Israeli Mountain Wines
Galil Mountain Winery 2016 Rosé Upper Galilee Galil Mountain 13% $14
This is an utterly quixotic blend of varieties in the best way. It is delicious and made in a very giving style. It is a crazy combination of 77% Sangiovese, 12% Pinot Noir, 6% Barbera and 5% Grenache. This is a rosé with life and boisterous flavors: strawberries and watermelon abound. Its electric pink color is as fun as its flavors. This rosé can be a serious dinner wine or a delicious rosé pong wine. (Basically, it is as versatile as absolutely possible!) It has weight and volume on the palate, but it has zero tannins and a clean, glossy mouthfeel. (The Galil Mountain Winery is part of a joint-venture with Golan Heights Winery.)
Yarden 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Golan Heights 14.5% $33
This is quintessential Cabernet Sauvignon as well as warm climate Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an exuberantly fruit-generous wine with loads of red (and baked) raspberries and black currants and lifting aromas of tobacco and cigar spice. The palate shows a touch of raisins and crunchily, shriveled black plum skins. The tannins form an almost impenetrable wall around the thick palate brimming with interest and intensity. Everything is so amplified that this wine absolutely requires the accompaniment of richer foods with equal lusciousness. The lightly developed notes showing alongside youth ones suggest this wine is advancing well and can even move further up the chain with improvement in bottle. But, don’t wait too long before the extract overtakes the other structural powers.
Yarden 2012 Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao 2T Golan Heights 15% $31
Fresher than the younger 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine composed of classic Portuguese varieties is clearly well-built for the heat of the Golan Heights. Despite the wine’s evident high alcohol, this wine has lively (!) acidic lift and lightly feisty tannins that keep the wine well-aligned. The flavors are nuanced and sensual with an exotic array of late summer lavender and fig, as well as black plum preserves, sloe jam and raisining mulberry fruits. There’s just a hint of fireplace embers and lit cigar on the palate that add nuance and excitement, and these smoky tones are indicative of the volcanic soils of the Golan Heights.