At first, I was planning to write a column with holiday wine suggestions by price. However, recent visits to several Jerusalem wine and beverage shops proved that while there are recommended prices and benchmarks, competition between the various wineries and shops often causes prices to vary quite dramatically. With some of the specials that I have seen, it is worth considering picking up a case or two and stocking up for the coming months.
Following are a handful of red vinos that I enjoyed over the past few weeks. After Rosh HaShana and if the warm weather keeps up, I will prepare a similar article with white wine suggestions.
Galilee Mountain, Galil, Alon, 2011 – with a Cabernet Sauvignon backbone (59%), the Alon blend comprises Syrah (25%), Cabernet Franc (7%) and Petit Verdot (7%) grapes. Bright purple in color, opening in the glass with concentrated slightly jammy aromas and flavors of red berry fruits, ripe plums and blueberries followed by notes of dried herbs, warm spices, and toasted oak leading to a long and smooth finish. A very approachable and ‘tasty” wine.
Golan Heights, Cabernet Sauvignon, HaShmura, Gamla, 2010 – comprising Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from several vineyards in the north of Israel, 12 months in French oak; on the attack, classic aromas and flavors of dark and red berry fruits, plums, dry herbs, those followed by toasted oak and dark chocolate. Still a bit firm so allow to aerate in the glass, medium-full bodied with good balancing acidity all coming together nicely and leading to a long finish.
1848 Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Seventh Generation, 2009 – (86%) Cabernet Sauvignon, (8%) Petite Sirah and the balance Merlot developed in a mix of both French and American oak barrels. Ruby in color, full bodied, on the nose and palate dark berry fruits, plums, vanilla and Mediterranean herbs leading to a medium-long finish.
Barkan, Petit Verdot, Special Reserve, 2010 – one of the few varietal Petit Verdot wines in the country, hailing from Barkan’s newly rebranded Special Reserve label. 18 months in barriques, deep ruby towards garnet in color with generous notes of ripe dark berry followed by fresh Mediterranean herbs, evident toasted oak, chocolate and warm-sweet spices leading to a long and pleasant finish.
Adir, ‘A’, 2010 – comprising (60%) Shiraz, (25%) Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Cabernet Franc, concentrated purple in color, medium bodied, a bit firm when first poured and then opens to suggest dark berry fruits, orange zest and dry herbs. Those followed by notes of vanilla and toasted oak leading to a long finish. If you happen to be up north over the holiday season, the Adir visitor’s center situated in the Dalton Industrial Zone showcases Adir’s excellent goat milk based dairy products and is well worth a visit.
Flam, Noble, 2008 – Flam’s flagship vino, a Bordeaux style blend (though the winemaker indicates that this may change based on the quality of the grapes in any given year) comprising Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Bright ruby with purple reflections, 22 months in oak, the wine is full bodied, good texture on the palate, with complex and layered aromas and flavors that bring to mind tart cherries, red berry fruits, plums, flowers and refreshing green notes, followed by peppery notes and subtle oak, all coming together nicely and leading to a long and very enjoyable finish.
L’Chaim and Shana Tova!