Galil Mountain Winery: A Vertical Tasting of Yiron (K)

By: Daniel Rogov

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?By: Daniel Rogov

This late afternoon/early evening I attended a vertical tasting of the Yiron wines of the Galil Mountain Winery. Yiron is the flagship of the winery and the tasting included wines from the first release in 2000 to barrel tastings of the2009. The tasting, held professionally before food was served took place in the private room of Nana Bar ( I will later post notes on the food at Nana Bar on the culinary side of the forum).

As to the winery, having celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2010, with its physically beautiful, ecologically friendly,state-of-the-art winery located on Kibbutz Yiron in the Upper Galilee, this joint venture between the Golan Heights Winery and the kibbutz has vineyards located in some of the best wine-growing areas of the Upper Galilee, including Yiron, Meron, Misgav Am, Yiftach and Malkiya.

Senior winemaker Micha Vaadia and winemaker Boaz Mizrachi Adam produce distinctly terroir-based wines in two series. The first labels are Yiron, a Bordeaux blend and Meron, a unique blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The second label, Galil Mountain, contains varietal releases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sangiovese, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Production from the 2000 vintage was about 300,000 bottles. Since then the winery has grown to an output of approximately one million bottles annually and further vineyards are being developed.

One small confession: After the tasting and when food was served I seemed to be the only one at the table who requested beer with my meal. With apologies to none, I remain of the firm bias and “gut feeling” that wanting wine after a major wine tasting is a perversion and that beer is the ideal cure for whatever might ail you no matter how fine the wines may have been.

My thanks to winemaker Micha Vadia, CEO Uri Tiroler and others of the winery staff for their courtesies during the tasting.Following are my notes for the vertical tasting this evening.


Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A blend at this stage largely of Cabernet Sauvignon, that fleshed out with Merlot and Petite Sirah. Dark garnet with a youthful royal purple robe, showing vanilla scented red fruits on the nose, those yielding comfortably to currants, wild berries and vanilla, all on a pleasingly spicy background. Still gripping tannins and spicy wood here but those in fine balance with fruits and acidity and boding well for the future. A lovely and promising baby. Best from 2013. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet, full-bodied, with still gripping tannins waiting to settle down, showing a moderate hand with spicy oak. A blend primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, those fleshed out with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. On first attack ripe red berries and spices, those parting to make way for blackberries, currants and hints of vanilla and mocha, all lingering long and nicely. Needs a bit of time for its elements to come fully together but they will, indeed they will! Best from 2013-2018. Score 92. (Tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2007: A well balanced and firmly structured full-bodied blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 7% Syrah, living up nicely to its earlier promise. On the nose and palate blueberries, blackberries and stony minerals, those yielding to blackcurrants and purple plums all sitting comfortably on a background that hints of saddle leather and dark chocolate. Long and elegant. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2012-2017. Score 92. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2006: My most recent tasting note holds firmly. Dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with soft tannins and gentle spicy and vanilla notes from the oak in which it aged, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (58%, 37% and 5% respectively). Showing fine balance and structure. On first attack raspberries on a lightly spicy background, those yielding to currants, blackberries and purple plums. Round, long and elegant. Drink now?2016. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2005: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44%, 4% Syrah and 2% Petite Sirah (depending on which of the winemaker’s notes you read that might be 2% of Petit Verdot). Whatever, full-bodied, with its once firm tannins now integrated nicely and reflecting its 16 months in barriques with a gentle overlay of spicy cedar wood. Opens to reveal aromas and flavors of blackberries, cassis, purple plums and vanilla, those leading to a long dark chocolate and licorice tinged finish. Drink now-2015. Score 93. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2004: My re-tasting note of about 8 months ago holds firmly. A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 3% Syrah. Intense garnet toward royal purple, full-bodied, with firm, near-sweet tannins integrating nicely with smoky and vanilla-tinged wood. Opens with wild berries on the nose and palate, those yielding to black cherry, cassis and spices, and finally, on the long finish, a tantalizing hint of bitterness. Drink now?2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2003: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (61%, 32% and 7% respectively), showing dark, almost impenetrably garnet in color. Full-bodied, with now soft tannins and hints of spicy wood in fine proportion with fruits and acidity. On the nose and palate blackberries, blackcurrants and black cherries, those with an appealing overlay of earth minerals. Long, generous and mouth-filling. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2002: Medium- to full-bodied, a dark garnet blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Merlot, its once firm tannins and generous wood now fully integrated. A mature wine, continuing to show generous currant, purple plum and berry fruits on a background of sweet cedar wood with the once light herbal-earthy overtone now on the ascendant. Drink now. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2001: Dark, impenetrable garnet but with a hint of browning at the rim showing its maturity, the still fresh nose starting to hint at a light balsamic overlay. Generous fruits still here, those including blackberries and currants on a cherry liqueur background. Throwing sediment now and earlier hints of tobacco and dark chocolate starting to take on a somewhat medicinal note. Not for further cellaring. Drink up. Score 88. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2000: Dark garnet with hints of clearing at the rim and showing first signs of carmelization. Medium- to full-bodied, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. When first poured continues to show purple plums, black cherries and eucalyptus notes, but those yielding in the glass to a rapidly increasing herbal-earthy overlay. Past its peak and enjoyable primarily to those who take their wines on the quit mature side. Drink up. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 1 Feb 2011)

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