23 April 2010 – 2nd Annual Home Wineries Fair at the Sorek Winery
In my humble opinion, this year’s home wineries fair organized by the Soreq winery in Moshav Tal Shachar, was even more successful than last year’s event. While I thoroughly enjoyed it last year, the fair was better organized this time and the wines were markedly better. My thanks to Nir Shacham and his team for organizing such an enjoyable event.
My 11 year old son, Daniel (who is developing into quite a fineschmecker) came with me this time, and he very much enjoyed it too. A good many of the exhibitors were impressed with him too, and they appreciated his candor. I suppose it’s easier for an 11 year old to “I don’t like this wine” than it is for us older folks who tend to be less blunt.
Some 35 wineries (don’t hold me to that) were exhibiting their wines. We tasted wines from “only” 23 wineries, but that was more than enough. At least one winery made only one barrel, while others produced up to several thousand bottles.
We decided to start by finding the few white wines available before sampling the reds. Interestingly, two of the four whites (plus one rose) were dry Gewürztraminers. I am not a big fan of this variety, especially since the wines are usually too sweet for my taste, but these were both rather pleasant. One was from the Sultziner winery, and the other from the Tidhar winery. Tidhar also makes a Rose that both of us liked very much. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon left for just a few hours on the skins, this off-dry wine was fruity and very pleasant in Friday’s heat. At NIS 60 I considered this a good deal, and we took a bottle. I expect it will go quite nicely with trout or denis.
The other whites we found were both Sauvignon Blancs from the Ye’elim winery. One was a straight SB that was not to my taste (I like my SB very crisp and dry), and the other had mint leaves in it. The flavor of the minted SB was definitely interesting, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to try again.
On to the reds. First of all, let me say that all of the wines we tried were drinkable and many were excellent. This is in contrast to last year when I found not so many good wines, and more than a few that I considered undrinkable.
To keep this posting from getting too long (and because my notes are not all that comprehensive or clear) I’ll just mention my favorites (in alphabetical order by winery).
A”A Winery Cabernet Sauvignions 2008. The winery is named after the two winemakers both with the letter “A” as their first initial. A”A made two Cabernets from the same grapes and harvest, but using different techniques. One is made from free run juice and other from pressed grapes. One is aged first with chips and the other in a barrel, and then they are switched. Don’t ask me which is which. Both wines were quite good, though I preferred the pressed one. Apparently the winemakers thought that was the better wine too since it had a higher price tag.
Argov Merlot 2003. I am generally not a lover of Merlot, but this wine was delightful. Fruity, but not overly so, and very pleasant. Daniel liked it too, and we took a bottle.
Hotam Hacarmel Shiraz 2006. This is a very very good Shiraz with lots of spice and rich flavors, and a wonderful finish. At NIS 60 it was a great deal and I took one. I ended up taking a few more Hotam Hacarmel wines home since I made my purchase as things were closing down and they generously gave their open bottles of Cabernet and Merlot. These were quite respectable too, but their Shiraz is definitely the winner.
Mei-Tal Carignan 2008. I am enjoying the come back of Carignan in Israel and this wine is a good example why. Unfortunately my notes just say “very nice” so I can’t offer any more description than that. If I recall correctly the winemaker told me that the grapes are from a 20+ year old vineyard, and that is in keeping with the other high quality Carignans I’ve enjoyed lately. This was a good buy at NIS 60.
Nahmati Sangiovese 2007. This was a pleasant surprise as the wine was lighter and more refreshing than I expected, and very enjoyable in the hot weather. I didn’t buy one since they had packed up and left before I made my way back to their table.
Mivtsar Atlit Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. I got to their table just as they were closing down and this was the only wine they had left. It was very good indeed, but my wine carrier was already full so I didn’t buy any. At NIS 75 it was also one of the higher priced wines at the event. I do plan, however to visit the winery when I have a chance.
Shahar Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. A round, full bodied, well integrated Cabernet. Daniel liked it too and we took a bottle. Quite a good deal at NIS 50.
Solchiner Special Edition 2006. My notes aren’t very clear, but I think this is a Cabernet/Merlot/Shiraz/Carignan blend. In any event, I rather liked it and took a bottle home.
Ze’ev Merlot 2008. As I mentioned before, Merlot is not my favorite variety, but this one is full bodied with lots of nicely balanced fruit.
Considering how much fun this year’s home wineries fair was, I am already looking forward to the next one.