This early evening I made my way to a release and tasting of new wines from The Tabor winery. Because the tasting had been arranged to take place at the Kitchen Market restaurant in Tel Aviv's Port, I arrived quite early, not just for the tasting but to take a bench near the sea, there to enjoy the breeze, the fresh sea-water aromas and the view of the gentle Medirterranean. A fully innocent and most auspicious beginning on my part.
The event started by sipping the winery's 2010 Sauvignon Blanc in their Adama Series. The Gir wine (chalky soil). Lovely with a variety of canapés that were passed around as well as the lovely, enthusiastic and sincere people from the winery. As was later demonstrated, the wines are appealing but, as was rather rapidly demonstrated, all with a bit of what I deem to be unnecessary confusion.
First and perhaps most discombobulating to me, the winery has decided to replace its flagship wine – Mes'cha (a wine that has consistently earned 90 or more points on release and has more than acceptable cellaring potential) with two new wines, those to be entitled Limited Edition, the first a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, the other of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Okay, I can live easily enough with Limited Edition but I cannot help but ask if the name of the new series will not serve as a source of confusion for potential buyers, especially those who have come to associate Mes'cha with interest and quality.
I also wonder (oyez, oyez while scratching my head) on the labels and naming of the new wines, one of which is entitled 1/13,000 and the other 1/6,000. Precisely what a number as a name says about a wine eludes me completely. And I do have to ask, what happens if next year similar blends are made in different numbers? I picture one wine "named" 12,225 and another 4,446. The mind boggles just a wee bit.
At an rate, founded in 1999 by several grape-growing families in the village of Kfar Tabor in the Lower Galilee, this modern winery draws on white grapes largely from their own vineyards near Mount Tabor and on red grapes from the Upper Galilee. Initial production was of 20,000 bottles and current production is about 1 million bottles annually. With about 1,000 dunams (about 250 acres) of vineyards currently on line and new vineyards in the works, plans are to expand slowly until annual production will be between 3–6 million bottles annually. Among new grape varieties now being planted perhaps the most exciting is of Tannat, the grape so dark in color and so deeply concentrated that the Madiran region and the red wine that relies on this grape are often referred to as “the heart of darkness.”
With agronomist Michal Akerman now gaining full control of the winery’s own and contract vineyards, European-trained winemaker Arieh Nesher is currently releasing wines in three series. The top-of-the-line label is Mes’cha, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. Labels Adama and Adama II reflect the type of soils in the vineyards. In reading the Adama labels it may be useful to know that adama translates into soil; gir is chalky or limestone-rich soil; terra rossa is red earth; charsit is clay and bazelet refers to volcanic soil. There is also a more basic, reasonably priced and quite appealing series released under the label Tabor. Also released on a regular basis are two sparkling series of wines 562 and Pni'imim (Pearls).
Tabor, 1/13000, Limited Edition, 2006: Appealing medium-dark garnet in color, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Shiraz from Terra Rosa (red clay) soil, parts of which are rich in chalk. Oak-aged for 18 months, showing medium- to full-bodied with a nose opening with raspberries and black pepper, those yielding to notes of bittersweet chocolate and hints of Mediterranean herbs. Drink now-2013. NIS 110. Score 88. K
Tabor 1/6/000, Limited Edition, 2006: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 40% Merlot, oak-aged and then allowed to age in the bottle for several years (perhaps to let the potential blockbuster effect pass with time). Dark garnet toward purple but lacking brightness, full-bodied, with generous tannins but those integrating well with spices, blackberries, blackcurrants and a hint of purple plums. Good fruits here but overall not a highly complex wine and one showing a bit of unwanted alcoholic heat that rises on the finish. Drink now-2013. NIS 145. Score 88. K
See now as well the article that appeared in HaAretz today about the Tabor Adama II series. That can be viewed in English at :