Mony Winery – My Annual Visit and Tasting Notes (K)

24/02/2010
By: Daniel Rogov

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?24.02.2010
By: Daniel Rogov

Located in the foothills of the Jerusalem Mountains on the grounds of the Dir Rafat Monastery, the Money winery was operated for many years by the resident monks. About eight years ago, control of the vineyards and winery passed to the Ertul family, long-time vintners for the monastery. Grapes in the vineyards include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Carignan, Argaman, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Semillon, Emerald Riesling and other varieties. Annual production is close to 185,000 bottles. The winery is currently producing wines in three series, the upper-level Reserve, Sunny Farms and the regular Mony. From the 2005 vintage, the wines have been kosher.

At its founding a good deal of optimism and a good deal of positive feedback was to be found but the winery somehow lost control of quality and the wines lost any sense of excitement. Recently, however, the winery took on Sam Soroka as their new winemaker. The talented Soroka, who proved himself very nicely indeed with the single vineyard and other high quality wines of Carmel, insisted first on cleaning the winery, discarding barrels that could not be appropriately reconditioned, and the purchase of new equipment, including new barrels and a new bottling line.

If the truth be told, I hesitated before visiting this year, waiting until Soroka told me he was “ready”. This afteroon I found myself at the winery for advance and barrel tastings. The news, I can happily report, is good. If Soroka is given his head and the cooperation required this will be a winery to watch.

My thanks to Sam and the members of the Ertul family for their courtesies during my visit.

Best
Rogov

Mony, French Colombard, Gfanim, 2009: One may not expect much from French Colombard (a cross between Gouais Blanc and Chenin Blanc) but this one is most pleasant indeed. Wisely unoaked, a crisply fresh dry white wine with good acidity, showing a floral nose and opening on the palate to show red grapefruit, kiwi and lime notes. An easy to drink and thoroughly refreshing little wine. Drink now. Score 86. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Rose, 2009: With skin contact of about 12 hours, made entirely from first run must from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, showing dark pink towards ruby in color, and with appealing strawberry, raspberry and blueberry notes. Dry, crisp and appealing. Drink now. Score 86. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Bordeaux Blend (Tentative Name), 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A deep garnet blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Petit Verdot and 20% Merlot, developed in stainless steel together with oak staves. Medium-bodied, with soft tannins, opens to show appealing cassis and red berries, those on a background of gently spicy oak and, on the moderately-long finish a note of red licorice. Easy to drink yet with just enough complexity to grab the attention. Drink from release. Tentative Score 85-87. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Rhone Blend (Tentative Name), 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Made from equal parts of Shiraz and Syrah clones, calls to mind the Southern Rhone. Developed in stainless steel with oak staves, medium- to full-bodied, opens with black fruits, those going to raspberries and cherries. Dark garnet in color, medium-full bodied with gently caressing tannins. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Merlot, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Made entirely from Merlot grapes, those developing 80% in French and 20% in American barriques of which half are new. Dark garnet, opens with a herbal, earthy nose, that yielding to red berry, cassis and spicy notes, all on a lightly tannic background. Clean, fresh and appealing. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Developing primarily in French oak, a deeply extracted, full-bodied super-dark garnet wine with a rich black-fruit nose and fine concentration. An unusual Cabernet in that it shows primarily red instead of black fruits, strawberries, raspberries and cherries coming to the fore. Perhaps not true to varietal traits but don’t let that hold you back for with lightly gripping tannins, notes of spicy oak and vanilla and clear and clean fruits, a most pleasant wine. Drink from release. Tentative Score 86-88. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Shiraz, Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): Full-bodied, dark garnet, with a generously fruity and toasty oak nose, showing gently gripping near-sweet tannins. Good concentration here, and opening to show a generous array of wild berry, currant and leathery notes, all on an appealingly spicy background. Drink from release. Tentative Score 88-90. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Bordeaux Blend (Tentative Name), Reserve, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of equal parts of Petite Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full), well extracted and showing dark garnet towards royal purple. On the nose and palate currant and wild berry fruits, those complemented nicely by notes of spices, saddle leather and a hint of earthy-minerals. Drink from release. Tentative Score 87-89. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

Mony, Muscat Dessert Wine, Sunny Hills, 2009: Floral on the nose, light gold with green and orange reflections, a generously sweet wine with good balancing acidity. On the nose and palate mango, kiwi and citrus, those balanced nicely by a light hint of bitter citrus peel on the finish. Medium-bodied, with a moderate 10.5% alcohol content, an easy to drink dessert wine. Score 89. K (Tasted 22 Feb 2010)

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