Zion Winery: Re-tastings (K)

05/01/2009
By: Daniel Rogov

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?05.01.2009?

?By: Daniel Rogov

Despite the rather depressing war situation, life goes on. I seem to be encountering the wines of Zion winery more frequently these days and that is not at all a bad thing. Even though Zion is the oldest winery in Israel, the winery only started producing dry red and white wines of interest several years ago. Definitely a winery on the way up these days, the wines are all ready to drink at or near release and offer surprisingly good value for money. Wines are produced in three series. The flagship wine is Tidhar, the first edition of which, from the 2005 vintage is scheduled to be released in March, is scheduled to sell for NIS 95. The other series are Erez (all of the wines costing NIS 49 per bottle) and Tidhar (at NIS 39).

This early afternoon had me meeting the Zion people at the Ramat HaChayal offices of their p.r. firm. Interestingly, several of the wines showed considerably better today than at barrel or earlier tastings. Whether that reflects shifts in my palate, in final blends or in later bottlings is not known. The wines reviewed, however, are those that are currently on the market.

My thanks to the Zion people who came to meet with me today.

Best
Rogov

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Arnon

Zion, Arnon, 2005 (Advance Tasting): Showing better and more complex than during barrel tastings. Aged in partly new and partly one and two year old American barriques for 24 months, a medium- to full-bodied blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah. On the nose and palate generous currant, blackberry and purple plums, those supported nicely by notes of spices, espresso coffee and earthy minerals. Best from mid-2009-2011, perhaps longer. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Erez

Zion, Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc, Erez, 2007: Another white showing far better than at an earlier tasting. Perhaps my palate? Perhaps a later bottling? Whatever, an unoaked blend of equal parts of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Light gold with green and orange tints, medium-bodied, with summer fruits and melon highlighted by floral and apple notes. Just enough complexity to get our attention. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Zion, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Erez, 2006: Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah. Reflecting 12 months of development in barriques with gently spicy wood and opening on the nose and palate to show an array of currant, blackberry, citrus peel and red licorice. Turns a bit astringent on the finish. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Zion, Petite Sirah-Merlot, Erez, 2006: Developed partly in new, partly in 1 ? 2 year old barriques, a blend of 60% Petite Sirah and 40% Merlot. Dark royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with softly caressing tannins parting to show plums, wild berries and currants, all on a lightly spicy background. Turns a bit astringent on the finish. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Zion, Cabernet Sauvignon, Erez, 2006: Another wine showing better than at earlier tastings. Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- perhaps medium- to full-bodied, with somewhat chunky country-style tannins but those yielding in the glass to show blackberry, black cherry and purple plum fruits, those on a background of nutmeg flavored dark chocolate. Drinking nicely now but better starting in mid-2009 and then until 2011. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

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Tidhar

Zion, Emerald Riesling-French Colombard, Tidhar, 2007: Showing far better than at an earlier tasting, perhaps a sign that the wine was undergoing bottle shock on that earlier occasions. A blend of 75% Emerald Riesling and 25% French Colombard, categorized as dry and with just the barest hint of sweetness creeping in. Light golden straw in color, with aromas and flavors of apples, melon and pineapple. Nothing complex here but clean and refreshing, a fine entry level wine. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Zion, Merlot, Tidhar, 2006: Medium-bodied, dark ruby towards black cherry in color, an unoaked red with soft tannins and showing notes of berry, black cherry and wild strawberry notes, those on a lightly spicy background. A blend of 90% Merlot and 5% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Soft, round and easy to drink. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Zion, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tidhar, 2006: A medium- to full-bodied blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah. Shows silky tannins and opens in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of blackberries, black cherries and plums. Not overly complex but a good quaffer. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

Zion, Carignan-Merlot, Tidhar, 2006: An unoaked blend of 70% Carignan, 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark royal purple in color, with soft tannins and generous blackberry and raspberry fruits, those on a lightly spicy and earthy-mineral background. Drink now. Score 85. K (Re-tasted 4 Jan 2009)

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