New Cabs on the Market

Exploring some of the newest releases, Yonatan Sternberg expounds on some of the major Israeli wineries' pure-breed wines. What does the Cabernet offer us this winter season?

The end of the year is always a good opportunity to contemplate and look back on we have accomplished in the past year; or in this case, which wines drank and enjoyed over the course of the year. However, after looking through my notes, I found that the list was rather long and decided to delay the task and prepare an article about some of the wines that were released to the market during the past month or two instead.

On the 1st of December, the Golan Heights Winery officially released two new single vineyard wines from the winery's Yarden label. Single vineyard wines are produced using grapes from one vineyard, rather then blending grapes from various vineyards or regions. These wines are intended to reflect the characteristics of a specific territory. When compared with wines produced from the same grape variety and using the same vinification process, these wines provide an opportunity to see how the unique combination of soil, microclimate, topography and other such factors impact the end result.

Golan Heights, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Rom, Yarden, 2007 - Aged for 18 months in barriques, full bodied, the wine suggests concentrated aromas of dark berry fruits, dried cherries, purple flowers and slight earthy and dark chocolate notes, all coming together nicely and leading to a long finish. Though a bit firm, it is still a very enjoyable wine that would benefit from a few more years of cellaring. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside a classic beef Wellington or a rich oxtail stew. ~ NIS 185

Golan Heights, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yonatan, Yarden, 2007 – Again, aged for 18 months in French oak, full bodied and dark ruby in color, this cab offers aromas and flavors of both dark and red berry fruits, cherries, spicy oak, dark chocolate and a touch of dry herbs leading to a long finish . The winery suggests serving the wine alongside pasta with a beef and wild mushroom sauce.

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. It is a rather food friendly wine, but very enjoyable on its own as well. ~ NIS 225

I also sampled a couple of Binyamina's recent offerings; one a varietal Cab and the other a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot, both are from the winery's Yogev series. “Yogev,” the biblical term for farmer, is dedicated to the farmers and vintners that are an inseparable part of the wine production process.

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yogev , 2009 – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in the Golan Heights, the wine is medium bodied, appearing red with a bit of black fruits followed by a touch fresh herbs. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside veal schnitzel or baked fish in olive oil and herbs. ~ NIS 55 – Overall pretty good value for money.

Binyamina, Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot, Yogev , 2009 – medium bodied, rather fruit forward, the wine suggests aromas and flavors of red berry fruits and plums flowed by flowers and fresh herbs. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside pasta in tomato based sauces. ~ NIS 55