Since moving to Binyamina at the end of July, there’s been so much to do around the house that I haven’t had much time to visit local wineries. That’s really rather a shame since there are quite a few within shouting distance, many of which I am completely unfamiliar with.
Fortunately there’s a good bottle shop in the industrial area behind the Binyamina train station, which is just a short walk or bicycle ride from our house. The shop is called Sitonaut Binyamina, and most Fridays they have tastings of interesting wines, beers, and spirits. So now I have something to blog about, without taking too much time from domestic projects.
On a recent Friday, the shop had tastings of two 2009 vintage Tavor blends from the Adama series. A Cabernet Sauvignon – Morvedre, and a Merlot – Petit Verdot. Curiously, neither of these wines is listed on the Tavor Winery’s website, and as the fellow doing the pouring didn’t know the percentages in the blends, I can’t provide that information. I could not detect any dominant character in either blend, so the ratios may have been near 50-50, but that’s just a guess.
I’ll start by saying that neither wine impressed me very much. I haven’t tried many Tavor wines recently and I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but instead I was a bit disappointed. At first I thought the bottles might not have been open long enough, but when I asked I was told that they had been open for nearly an hour. Perhaps these are wines that are better to drink immediately after opening.
First I tried the Merlot – Petit Verdot, guessing that it would be lighter that the Cabernet blend. The wine is medium bodied with earthy, herbal fragrances. It had typical Merlot fruitiness along with hints of tobacco, probably from the Petit Verdot. The wine was also quite astringent, and more than a little sour tasting. Overall, an interesting wine, but not quite to my liking.
On to the Cabernet Sauvignon – Morvedre blend. Also medium bodied and quite astringent, with a slight bitterness that was not unpleasant, and medium tanins. This wine also exhibited what I’ll call a back of the throat bite and a flavor of sour plums.
Of the two wines, I preferred the Cabernet blend, but not by much. Both wines were too sour for my taste and neither had much of a finish.
In any event, I enjoyed trying these and I’m glad that the shop is so nearby. Sitonaut Binyamina has recently opened a second store in the Em Haderekh shopping center off the Tel-Aviv – Haifa highway (highway 2) between Natanya and Hadera. Each week they have different tastings and specials at the two stores. Sign up for their mailing list and you’ll get a mailing each week (in Hebrew only I’m afraid) with details.
Now that Pesach is approaching, there will be lots of winery events, including one from the Margalit winery. Margalit opens its doors to the public only once a year around this time. This year they will be open March 8/9, 15/16, and 22/23 to launch wines from their 2011 vintage. You can see the announcement here, including a map to the new location. For directions, check out my Google map of wineries in Israel. Since Margalit has recently relocated to the same industrial area behind the Binyamina train station as Sitonaut Binyamina, I certainly plan to attend, so stay tuned for a posting.