I was invited tonight for a special tasting of different wines from the Galil Mountains and Golan Heights Wineries and was quite impressed. Following, my notes:
GHW, Yarden Blanc de Blancs 2007: Light gold with a rich mousse and sharp bubbles. On the nose, fresh ripe green apples, notes of lemon custard and fresh-baked brioche. Medium to full-bodied with on the palate a crisp and fine mousse that streaks across the tongue with beautifully bracing acidity along with fresh almonds, lemon zest, juicy tangerines and a touch of butterscotchy ripe apple lingering on the long, satisfying finish. I very much liked to loved all the vintages of this wine but this one is, IMHO, the best one so far. Totally agree with Raccah's A- to A.
GMW, Yiron 2005: I've not had this wine for almost 2 years until tonight. This was quite a great bottle, at its very peak but indeed, as reported by a few people here recently it seems to be about to fall off the cliff soon although it's still up there for now and it's always nice to enjoy one of my old-time favorites and one of the milestones in my wine tasting experience and education. Clean dark garnet towards purple with on the nose ripe cherries, blackberries and cassis with notes of cigar box. Full-bodied with on the palate much of the same flavors as on the nose together with a long plush finish with notes of spicy licorice and toasted oak as well as integrated tannins and a hint of bitterness. There was still some good acidity, although I know - I know, not Benyo's acidity...
GMW, Yiron Syrah 2005: Still dark shiny, almost electric royal purple with on the nose dark ripe plums, saddle leather and ripe blue and blackberries with a hint of freshly cracked pepper. Full-bodied with intense, deeply extracted fruit in the shape of blackberries and sweet yet not over-ripely sweet blueberries, soft, integrated tannins along notes of fresh leather, bittersweet chocolate and Mediterranean spices on the long, velvety finish. Outstanding.
GHW, Yarden Merlot 2003: What a nice surprise! Dark garnet with purple reflections, ripe blackberries, cherries, redcurrants and lovely perfumed Mediterranean herbs. Full-bodied, the fruit is intact and smooth, showing also sweet blackberries, redcurrants and cherries along with Mediterranean herbs and still nice acid with notes of vanilla lingering on the long finish.
GHW, Yarden Merlot 2005, Magnum: Youthful dark purple with ripe raspberries and blackberries along Mediterranean herbs on the nose as well as cigar tobacco. Full-bodied with on the palate concentrated fruit showing ripe raspberries, blackberries, ripe plums, spicy vanilla and toasted oak with near-sweet
tannins rising on the long, mouth-filling finish.
GHW, Yarden Merlot Kela Vineyard 2008: Bright garnet towards purple with on the nose ripe raspberries, roasted Mediterranean herbs and hints of leather. Full-bodied and with again multiple layers of concentrated ripe fruit including plums, raspberries, spicy roasted meat and dark chocolate with mouth-coating, searing tannins on the long finish. First time here, well-done!
GHW, Yarden Syrah 2007, Magnum: Here I was very happy!
I must have had a (reg. size) bottle of this wine a few months as the wine was then overwhelmingly sweet and disjointed to a point that it was unbearable (I very rarely publish my scores but then scored it a 78...). Thank G-d, nothing in common with that nice magnum bottle from which I tasted tonight. Dark royal purple with on the nose smoked meat, blackberries and black pepper. Full-bodied with on the palate black cherries, blue and slightly over-ripened blackberries with hints of candied violets and milk chocolate rounding out an almost creamy yet tannic long finish with bright acidity. Yum.
GHW, Yarden Syrah 2009: I first tasted this wine 2 months ago with Dave Raccah at one of Israel's best restaurants (for its sake, please don't ask me the name). Dark, almost inky purple with on the nose ripe blueberries and blackberries along with notes of fresh leather and pepper. Full-bodied with much of the same on the palate alongside notes of licorice and dark chocolate on the long finish with very good acid and lush tannins gently coating the mouth. No overripe fruit here and it's true that at first there's some sort of a hole on the finish leaving you with a bit of perplexity, however as the wine develops in the glass most of that hole is being filled up and I find it very enjoyable.
GHW, Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Magnum: Dark cherry red with with sweet red cherries and notes of kirsch and cassis on the nose. Full-bodied, with crushed, concentrated sweet red and black currants along with red cherries,juicy plums, toasted wood, milk chocolate-covered cherries and spices lingering with mouth-coating tannins on the long, mouth-filling and juicy finish.
GHW, Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Double Magnum: What a nose! Dark, intense red cherry garnet with on the nose ripe plums and fresh cassis along with cherries and chocolate. Full-bodied with on the palate juicy cherries, blackberries, spicy-sweet cedar wood, plums, roasted herbs and a hint of green olives on the long, plush finish. Well, this giant of a bottle has kept the wine quite youthful and it was delightful.
GHW, Yarden Noble Semillon Botrytis 2005: Beautiful gold with on the nose honeysuckle and orchids, dried apricots, caramelized almonds and sweet citrus fruit as well as hint of vanilla. Full-bodied and concentrated with on the palate unctuous creamy vanilla and orange rind as well as honey, a nice spicy botrytis funkiness with sugar coated nuts and dried mangoes on the long, layered and seemingly endless finish. I was happy to eat some roquefort and parmigiano cheese which was a heavenly match with the wine to top off the tasting.