It was in mid-July that I first heard of the kosher wines being produced by Australia's Harkham Winery. Within short order, I had sent off an email to the winery and not too much longer after that wines arrived for tasting. Alas, the clerks and other functionaries at Israeli customs authorities are the bureaucrats par excellence, and I was informed that unless I was a registered importer and sent bottles to the Israeli Wine Institute for testing, they would not be released to me. That I receive anywhere from 5 – 12 shipments of wine for tasting every week had no effect on those people, almost as if "Australia" and "kosher" were dirty words.
About ten days ago, thanks to the courtesy of the family of Richard and Terry Harkham, bottles were hand carried from Australia to Israel and made their way to me. I gave the wines several days to recover from their voyage and today they made their way to my tasting table. My thanks to all (but not to the customs authorities ) who made these wines available for tasting. My tasting notes follow. As a point of information the white wine was tasted yesterday in a flight of Australian and Israeli Chardonnays and the red wines were tasted blind alongside eight non-kosher Australian Shiraz wines.
The winery's internet site can be found at http://www.harkhamwine.com/
Harkham, Chardonnay, Preservative Free, Australia, 2010: Pressed as whole bunches, fermented in oak and bottled without filtering or fining. Light golden straw in color, a lively Chardonnay, showing appealing aromas and flavors of citrus and tropical fruits, those with a light overlay of spicy wood. Lively and fresh. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Tasted 16 Jan 2011)
Harkham Winery, Shiraz, Reserve, Unfiltered, Hunter Valley, Australia, 2009: Dark garnet, full-bodied, with gently gripping tannins. On the nose and palate generous blackberry, currant and purple plums and hints of licorice and spicy cedar wood on the long finish. Drink now-2014. Score 89. K (Tasted 17 Jan 20011)
Harkham Winery, Shiraz, Aliza's Shiraz, Preservative Free, 2010: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied and reflecting light oak aging with soft, gently caressing tannins. A crisply refreshing wine with blackberry, cassis and cranberry flavors, those lingering nicely on the palate. Finishes with an appealing tangy note. Not complex but a fine quaffer. Drink now-2013. Score 87. K (Tasted 17 Jan 2011)
Harkham, Shiraz, Hunter Valley, 2009: Medium- to full-bodied, with currant and plum, those marred by a not fully wanted stewed note. Soft and round, with notes of smoky oak and licorice to complement the fruits. Drink now-2012. Score 85. K