Golan Heights Duo
Yarden 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Northern Golan Heights 13.5% $20
The Northern Golan Heights is considered a cool climate thanks to its high altitude. It’s a volcanic plateau in the northern reaches of Israel. Yet this wine is far from a bashful Sauvignon Blanc, and it behaves more like a warmer climate wine in almost every aspect. It starts with a superbly pale straw color while showing an exotic combination of grass and tropical tones. Star fruit, jackfruit and yellow tomato dazzle the nose while lashings of pomelo and Key Lime add sizzle to the palate. There’s plenty of fruit concentration and intensity with saturating flavors and a sleek, glossy texture. The discreet acidity gives the wine good composure and helps liven up the moderate finish. This is a fuller-bodied Sauvignon Blanc that works well with richer dishes as well as creamy, summer milk cow cheeses.
Yarden 2014 Merlot Odem Vineyard Northern Golan Heights 15% $25
Only 39 barrels of this wine were produced from vines planted in 1990 just below 4,000 feet above sea level. Since 1998, the vineyard has been organically managed. This wine has a supple and ample palate bursting with ripe fruits. Its lushness feels joyfully moreish. Blackberries and boysenberries abound here. Though two-thirds of the French oak barrels used for aging are new, this wine integrates its outside influence well thanks to its profound fruit density. Typical of Merlot, this wine shows mid-palate softness and reserved acidity. The tannins offer the structure here, especially showing their grip on the medium finish. Though four years since the vintage, this bold bottling has yet to show signs of evolution. It should develop well in time.