I have definitely been remiss, there’s no denying it. For several years I have been going to the Har Adar Winery’s annual events, but I have yet to post a blog entry about our local winery. It is definitely time to rectify that.
The weeks preceding Passover are a peak season for wine sales in Israel, so the Har Adar Winery (along with many others) holds a major tasting and sales event at this time. This year owner/winemaker Yaron Rabanyan, and his partner David Sharon, released three wines from the 2009 vintage: a Merlot, a Merlot-Cabernet blend, and a Cabernet-Merlot-Shiraz blend called CSM.
This is the third vintage of Har Adar’s wines that I have tried and I am pleased to note that the wines are improving from year to year. From this vintage I enjoyed the Merlot-Cabernet blend the best, and I bought a bottle. The Merlot is also quite nice, but I think it will be considerably more drinkable in a year or so.
As in the past, Yaron’s wife, Maya, was offering her home made all natural (no preservatives) jams. Not surprisingly, her specialty is wine jam.
This year, Yaron also invited a local delicatessen to display and sell some fine cheeses at discount prices. There was a Swiss Gruyère that was an excellent match for the wine, but even with the discount it was out of my range. Instead I bought some Swiss Swiss (Emmental), a French goat’s milk Camembert, and some Kashkaval. Wonderful cheeses all.
Since this is my first posting about the winery, and as there is little or no information about it on the web, a little background is in order.
Yaron started making wine in 2002 after taking a winemaking course that was a birthday present from his wife Maya. The 2002 vintage consisted of just 30 bottles, which increased to 300 bottles in 2003. There are 2500 bottles in the 2009 vintage and that amount is being doubled for 2010. Along with increasing quantities, the winery is also broadening their range of grape varieties, adding Petite Verdot to the repertoire. As I am rather fond of this variety I am looking forward to sampling the results.
Yaron planned the winery when designing and building his home, so the basement is conveniently laid out to accommodate tanks and barrels, and there are even drains in the floor. Grapes generally come from the Judean Hills and from Ovdat in the Negev. The Ovdat vineyard is organic (no sprays or pesticides used) and is owned by Yaron’s cousin, making the winery an extended family endeavor.
In addition to the three wines just released, Yaron will soon be releasing two reserve 100% varietal wines – Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2009 and Merlot Reserve 2009. These wines have spent 17 months aging in French oak barrels, vs. 14 months for the “regular” wines.
The reserve wines will be launched at Har Adar’s Annual Artists Open House to be held this year on Friday & Saturday June 3rd & 4th. All five wines from the 2009 vintage will be available for tasting and sale.
Visitors are welcome at the winery other times as well. Please call Yaron or Maya at 050-6205078 to coordinate.