Whether cultivated in the Ramat Arad area of the Negev or in vineyards in the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee the Israeli Cabs have shown excellent results over the years
The Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular grape varietals. Planted the word over, this noble grape variety, often referred to as the “King of Red Grapes” is capable of producing great wines and is usually used in the classic Bordeaux style blends along with Merlot , Cabernet Franc and sometimes Petit Verdot grapes as well. The Cabernet Sauvignon’s high tannin content also enables Cabernet based wines to keep and often benefit from cellaring.
For many years the Cabernet Sauvignon was thought to be an ancient grape variety, however recent studies at the Depart of Oenology at U.C Davis in California have determined that the Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the crossbreed offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
In Israel, it is safe to say that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are probably the most popular grape varietals and over the years Israeli winemakers have produced fine wines from these grapes. Whether cultivated in the Ramat Arad area of the Negev or in vineyards in the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee the Israeli Cabs have shown excellent results over the years and even though there are so many varietal Cabs on the market (relatively speaking of course), there are a few labels that I really look forward to and anticipate the release of a new vintage.
The following two wines are the kind of wines one can get excited about. Positioned by the wineries as premium wines and bearing a hefty price tag, both are ‘big’ wines with plenty of character and at least several years of aging potential ahead of them.
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Rom Vineyard, 2009
Traditionally one of my favorite wines from the Golan Heights Winery, I still have a couple from the 2001 and 2004 vintage in my wine cooler; and the 2009 El Rom is definitely up to par with previous releases. 18 months in French oak, full bodied, this single vineyard vino is a bit firm when first poured but after aerating in the glass for several minutes opens nicely to reveal concentrated and layered aromas and flavors that bring to mind: dark berry fruits, cherries, dry warm spices, chocolate and a refreshing cool green note all coming together nicely for a long and pleasant finish. A very tasty yet complex wine, if I may use that term and one that will be greatly enjoyed in the coming years. NIS 198 Barkan, Superieur, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008
Superieur is the name of Barkan’s premium or flagship label, with previous releases including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz based varietal vinos. The Cab 2008 comprises 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot, both from vineyards in the Upper Galilee. 22 months in barriques, the result is an impressive red vino – rather firm when first poured, after aerating for 30 minutes or so, opens nicely. On the nose and palate dark berry fruits, plums, toasted oak, spices, a touch of mint followed by hints of chocolate and roasted coffee beans leading to a long and mouth-filling finish. Tannins are still on the coarse side but these are expected to mellow out in the next year or two. In my opinion, if you have a bottle, definitely worth the patience. NIS 225