Avidan: My Annual Visit and Tasting Notes

06/02/2009
By: Daniel Rogov

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06.02.2009?

?By: Daniel Rogov

My second stop on my ramblings last Thursday (29 January) was at Avidan Winery. Founded in 2000 by Shlomo and Tsina Avidan, this boutique winery is located on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region and relies on Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah and Merlot grapes selected from various vineyards in the Judean Hills. The winery has recently underone a major expansion is currently producing about 30,000 bottles annually. Wines are released in several series?the age-worthy Premium and Reserve wines, the varietal Avidan wines, the Fringe wines, the wines in their Blend de Noir series and the Petite Soleil, those meant for earlier consumption.

An especially rewarding tasting because this year I did barrel samplings of the winery’s first Pinot Noir, Grenache and Mourvedre wines, those perhaps destined as single variety releases or perhaps as blending agents. Perhaps a few too many and too confusing labels for a small producer but as noted in my book, most assuredly an up-and-coming winery, well worth following.

My thanks to Tsina and Shira Avidan for a fine tasting and their courtesies during my visit.

Best
Rogov

Avidan, Petit Rose, 2008 (Advance Tasting): A true potpourri, this deep cherry-red wine rose is a blend of Cabernet Sauvigjnon, Merlot, Shiraz, Grenache, Carignan and Pinot Noir. Although it seems that just about everything “left over” was used here the result is a success, the medium-bodied wine showing a fruity nose and appealing raspberry, cassis and cranberry fruits. Think of this not so much as a true rose as a light and refreshing red. Whatever, a fun and easy-to-drink wine. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87.

Avidan, Blend de Noirs, Tagadom (Red Label), 2007 (Advance Tasting): Oak aged for 12 months, this medium-bodied blend of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (45%, 35% and 20% respectively), shows super-dark garnet in color. Opens with a fresh, black fruit nose, goes on in the glass to reveal currants and raspberries, those supported by hints of mint, licorice and espresso coffee. Soft and gently mouth-coating tannins rise comfortably on the finish. Drink now-2012. Score 88.

Avidan, Blend de Noirs, Tagkatom (Orange Label), 2007 (Advance Tasting): Medium-dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, showing spicy oak and somewhat sharp and stinging tannins at this stage of its development. Beneath the tannins lightly peppery currant and black cherry fruits. Give this one a bit of time for the tannins to settle down. A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Grenache, oak aged for 12 months. Best from 2010. Score 87.

Avidan, Blend de Noirs, Tagsagol (Purple Label), 2007 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, showing silky tannins and a gentle hand with the oak. On the nose and palate currants and wild berries, those supported by notes of mint and bitter-sweet chocolate. On the moderately long finish an appealing hint of saddle leather. Best 2010-2013. Score 89.

Avidan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2006: Made entirely from Shiraz grapes, aged for 16 months in American and French barriques and showing very nicely indeed. Dark garnet to royal purple in color, full-bodied, with soft, gently caressing tannins, opens with a burst of chocolate and leather. Opens slowly in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of blackberries, red cherries and peppermint, those leding to a long and supple finish. Bright and effusive at this stage and will show greater complexity is continues to develop. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2010-2014. Score 91.

Note: The above wine has just been released to the market and is selling at NIS 130.

Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006: Showing every bit as nicely as at barrel and advance tastings. Oak-aged for 24 months and blended with 15% Merlot, dark garnet, full-bodied and shwing generous oak and firm tannins, those in fine balance with blackberry, blackcurrant and citrus peel fruits, all with peppery and anise overtones leading to a long, generous finish. A fine wine but for those who like their reds on the muscular side. Drink now-2012. Score 91. (Re-tasted

Avidan, Fringe, 2007: Reflecting the winery’s proclivity to “play” with labels and with blends, I am tempted to call this one not “Fringe” but, as my daughter might “far out and funky” ? that in the most positive sense though for this is a wine that will make you both think and smile, at one moment appearing to be from California, at another from the Rhone and at yet another from the Mediterranean. Whatever, a full-bodied and gently muscular blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Petite Sirah, showing still caressing tannins and a comfortable modicum of soft and spicy oak in fine balance with black fruits. On first attack blackberry, currants and vanilla, those yielding to citrus peel, chocolate and mint. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2010-2013, perhaps longer when it will show both softer and more round. Score 90.

Avidan, Grenache, Premium, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Medium dark garnet in color, made from 30 year old low yield vines, showing fine concentration and intensity. Medium- to full-bodied (perhaps leaning towards the full), with gently caressing tannins showing black cherry, wild berry, blueberry and peppery aromas and flavors. Best 2010-2013, perhaps longer. Score 88.

Avidan, Grenache, Premium, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with gentle acidity, a light hand with the oak but perhaps a bit too much acidity here. Opens in the glass to reveal wild berry and sour cherry fruits, those on a lightly spicy background. Perhaps better with time. Tentative Score 85-87.

Avidan, Pinot Noir, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Tasted from components, one of those developing sur lie in barriques. The first Pinot Noir tasted from the winery, darker and more firmly tannic than one anticipates from this grape but showing deep, dark and harmonious with fine depth to plum, wild berry, mineral and herbal notes. With the use of judicious oak should be quite fine. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89.

Avidan, Carignan, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Delicious! A juicy, easily drinking style showing black fruits, currants, boysenberries and chocolate, all with a modest touch of spicy oak and with tannins that are silky smooth. Drink from release. Tentative Score 88-90.

Avidan, Mourvedre, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): My guess is that this one will be destined for a GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) type blend but I’d love to see it as a varietal release. Medium- to medium-full (more perhaps towards the full) bodied, showing fascinating aromas and flavors of black currants and plums supported by generous notes of mint, roasted herbs and white chocolate. Just firm enough tannins promising to integrate nicely. Tentative Score 89-91.

Avidan, Petite Sirah, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): A deeply extracted Petite Sirah, full-bodied, concentrated and intense with still almost searing tannins and muscles that seem to enjoy making themselves felt. Reminds me much of the Margalit Petite Sirah. Wild berries, blackberries and loganberries all here in abundance, those set off by generous spices and, on the super-long finish notes of bitter-sweet chocolate. Perhaps to be released as a varietal, perhaps as a blending agent. Tentative Score 90-92.

Avidan, Chardonnay, Fringe, Petite Soleil, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Another in the winery’s new Fringe series and indeed a bit far out. Not at all aromatic at this stage but showing fat and creamy with pear and fig notes matched nicely by notes of Oriental spices and earthy minerals. You may like it or you may hate it but it will make you think. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89.

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