Four Reds, Four Wineries

Perusing this year's annual Sommelier Festival in Tel Aviv, Yonatan Sternberg expounds on some of the best local wineries have to offer.

Once a year leading industry members, winemakers, PR people and marketing personnel come together for the Sommelier wine exhibition. Held annually in Tel Aviv, the event is organized by Studio Ben Ami, owners of the and web sites. One advantage of this event is the fact that it is dedicated and focused on the professional crowd: bartenders, sommeliers, importers, distributors, restaurateurs and others who handle and sell wines and alcohol on a daily basis.

These events also serve as a platform to meet winemakers and other wine enthusiasts, hearing first hand about the latest vintage, new wines as well as other developments in the local wine scene.

While at these events, I usually start off by doing a round of white wines, only then moving on to red wines and finally dessert wines, this year I decided to first re-taste several wines that I have sampled over the past couple of weeks comparing them with my previous tasting notes.

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Unfiltered, 2007: Segal's flagship vino, this year produced using 90% Cab from the Dishon and Dovev vineyards and 10% Merlot from Dovev as well. Aged for 19 months in a mix of French, American and Central European oak barrels, the wine is full bodied, displaying pleasant dark and red berry fruits alongside notes of black pepper, dark chocolate and just a touch of smoked meat all leading to a long and satisfying finish - a rather food friendly wine, but very enjoyable on its own as well. ~ NIS 225

Dalton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2008: Aged for 16 months in barriques, dark ruby in color and full bodied, the wine offers concentrated - still firm aromas of various black berry fruits, plums, those followed by slight peppery notes, dried herbs and a touch of vanilla all leading to a long finish. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside rich dishes, including meat based stews and potent hard cheeses. ~ NIS 119

Tulip, Syrah, Reserve, 2008: 90% Syrah from vineyards in Kfar Yuval and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alma vineyard, the wine was aged for 18 months in both French and American oak. Opens with generous ripe red and black fruits followed by an alcoholic heat that settles after a couple of minutes in the glass- plums, blackberries and cherries and roasted coffee beans come to mind leading to a pleasant finish. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside grilled cuts of red meat and potent cheeses. ~ NIS 98

Galilee Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz, 2008: This year the winery also decided to produce and offer the wine in half bottles (375 ml.) as well, an ideal solution for those who only feel like having one glass of wine or to mix and match different wines with their meal. Dark purple, medium to full bodied, the wine was aged for 10 months in American oak barrels. On the nose and palate, ripe plums and cherries followed by sweet vanilla and slight toasty notes. ~ NIS 61