Monday, March 26, 2012

Galil Mountain Winery


Galil Mountain Winery were kind enough to send me some samples of their lower-tier wines (as well as the pictures included herein), which is a first for me, actually reviewing wines like this. Having said that, I haven't drunk any of their wines in ages, but in my first couple of years as a wine geek, I was rather fond of their Sauvignon Blanc and Yiron, before my tastes shifted and expanded.

It seems, however, that the labels changed while I wasn't looking.

Alon, 2009

This is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Syrah, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, and it weighs in at, drum rolls, 15% ABV, which I find extravagant on paper, although it manages to carry the alcohol decently. It's ripe, with pleasant green streaks, overall very round and flattering, and there's a candied aspect that makes me think of Australian Shiraz. But it's a tasty drop and the dusty tannins complement the sweet fruit handsomely. And despite the Australian resemblance, it's quite Israeli without too many of the glaring the faults that I'm usually too inclined to dwell on. (Mar. 7, 2012)

About 70 NIS and good value for that, especially if you don't need 'interesting' as much as you need 'delicious'. Which is really all you should be looking for at this price point, anyway, and if you are looking for tasty, you came to the right place.

Pinot Noir, 2010

I guess if you're willing to accept 15% ABV in a Bordeaux-plus-blend, you shouldn't have an issue with a 145 ABV Pinot, but for me, it raised my hackles even higher. The initial impression enforces my prejudice, as the nose shows an alcoholic streak, along with candied fruit. Otherwise, there's some complexity and interest there and a comely earthiness that Pinot will almost always give you, if you treat it right - as well as a Mediterranean herbaceousness. But the palate, I'm sad to report, is not the most balanced expression of Pinosity that I could imagine (and my imagination is pretty darn good, where Pinot is concerned). (Mar. 11, 2012)

About 70 NIS, too, and as always, I have to wonder what makes so many wineries attempt Pinot at a price point where you really can't do the variety justice. I guess someone has to stock the kosher table with every possible grape, and Golan Heights Winery, and their daughter winery, Galil Mountain, are always ready to take one for the team.

And we have a winner!

Sauvignon Blanc, 2011

Of all the samples that the winery provided me, this was perhaps the one I was most looking forward to tasting. And my anticipation was amply rewarded.It leans towards the New Zealand paradigm, with gooesberries, green apples, lime and minerals on the nose and a crisp palate that culminates in a hint of salinity. It's vibrant and refreshing and although arguably a little austere even for an SB, it yet shows why mass production works sometimes, no sarcasm or irony intended. (Mar. 12, 2012)

55 NIS. I think the price is higher than I remember from 7-8 years back, but I'd buy again.

5 comments:

Eli Raban said...

Two short comments:
1. The labels changed this year, so you did not miss much
2. As part of creating this 2nd label, the SB was "upgraded" from the basic label.
Eli

Lior Yogev said...

Hi Chaim,

An interesting post.
This isn't the lower-tier label of the winery. The basic level is made of varietal wines (cab, merlot, shiraz) that cost ~45NIS and can be found at 3-for-100 these days at the supermarkets. For this price point, the cab especially - do a terrific job compared to anything else.

Regarding the wines in question here, I'm quite in agreement with you;
Regarding the Alon our TNs are similar. I agree with you that the SB is more NZ, especially compared to the previous generation that was more citrus-driven and less tropical (which I probably liked more). Considering the emphasis the ABV received I think it's noteworthy that the SB is merely 12.5%
Last - the pinot - I liked it less than you did (and gave it a second tasting which was consistent). What's your take on the use of oak in this wine?

Lior

2GrandCru said...

Hi Lior,

I don't make a note of the ABV unless it's terribly outstanding.

I take it you mean you liked the Pinot even less than I did. I guess there were enough things there to annoy me that any overt use of oak was just more icing on the cake.

Dan Kovnat said...

Glad to hear that you found these three wines to your liking. I reviewed them and wrote about them on my blog, and basically, agree with you other than the Pinot Noir. I thought that its high alcohol didn't balance well with the rest of what the wine gave me. Probably a difference of tastes.

But you might check out the Galil Mountain Winery's Rosé, which I thought was FANTASTIC with with a very favorable Quality Price Ratio.

Enjoyed your writing too -- Dan

2GrandCru said...

Thanks for the comment, Dan. But what made you think I liked the Pinot?