Sommelier – Part V: 36 Additional Tasting Notes

By: Daniel Rogov

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?By: Daniel Rogov

Chateau Golan*

*In addition to earlier and the current tastings of each of the Chateau Golan wines, I shall also be attending a formal tasting of the 2006 releases of the winery on 14 December. I will, of course, report back with updates as necessary.

Chateau Golan, Geshem White, Royal Reserve, 2007: The third time I have tasted this wine blind an on every occasion it has called to mind Rhone Valley whites. An oak-aged blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, French Colombard and Rousanne (63%, 29%, 7% and 1% respectively). Opens with a floral, almost honeysuckle nose, and then goes on to show melon, white peach, almond and buttery notes on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, smooth and creamy in texture, a quiet and elegant wine, but lacking the mineral and acidity in the backbone that might have elevated the wine to a far higher level of enjoyment. Drink now?2010. Score 88. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Chateau Golan, Sauvignon Blanc, Royal Reserve, 2007: Showing nicely. 60% of this wine was fermented and developed sur lie in 350 liter barrels and 40% in stainless steel. A medium-bodied, aromatic wine with generous notes of citrus and orange peel together with a hint of what Jancis Robinson so appropriately called ?cat?s pee on a gooseberry bush.? Drink now. Score 87. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Chateau Golan, Geshem Red, Royal Reserve, 2006: Showing precisely as at a recent tasting. A blend of 81% Grenache, 14% Syrah and 5% of Mourvedre, each developed separately and having spent a total of 13 months in barriques. Medium-dark garnet, medium-bodied, opening quietly on the nose but showing very nicely indeed on the palate, opening to reveal raspberry, blueberry, cherries and red currant fruits, those supported nicely by vanilla and hints of spices and bittersweet chocolate. Long and generous. Drink now?2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2006: Again, a tribute to winemaker Uri Hetz’ high level of consistency, showing precisely as during earlier tastings. Medium-dark garnet toward royal-purple in color, full-bodied, this blend of 89% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 3% Petite Sirah was aged in oak for 12 months. Soft tannins and spicy wood are in fine proportion with fruits and acidity. On the nose and palate ripe blackberries and plums, those matched nicely by spices and hints of citrus peel and saddle leather. Drink now?2012. Score 89. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2006: Showing even better than at earlier tastings. Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 9% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Syrah and 1.5% Petit Verdot. Oak-aged for 12 months, medium-dark garnet, with a hint of sweetness on the nose, turning firm on the palate with mouth-coating tannins and hints of wood. Opens to light oak and mocha, which support currants, blackberries and a hint of vanilla bean that adds a nice touch; tannins and fruits rising on the finish. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2010?2013. Score 90. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Chateau Golan, Eliad, 2006: Much as at barrel tastings. Dark garnet, full-bodied and with fine balance and structure, a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.5% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Opens with red and black berries, those joined by black currant and black cherries supported by a light note of spicy oak and sweet cedarwood. Ripe, round and generous, will most assuredly call to mind Bordeaux with a Mediterranean hint, added by notes of fresh herbs and black olives. Enjoyable now but best 2009-2013. Score 91. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)


Tishbi, Sauvignon Blanc, Estate, 2007: Light and refreshing, with citrus, melon and guava fruits. Given a hint of sweetness by a light overlay of honeysuckle. Drink now. Score 86. K (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Chardonnay, Estate, 2007: Developed in oak for two months, light golden straw in color, light- to medium-bodied, showing appealing green apple, grapefruit and mineral notes. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyards, 2007: Ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied and with soft tannins that make it almost as round as a Pinot Noir. On the nose and palate an appealing berry and black cherry personality. A good quaffer. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Merlot, Vineyards, 2007: Light garnet in color, medium-bodied and round, with ripe, juicy plum and black cherry and vanilla aromas and flavors on a lightly spicy background with tannins rising on the finish. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, 2005: Showing as well now as at an earlier tasting. Deep garnet with violet and orange reflections, medium to full-bodied, with still-firm tannins but those in fine balance with acidity, wood and fruits. A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, oak-aged for about 13 months, showing an appealing layer of spiciness together with currant and blackberry fruits. Drink now?2011. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Merlot, Estate, 2005: Deep ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied, with spicy cedar aromas and somewhat subdued red currants, black cherries and herbal notes. Shows good depth with tannins rising on the crisp finish. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Shiraz, Estate, 2006: Showing somewhat better than at an earlier tasting, the once strong whiff of alcohol now blowing off and letting the wine open. Medium- to full-bodied with black cherry, blackcurrant and plums all with a somewhat earthy edge. Drink now. Score 84. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Special Reserve, 2004: Super-dark garnet in color, full-bodied, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the grapes all from Sde Boker in the Negev. Good balance between firm tannins, spicy wood and fruits, showing appealing blackcurrant, blackberry and tobacco notes. On the long finish a light minty note. Drink now-2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tishbi, Cabernet Franc, Estate, 2006: Showing much as at an earlier tasting. Dark garnet in color, full-bodied and with chewy tannins, a well focused wine, its spicy (almost peppery) wood settling down nicely to show a fine array of currant and blackberry fruits, those with an appealing leathery overtone. Long and satisfying. Best 2009-2012. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)


Asif, Grenache-Syrah-Merlot, 2006: Oak aged for 18 months, this blend of equal parts of Grenache and Syrah along with 12% Merlot, shows dark ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins. On the nose and palate black and purple fruits along with notes of tobacco, licorice and tar, all lingering nicely. Drink now-2010. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Asif, Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc-Merlot, 2005: Garnet, full-bodied with tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood. Oak-aged for 18 months, showing warm and round, with generous black currant and blackberry fruits complemented nicely by notes of Oriental spices, black pepper and green olives. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot. Drink now-2010, perhaps longer. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)


Agur, Blanco, 2007: A light, bright and lively white, showing simple but pleasant summer and tropical fruits. A blend of 70% Viognier and 30% Riesling. Nothing complex here but easy to drink. Drink now. Score 85. K (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Agur, Rosa, 2007: A ros? wine made from equal parts of Cabeernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, fermented in old barriques after short skin contact. Medium-bodied, with a light tannic hint and simple but appealing blackberry, raspberry and strawberry fruits. Drink up. Score 84. K (Tasted 19 Nov 2008)

Agur, Special Reserve, 2006: A medium to full-bodied blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, with firm tannins and generously spicy wood integrating nicely to show appealing blackberry, black cherry and sweet herbs on the nose and palate. Long and generous. Drink now-2011. Score 88. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Agur, Kessem, 2006: A medium- to full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot (50%, 30% and 20% respectively). Aged in barriques for 12 months, with soft, gently caressing tannins and an appealing overlay of spices, opens to reveal blackberry, black currant and purple plum fruits, those supported nicely by hints of earthy-minerals. Drink now-2011. Score 87. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Karmei Yosef (Bravdo)

Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2006: Dark garnet towards royal-purple in color, medium to full-bodied and with overall good balance between still-firm tannins and spicy wood that allows the fruits to show nicely. On the nose and palate currants, wild berries and mint notes, those lingering nicely. Best 2009?2012. Score 90. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)


Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aviv, 2006: Almost blue-black in color, medium to full-bodied with firm tannins and smoky wood integrating nicely now and showing fine balance to highlight blackberry, purple plum and currant fruits, those complemented by hints of spices, cloves and espresso coffee. Drink now?2010. Score 88. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Saslove, Marriage, 2007: A medium-bodied, soft and round blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz opening to show appealing red currant, raspberry and blueberry notes, those supported by notes of spices and, as traditional to this wine, red licorice. Drink now-2010. Score 88. (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2005: A well-crafted wine, showing every bit as nicely as at earlier tastings. Full-bodied, reflecting its 20 months in oak with firm tannins integrating nicely with spicy and vanilla-rich cedar. Opens with black currants and wild berry fruits, those yielding to notes of plums, black cherries, orange peel and, on the long, generous finish an appealing hint of bitter-sweet chocolate. As the wine develops look as well for notes of sweet spices and herbs coming in nicely. Drink now?2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Saslove, Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2005: Developed in oak for 20 months, this blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon will remind many of the Mollydooker wines of Australia. Dark garnet, full-bodied, with firm tannins and peppery wood notes, those given a racy feeling by generous currant, black cherry and blackberry fruits. On the background, tantalizing hints of pepper and tar, all culminating in a long, mouth-filling and enchanting light bitter licorice finish. Drink now?2012, perhaps longer. Score 91. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved, 2005: Made entirely from organically raised Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Kadita vineyard, oak-aged for 24 months in French and American oak, a full-bodied wine with firm but gently mouth-coating tannins that part nicely to reveal traditional Cabernet aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and blackberries. The fruits supported nicely by complex notes of mocha, bittersweet chocolate, Oriental spices and Mediterranean herbs, all of which play nicely on the palate and lead to a long and generous finish. Approachable now but best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91. (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)


Tulip, White Tulip, 2007: A somewhat odd blend of 70% Gewurztraminer and 30% Sauvignon Blanc, medium-bodied, dry, but so highly aromatic and fruit-forward that you might think this was a sweet wine. On the nose and palate litchis, tropical fruits, ripe peaches and notes of peppermint, none of which seem to come together as a coherent whole. Drink up. Score 80. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tulip, Merlot, Just, 2007: Medium-bodied, with somewhat chunky, country-style tannins. A subdued nose but with appealing flavors of blueberries, cherries, blackberries and currants on a background of spicy oak and minted chocolate. A pleasant country-style wine. Drink now. Score 85. (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tulip, Shiraz, Mostly, 2006: Showing as well as at an earlier tasting. .Dark garnet, medium to full-bodied, a blend of 64% Shiraz, 15% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. Firm tannins dominate when first poured, but those yield nicely in the glass to reveal generous currant and purple plum fruits, those supported nicely by hints of Oriental spices and saddle leather. Tannins and fruits rise simultaneously on the finish. Drink now?2011. Score 89. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tulip, Cabernet Franc, Mostly, 2006: Much as at earlier tastings. A blend of 86% Cabernet Franc and 7% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Showing spicy oak and firm tannins now integrating well. Opens to show red and black berries, green pepper and earthy aromas and flavors. On the moderately long finish appealing hints of licorice and mint. Drink now?2012. Score 88. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tulip, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006: Blended with 5% Petit Verdot and oak aged for 18 months in new French barriques and showing an abundance of spicy oak and a more than generous 15% alcohol content. Full-bodied, with firm tannins only now starting to integrate and opening slowly to reveal spicy blackcurrant and blackberry fruits on a background of cigar tobacco. Drink now-2011. Score 88. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tulip, Syrah, Reserve, 2006: Dark garnet with orange and violet reflections, this full-bodied red is lithe and well focused. Opens with a surprising but pleasing root beer note which holds through the long finish as a background to plum, blackberry and leathery notes. Well balanced, long and generous. Drink now?2011. Score 88. (Re-tasted 17 Nov 2008)

Tulip, Black Tulip, 2005: A thoroughly Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (66%, 14%, 14% and 6% respectively), that given a distinct California touch by being aged in new French oak for somewhat over 24 months. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and reflecting generous vanilla, smoky and spicy oak, those parting slowly in the glass to reveal black fruits and notes of Oriental spices. A well crafted wine but primarily for those who thrive on the flavor of oak. Perhaps better with time. Best 2009-2013. Score 88. (Tasted 17 Nov 2008)


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