I had the sheer pleasure tonight to enjoy a tasting of 3 wines by the Gush Etzion Winery, one white and 2 reds. While this winery is among the oldest in the Judean Hills, I feel a bit ashamed as I first tasted their wines at the Sommelier exhibition in 2008 in Tel Aviv. The only bottle I bought then (and ever at an exhibition) at that event was a Gush Etzion Nachal Hapirim 2006, one of the Bordeaux-blends produced by this great winery that keeps improving over the years.
Gush Etzion, Emek Bracha, White blend 2010: A blend of 66% Viognier and 34% Chardonnay, oak-aged (I missed to take note of how long) in large 400 liters old french oak barrels. Gold in color, medium-bodied with on the nose fresh white azaleas flowers and peach, on the palate the peaches are showing with a hint of caramelized sweetness going to reveal notes of green apples and butterscotch on a moderately long and round finish. I liked this one very much though it would have benefited of being served well-chilled and not just cool as a bit more acidity would have been welcome.
Gush Etzion, Haalon Haboded (Lone Oak) Cabernet Franc 2008: Dark royal purple, medium to full-bodied (leaning to the full) with on the nose black cherries and raspberries as well as mint and toasty oak, these showing layer after layer on the palate together with red plums as well as notes of green bell pepper, mediterranean herbs, vanilla and cigar tobacco well-balanced with nice minerality, very good acidity and well-focused tannins on a long smooth finish. Amazing, one of the better wines I've tasted over the last 3 months.
Gush Etzion, Haalon Haboded, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: A classic Bordeaux-blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc aged for 20 months in French oak barrels. Very dark-garnet with on the nose black currants and cedar wood as well as blackberries, full-bodied with on the palate ripe juicy black currants, blackberries, slightly sweet and spicy cedar wood, plums, mediterranean herbs and backers chocolate with very good acidity and mouth-coating tannins on a very, very long finish. An impressive wine reminding me a bit of the Castel Grand Vin 2007, I believe this wine has still quite a few years ahead of it and I wouldn't hesitate to cellar it till 2016, may be longer.