17 June 2010 – Tasting Evening at Katamon Winery
Since meeting Avital Goldner just under a year ago, he has become a friend and one of our favorite winemakers. Not only is he a delightful fellow, he also makes some marvelous wines.
At last Thursday’s event, there was a good turnout, and I was quite gratified that a few folks from my mailing list showed up. Curiously, I even met someone from Har Adar who was not on my list (he is now). Yaron Rabanyan of the Har Adar winery was amazed at how Avital can make such good wine in such a small space. Yaron designed his house around his winery, and Avital’s space is more like a large closet. Yaron was particularly impressed by Katamon’s Grand Vin blend, as am I.
As he did last year, Avital laid out an impressive spread of homemade salads and cheese spreads. Dina & I especially liked the cucumber-yogurt salad (if I was more sophisticated I suppose I’d call it tzatziki), that was liberally laced with garlic.
We also finally met Avital’s wife Hanna, without whom there could not be a Katamon winery. Behind every married man with a passion to make wine there must be a supportive wife like Hanna who understands and accepts that her husband is just a little bit crazy and is willing to go along with it. While Avital was trying to be a good host, Hanna was running around trying to keep things more or less organized, taking it all in stride and enjoying the chaos.
Other than the 2006 Grand Vin blend (Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc), Avital’s daughters were poring generous tastings of Katamon’s 2005 Merlot, and 2007 and 2009 Chardonays. Because of Shmita, there was no 2008 vintage.
From earlier blog entries you can see that the Merlot was not so much to my liking when I tasted it last August, but that I suspected that it would improve. I am pleased that my hunch was correct. I’m still not crazy about the Merlot, but it is definitely smoother and more integrated than it was last year. I would guess that it will continue to improve and that its peak is still a year or two off.
The 2006 Chardonnay was still as a remembered it, and the 2009 was very similar, though a bit lighter. Both were very pleasant.
For this event, Avital offered all of his wines at what I consider to be bargain prices for wines of this quality (NIS 70 for the whites and 80 for the reds), and sales were brisk.