise. Drinking nicely now but best starting in about another year and then cellaring nicely until 2008. NIS 65. Score 89. (Tasted 15 Aug 2004)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2002: Deep garnet towards royal purple in color, this full-bodied blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Syrah, shows generous but soft and well-integrating tannins and jammy currant and berry aromas and flavors, set off nicely by spices and toast, all showing very appealing overtones of Mediterranean herbs. Plush and elegant, with a long finish that yields bittersweet chocolate. Best 2005–2008. About NIS 105-110. (NIS 96 at the winery) Score 92. (Tasted 15 Aug 2004)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Sea Horse Winery - With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Sea Horse Winery - With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 02:20 December 15,2004
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It may have just fallen by chance but this year's re-visits to various wineries have started off with visits to some of the most exciting small and medium-sized wineries in the country. Last week (Wednesday, 8 December) found me at Ze'ev Dunie's Sea Horse Wineries where I did advance tastings of all of the 2003 wines and a vertical of the various Elul releases since the winery's opening. Following are my tasting notes. Not a complaint will be forthcoming.
Best,
Rogov

Sea Horse Elul, 2003: With a somewhat new blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah and 5% Petite Syrah, this proves perhaps the best wine yet from Sea Horse. Rich, ripe and complex fruits include juicy black cherries and currants, those with anise and light hints of oak that play nicely on the palate. Smooth and supple tannins and overall excellent structure make this one approachable quite early. Drink now-2012. Score 92. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2003: A medium- to full-bodied blend of 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah. With 14 months in American oak this medium- to full-bodied, moderately tannic wine shows good concentration of ripe, juicy cherry and wild berry flavors with an appealing pepper and an anise edge. Drink now-2008. Score 89. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2003: Dark garnet red, full-bodied, with still firm tannins well balanced by spicy wild berry and cherry fruits, with an appealing leathery edge on the finish. Rich and complex. Approachable young but best 2006-2009. Score 90. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2003: Syrah pure and true! Rich and complex, with smoky, meaty overlays on a delicious array of berry, black cherry, spices and currants. Firm but supple tannins and tempting anise, leathery and earthy notes on the long finish. A single barrel was made. Best 2006-2012. Score 91. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

Sea Horse, Take II, 2003: Dark ruby towards garnet, this blend of 90% Zinfandel and 10% Petite Sirah shows light meaty and leathery notes. Smooth and round, with wild berry fruits that make themselves felt nicely. Drinking nicely now-2008. Score 88. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2003: As we have come to know it, this blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet spent 18 mnths in French and American oak. Complex, with tempting spiciness overlaying wild berry, blackcurrant and meaty plums, with a tantalizingly sweet edge. Well balanced and moderately long, the wine is approachable now but will be best from 2006-2009. Score 90. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

Sea Horse, Munch, 2003: Named as a tribute to artist Edvard Munch, this 100% Petite Sirah spent 16 months in French and Americn oak. The best Petite Sirah ever from Israel, this exotic, spicy and complex wine shows layers of wild berry, plum, currant and black cherry fruits together with a generous peppery overlay and supple tannins. Drink now-2007, perhaps longer. Score 91. (Tasted 8 Dec 2004)

The Elul Vertical:

Elul, 2002: Deep garnet towards royal purple in color, this full-bodied blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Syrah, shows generous but soft and well-integrating tannins and jammy currant and berry aromas and flavors, set off by spices and toast, all showing appealing overtones of Mediterranean herbs. Plush and elegant, with a long finish that yields bittersweet chocolate. Best now–2008. Score 92.

Elul, 2001: Reflecting its 13 months in oak, this full-bodied, deep purple, non-filtered blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 2% Syrah starts off as somewhat chunky and tannic but, given time to open, smoothens out to reveal earthy and herbal currant, black cherry and mineral flavors and aromas, all with lightly toasty oak and tannins that promise to integrate well. Drink now–2007. Score 91.

Elul, 2000: A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah, this medium to full-bodied wine has opened beautifully and shows excellent balance between tannins, fruits and wood. Plenty of currant, cherry and plum flavors, all culminating in an enviably long and just spicy enough finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 91.

Elul, 1999: A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, this full-bodied wine was aged for 14 months in small oak barrels. Tight, with firm but well-integrated tannins and with an appealing earthiness to its plum, currant and spicy flavors, the wineis now a bit past its peak but is still showing good balance and finesse. Not meant for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 87.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Sea Horse Winery - Petite Sirah on Sale At An Open House 9-11 June (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Sea Horse Winery - Petite Sirah on Sale At An Open House 9-11 June
Posted by: Rogov at 11:48 May 23,2005
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On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 11-13 of June from 10:00 – 16:00 Ze'ev Dunie will be offering his just released 2003 Petite Sirah. Named "Munch" (see the tasting note below) the wine was made in a limited edition of 300 bottles, and because en primeur sales were heavy, only 180 bottles are available. The wine, which will be sold only at the winery is going for NIS 100 per bottle, NIS 960 for a case of 12 or NIS 540 for a case of 6 bottles.
Also on special offer during these days are cases of the Lennon (NIS 936 per case (which comes to NIS 78 per bottle). Mixed cases can be arranged. At any rate, my tasting note for the wine (which I originally and mistakenly thought was named after artist Loren Monk, follows).

Sea Horse, Munch, 2003: Named as a tribute to artist Edward (or if one prefers, Edvard) Munch, this 100% Petite Sirah spent 16 months in French and American oak. Made from grapes selected from a dry-farmed, that is to say, almost neglected vineyard, the wine comes in at a whopping 15.2% alcohol but is not at all hot on the palate. In fact, the best Petite Sirah ever from Israel. Exotic, spicy and complex, showing layers of wild berry, plum, currant and black cherry fruits together with a generous peppery overlay and supple tannins. Drink now-2008. Score 91.

Advance reservations for visiting are not necessary but if one should want to secure an earlier order or to place orders by phone, call Dunie at 02 5709834.

Best,
Rogov
P.S. Like the post about the wine fair in Haifa, posting this one early so that those interested can prepare. I will let it float down after a few days and will then re-post shortly before the event.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Sea Horse Winery-Barrel Tastings, Re-tastings, Advance Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Sea Horse Winery-Barrel Tastings, Re-tastings, Advance Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 14:01 January 2,2006
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Today I visited Sea Horse winery for barrel tastings of the 2004 and 2005 wines as well as do to my annual vertical tasting of Ze'ev Dunie's Elul wines. I traveled by train, deboarding at the Beit Shemesh railroad station where Dunie met me.
Let it be known to one and all that Dunie is a gentleman and today in his attempt at human-kindness he was waiting for me with a cup of coffee. To my great shock (oyez, almost horror), that coffee was in a cardboard cup that was closed with a plastic cap that had a tiny rectangular hole through which one is expected to drink the coffee. I do admit that this was the first time I had consumed coffee in a continer of this nature. To my great surprise the sky did not fall and I made my way through the coffee before arriving at the winery to start our tasting. Fortunately for Dunie, myself and the world at large, the wines were far, far better than that coffee.
Considering that forum members have shown special interest in the futures are now being offered on the 2004 wines, I'll start off with those. Note that with two of these wines, the Antoine (Syrah) and the Lennon (Zinfandel), Dunie is considering releasing two versions – the regular editions and one barrel of each that he will sub-label as Tete de Cuvee, those to be sold only at the winery but at the same prices as the regular releases.

The 2004 Wines:

Sea Horse, Antoine, Tete de Cuvee, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Produced from very low yield, minimally irrigated and organically raised Syrah vines (220 kilos per dunam or 1 kilo per vine), and aged in Burgundy barrels for 16 months, this dark purple towards black wine opens slowly in the glass but when it does it reveals an intense and distinctive wine. Plump, rich and well balanced, full-bodied, with generous spicy and peppery aromas and flavors highlighting ripe plum, currant and wild berry flavors, those along with just the barest hint of Brett to add a pleasing earthy charm to the wine. Destined for elegance the wine will be approachable in its youth but best only from 2008-2012. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple in color, full-bodied, with firm tannins that need some time but with enviable balance and structure. On the nose and palate an appealing array of plum, blackberry, and licorice, those matched nicely by near-sweet oak, all leading to a long and generously spicy finish. Best 2007-2011, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Lennon, Tete de Cuvee, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Made from very low yield Zinfandel vines raised organically, those grapes blended with 5% of Petite Sirah, full-bodied, fruit forward and with a whopping 15.6% alcohol, but with the balance and structure to carry it. On the nose and palate tightly focused currants, plums and wild berries, those matched nicely by classic Zinfandel peppery and mocha from the oak. Mouthcoating tannins and a bit of heat on the long finish. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Made from the same low yield vines as the Tete de Cuvee wine, also high in alcohol, and also with the addition of 5% Petite Sirah but this version leaning to red berries, red plums and cassis. Reflecting its 14 months in American and French oak with peppery, vanilla and eucalyptus flavors, this well-structured wine show firm and concentrated. Perhaps more restrained but no less delicious than the Tete de Cuvee. Drink from release-2009. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Impenetrable purple towards inky-black, this blend of 50% each of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon reflects its 16 months in partly American, partly French oak with a supple and gentle but lively style. Look for a tempting earthy and spicy aromas and flavors to complement wild berry, rhubarb, and currant fruits, all coming together and lingering nicely on the supple and mouthfilling finish. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petite Sirah (75%, 20% and 5% respectively), to be aged for about 18 months in French and American oak, this dense and concentrated, ultradark garnet colored wine shows full body and is loaded with muscular tannins only now starting to integrate but showing that they will turn plush and rich with time. On the nose and palate currant, plum, wild berry and mineral flavors on first attack, those yielding on a remarkably long finish to bitter-sweet chocolate, espresso and Mediterranean herbs. Potentially the best yet from Sea Horse. Best starting only in 2007 and with the potential for cellaring until 2012 or longer. Tentative Score 92-94. (Tasted 2 Jan 2006)

The Elul Vertical Tasting:

The 2005-2000 wines were all tasted at the winery and the 2003 and 2002 wines were also tasted in my own tasting room as was the 1999 wine.

Sea Horse, Elul 2004: See Above Barrel Tasting Note

Sea Horse, Elul, 2003: At barrel tastings I wrote that this might prove to be perhaps the best yet from Sea Horse. No question but that is an excellent wine in every way but the 2004 Elul may prove even better! That is no need for complaint however, for this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petite Sirah (85%, 10% and 5% respectively) is already showing a rich and quiet elegance. Ripe black chery, currant and berry fruits are overlayed nicely by gentle hints of anise, spicy oak and a light earthiness, all of which come to a long and generous finish. Surprisingly approachable now but best from 2007-2012. Score 92. (Tasted twice with consistent notes 1 and 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2002: The fourth time I have tasted this wine and my past tasting notes hold firmly: Deep garnet towards royal purple in color, this full-bodied blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Syrah, shows generous but soft and well-integrating tannins and jammy currant and berry aromas and flavors, set off by spices and toast, all showing appealing overtones of Mediterranean herbs and now a hint of licorice. Plush and elegant, with a long finish that yields bittersweet chocolate Drink now–2009. Score 92. (Re-tasted twice with consistent notes 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2001: Maturing nicely, this full-bodied blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 2% Syrah has settled down nicely, its once chunky tannins now softened and integrating nicely. On the nose and palate currant, black cherry, mineral and herbal aromas and flavors all with a gentle hint of minty-vanilla on the finish. Drink now-2008. Score 91. (Re-tasted twice with consistent notes 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2000: Aging gracefully now, this oak-aged blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (70% and 30% respectively) continues to show fine balance and length. Spicy currant and purple plum fruits here on a spicy and now lightly herbal finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 91. (Re-tasted with 2 Jan 2006)

Sea Horse, Elul, 1999: My most recent tasting note holds firmly: Elul, 1999: A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, this full-bodied wine was aged for 14 months in small oak barrels. Tight, with firm but well-integrated tannins and with an appealing earthiness to its plum, currant and spicy flavors, the wine is now somewhat past its peak. Drink up. Score 87. (Re-tasted 2 Jan 2006)

Very Early 2005 Barrel Tastings:
While at the winery I tasted several of the still extremely young and unblended wines of 2005. Because these wines are still in their infancy, without even final decisions made as to blends, I will hold back on formal tasting notes of any kind but merely comment that although the Sea Horse wines of 2005 may not show the intensity of early vintages they seem at this stage to be showing the potential for a gentle elegance. Among the barrels from which I sampled: Syrah and Petit Verdot from two different vineyards, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Open House at Sea Horse Winery 30June/1July and 8 July (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Open House at Sea Horse Winery 30June/1July and 8 July
Posted by: Rogov at 07:24 June 29,2006
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Ze'ev Dunie of Sea Horse Winery is opening his doors to visitors to taste his Tete de Cuvee, Antoine and Leon wines from the 2004 vintage. The winery will be to visitors open this Friday and Saturday, 30 June and 1 July and on Saturday 8 July from 10:00-16:00 and, in addition to tastings of these wines, barrel tastings will also be offered. Advance reservations are required. To make those and to receive driving instructions phone 02 5709834. My tasting notes for the wines follow.
The Tete de Cuvee, released in a very limited quantity (2 barrels), will be sold only at the winery on a first-come, first-served basis and the other wines will of course also appear in wine shops. When purchased at the winery the price for each of the wines is NIS 96 per bottle, with discounts made for purchases of cases of 6 or 12 bottles.
Best
Rogov

Sea Horse, Antoine, Tete de Cuvee, 2004: Made from low yield, organically raised Syrah vines, aged in Burgundy barrels for 16 months, this dark purple towards black wine is plump, rich and well balanced. Full-bodied, with spicy and peppery overlays highlighting plum, currant and wild berry flavors, those along with just the barest hint of Brett to add a pleasing earthy charm to the wine. Destined for elegance. Best 2007-2010. Score 91.

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2004: Dark garnet towards royal purple in color, full-bodied, with firm tannins but with fine balance and structure. On the nose and palate an appealing array of plum, blackberry, and licorice, those matched nicely by near-sweet oak, all leading to a long, generously spicy finish. Drink now-2009. Score 91.

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2004: Look for a bit of bottle-stink (the near-sweet, almost caramel kind you will find in many Rioja Reserva wines) when the wine is first opened but don't let that put you off as this blows off within minutes leaving a lovely wine indeed.Made from low yield vines, high in alcohol, and with the addition of 5% Petite Sirah, this version leaning to red berries, red plums and cassis. Reflecting 14 months in American and French oak with peppery, vanilla and eucalyptus flavors, this well-structured wine shows firm and concentrated. Drink now-2009. Score 89.

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Two New Releases from Sea Horse Winery (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Two New Releases from Sea Horse Winery
Posted by: Rogov at 10:50 October 9,2006
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In addition to the 2004 Fellini of Sea Horse that was discussed here recently at http://stratsplace.zeroforum.c...12294 , Ze'ev Dunie also came up with a surprise – at least to me of the release of his first Gaudi wine. Following are my tasting notes for both wines. It is my understanding that the Gaudi wine has been purchased entirely and will be sold by the Derekh ha Yain chain of stores for about NIS 60.
Best
Rogov

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2004: Impenetrable purple towards inky-black, this blend of 50% each of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon reflects its 16 months in oak with a supple and gentle but lively style. Look for tempting earthy and spicy aromas and flavors to complement wild berry, rhubarb, and currant fruits, all lingering nicely on the mouthfilling and generously acidic finish. Drink now–2010. Score 90. (Re-tasted 7 Oct 2006)

Sea Horse, Gaudi, 2005: Garnet in color, medium-bodied, with soft tannins, this blend of Carignan, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%, 30% and 40% respectively) reflects its 8 months in oak with medium-body, soft tannins and a personality best described as round. Easy to drink but with just enough complexities to make it interesting and on the nose and palate plum, currant and wild berries along with hints of spices and licorice. Drink now-2008. Score 88. (Tasted twice with consistent notes 4 and 7 Oct 2006)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Sea Horse Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Sea Horse Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 15:45 February 16,2007
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At about noon on Wednesday (14 February 2007), I arrived at Sea Horse winery, there to do barrel, advance and re-tastings with winemaker Ze'ev Dunie. With all due respect, Dunie has now installed an espresso machine in his home, so the visit started off nicely.
Dunie founded this boutique winery in 2000 on Moshav Bar Giora in the Jerusalem Mountains, after retiring from partnership in the Agur winery where he had made his first Elul wine. Now he has his own vineyards planted in Syrah and Zinfandel, and draws on Cabernet Sauvignon from the Upper Galilee. Current planning calls for major enlargement of the winery's own vineyards, those to be organic and to add Mourvedre and Grenache to the winery's repertoire. The winery has grown from initial production of 1,800 bottles from the 2001 vintage to between 10,000-14,000 bottles annually, the number depending largely on the yield and quality of the vintage year. Releases include two Cabernet Sauvignon based wines, Elul and Fellini; two Zinfandel based wines, Lennon and Take Two; two Syrah based wines, Camus and Antoine; and in selected years, Munch, which is made entirely from Petite Sirah grapes. Also currently in barrels from the 2006 vintage are Primitivo and Petit Verdot. I am told that 2007 will see the release of Dunie's first white wine. Despite a good bit of coaxing on my part, Dunie is holding any information about that wine close to his chest.
My tasting notes follow.
Best
Rogov

Camus

Sea Horse, Camus, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from yet unblended components but already showing very nicely in this near embryonic state. With firm and gripping tannins opening (parting might be a better word) to reveal dense currant and blackberry fruits, those backed up by aromas and flavors of minerals, cigar box and spices. At this stage massive but with balance and structure that promise future elegance. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Petit Sirah, reflecting its 12 months in used French oak with a gentle layer of spicy wood, that well balanced by generous but yielding tannins and on the nose and palate smoky blackberries and currants, Oriental spices and hints of game meat. Soft, round and well focused with the tannins and appealing hints of leather and black pepper rising on the long, supple finish. Best 2008-2012. Score 91. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2004: Dark garnet in color, medium- to full bodied, this blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Petit Sirah reflects its 12 months in oak with soft tannins, refreshing acidity and spicy-toasty oak. On the nose and palate blackcurrant, blackberry, tobacco and a hint of freshly tanned leather. On the long finish white pepper and cigar tobacco. Drink ow-2010. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Dark garnet red, full-bodied, with still firm tannins well balanced by spicy wild berry and cherry fruits, the wine boasts an appealing leathery edge on the finish. Rich and complex. Drink now–2009. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Take Two
Sea Horse, Take Two, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted in components, primarily of Primitivo, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, those blended in the glass as tasting continued. Deep and dark, with fine intensity and generous firm tannins backing up plum, cherry and chocolate aromas and flavors, those on a medium- to full-bodied frame. At this stage lacks subtlety but give this one time and it promises to settle down nicely and lead to a long fruity finish. Best starting in 2008. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Take Two, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A medium-bodied, softly tannic blend this year of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignan that was aged for 12 months in primarily American oak. Ripe and round, with light peppery overtones highlighting plum, raspberry and wild berry fruits, those with light overlays of sage and minerals. Ripe, round and generous. Drink from release-2010. Score 89. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Lennon
Sea Horse, Lennon, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): A blend this year of 90% Zinfandel and 5% each of Petit Sirah and Carignan. Aged for about 16 months in used American oak barrels, this full-bodied wine is showing deep, dark garnet and richly aromatic, with soft tannins integrating nicely with the wood and showing appealing wild berry, blackberry and sage notes, all coming together nicely in a long spicy finish. Best from release-2010. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2004: With wood, tannins and alcohol now finding their natural balance, showing better now than at earlier tastings. Made from low yield Zinfandel vines blended with 5% of Petite Sirah, opens to reveal generous raspberry, plum and cassis fruits, those matched nicely by light peppery, vanilla and minty overtones. Firm and concentrated, lingering generously on the palate. Drink now-2009. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2003: A medium to full-bodied blend of 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah. With 14 months in American oak this generously tannic wine shows good concentration of ripe juicy cherry and wild berry flavors as well as an appealing pepper and anise edge. Drink now–2008. Score 90. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Antoine

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Made entirely from Syrah grapes, this full-bodied wine is showing deep garnet towards royal purple in color and offering gripping tannins, those in fine balance with gentle oak (the wine spent about 16 months in used French barrels). Opens on a decidedly plumy note that yields nicely to blackberries, spices and red licorice. Best 2008-2011, possibly longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2004: Showing somewhat less full-bodied than in its youth, with its once firm tannins now integrating nicely with wood and fruits. Traditional Syrah, showing plum blackberry and licorice, those supported nicely by near-sweet oak and a hint of spiced meat on the long and satisfying finish. Drink now-2009. Score 91. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2003: Syrah, pure and not at all simple. Dark garnet in color, with firm but supple tannins integrated nicely with spicy wood and showing blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits, those supported nicely by overlays of spices (look especially for a hint of anise), leathery and light meaty overtones, all leading to a long finish. Drink now-2010. Score 91. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Fellini

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): A blend this year of 46% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, those complemented by 8% of Petit Verdot. Developed in French and American oak for between 16-18 months, showing cherry, raspberry and licorice aromas and flavors, those opening to reveal a tempting hint of bitter-sweet chocolate on the finish. Medium- to full-bodied, with silky smooth tannins, a well crafted wine. Best 2008-2011, possibly longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2004: Super-dark amber towards inky black in color, this blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauignon and Syrah developed in oak for 16 months and reflects that with gentle cedar and cigar-box hints that run throughout. On the nose and palate wild berries, currants and now replacing the once youthful rhubarb, a generous hint of citrus peel, those complemented nicely by light earthy and leathery overtones. Mouthfilling, long and generous. Drink now-2010. Score 91. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2003: Generously tannic but with fine balance between the tannins, acidity, wood and fruits. A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, oak aged for 18 months in French and American oak, now showing forward blackcurrant, blackberry and red plum fruits, those on a spicy and simultaneously near-sweet background. Lingers nicely on the palate. Drink now or in the next year or so Score 90.

Elul
Sea Horse, Elul, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Syrah and 9% Petite Sirah destined for 20 months in French and American oak, this flagship wine of the winery is still in its infancy and showing youthful royal purple in color, full-bodied with firm, near-sweet tannins. Opens with currant, kirsch and black cherry fruits, those opening on the palate to reveal hints of licorice, spices and berries, all leading to a long and complex finish. Best from 2008-2013. (Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Deep, almost impenetrable garnet in color, full-bodied with with still firm tannins, those well by spicy and vanilla rich wood. On first attack currants and plums, those yielding to red and black berries and a hint of iron, and finally to bittersweet chocolate and Mediterranean herbs, all of which linger long and comfortably, with the tannins and a hint of sweetness rising on the finish. Needs time but promising to be ripe, round and mouth-filling. Approachable now but best 2008-2011, perhaps longer. Score 92. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Munch

Sea Horse, Munch, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from yet unblended components of Petite Sirah but already showing as almost a twin to the 2003 release. Full-bodied, with generous tannins showing every sign of integrating nicely, and on the nose and palate berries, currants and black cherry fruits overlaid with peppery and licorice notes. Best 2008-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Munch, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Made entirely from Petite Sirah grapes, those from a dry-farmed vineyard, this intense and concentrated wine calls to mind some of those of American winemaker Helen Turley. Dense enough to be thought of as chewy, with firm, chunky tannins that need time to integrate but already showing the best that this variety has to offer. On the nose and palate currants, sur-ripe plums, a hint of citrus peel and an appealing peppery overlay. Best from 2008-2011, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Who Knows?
Sea Horse, Petit Verdot, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, ripe and generous, showing firm and elegant at this stage, with layer after layer of plum, blackberry, cassis, citrus peel and spices, those leading to a super-long chocolate-rich finish. Grace and power come together nicely in this full-bodied red. As of now at least no decision has been made to release this as a varietal wine or to use it in one of the winery's blends. Tentative Score 91-93. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Open House and Two New Wines at Sea Horse Winery (Updated 14 Feb 2007) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Open House and Unveiling of Two New Wines at Sea Horse Winery
Posted by: Rogov at 14:31 February 13,2007
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Ze'ev Dunie of Sea Horse Winery has announced that he will be unveiling two new wines at an open house at the winery. The wines are the 2004 Elul and the 2005 Take Two. The open house will take place on two weekends - 23 and 24 February and 2 and 3 March between the hours of 10:00-16:00.
I am visiting the winery tomorrow to do my annual barrel, advance and re-tastings so will have fully updated tasting notes posted hopefully tomorrow night but certainly no later than Thursday morning . I will also then post prices and further information.
Best
Rogov
Post Title: Re: Open House and Unveiling of Two New Wines at Sea Horse Winery (Rogov)
Posted by: Rogov at 13:17 February 14,2007

http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zeroth ... t&id=13336
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As scheduled, I did visit Sea Horse winery today, there to taste some 23 wines. For the moment, though, the information concerning the special weekend sales.
The Elul 2004 will be sold at the winery for NIS 96. Shortly after that, because of contractural agreements, the price both at the winery and the stores will rise to NIS 135. The 2005 Take Two will be offered at the winery during these weekend sales at NIS 69 and that price too will rise afterwards.
Reservations to visit are not required but should anyone want further information that can be obtained by telephone at 02 570 9834. Those wishing to purchase the wines but who cannot visit the winery on the weekend may place advance orders by telephone as well. For those wishing to drive to the winery a map may be found on their internet site at http://www.seahorsewines.com/
My tasting notes on the two new releases follow.
Best
Rogov

Sea Horse, Elul, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Deep, almost impenetrable garnet in color, full-bodied with with still firm tannins, those well by spicy and vanilla rich wood. On first attack currants and plums, those yielding to red and black berries and a hint of iron, and finally to bittersweet chocolate and Mediterranean herbs, all of which linger long and comfortably, with the tannins and a hint of sweetness rising on the finish. Needs time but promising to be ripe, round and mouth-filling. Approachable now but best 2008-2011, perhaps longer. Score 92. (Re-tasted 14 Feb 2007)

Sea Horse, Take Two, 2005 (Advance Tasting): A medium-bodied, softly tannic blend this year of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignan that was aged for 12 months in primarily American oak. Ripe and round, with light peppery overtones highlighting plum, raspberry and wild berry fruits, those with light overlays of sage and minerals. Ripe, round and generous. Drink from release-2010. Score 89. (Tasted 14 Feb 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Sea Horse Winery + Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Sea Horse Winery + Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 08:49 February 6,2008
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Yesterday (Tuesday, 5 February) had me on the train to Beit Shmesh, there to be met by Ze'ev Dunie to visit and do tastings at his Sea Horse winery. In Ze'ev's car, to which I affectionately refer as "the felach-mobile" (the peasant's car) because it is never quite free of the earth of the fields and invariably has winemaking tools in it, we drove through the Jerusalem Hills which are always exquisite and rightfully earn such routes a good name and then arrived for our tasting.
My thanks to Ze'ev for his warm greeting and good company, for a fine tasting and (of course) for the cup of espresso coffee that I received after our tasting. My tasting notes follow.
Best
Rogov

Sea Horse, Chenin Blanc, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Made from 32 year old vine Chenin Blanc, with drastic cutting back to concentrate the crop, and fermented and developed sur lie in three-year old barriques. Rich, crisply dry and well focused, with tangy mineral, chamomile, grapefruit, white peach and nectarine aromas and flavors, those supported very nicely by hints of figs and ginger. At the same time tangy, lively and elegant. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 89-91. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Gaudi, 2006: Dark royal purple, medium-bodied, with soft but mouth-coating tannins, this is a "wild" wine in that it seems to almost burst forth on the nose and palate, at first with raspberry and cassis notes and then, with a second burst, tobacco and spices. Happily, all of these integrate nicely and lead to a long simultaneously tannic and fruity finish. A blend of 50% Carignan, 33% Syrah and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink from release-2009. Score 88. (Tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2003: Shiraz, showing inky dark garnet, full-bodied with its firm tannins in fine balance with wood and fruits. On the nose primarily black fruits, and on the palate wild berry, black and red cherries, and an appealing leathery note on the finish. Rich and complex and clearly at its peak now. Drink now-2009. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2004: Dark garnet, medium-bodied, and with soft, caressing tannins, this blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Petit Sirah reflects its 12 months in oak refreshing acidity, and spicy-toasty oak. On the nose and palate black currant, blackberry, tobacco, and a hint of freshly tanned leather with white pepper and cigar tobacco rising on the long finish. Drink now–2009. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2005: This almost inky-garnet, full-bodied blend of 92% Syrah and 8% Petite Sirah is reflecting its 12 months in French oak with a gentle layer of spicy wood, that well balanced by generous but yielding tannins and on the nose and palate smoky blackberries and currants, Oriental spices and hints of game meat. Soft, round and well focused with the tannins, rising on the long, supple finish along with appealing hints of leather and black pepper. Best 2009–2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Camus, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Fim and gripping tannins opening to reveal dense blackcurrant and blackberry fruits, those backed up by aromas and flavors of minerals, black pepper and cigar box. At this stage massive, but with balance and structure that bode well for future elegance. Best 2009–2013. Tentative Score 90–92. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)
Sea Horse, Antoine, 2003: Made entirely from Syrah grapes, this oak-aged, dark garnet wine continues to show blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits supported by overlays of spices and leathery and light meaty overtones, all leading to a long finish. On the outer cusp of its peak. Drink now. Score 89. Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2004: Medium- to full-bodied, with its once-firm tannins now integrating nicely with wood and fruits. Revealing traditional Syrah aromas and flavors of plums, blackberries and licorice, those supported nicely by near-sweet oak and a hint of spiced meat on the long and satisfying finish. Drink now–2009. Score 91. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2005: Made entirely from Syrah grapes, this full-bodied wine spent 16 months in used French barrels and now shows deep garnet-towards royal-purple color with gripping tannins in fine balance with gentle oak. Opens on plumy and leathery notes that yield to blackberries, spices and red licorice. A long, generous finish with a tantalizing bitter note. Drink now–2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Antoine, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Youthful royal-purple in color, medium- to full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and generous pepper from the oak in which it is aging. Opens to show appealing raspberry, cassis fruits on a light herbal and leathery background leading to a spicy but not long finish. Drink from release-2011. Score 89. (Tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Take Two, 2003: My most recent tasting note holds firmly: A blend of 90% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, this medium to full-bodied wine reflects its eight months in American oak with good balance between tannins, wood and fruits. A true Zinfandel personality: round and juicy with spicy berry and cherry flavors with a firm tannic edge and a moderately long tar and anise finish. Not for further cellaring so drink in the near future to catch the charm of the wine. Score 89. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Take Two, 2004:Dark garnet, aged in oak for 8 months, this blend of 88% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon shows light meaty and leathery notes. Smooth and round, with wild berry and cassis fruits that make themselves felt nicely. Drink now. Score 89. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Take Two, 2005: A medium-bodied, softly tannic blend of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignan that was aged for 8 months in primarily American oak. Ripe and round, with light peppery and chocolate overtones highlighting plum, raspberry and wild berry fruits, those with hints of anise and minerals. Ripe, round and generous. Drink from release–2010. Score 89. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Take Two, 2006: This oak-aged blend of Primitivo, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah shows deep and dark, with fine intensity and generous firm tannins backing up plum, cherry and chocolate aromas and flavors, those on a medium to full-bodied frame all leading to a long fruity finish. Drink now–2010. Score 88. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2003: A medium to full-bodied blend of 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah. With 14 months in American oak, this generously tannic wine shows good concentration of ripe, juicy cherry and wild berry flavors as well as an appealing pepper and anise edge. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2004: Aged in oak for 14 months, this medium- to full-bodied blend of 95% low-yield Zinfandel vines and 5% Petite Sirah, the wine shows good balance between wood, tannins and alcohol. Opens to reveal generous raspberry, plum and cassis fruits, those matched nicely by light peppery, vanilla and minty overtones. Firm and concentrated, lingering nicely on the palate. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. A blend this year of 90% Zinfandel and 5% each Petite Sirah and Carignan. Aged for about 16 months in used American oak barrels, this full-bodied, deep, dark garnet wine is richly aromatic, with soft tannins integrating beautifully with the wood and wild berry, blackberry and sage notes. All coming together nicely in a long spicy finish. Drink now–2010. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Lennon, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, this bend of 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah shows soft and round with gently mouth-coating tannins and a moderate hand with spicy oak. On the nose and palate red plums, wild berries and hints of Mediterranean herbs, all lingering nicely. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2003: With once firm tannins now integrated nicely and continuing to show fine balance between acidity, wood and fruits. A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon was oak-aged for 18 months in French and American oak, showing black currant, blackberry and red plum fruits, those on a spicy and simultaneously near-sweet background. Lingers nicely on the palate. Drink now. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2004: My most recent tasting note holds firmly. Super-dark amber towards inky black in color, this blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah developed in oak for 16 months and shows gentle cedar and cigar-box hints that run throughout. On the nose and palate wild berries, currants and a generous hint of citrus peel, those complemented nicely by light earthy and leathery overtones. Mouth-filling, long and generous. Drink now–2009. Score 91. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2005: A blend of 46% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, those complemented by 8% of Petit Verdot. Developed in French and American oak for 16 months, this medium to full-bodied wine shows silky tannins along with cherry, raspberry and licorice aromas and flavors, those opening to reveal tempting hints of Mediterranean herbs and bittersweet chocolate on the finish. Drink now–2011. Score 90. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Fellini, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium-bodied, soft and round, showing silky tannins and a gentle hand with the oak in which it was aged. On the nose and palate plums, raspberries and cassis. Not an overly complex wine but a very appealing one. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2002: Deep garnet towards royal-purple, this full-bodied blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Syrah, shows generous but soft and well-integrating tannins and jammy currant and berry aromas and flavors set off by spices and toast, all showing appealing overtones of Mediterranean herbs. Plush and elegant, with a long finish that yields bittersweet chocolate. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 91. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2003: This well-balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petite Sirah (85%, 10% and 5% respectively) was developed for 20 months in barriques. Ripe black cherry, currant and berry fruits overlaid nicely by hints of anise, spicy oak and light earthiness, all culminating in a long and generous finish. Rich and elegant. Drink now–2010. Score 92. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2004:, A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 5% Petite Sirah. Deep, almost impenetrable garnet, full-bodied, with firm tannins complemented by spicy oak. On first attack currants and plums, those yielding to red and black berries, a hint of iron, and finally to bittersweet chocolate and Mediterranean herbs, all lingering comfortably. Ripe, round and mouth-filling. Drink now–2010. Score 92. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2005: A blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 9% Petite Sirah developed for 20 months in French and American oak, and showing dark, youthful royal-purple, medium- to full-bodied with firm, near-sweet tannins. Opens with currant, kirsch and black cherry fruits, those yielding to hints of licorice, spices and berries, all leading to a long and complex finish. Drink now-2010, perhaps longer. Score 91 (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Elul, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Super-dark towards inky purple, full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely with cigar-box and spicy wood overlays. A blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 4% Petite Sirah, on first attack with generous blackberry and currant fruits, those yielding nicely to near-sweet cassis and Oriental spices. Long and generous. Drink from release-2011. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Munch, 2005: My earlier tasting not holds firmly: Made entirely from Petite Sirah grapes from a dry-farmed vineyard. Dark, almost inky teeth-staining purple, with firm, brooding tannins waiting to settle down and full-bodied enough to be thought of as chewy, but with all of that in fine balance with blackberries, currants, ripe plums and hints of citrus peel and tobacco all on a spicy and near-leathery background. Destined for intensity rather than elegance, recalls some of the most interesting wines of this variety from California. Best 2009-2013. Score 91. (Re-tasted 5 Feb 2008)

Sea Horse, Munch, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Petite Sirah showing its black and concentrated best. Full-bodied, tannic and with generous wood in fine balance and waiting to settle down to reveal a tempting range of plum, blackberry, blueberry and currant fruits. Give this one time and it should prove supple, ripe and rich. Best 2009-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 5 Feb 2008)
Eli R
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WTN: Tabor Winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:36 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Tabor Winery - Advance and Barrel Tastings (16 Feb 2004) (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Tabor Winery - Advance and Barrel Tastings (16 Feb 2004)
Posted by: Rogov at 12:10 February 16,2004
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Hello to All....
A long but profitable day for me, for after my usual at-home morning tasting I made my way to Cfar Tabor in the Western Galilee, there to visit the Tabor Winery. Founded in 1999 by several families of grape growers, drawing on white grapes largely from their own vineyards in the Tabor area and on red grapes from the Upper Galilee, this fully modern kosher winery started with production of 20,000 bottles and has now risen in the 2003 harvest to 250,000, about half of which are committed to export. The winemaker, Arieh Nesher is a well known figure on the local wine scene, his intuition, talents and European training and experience setting him in good company indeed.
The winery recently entered into a part-ownership arrangement with UDV-IBBL (realistic to think of this company as a daughter company of Coca Cola), but as is becoming clear at least at this stage the new partner will be more involved with distribution than with production, aiming (again I repeat, at least at this stage) to develop a prestige brand to match their other products and going along with the concept of a “full-beverage distributor/supplier”.
My concern on this visit, as always when I visit, was not so much with owners or ownership, but with the wines, and in that I was pleased by much that I found. Tabor seems to have adapted a policy of producing wines that will be fully drinkable on or shortly after release, those wines in what I might call a “positive New-World style” – that is to say, New World in its approachability but without the massive oak, hyper-ripe fruits or obsession with excessive acidity.
Starting this year the winery will be releasing wines in three series. The top of the line series will be those called Tabor-Mescha and will include for now Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, those to be joined shortly by Gewurztraminer. There will also be two second series – Tabor-Adama and Tabor.
For those whose Hebrew is lacking, (that is to say, most of us on the Forum) in understanding the labels – the word “adama” translates into soil; the word “gir” refers to chalky soil; and “bazelet”refers to volcanic soil. Especially with the Adama wines, a fascinating exercise will be to purchase two bottles of each of the releases, one from each type of soil and to taste these side-by-side to see the quite evident and sometimes even dramatic differences.
Following are my tasting notes. With the exception of the wines I tasted from barrels, those form the 2003 vintage, many of the other wines I sampled are scheduled for release in 2-3 weeks, the Mes'cha Chardonnay will be released probably in May-June and the kicker of which I write towards the end in about a month. I will of course be re-tasting these wines, this time blind in my own tasting room, in the near future. After those tastings, if any updates are in order they will be posted immediately.

Tabor, Chardonnay, Mes’cha, 2003: Medium to full bodied, deep golden straw in color, this medium- to full-bodied white reflects its 4 months in oak with hints of smoky and spicy oak together with rich, lightly creamy layers of pear, honey and apricots. Complex and long, a step forward for this winery. Drink now-2006. Score 90+. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Gir, Adama, 2003: After three months in new French and American oak, this light to medium-bodied straw colored wine shows an enchanting touch of spicy-vanilla laded wood together with green apple and citrus fruits. Not long or complex but very pleasing and a good match to veal or chicken dishes. Drink now or in the next year or so. NIS 59. Score 87. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Bazelet, Adama, 2003: Golden straw in color, with green reflections, this supple wint has a pleasing earthy accent to its citrus, hazelnut and pineapple notes. Give the wine time to open in the glass and it reveals ripe pear flavors as well. Enough complexity and depth and a just long enough finish to hold our interest. NIS 59. Drink now-2005. Score 89. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Adama, 2003: Light, bright and fresh, this medium-bodied unoaked white shows appealing flavors and aromas of pears, pineapples and citrus. With plenty of acidity to keep it lively and aromas of a garden after a light rain, a most pleasant wine indeed. Drink now or in the next year. NIS 59. Score 87. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Merlot, Gir, Adama, 2002: Dark cherry red towards garnet, this medium bodied, lightly oaked wine has a somewhat muted nose but shows very well on the palate, opening to reveal dark plums, currants, smooth tannins and a rich aftertaste on which the flavors linger nicely. Drinking well now but better in another six months. Drink now-2006. NIS 59. Score 87. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Merlot, Bazelet, Adama, 2001: Medium to full bodied, with a deep garnet color, and reflecting its aging in French and American oak, this medium to full bodied red is aromatic, round and mouth- filling. Currant, spice and black cherry flavors, smooth and polished tannins and a rich finish with fruits that fan out beautifully on the palate. Drink now-2006. NIS 69. Score 90. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, Adama, 2002: Dark, tight and firm but well focused and opening nicely in the glass to reveal an array of ripe cherry, currant, spice, anise and lightly toasty oak flavors. Supple and well focused with just the right hints of tannins that come to the fore on the long finish. Drink now-2006. NIS 59. Score 88. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Mes’cha, 2001: A full bodied blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, made from grapes from Malkia in the Upper Galilee, aged partly in new oak, partly in one year old barrels for 14 months. Young and tight, with excellent focus and tempting flavors of currants, spices and cedar flavors along with a leathery note that runs throughout. As rich on its near-sweet nose as on its fully dry palate and with a long fruity finish, this is the best wine made by this winery to date. Drink now-2008. NIS 116. Score 91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

From the 2003 vintage I also did several barrel tastings. Among those:

Tabor, Shiraz, 2003: Dark purple in color, with true Shiraz characteristics. At this stage still brooding and very firm but opening in the glass to reveal hints of licorice and game together with firm tannins and deep raspberry, floral accents. Clean and long, a fine Mediterranean expression of Shiraz. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Merlot, Gir, Adama, 2003: Dark, with a still tart aspect to its ripe currant and blackberry fruits, and light herbal-spicy overtones. Soft tannins and just hints of sweet cedar. Turns complex on the finish. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Merlot, Bazelet, Adama, 2003: Tight and still reticent because of its youth but already showing signs of developing into a bold, ripe wine with layers of plums and currants, not one for long-term cellaring but one that will be ready on release and then for 2 – 3 years. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, 2003: Dark royal purple, almost inky, but somehow bright, this medium to full bodied red is already showing appealing currant, cherry and spice flavors and aromas. Inherent good balance between soft tannins, acidity and fruits bode well for a wine that will be very nice indeed on release. Tentative Score 86-88. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003: Made entirely from grapes harvested in the Malkia vineyards, this dark royal purple red is already showing herbal and black olive flavors that are backed up nicely by currants and wild berries. Generous soft tannins and inherently excellent balance give this wine the potential for elegance and refinement, especially on the long finish. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)

And then there was the “kicker”, a wine so out-of –style of the house that the winemaker saved it for last, perhaps to surprise, perhaps to shock, perhaps just to get a reaction, for as where every other wine I had tasted to this point had (as previously noted) a distinctly New-World touch, this one was Old-World enough to make me think far more of Rioja than of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nes’cha, 2000: Full bodied, concentrated and intense, this deeply tannic wine opens slowly in the glass to show black fruits, cigar tobacco, tar and earthy aromas and flavors. Still firm and muscular, a wine that needs time and in the end may or may not open. At any rate, fascinating. NIS 126. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 16 Feb 2004)
Best,
Rogov
P.S. Those caring to read reviews of wines released earlier by Tabor will find them at http://www.stratsplace.com/cgi...rID=4

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Tabor Winery - Barrel Tastings, Advance Tastings, Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Tabor Winery - Barrel Tastings, Advance Tastings, Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 12:18 April 4,2005
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Hello to All...
Today (4 April 2005) found me at the Tabor Winery for barrel tastings, advance tastings and several comparative re-tastings. In short, this is a winery that seems to go from strength to strength with winemaker Arieh Nesher fully in control of his vineyards and winery. My tastings today included several wines from the top-of-the-line Mes’cha series and quite a few from the Adama series. Within that series wines are released with the intention (successful, one must say) to reflect the different types of soil in the vineyards. In reading the labels it may be useful to know that adama translates into soil; gir is chalky soil; terra rosa is red earth; and bazelet refers to volcanic soil. There is also a more basic series under the label Tabor.
The winery has jumped from producing about 90,000 bottles in 2003 to about 150,000 in 2004. One can happily report that this well-planned increase in output reflects no negative impact whatever on the quality of the wines.
Several of these wines are scheduled to be released this week. The reviews of those wines are noted before their tasting notes with the symbol ~. The wines in the Adama series are scheduled to sell for NIS 59 and the Mescha wines for NIS 85.
Oh yes....Because we discussed this on another thread (http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=8307 ), I nearly forgot to mention that Tabor is the first local winery to release several of their wines under Stelcap screwcaps. Those are the two Chardonnays and two Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Best,
Rogov

~Tabor, Chardonnay, Bazelet, Adama 2004: Light gold, medium-bodied, with citrus and tropical fruits on a lightly earthy background. Good balancing acidity keeps the wine lively and hints of earthiness and herbaceousness add complexity. Drink from release-2007. Score 88. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Bazelet, Adama, 2003: Golden straw in color, with green reflections, this supple wine has a pleasing earthy accent to its citrus, hazelnut and pineapple notes. Appealing ripe pear flavors on the finish make this a deep, complex and satisfying wine. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Chardonnay, Gir, Adama, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Crisp, clean and with abundant minerals on the nose and palate, those matched well by citrus and melon fruits. Reminds of a Petit Chablis. Drink now-2006. Score 87. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Gir, Adama, 2003: Reflecting three months in new French and American oak, this light to medium-bodied straw colored wine shows an appealing touch of spicy-vanilla laden wood together with green apple and citrus fruits. Not long or complex, with a hint of bitterness now creeping in but still quite pleasing. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Mes’cha, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Going towards deep-gold, medium- to full-bodied, with appeling pear, citrus and a hint of mango, the fruits on a background of spicy oak and with an appealing buttery texture. Good balance between wood, acidity and fruits. All in all a complex and appealing wine. Drink from release-2007, perhaps longer. Score 90. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Mes’cha, 2003: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Deep golden straw in color, this medium to full-bodied white reflects its 4 months in oak with hints of smoky and spicy oak together with rich, lightly creamy layers of pear, honey and apricots. Complex and long. Drink now–2006. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Charsit, Adama, 2004: Lightly oaked (2 months in barriques), light gold in color, medium-bodied and with lively grassy, citrus and citrus peel aromas and flavors, calling to mind the wines of France’s Loire Valley. Refreshing , with appealing complexity and surprisingly long finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 88. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Gir, Adama, 2004: Unoaked, crisply dry with light herbal and earthy hints on a background of grapefruit, orange peel and minerals. Fresh, refreshing and generous. Drink from release-2007. Score 87. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Cabernet Franc, Rose, Charsit, Adama, 2004: Bright cherry red in color, crisply dry, with good balancing acidity and appealing berry, cherry and plum aromas and flavors. A lovely breakfast or brunch wine but medium-bodied and round strong enough to stand up to grilled chicken, fish or veal dishes. A well made and “fun” wine. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Shiraz, Charsit, Adama, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, with soft tannins, good hints of smoky oak and sweet cedar, and generous black plums, berries and currants. Still in its infancy but showing promise to be a simultaneously complex and easy-to-drink wine. Best from release-2007, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Shiraz, Charsit, Adama, 2003: Deep garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins but those well integrated with spicy oak, vanilla and generous red plum and currant fruits. On the long finish, appealingly light meaty and herbal overtones. Best 2006-2009. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Merlot, Gir, Adama, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Well done and nicely reflecting the soil from which the grapes came. Youthful royal purple in color, medium-bodied, with generous but soft and well-integrating tannins. Good balance between wood and blackberry, currant and light spicy and earth overtones. Best 2006-2008. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Merlot, Gir, Adama, 2003: Dark garnet in color, medium-bodied, and somewhat internationalized in style with soft tannins, hints of sweet cedar wood and forward plum, currant fruits. Turns a bit more complex on the lightly herbal finish. Drink now-2006. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Merlot, Gir Adama , 2002: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Dark cherry red toward garnet, this medium-bodied, lightly oaked wine has a somewhat muted nose but shows very well on the palate, opening to reveal dark plums, currants, smooth tannins and a rich lingering finish. Drink now. Score 87. K ( Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Merlot, Bazelet, Adama, 2003: Opening beautifully now, reflecting its 12 months in oak with appealing smoky and vanilla overlays and showing tempting blackcurrant, purple plum and berry fruits. A distinctly French-style wine, well balanced and generous. Drink now-2007. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Merlot, Bazelet, Adama, 2001: With a deep garnet color, and reflecting its aging in French and American oak, this medium to full-bodied red is aromatic, round and mouth-filling. Features currant, spice and black cherry flavors, smooth and polished tannins, and a rich finish with fruits that fan out beautifully on the palate. Drink now. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, Adama, 2004 (Barrel Tasting): Deep ruby towards garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with good balance between yielding tannins, a light spicy wood overlay and cassis, wild berry and plum fruits. Round, satisfying and moderately long. Drink from release-2008. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

~Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rossa, Adama, 2003: Dark royal purple, almost inky but somehow bright, this medium to full-bodied red is already showing appealing currant, cherry and spice flavors and aromas. Inherent good balance between soft tannins, acidity and fruits and an appealingly spicy finish.. Drink now-2007. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, Adama, 2002: Dark, tight and firm but well focused and opening nicely in the glass to reveal an array of ripe cherry, currant, spice, anise and lightly toasty oak flavors. Supple and well focused with just the right hints of tannins that come to the fore on the long finish. Drink now. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mescha, 2001: Dark garnet red, medium- to full-bodied, with good balance betweeen firm but nicely integrating tannins, spicy oak and an appealing array of blackcurrant, plums, smoke and fresh earthy aromas and flavors. Long and mouthfilling. Drink now-2008. Score 90. K (Tasted 4 Apr 2005)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mescha, 2000: Full-bodied, concentrated and intense, this deeply tannic wine opens slowly in the glass to show black fruits, cigar tobacco, tar, and earthy aromas and flavors. Still firm and muscular, but finally showing signs of opening. Drink now-2008. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 4 Apr 2005)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Tabor Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Tabor Winery: Barrel, Advance and Re-Tastings
Posted by: Rogov at 12:46 March 8,2006
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Much of my day (Wednesday, 8 Mar 2006), was devoted to visiting the Tabor Winery, there for barrel, advance and re-tastings in the company of winemaker Arieh Nesher and CEO Oren Sela as well as several of the senior representatives of the Central Bottling Company, the Israeli division of Coca Cola that owns 51% of the winery. The tasting was a formal one but to be fully certain of my tasting notes, on return home I arranged for a re-tasting of all but the barrel samples in my own tasting room, matching the wines with similar wines from other wineries in and outside of Israel.
European-trained winemaker Arieh Nesher is currently releasing wines in three series. The top-of-the-line label is Mes’cha, a series of varietal wines that now includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. A second label, Tabor-Adama, reflects the type of soils in the vineyards. In reading the labels it may be useful to know that adama translates into soil or earth; gir is chalky soil; terra rosa is red earth; and bazelet refers to volcanic soil. There is also a more basic series released under the label Tabor.
Founded in 1999 by several grape-growing families in the village of Kfar Tabor in the Lower Galilee, this modern winery draws on white grapes largely from their own vineyards near Mount Tabor and on red grapes from the Upper Galilee. Initial production was of 20,000 bottles and current production is about 270,000 bottles annually. Definitely a winery to be taken seriously and most assuredly one of the wineries offering excellent value for money. As to more good news, despite earlier fears, at least to date there is no sign that the controlling Central Bottling Company is interfering in any way with winemaking procedures or philosophy, concerning themselves (and rightly so, if I may be allowed that editorial comment) entirely with distribution and long-term planning.
Two especially interesting developments, the first of these in the winery's acquisition of two new oak vats, both from French barrel producer Tonnellerie Cooperage Seguin Moreau, both of those of 2,000 liter capacity, the thought being to allow for longer barrel aging of several of the Mes'cha wines without the oak imposing too great an influence (the larger the surface area of the interior of the barrel, the more controllable the immediate impact of the wood on the wine). I shall follow the wines developing in those casks with great interest.
The second development and a very positive surprise for me was the tasting of a red dessert wine that makes no effort at all to imitate either Port or Vin Santo but stands well on its own with neither tricks nor pretensions.
My tasting notes follow. Note that some of the wine tasted in advance will be released within the next week or two, others only in several months. I will, of course review those wines in my column in HaAretz when the wines are released. Also please note that many of the barrel samplings are based on component parts and not yet final blends so scores for those should indeed be taken as tentative.

Adama Series
Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Bazelet, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, deep and round, showing good balance between wood, soft tannins and a tempting array of cassis, berry, citrus peel and earthy-herbal aromas and flavors. Best from 2008. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet in color, with soft, near-sweet tannins and hints of spices and vanilla from the wood in which it is developing. On the nose and palate red plums, blackberries and blackcurrants, those complemented by hints of earthy minerals. Best from 2008. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Bazelet, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Deep garnet in color, with deep purple and orange reflections, medium- to full-bodied, and with good balance between smoky wood, acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate concentrated currant and blackberry fruits matched by espresso and vanilla. Seductive and elegant. Best from 2007-2010. Score 90. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Terra Rosa 2004 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with spicy wood, soft tannins integrating nicely and red currant, blackberry and plums on the nose and palate, those backed up by an appealing hint of earthiness that lingers nicely. Drink from release-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Chardonnay, Adama, Bazelet, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Fermented in barriques with no malolactic fermentation encouraged. Clean, crisp and fresh, medium-bodied, with citrus and peach fruitiness matched nicely by gentle wood and lively acidity leading to a long finish. Drink now-2007. Score 88. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Adama, Gir, 2005: Light straw in color, this unoaked white starts off with subdued aromas and flavors but given time in the glass opens to reveal grassy, mineral, citrus and nutty aromas and flavors. Round and full of flavor. Drink now. Score 88 K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Rose, Adama, Charsit, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes, with a deep pink color that typifies peaches in their first bloom, showing appealing currant, red berry and rose petal aromas and flavors, those with a hint of earth on the finish. A 14% alcohol content, medium-bodied and with very appealing depth indeed. A delicious, crisply dry rose for either fun quaffing or as a comfortable match with fish, seafood or poultry dishes. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 88. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Still in embryonic form, but showing medium- to full-body, promising hints of vanilla from American oak and spicy wood from French. Soft tannins here well balanced by good acidity and raspberry, cassis and a light earthy overtone. Promising soft, round elegance. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 88-90.K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Gir, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Developing in French oak, medium-dark ruby towards garnet in color, with near-sweet tannins set off nicely by a hint of bitter herbs and those showing hints of spicy cedar, blackcurrants, and berries. Best 2008-2010, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet towards royal purple in color, with generous wood influence and deep tannins in fine balance with blackcurrant, plum and wild berry fruits. On the moderately-long finish hints of eucalyptus and chocolate. Drink from release-2008. Score 88. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Gir, 2004 (Advance Tasting): Living comfortably up to its barrel-tasting promises. Medium-bodied, with gentle spicy oak influences and soft tannins integrating nicely, with raspberry, blackberry, cassis and light earthy overtones, a round, smooth and near-elegant wine. Drink from release-2008, perhaps longer. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Mescha Series

Tabor, Mescha, 2003 (Advance Tasting): A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz (80%, 15% and 5% respectively), this deep garnet, medium- to full-bodied wine reflects its 18 months in oak with still firm tannins, those integrating nicely and opening to reveal blackcurrant, berry and plum fruits on a background of spicy wood and Mediterranean herbs. Generous, well-balanced and long. Drink from release-2009. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Mescha, 2002: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this medium- to full-bodied red shows firm tannins integrating nicely now with spicy oak and generous currant and wild berry fruits, those matched nicely by hints of spices, earthiness and tobacco on the finish. Drink now-2008. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 8 Mar 2006)

Tabor, Red Dessert Wine, Mescha, 2003: Generous sweetness here but that balanced nicely by natural acidity, medium- to full-bodied but light enough in character to make you feel that it is floating on the palate and with aromas and flavors of dark cherries, raspberries, toffee and burned orange peel. An original in every sense – not striving to be either a Vin Santo or a Port, but a wine that is bound to bring a smile to your face. Perhaps best with an after-dinner cigar, but those who don't indulge in that minor sin will find that this one goes well on its own or with fine cheeses. Score 89. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2006)

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The Wine & Food Fo
rum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Tabor Winery With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Tabor Winery With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 13:39 December 7,2006
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My usual schedule for visiting the Tabor Winery has me there in March but this year, for a variety of reasons (especially considering my early deadline for Tom Stevenson's Wine Report), I made the trip to Kfar Tabor a bit earlier. No complaints as much of today (Tursday, 7 January 2006) was devoted to tastings and re-tastings in the good company of winemaker Arieh Nesher and CEO Oren Sela as well as the several representatives of the Central Bottling Company that owns 51% of the winery.
The winery continues to release wines in three series: the top of the line Mescha; the second label Tabor-Adama and the more basic series released under the Tabor label. The Adama series attempts to reflet the type of soil in specific vineyards, and for those who do not understand Hebrew it may help to know that adama translates into soil or earth; gir is chalky soil; terra rosa is red earth; and bazelet refers to volcanic soil.
As discussed on another thread not that long ago, the winery did release several mevushal wines, those exclusively for export. The winery has decided not to continue with this practice. They were kind enough however to let me sample two of those wines from the 2004 vintage.
All-in-all, a winery definitely worth watching, showing high quality from their earliest releases, quality increasing in increments on an annual basis and continuing to offer prices at excellent value for money. Today's tasting notes follow.
Best
Rogov

Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Adama, Gir, 2006: Unoaked, the color of bright shining straw, medium-bodied and aromatic with citrus, citrus peel, white peach and mineral aromas and flavors a crisply refreshing wine. Drink now. NIS 63. Score 87.K (Tasted 7 Dec 2006

Tabor, Cabernet Franc, Rose, Adama, Charsit, 2006: Pearl pink in color, crisply dry, with appealing berry, cherry and currant fruits matched nicely by earthy minerals and tantalizing hints of spearmint and bitterness that come in on the finish. Lovely. Drink now. Score 88 K (Tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tavor, Merlot, 2005: Garnet red, medium-bodied, with tempting black fruits on the nose and soft, well-integrated tannins, a generously fruity unoaked wine showing black cherry, berry and cassis fruits. Round and soft, a "friendly" wine with just enough complexity to keep it interesting. Drink now-2008. Score 87. K (Tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: With its dominating blackcurrant, chocolate and mint aromas and flavors there is no way you'll think this is anything but Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely, this unoaked red also shows appealing blackberry and spices all of which fill the mouth comfortably. Easy to drink and with just enough complexity to hold our attention. Drink now-2008. Score 87. K (Tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Shiraz, 2005: Dark garnet red towards royal purple, reflecting its 12 months in oak with gentle spicy wood and tannins that while still firm show no sharp edges and are integrating nicely. On the nose and palate plums and blackberries, those complemented by hints of earthy minerals, a light meatiness and, rising on the finish a generous hint of raspberries. As in the past, neither French nor Australian but a distinctly Mediterranean wine. Drink now-2008. Score 88. K (Tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Gir, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Traditional for this release which shows remarkable consistency from year to year, medium-dark ruby in color, with berries, blackcurrants and hints of spicy wood backed up comfortably by near-sweet tannins and hints of spicy wood, all coming together as a coherent and very appealing whole. Best 2008-2010. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Showing every bit as nicely as during barrel tastings. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and appealing hints of vanilla, white chocolate and spices from the wood in which it was developed. On the nose and palate red and black berries, cassis and earthy-minerals. Soft, round and generous. Drink from release-2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, Adama, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with firm, near-sweet tannins integrating nicely and now showing red plums, raspberries and currant fruits, those matched well by minerals and light hints of herbaceousness. Round, long and generous. Best from 2008-2011 Score 89. K (Re-taste 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor , Cabernet Sauvignon, Bazelet, Adama, 2005: (Advance Tasting): Medium-dark garnet towards purple, medium- to full-bodied, showing generous blackcurrant, blackberry, citrus peel and earthy-mineral aromas and flavors. On the long finish hints of tobacco and eucalyptus. Best from 2008-2012. K. Score 90. (Re-tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Mes'cha, 2003: My most recent tasting note holds firmly: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz (80%, 15% and 5% respectively), this deep garnet, medium to full-bodied wine reflects its 18 months in oak with still firm tannins and generous wood, those integrating nicely and opening to reveal blackcurrant, berry and plum fruits on a background of spicy wood and Mediterranean herbs. Generous, well-balanced and long. Drink now-2009, perhaps longer.–2009. K Score 90. K (Re-tasted 7 Dec 2006)

Tabor, Red Dessert Wine, 2003: Mescha, Red Dessert Wine, 2003: Made entirely from Merlot grapes, full-bodied, with generous but not cloying sweetness and a fine roundness on the palate. Smooth and round, with raspberry, plum, blueberry and chocolate notes. Drink now-2008. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 7 Dec 2006)

The Mevushal Wines

Mt. Tabor Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004: Cherry towards garnet red, medium-bodied, with soft tannins and primarily black cherry and berry fruits, those being harmed by the somewhat "cooked" aromas and flatness too often brought about by the pasteurization process. Drink up. Score 78. K

Mt. Tabor Estate, Merlot, 2004: When they first used the term "cooked" as a descriptor for mevushal wines, this is the wine they must have been thinking of . Light- to medium-bodied, with soft tannins and muted berry, cherry and currant fruits. Drink up. Score 77. K

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Tabor Winery + Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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Post Title: Visit to Tabor Winery + Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 13:37 January 28,2008
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This morning (Monday 28 Jan 2008), found me off to the Galilee, there not far from the shadow of Mt. Tabor to visit and do advance and re-tastings at the Tabor Winery. When I first visited this winery, in early 2000, production was about 20,000 bottles annually and the winery did not even boast a full-time winemaker.
Growth was immediate, European trained winemaker Arieh Nesher was taken on as senior winemaker, the quality of the wines was high and value for money was very good. When IBBL (the company that does Coca Cola in Israel) first bought into the winery and later as it purchased A controlling interest, I was concerned, envisioning trucks simultaneously laded with Coke and Tabor wines making the rounds in the heat of summer, the wines probably no more sophisticated in quality than the Coke that stood alongside it. My worries were for naught. Coke may now be the major shareholder but winemaking and winemaking decisions remain fully in the hands of winemaker Arieh Nesher and CEO Oren Sela.
The winery is currently releasing wines in three series. The top-of-the-line label is Mes’cha, a series of blends and varietal wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and occasionally Chardonnay. A second label, Adama, reflects the type of soils in the vineyards. In reading the labels it may be useful to know that adama translates into soil; gir is chalky soil; terra rossa is red earth; charsit is clay and bazelet refers to volcanic soil. There is also a more basic series released under the label Tabor.
The winery is now producing close to 950,000 bottles annually, has recently taken on an additional 800 dunams (200 acres) of vineyards under long-term, full-control contracts and is adding state-of-the-art equipment as the winery expands. Quality has not only remained high but continues to demonstrate itself in new ways and the policy of maintaining high value for money remains well in place.
My tasting notes from the day follow: My thanks to Arieh Nesher, Oren Sela and those of IBBL who were present for a fine tasting, for their courtesies and for more than a few cups of espresso coffee.
Note: Prices for the wines in the Tabor series are NIS 42 each, forthose in the Adama series, NIS 65 and for the Mescha 2003, NIS 116.
Best
Rogov

Tabor, Chardonnay, 2007: Sparkling clear light gold in color, light- to medium-bodied, with appealing flinty and steely minerals and finely tuned acidity supporting appealing citrus, grapefruit and passion fruit aromas and flavors, a lovely unoaked white. Intentionally not overly complex but drinking beautifully. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Adama, Gir, 2007: The color of light golden straw, showing apple, melon and peach fruits, those supported nicely by crisp acidity, stony minerals and a light hint of freshly mown grass. Lightly frizzante when served well chilled. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 88. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Rose, Adama, Charsit, 2007: The best and most refreshing rose from the winery to date. Cherry-red in color, crisply dry, with a tempting array of raspberry, red and black cherries and watermelon fruits all on a crisply dry and tangy floral background. NIS 42 for 500 ml. bottles. Drink now. Score 88.(Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Merlot, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Garnet towards royal purple, medium-bodied, with soft, well integrated tannins, a round, easy to drink wine showing appealing spicy berry and currant fruits. A very pleasant match to roast chicken, pasta, pizza or lamb chops. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 ( Advance Tasting): Medium-bodied, dark royal purple in color, with gently mouth-coating tannins opening to reveal red currant and red berry fruits. Easy and refreshing drinking. Drink now. Score 86. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Merlot, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Soft, smooth and round, with gently mouth-coating tannins and appealing berry, black cherry and currant fruits showing appealing herbal overtones. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006: Ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, with soft tannins. A soft, round and fruity red showing blackcurrants and blackberries on a lightly spicy background. Not complex but appealing and a good match to steaks and small cuts of beef. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Garnet towards royal purple, with light spicy wood on near-sweet tannins and opening to reveal currant, purple plum and blackberry fruits, those on a background of milk chocolate and, on the finish nice hints of mint and white pepper. Drink now-2010. Score 89. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2005: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied and showing red and black berries, red currants, earthy minerals and hints of white chocolate, all on a lightly spicy and herbal background. Blended with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon, round and generous. Drink now-2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Gir, 2006 (Advance Tasting}: Garnet towards youthful royal purple, medium-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and showing blackberry, blueberry and cassis notes, those supported by a generous green and herbal overlay that may not please all. Drink from release-2010. Score 87. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Gir 2005 My earlier tasting note holds firmly. Medium-dark ruby in color, with berries and black currants backed up comfortably by near-sweet tannins and hints of spicy wood, all coming together beautifully. Drink now–2010. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2004: Now at its peak and showing somewhat better than at earlier tasting.s. Medium- to full-bodied, reflecting its 12 months in barriques with gentle hints of spicy wood and well integrated tannins, those in fine balance with black currants, red plums and wild berries. Good length here with hints of mint and chocolate on the finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan2008)

Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Gir 2004: Medium-bodied, with gentle spicy oak influences and soft tannins integrating nicely, with raspberry, blackberry, cassis and light earthy-herbal overtones. A round, smooth and near-elegant wine. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Bazelet, 2006: Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with fine grained tannins integrating nicely. A ripe, supple and harmonious wine showing currant and blackcherry fruits, those supported by hints of near-sweet cedar wood and dark chocolate. On the long finish an enchanting hint of licorice Best 2009-2012. Score 90. K (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Bazelet, 2005: Medium-dark garnet towards purple, this medium to full-bodied blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot was developed in 2000 liter wood casks and shows generous black currant, blackberry, citrus peel and earthy-mineral aromas and flavors. On the long finish hints of sweet cedar, tobacco and eucalyptus. Drink now–2012. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Terra Rossa, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Oak-aged for 9 months, with soft tannins, hints of spicy wood and vanilla and mouth-coating tannins settling down nicely. Showing currant, blackberry and generous earthy-mierals along with Mediterranean herbs. Round and generous. Drink from release-2011. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Terra Rossa, 2005: Dark garnet towards royal-purple, medium to full-bodied, with firm, near-sweet tannins integrating nicely. Aromatic and flavorful, with red plums, raspberries and currants matched by minerals and light hints of herbaceousness. Round, long and generous. Drink now–2011. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rossa, Adama 2004: Dark garnet, medium to full-bodied, with spicy wood, soft tannins integrating nicely. Red currants, blackberries, raspberries and red plums on the nose and palate, those backed up by an appealing hint of earthiness that lingers nicely. Drink now. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Tabor, Mescha, 2003: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot (75%, 15% and 10% respectively), this deep garnet, medium to full-bodied wine reflects its 18 months in oak with tannins and spicy wood integrating and opening to reveal black currant, berry and plum fruits on a background of spicy wood and Mediterranean herbs. Generous, well balanced and long. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K

Mes’cha, 2002: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this medium to full-bodied red shows firm but well-integrated tannins with spicy oak and generous currant and blackberry fruits, those matched by hints of spices, earthiness and tobacco on the finish. Drinking well but showing first signs of aging. Drink up. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Mes’cha, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001: Showing every bit as well as in its youth. Dark garnet-red, medium to full-bodied, with good balance between firm but well-integrated tannins, spicy oak and an appealing array of black currant, plums, smoke and fresh earthy aromas and flavors. On the long mouth-filling finish hintsof minted dark chocolate. Drink now2010 Score 91. K (Re-tasted 28 Jan 2008)

Just when I thought we had finished our tastings, a surprise was presented…..

Tabor, Pnimim (Pearls), 2007 (Advance Tasting): Dark but bright black cherry towards royal purple in color, medium-bodied, and made entirely from Merlot grapes. Two things surprise here – the first that the wine reminds of nothing more than a fine Dolcetto d'Alba and the second that it is lightly and enchantingly frizzante. Under no circumstances to be taken overly seriously, but with generous berry, plum, blackberry and dark chocolate, with well-integrated tannins a wine to be served well chilled and for pure, unadulterated pleasure. Lovely! Drink from release. Score for absolute pleasure – very high. Score - let's say 88. K Highly recommended. (Tasted 28 Jan 2008)
In late January, during my visit to the Tabor Winery, I was presented with a surprise wine – their Pnimim (Pearls). That wine is about to make its way to market (another week or so) and this morning I did a re-tasting. What can I say…..a fun wine that also happens to have an appealing quality level.
As a special bow to Ric and Matilda, perhaps Sparkling Shiraz also does have a chance.
Best
Rogov

Tabor, Pnimim (Pearls), 2007: Dark black cherry towards royal-purple in color, medium-bodied, and made entirely from Merlot grapes. Three things surprise here— first that the wine reminds of nothing more than a fine Dolcetto d'Alba, second that it is lightly and enchantingly frizzante and third that it is semi-sweet. Not a wine to be taken overly seriously, but with generous berry, plum, blackberry and dark chocolate, with well-integrated tannins. A wine to be served and enjoyed well chilled. Drink now. NIS 45. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 13 Jun 2008)
Eli R
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WTN: Tzora Winery, Israel by D. Rogov

Postby Eli R » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:38 am

The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visits to Tzora, Flam and Agur: With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)

Post Title: Visits to Tzora, Flam and Agur: With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 04:13 January 5,2007

Yesterday (Thursday, 4 Jan 2007) had me leaving Tel Aviv quite early in the morning to visit three wineries in the Judean Hills – Tzora, Flam and Agur. The espresso coffee at Tzora was not at all special but the café botz that followed was just fine; I did not get coffee at Flam but we did share a pleasant pizza after the tasting; and the macchineto coffee at Agur was just fine. More important, the company was warm and welcoming, the discussions lively and the tasting most rewarding.
My warm thanks to Eran Pik of Tzora (I was only sorry that Ronnie James was indisposed and could not take part in the tasting with us), to Flam Fils et Pere, and to Shuki Yashuv for their courtesies and for the tastings. My tasting notes follow. Note please that several of the barrel tastings were of wines destined for blending and those are therefore not given scores.

TZORA

2006 Barrel Tastings
Tzora, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gvat Hachalukim, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from component parts, part aging in oak, part in stainless steel vats, but already showing dark garnet in color, highly aromatic and with generous fruit. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely, with a moderate hand on the oak and a rich array of red and black berries, black currants and a very appealing array of spices. Finishes nicely with hints of chocolate and mint. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Cabernet Sauvignon, Neve Ilan, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Medium- to full-bodied, deep garnet towards royal purple in color, with firm tannins integrating nicely with wood and fruits. Showing generous raspberry, red currant and a youthful cranberry hint, with the tannins coating the mouth nicely and opening to reveal earthy minerals and, on the long finish gentle hints of spicy wood and freshly picked mushrooms. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shoresh, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from component parts, this dark royal purple, appealingly herbal and earthy, medium- to full-bodied wine is already showing generous cherry, berry and cassis fruits, those finishing with hints of coffee and tobacco. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Dark purple towards inky black, intensely tannic and with concentrated black fruits and with a tantalizing near-sweetness, all of which show fine balance and structure. Look as well for the continued development of Mediterranean herbs, tobacco and licorice. Best from 2009. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Merlot, Neve Ilan, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet red with orange and purple reflections, medium- to full-bodied with generous but near-sweet soft tannins integrating nicely and already opening to show generous red fruits and an appealing spicy overlay. Tannins and steely minerals rise nicely on the finish to make this a "Merlot with an attitude" or, if you prefer, a Merlot with a distinct personality. Best from 2008. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Syrah, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Made from extremely low yield vines, this dark, full-bodied and concentrated red shows soft, mouthcoating tannins, spicy wood and hints of smoked meat and earthiness, those opening o reveal generous red fruits. Intense but somehow gentle and despite its extreme youth, showing elegance. Best from 2008 or 2009. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

2005 Barrel Tastings

Tzora, Cabernet Sauvignon, Neve Ilan, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, near-sweet tannins integrating nicely and showing appealing blackberry, currant and raspberry fruits, those supported nicely by appealing hints of lightly honeyed chewing tobacco and red licorice. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzroa, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gvat Hachalukim, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, with soft tannins and generous spicy wood. Opens to show generous red fruits but someone one dimensional at this stage. Drink from release. Tentative Score 84-86. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Merlot, Gvat Hachalukim, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Ruby towards purple in color, medium-bodied, with soft, perhaps even flabby tannins and an unwanted hint of bitterness that interferes with currant, berry and plum fruits Perhaps better with time. Tentative Score 83-85. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

Tzora, Merlot, Shoresh, 2005 (Barrel Tasting): Dark royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely to show berry, cherry and orange peel aromas and flavors leading to a moderately-long finish. Drink from release. Tentative Score 84-86. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

And One Advance Tasting
Tzora, Gewurztraminer Dessert Wine, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Light, sweet and silky, almost calling to mind an ice wine, with distinct honeyed pineapple and pear fruits and a hint of kumquat marmalade on the finish. A low 8% alcohol content and good balancing acidity come in to make the wine both lively and tempting. Drink from release-2009. Score 88. K (Tasted 4 Jan 2007)

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The Wine & Food Forum at Strat's Place > Wine > Visit to Tzora Vineyards With Tasting Notes (Printable Version)
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http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=16084

Post Title: Visit to Tzora Vineyards With Tasting Notes
Posted by: Rogov at 11:50 January 13,2008
This morning (Sunday, 13 January 2008) found me at the Tzora Vineyards. there to meet with winemaker Eran Pick to do barrel, advance and re-tastings. California-trained and having done work-stages there as well as in Bordeaux and Australia, Pick was brought aboard by the winery's founder Ronnie James in 2006. As James has been a devotee (Tony Aspler described him as an "inspired viticulturist") of the importance of terroir, so is Pick maintaining that tradition, the winery now releasing wines in only four series, three of those named after the single vineyards from which the grapes were harvested and one a blend made from two vineyards.
Private investment has added state-of-the-art equipment to the winery and, together with the kibbutz which remains a part-owner the winery controls its own vineyards, those yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Johannisberg Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The winery selects only about 40% of the grapes raised for their own wines, those they consider the very best, and the remaining grapes go to other wineries in the region. The Tzora wines have been kosher since the 2002 vintage.
Among other conclusions: (a) the winery continues to move in the directions of wine that have a distinct Mediterranean nature; (b) there is a clear direction towards a fine combination of concentration and elegance, and (c) I see a movement towards wines that while quite approachable on release will show somewhat greater aging ability than in the past.
My thanks to Eran Pick and to Dudu the winery's Mashgiach for a rewarding tasting and their good company. Should anyone be interested, the winery now has an espresso machine. Oh yes, after my tasting I met Ze'ev Dunie and, before catching the train back to Tel Aviv we lunched (hold your breath) at McDonald's (Big Mac in my case, Royal Mac in his case, both with chips and Coca Cola). No fear - we laughed heartily at ourselves.
Best
Rogov

Tzora Vineyards, Gewurztraminer, Shoresh Blanc, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Bright golden in color, opening on the nose with what seem like sweet fruits but comes to the palate as completely dry showing litchi, kiwi and peach fruits. Medium-bodied, soft, round and caressing and ends with a light honeyed note that lingers nicely. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Givat Hachalukim, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark garnet in color, generously aromatic and opening to reveal a medium- to full-bodied red with soft tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood and fruits. On the nose and palate opening with raspberries, those going to blackberries, currants and hints of orange peel. Firm but yielding, generous and long. Drink from release-2012. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Neve Ilan, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components but already showing the potential for elegance. Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied (perhaps destined in the end to be full-bodied) with generous mouth-coating tannins and spicy wood in fine balance with red currant and wild berry fruits, those on a background that hints nicely of tobacco and freshly turned soil. Rich and firm but with the clear promise for elegance. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah, Shoresh, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark, almost inky garnet in color, full-bodied, with firm, still gripping but near-sweet tannins needing time to integrate but already promising fine balance and structure. Opens with black currants and purple plums, those coming together nicely with grilled herbs, cigar tobacco and, on the long finish appealing hints of saddle leather and bitter orange peel. Best 2009-2013. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon, Judean Hills, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and reflecting its 12 months in oak with a gentle spiciness. A blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas and flavors of cassis, blackberries and an appealing hint of vanilla. Easy to drink but with just enough complexity to catch our attention. Drink from release-2009. Score 87. K (Tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Givat Hachalukim, 2006: Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, with softly caressing tannins and reflecting a gentle hand with oak. Medium- to full-bodied, with generous currant wild berry fruits, those matched nicely by hints of anise and white pepper. Finishes moderately long with a note of minted chocolate. Drink now-2009, perhaps somewhat longer. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Neve Ilan, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Developing nicely as predicted at an earlier barrel tasting. Medium- to full-bodied, deep garnet towards royal purple, with tannins now softening and integrating nicely with wood and fruits. Opens with raspberries and red currants, those yielding to red plums, spices and earthy minerals. Drink from release-2010. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Re-tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shoresh, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Dark royal-purple, with appealingly herbal and earthy notes. Medium to full-bodied, showing generous cherry, berry and cassis fruits, those finishing with hints of coffee and tobacco. Drink from release–2010. Tentative Score 88–90. K (Re-tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon, Meubanim, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Meubanim is a sub-section of the Shoresh vineyard, an area of particularly low yield and that judged to be individual enough in personality that the grapes were separated for this special blend. Full-bodied, with firm almost puckering tannins and leathery and gamy on the nose but showing promise for integration and a muscular kind of elegance. Opens to reveal red currants, raspberries, chocolate and tobacco. Long, intense and mouthfilling. Best from 2009. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Merlot, Shoresh, 2005: Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, mouth-coating tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely. Opens to show a fine array of berry, black cherry and citrus peel, those leading to a moderately long finish. Still showing a bit sharp on the palate but with a bit of time in the bottle this will settle down very nicely. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 13 Jan 2008)

Tzora Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Neve Ilan, 2005: Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, dark ruby towards garnet in color, full-bodied with tannins showing more gripping and with somewhat earthy and herbal aromas and flavors rising, the fruits are more subdued than at an earlier tasting. Continuing to show black fruits and hints of licorice. Perhaps at the onset of a dumb period. To be re-tasted in six months. Hold this one for a while. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 13 Jan 2007)
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