“The wine is an elegant and well balanced Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The winery only produced 6,000 bottles of the Matatia, so if you are interested in tasting it you’d better hurry and pick up a bottle…” Yonatan Sternberg tastes a couple new offerings from Dalton.
Founded in 1995, the Dalton winery was one of the first to recognize the Upper Galilee's tremendous potential as a prime winemaking region. Furthermore, Dalton is also the only (large) commercial winery that has a female lead-winemaker. After training in Australia and California, the young and talented Na’ama Mualem returned to Israel and began producing quality wines under the Dalton label. The winery currently has vineyards in the renowned Kerem Ben Zimra and several other high altitude vineyards ranging between 800 - 900 meters above sea level. Dalton currently produces both varietal as well as blended wines in several series relying on: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and others.
A couple days ago I attended a launching of the winery's new flagship vino - the Matatia 2006, named after the winery's founder Matatia (Mat) Haruni. Mualem mentioned that "over the years the winery has spent a lot of time and effort in recognizing the specific characteristics and mapping out the best vineyards and plots we work with. We used the best grapes we could find for the Matatia and I am very proud of the final result. In my opinion this is our best wine so far." The wine is an elegant and well balanced Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – full bodied and almost garnet in color, the wine offers layered aromas of various black and red fruits: plums, cherries and blackberries come to mind, along with hints of fresh herbs, black pepper and dark chocolate all leading to a long and satisfying finish. The winery only produced 6,000 bottles of the Matatia, so if you are interested in tasting it you’d better hurry and pick up a bottle.
Another wine which was recently launched and served alongside our starters was the Dalton Chardonnay 2009. Un-oaked, this is a rather light wine offering various aromas of tropical fruits and apricots with a slightly acidic finish. I was very impressed with the winery's Viognier Reserve 2008, showing tempting aromas of white peaches, candied pineapple, flowers and various spices. Slightly creamy on the palate, the wine will go very well with various fish dishes and should also hold its own when paired with chicken or even lean cuts of beef.
By the way, this coming Sunday (07/03/2010) Avi Ben Ami of Sommelier will be organizing the second annual "Best Value" competition. A panel of judges will select the Israeli wines which offer the best value for money in their price category. With Pesach just around the corner the results could have an effect on your seder wine list.