On Tuesday, 12 August, I met in Tel Aviv with Avigdor Sharon and Lior Nachum, there to sip coffee and learn more about their winery. The wines they had brought with them were taken home and made part of my tastings yesterday and today. My thanks to both for coming to the city to meet with me and for their courtesies.
Founded by Avigdor Sharon and Lior Nachum on the settlement of Karnei Shomron, not far from Kfar Saba, in 2003, this small winery released its first wines from that harvest in 2005, and is currently producing about 8,000 bottles annually those primarily of oak-aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Grapes are sourced from the areas of Shomron and the Upper Galilee.
Gat Shomron, Syrah, 2005: Aged in French and American barriques for 14 months, ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied with soft, well-integrated tannins and a gentle hand with the oak. Showing appealing berry, black cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruits, those with notes of tar and charcoal. Round and satisfying. Drink now-2010. NIS 100. Score 87. K (Tasted 13 Aug 2008)
Gat Shomron, Merlot, 2005: Super-dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with firm tannins, generous spicy wood and a whopping 15.8% alcohol content. Opens with a marked alcoholic nose but that yields to berry, black cherry and plum fruits, those on a light spicy background. With tannins and alcohol rising, finishes hot. Drink now. NIS 140. Score 83. K (Re-tasted 13 Aug 2008)
Gat Shomron, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee, 2006: Aged for one year in 300 liter oak casks, medium-bodied, with somewhat chunky, country-style tannins and opening to reveal berry, currant and black cherry fruits on a lightly spicy background. Drink now. NIS 90. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 13 Aug 2008)
Gat Shomron, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shomron, 2006 (Barrel Tasting): Deep garnet in color, full-bodied, with still firm tannins needing time to integrate. Opens in the glass to show plum, blackberry and blueberry notes, those complemented by hints of cedar wood and tobacco, all leading to a medium-long finish. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 13 Aug 2008)
Gat Shomron, Red Blend, 2007 (Advance Tasting): A pot-pourri of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot, oak aged for six months. Medium-bodied, with chunky tannins that give the wine a somewhat country style but that pleasant enough with berry, cherry and currant notes making themselves felt nicely along with hints of Mediterranean herbs. Drink now-2009. Score 85. K (Tasted 13 Aug 2008)
Gat Shomron, Gewurztraminer, 2007: An experimental wine, not for release made by freezing the grapes in a commercial freezer and only then extracting the concentrated must. Generously sweet, with pineapple, litchi and citrus peel notes, but lacking the acidity that might have added liveliness. Score 82. K (Tasted 14 Aug 2008)
Gat Shomron, Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, 2007: Another experimental wine not for release and tasted in an unfined, unfiltered version. Pale pink towards peach yellow in color, with fine acidity and just a hint of tannins in the structure, opening to show appealing red currant, raspberry and what might best be thought of as a Bazooka bubble-gum note. Simple but fun, especially if served as well chilled as you would a Champagne. Score 83. K (Tasted 14 Aug 2008)