Single Vineyards Vinos

The advantages of producing single vineyards vinos vs. blends from several vineyards and why wineries emphasize this on the label

A friend recently asked me about the advantages of producing single vineyards vinos vs. blends from several vineyards and why wineries emphasize this on the label. First, let’s define what a Single Vineyard Vino is and the rationale behind producing one. Single Vineyard wines are wines produced using grapes harvested from the same (single) vineyard. These wines are intended to reflect the traits and characteristics of a specific vineyard and provide customers with the opportunity to compare the differences between the various terroirs. To those who aren’t familiar with this French term, the word terroir refers to the combination of the micro-climate, soil type, topography and other factors that influence the vine, grapes and consequently impact the wine as well. A winemaker will have to decide if the grapes grown in a specific vineyards offer unique quality and characteristics and if those grapes are sufficient produce a “complete” wine. Having said that, in some cases labeling the wine a Single Vineyard Vino doesn’t really make a difference and it is simply a used as a marketing tool for the winery’s sales and marketing departments.

Several Israeli single vineyards vinos are:

Barkan’s Altitude label consists of three varietal Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The grapes are harvested from vineyards at altitudes ranging from +412 to +720 meters above sea level and are processed in similar methods. This provides us with a chance to compare the traits of the different terroirs and the winery’s marketing department emphasizes the difference in the altitudes of the vineyards . Altitude, +624, 2009 – dark and concentrated in color, very pleasant aromas suggesting dark berry fruits, cherries, purple flowers and sweet spices (vanilla and cloves came to mind), full bodied and good structure all coming together nicely and leading to a long finish.

Golan Heights, Yarden, Avital Slopes, Syrah, 2008 - aged for 18 months in barriques (2/3 of which were new), dark ruby towards purple in color, full bodied, on the nose and palate layers of plums cherries, black berry fruits followed by notes of flowers, dark chocolate, licorice and smoked meat all coming together nicely for a long and pleasant finish. Take your time with the wine and allow to aerate in the glass – you’ll be in for a treat.

Carmel, Single Vineyard, Kayoumi, Shiraz, 2008 –mostly Shiraz with just a dash of Viognier. Fifteen months in barriques, dark ruby with purple reflections, full bodied, the wine suggests pleasant aromas and flavors of blueberries, dark cherries, plums and aromas of “cool” green herbs (mint or eucalyptus come to mind), those followed by notes of chocolate and black pepper. Toasted oak is evident but not overpowering, resulting in an enjoyable, well-balanced wine. The 2006 version of this label received a Regional Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2010, one of the most prestigious awards by an Israeli wine.

Dalton, Single Vineyard, Meron, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 –100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 months in oak barrels, this is a full bodied and very enjoyable cab, suggesting layered notes of dark berry fruits, plums, distinct cool-minty notes and sweet spices, all coming together nicely for a long and well balanced finish. When this wine was first released, I was not a big fan, but after sampling several bottles over the past couple of years, this is definitely one of my favorite Dalton vinos.