Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Gabriel Geller

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Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Gabriel Geller » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:31 pm

Hello folks,

Following is my TN of the newly released (in Israel) blend by the Galil Mountains Winery.

Galil Mountains, Alon ('oak' in Hebrew) 2009: A blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Syrah, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, 12 months in oak barrels. Dark, almost black garnet toward royal purple, with on the nose ripe plums, blackberries and something reminiscent of leather, all of those showing also on the palate together with vanilla and cedar wood, but also mediterranean spices on the background, and a hint of tar coming nicely in fine balance with the oak and soft tannins rising on the long and mouth-filling finish. Unlike Daniel z.l. or David Raccah and YossieH, I'm not (yet) that much of an expert when it comes to cellaring predictions, but I think that I'm not taking a big risk by saying that this wine will hang around comfortably until 2016, but probably even much longer if well stored. Anyway I've found the wine to be ready for drinking now. I can't speak for others, but if my level of expertise was high enough to be taken as seriously as that, I'd give this wine a 92/100. (60 ILS in Jerusalem, that's what I paid today).

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GG
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Adam M » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:41 pm

Thanks for the post, Gabriel. Any idea as to where in the quality stratosphere the Alon is intended to sit within the Galil Mountain line of wines? Is it intended to be below the Yiron but above the regular series? Given that it is a blend I assume that it is not really a direct compairson to the Meron, though I wonder how the syrah in the Alon compares to that contained in the Meron. Best, Adam
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Gabriel Geller » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:50 pm

Adam M wrote:Thanks for the post, Gabriel. Any idea as to where in the quality stratosphere the Alon is intended to sit within the Galil Mountain line of wines? Is it intended to be below the Yiron but above the regular series? Given that it is a blend I assume that it is not really a direct compairson to the Meron, though I wonder how the syrah in the Alon compares to that contained in the Meron. Best, Adam


Hi Adam, IMHO the Alon is of the same quality than the Meron and Yiron, although it is (at least now) priced at a much lower price (60 shekels, while the minimum tag for the Yiron is 80). Now, unless Galil actually plan to release a whole new line marketed between the regular series and the Yiron and Meron (like Barkan with the Assemblage), the Alon should be IMHO in the top line. I find it interesting to notice that while the Yiron is a bordeaux-blend (almost always a bordeaux-plus, sometimes simply a regular bordeaux-blend) and the Meron a Mediterranean blend (like Carmel's Mediterranean), given its components, the Alon should be put it right in between as the Syrah that is found there is in a very significant amount. I personally intend to open my bottle purchased yesterday for this coming shabbat and knowing my host this week, it will be a rousing success! :P

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GG
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Or Shoham

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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Or Shoham » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:51 am

Conveniently, information on the new wines is available (in Hebrew) here:
http://www.israelwines.co.il/ArticleItem.aspx?id=3829

For those who do not read Hebrew, branding is listed as follows:
Flagship: Meron, Yiron, Avivim
Galil series: Alon, Ela (another new blend), Barbera, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
"Young" series: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Viognier[sic?], Rose

Note that Viognier appears on both the Galil list and Young list - I'm not sure if this is an error in the article, or if there's actually a Viognier in both series. My guess is that the Viognier is only part of the Galil series, whereas the Young series should also include the Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, which is not listed.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by David Raccah » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:59 pm

Or - GREAT DATA! Thanks!

The Cab-Shiraz blend felt at times like it had some oak. The young series are wines that have not been aged in barrels, like the plain Cabernet:

Cab/Shiraz blend - with 10 months oak:
http://www.galilmountain.co.il/english/WinesEnglish/11

Plain Cab - in stainless steel:
http://www.galilmountain.co.il/english/WinesEnglish/8

It is a VERY smart plan. For the longest time, it was not clear which wine was at which level. THis approach is cleaning up the marketing and augmenting the spaces that were weak.

The Viognier has had oak - at least to some portion of it:
http://www.galilmountain.co.il/english/WinesEnglish/3

So maybe they added a new one or it is indeed a typo.

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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Yossie Horwitz » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:15 pm

While I agree that the clarity in labeling is a good thing and Galil Mountain may not be the best example of my complaint, it's another example of a winery feeling the need to "fix" their labels and make them better. All these changes contribute to consumer confusion and hurt brand recognition and sales. Two of Israel's arguably most successful wineries - Castel & Yatir have never changed thier labels and continue to stick with a relatively small and consistent number of wines which I believe has a not insubstantial hand in thier success, domestically and internationally. More wineries should learn from them KISS ("keep it simple stupid").
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by David Raccah » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:31 pm

Galil, Yarden, and many others have far more labels than Castel and Yatir combined (though Yatir has increased their labels as well).

They are growing, and as you grow you need to reset the labels to meet the new needs. This is healthy and good - in my eyes.

David
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Gabriel Geller » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:57 pm

I agree with David. Now that Galil have put some order in the their balagan (mess), they prove again that with wines all ranging from about 30 to 100 ILS per bottle they definitely are the best QPR provider Israeli winery (and probably best QPR kosher winery in the world as well)! I'm looking forward to taste the Ela and will of course post a TN then.

I've just opened now a bottle of Tishbi Estate Merlot limited edition '05 and holding now a glass while writing this down, and it is surprisingly not bad at all, still alive with no browning however there is quite some sedimentation, clearly drink up and about to fall of the cliff, but certainly enjoyable, deserves an 88 IMHO. Alike the CS, it's a Bordeaux blend as well in French' standards as it is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and some jammy notes of blackberries, raspberries on the nose and palate with notes of vanilla and oak, near sweet although very soft tannins, perhaps too sweet, and a moderately long finish. A very decent wine for every day drinking.
As well I've opened a bottle of Tishbi Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 that was part of the same shipment - clearly past whatever peak it may have ever attained like our dear Rogov z.l. used to say, waaaay too sweet, nothing more to comment about :( .

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GG
Last edited by Gabriel Geller on Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Alek W » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:02 pm

May one infer from the article on IsraelWines site that the familiar Cabernet-Shiraz blend is gone (apparently, replaced by Alon)?
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by David Raccah » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:08 pm

Makes sense, since the blend is close to the old Cab/Shiraz and it would be at the correct level - interesting.

Thanks Alek!
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Andrew B » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:34 pm

Well that's out there. There's a few similar cathartic threads in the past few months that you might find of interest.

Edit:
Namely:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=42514
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Gabriel Geller » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:27 pm

David Rhodes wrote:so that if you score the Alon from Galil, for instance, a 92 are you saying its as good as most vintages of Yatir Forest, Castel Gran Vin and Margalit Cab Reserve?...if so at 60 NIS I'm getting a bank loan buying it all and slapping my own private label on it and selling it for 150 NIS wholesale 200 to 250 NIS retail...and keeping some to sell for 350 after cellaring another year


You seem to forget that Rogov was also awarding scores based solely on the wine's quality while not according any of it to the bottle's price. So wines such as Galil Yiron 2005 received 93, same indeed as Yatir Forest or Castel Grand Vin both priced around 200-250 shekels while the Yiron is/was 80-100 (price for recent vintages hasn't changed). 2 other examples: Tzuba Hametzuda 2007/8 both received 92 while priced at 75-90 shekels. Binyamina Merlot Reserve 2006 also got a 92 while price is (still today if you find bottles left on the shelves) 60-70 shekels. And as a reminder, you mention WA's Mark Squires but WA alike Rogov, alike Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator etc all score wines based solely on quality and you may find wines from all over the world, even selling under $ 10/bottle, 90+ wines that I'm sure most of them if not all of them are probably very fine if not necessarily having a noticeable cellaring ability.

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GG
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by YoelA » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:11 pm

The usual example here of a flaw that turned into an attribute is white zinfandel, where a stuck fermentation at about 1% sugar (at Sutter Home) resulted in a wine that became a top seller and developed its own new market.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Mike BG » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:49 pm

I am even less of a tasting expert than Gabriel admits he is, but I tasted the Alon 2009 tonight and ... it is absolutely delicious, and the most amazing value! It is not at all like the old Cabernet-Shiraz blend, probably because of the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (between them making up 12% of the blend). If anything, it reminds me a little of the Castel Grand Vin - but at 1/3 of the price. Maybe not quite so refined, but at NIS 60 who can complain? Another winner for Galil Mountain, who seem to produce wines of fantastic value in a pretty consistent manner.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Gabriel Geller » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:00 pm

Glad you liked it Mike! :) I of course could not refrain myself and had the pleasure to drink a nice glass of the Alon at the Expo tonight, I didn't want to spit out that one! :lol:
Last edited by Gabriel Geller on Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Isaac C » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:23 pm

Looking forward to trying this - I was told by Yarden in NYC that it won't be available in the US until the summer.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Gabriel Geller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:31 pm

Isaac C wrote:I was told by Yarden in NYC that it won't be available in the US until the summer.


Indeed, Richard Hutchinson from Yarden NYC told me a couple weeks ago that both the Pinot '10 and Alon '09 will be available by June in the US.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Or Shoham » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:26 pm

I can add my voice to those recommending it - an excellent wine in its own right, and an exceptional value at its price point.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by DavidPer » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:37 pm

Ditto on the Alon, great value for money.

I was lucky enough at the Israelwinexpo to taste the yet unreleased Elah and Barbera. Galil Mountain's winemaker Micha Vaadia pulled the yet unlabeled bottles from under the counter and shared these very promising wines with me. Unfortunately I was a bit congested and did not have much of a sense of smell which inhibited my ability to fully appreciate these wines.

I did not take notes. I attended the expo mainly to meet with people rather than taste wines. But from memory I would say that the Elah is a more refined sister to the "look at me" Alon wine.
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by Steven B » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:14 pm

Gabriel Geller wrote:
Isaac C wrote:I was told by Yarden in NYC that it won't be available in the US until the summer.


Indeed, Richard Hutchinson from Yarden NYC told me a couple weeks ago that both the Pinot '10 and Alon '09 will be available by June in the US.


The summer has come and gone and still no sign of the Alon in the US. Does anyone know if and when it will become available on this side of the Atlantic?
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Re: Galil Mountains' new blend: Alon 2009

by David Raccah » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:06 am

I did see the new 2010 Galil Barbara which used the new label
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