With Passover just a few weeks away, the local wine industry is seeing allot of action. New wines are being released on a daily basis, a new wine guide is to be launched and I am beginning to receive calls from friends who want to know which wines offer the best bang for the buck. There are good buys to be found in the 3 for NIS 100 and 2 for NIS 100 but if your budget permits, I would recommend picking up at least 1 “nicer” bottle and serving it with the festive meal.
Following are several new vinos at prices ranging from NIS 85- NIS 130:
Barkan Winery, Assemblage, Eytan, 2011 – Barkan recently released new vinos from the winery’s Assemblage (a French word referring to the blending process) label and at the moment, the Eytan is the most approachable and in my opinion much better than the 2010 edition. The Eytan, named after a mountain in the Judean Hills which hints to the source of the grapes comprises Syrah (34%), Merlot (32%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (34%). Dark ruby in color, medium-full bodied, the wine suggests juicy red berry fruits, cherries and fresh herbs followed by spicy peppery notes and toasted oak. Good balancing acidity and a long finish.
Barkan Winery, Altitude, Merlot, +711, 2009 – traditionally, the Altitude label consists of Cabernet Sauvignon vinos and this is the first Merlot based wine included in the series. %100 Merlot grapes from a single vineyard in the Upper Galilee, 16 months in oak (mostly French), the wine is dark purple towards garnet in color, suggesting generous notes of dark berry fruits, Mediterranean herbs followed by hints of leather and roasted coffee beans. Good structure on the palate and a long and refreshing make this a very enjoyable wine.
Bravdo, Merlot, 2011 – Situated in the Karmei Yosef moshav, this winery is definitely worth a visit. A beautiful wooden gazebo amidst the vineyards serves as the visitor’s center and if you are lucky, you’ll run into one of the professors who own and operate the winery. Partners Prof. Ben Ami Bravdo and his former student, Prof. Oded Shoseyov are renowned viniculture experts and the winery produces some fine varietal reds as well as an excellent Chardonnay. If you get a chance, try the Coupage red blend. 100% Merlot grapes, bright ruby in color the wine suggests layered aromas of ripe dark berry fruits and cherries followed by dry herbs, toasted oak, roasted coffee beans and warm spices leading to a medium-long finish.
Golan Heights Winery, Single Vineyard, Odem Organic, Merlot, 2009 – the winery’s Yarden Single Vineyard label consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay wines. When looking through the Golan Heights’ wine portfolio, the breadth and depth of the variety and quality is quite impressive. Dark ruby with purple reflections, full bodied, the wine suggests concentrated aromas and flavors of dark berry fruits, cherries and plums followed by dried herbs and chocolate covered citrus peel leading to a long and pleasant finish.
There is also allot of action at the Tishbi Winery’s visitor’s center and aside from the wine and chocolate tasting, excellent olive oil sold by the liter and the option of refilling bottles of wine, Tishbi recently began serving smoked brisket made on the premises. As a big fan of smoked meats, I’m definitely looking forward to my next visit there.