Holiday season is just a couple of weeks away and judging from the activity and the local wine store, people are starting to think about which wines they are going to serve during the festive meals. Following is a list with several holiday wine suggestions:
Tabor, Adama 2, Ra’am, 2010 – A juicy and enjoyable blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, 12 months in barriques, rather fruit forward, the wine suggests generous ripe dark fruits, flowers and dry herbs leading to a medium-long finish. Tabor Winery has undergone a major quality revolution in recent years. Following substantial investment in both vineyards and equipment, the Tabor portfolio is very diverse and offers good wines at all price ranges. The Tabor, Adama, Gir, Sauvignon Blanc and the Roussanne are excellent white vinos and some of the reds from the Adama and Adama 2 labels are very enjoyable.
Trio, Spirit of the Galilee, 2012 – a medium bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot; the wine suggests notes of red berry fruits, plums, orange zest and fresh herbs leading to a pleasant finish. The Spirit label from Trio is kosher. Trio is a boutique winery operated by the Shaked family, who also own the Derech HaYain (The Wine Route) wine-store chain, which has had a significant impact on the local industry, promoting wine culture and education throughout the country.
Bravdo, Merlot, 2012 – I recently attended a very special wine tasting at the Bravdo winery sampling both new and aged vinos. The winery which is celebrating its “Bar Mitzva” is managed by Professors Ben Ami Bravdo and Oded Shoseyov and over the years has produced some excellent red & white vinos, recently adding a rose to its portfolio as well. While I felt that the Merlot 03 and Merlot 04 have seen better days, I was positively surprised with the Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 that was still showing character and was quite enjoyable. Produced from 100% Merlot grapes, the 2012 is bright ruby in color suggesting generous aromas and flavors of tart red berry fruits, flowers and fresh herbs leading to a medium-long finish. Good balancing acidity and texture make this a very enjoyable vino.
Gvaot, Gofna, Chardonnay-Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 – Dr. Shivi Drori and the team at Gvaot are doing excellent work showing quality and consistency over the years. The winery’s Pinot Noir is one of the better Israeli Pinots and the Metzada, while pricey is an impressive wine. A rather interesting wine from Gvaot is a blended blanc de noir (or white from black) 83% Chardonnay and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon, were blended to produce a white wine which was aged in oak for some 6 months. Light but lightly tinted in color, medium bodied, showing aromas and flavors of toasted oak, vanilla, green apples, white peaches and red berry fruits coming together nicely for a pleasant and dry finish. An interesting wine that will surely give your guests something to talk about.
Dalton, Reserve, Shiraz, 2012 – for years Dalton’s Shiraz/Syrah reserve has been one of my favorites from the winery and the 2012 is no exception. The winery recently embarked on a rebranding campaign and the labels and graphics are clean but still have character.
Dalton also added a couple of new vinos to the popular Alma label and if you get a chance, I would suggest picking up a bottle or two. The Shiraz 2012 is dark purple in color, full bodied, good supporting acidity, with concentrated aromas and flavors of dark berry fruits and flowers followed by pleasant peppery notes and sweet spices leading to a long and mouth filing finish.
Adir, Plato, 2011 – Adir’s flagship vino comprising 92% cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Shiraz. 24 months in oak; deep- impenetrable purple in color, full bodied, on the first attack toasted oak and dark berry fruits followed by pleasant notes of cherries, dark chocolate and black pepper all leading to a long finish. Back in 2008, the Plato 2005 was Adir Winery’s “claim to fame” receiving medals and recognition at the Terra Vino wine competition. Adir has gone a long way since and if you happen to be up north over the holiday, the winery is definitely worth a visit.
Golan Heights, Yarden, Kela Vineyards, Merlot, 2011 – still a bit firm, this is a full bodied wine showing layered aromas of dark berry fruits, fresh herbs followed by flowery notes, green pepper and warm spices. Good structure and long and mouth filing finish. The Golan Heights’ Winery offers an extensive list of "Single Vineyard Wines", relying in Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes. These wines produced using grapes harvested from the same (single) vineyard and are intended to reflect the traits and characteristics of a specific vineyard, providing customers with the opportunity to compare the differences between the various terroirs.