Last week the Golan Heights Winery launched three new Merlot wines. While all three are labeled as part of the winery's Yarden series, two of these wines are single vineyard vinos. "Single Vineyard Wines" are wines produced using grapes harvested from the same (single) vineyard. These wines are intended to reflect the traits and characteristics of a specific vineyard and provide customers with the opportunity to compare the differences between the various terroirs.
The event started off with an impressive tasting session in the winery's cellar which included Yarden, merlot wines from the 2000 thru 2005 vintages and of course the "main event" the Yarden, Merlot, Kela, 2005 and the Yarden, Merlot, Tel Fares, 2005. After introducing the wines and the winemakers, Golan Heights's CEO, Ms. Anat Levy discussed the new developments at the winery and also mentioned that "while the per capita wine drinking ratio in Israel is still relatively low, especially when compared to the stats in Europe, we are seeing more and more demand and interest from Israeli consumers in higher quality wines", a welcome trend if you ask me.
It isn’t every day that one has the chance to taste and compare so many wines from subsequent vintages, thus offering not only the opportunity to compare the various terroirs but also the opportunity to compare the different vintages and even see if the wine ages well. The 2000 and 2001 are both well aged and elegant. I found the 2002 to be a bit disappointing; the 03 and 04 were both youthful and while they are very enjoyable now, the wines will develop nicely over the next couple of years (if stored in proper conditions).
Following the tasting session at the winery, guests were invited to partake in the annual "Harvest Fest" celebration at the El-Rom vineyard, which is situated in the mouth of the Avital volcano, where once again the wine was poured and poured and poured….
Yarden, Merlot, 2005
Aged for 14 months in French oak, the wine is showing various black and red fruits, particularly ripe plums followed by hints of dark chocolate and herbs.
Yarden, Merlot, Kela Vineyard, 2005
Full bodied, this Merlot offers generous aromas of ripe fruit, cherries, plums and currants along with fresh herbs, oak and earth all leading to a long finish.
The winery recommends serving this wine alongside a herb crusted- grilled rack of lamb or a slice of roast beef topped with a red wine reduction sauce.
Yarden, Merlot, Tel Fares, 2005
Deep, almost impenetrable in color and full bodied, the wine offers concentrated aromas of dark berry fruits, plums, purple flowers followed by fresh herbs, sage and oak all leading to a long and satisfying finish.
Golan Heights Winery