By: Daniel Rogov
Call the Clos de Gat winery a boutique or an artisanal winery as you like, but since its first wines appeared from the 2001 vintages the winery has proven itself a rising star, indeed one of the best wineries in the country. The winery has just announced the release of seven wines, those from the 2005m 2006 and 2007 vintages.
Located on Kibbutz Har?el in the Jerusalem Mountains, this joint project of the kibbutz and Australian-trained winemaker Eyal Rotem released its first wines from the 2001 vintage. The name ?Clos de Gat? is a play on words?the French clos is an enclosed vineyard surrounded by stone walls or wind-breaks, while the Hebrew gat is an antique wine press. With the exception of the Chardonnay grapes in the 2002 wine, all the grapes have come from the winery?s own vineyards, which now include Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah and most recently the winery?s own Chardonnay. Production in 2002 was 22,000 bottles, in 2004 approximately 60,000 bottles and in 2005, due to reduced yields, about 45,000 bottles. With the 2006 and 2007 vintages, production rose to about 70,000 bottles.
Until recently the winery released wines in two series, the Bordeaux blend Clos de Gat, and a second label, Har?el. In 2004 the winery released its top-of-the-line series, Sycra (Aramaic for ?bright red?), of wines to be produced only in selected years. From the 2003 vintage on, all the wines have been made with wild yeasts.
Following are the suggested prices of the wines which can now be ordered directly from the winery. Delivery can be arranged within Israel and internationally. Best is to contact the winery directly by phone at (02) 9993505. Following are the suggested prices for the wines as well as my tasting notes for those of the wines that I have tasted. As will be seen, I have yet to taste the 2007 red wines but am scheduled for a visit to the winery, there to do broad tastings on 15 December. I shall report back at that time with updated tasting notes. In the meantime, perhaps worth considering that the Clos de Gat wines have consistently received scores of 90 or higher. The wines will also be available at the Derekh HaYain (Wine Route) chain of stores within several weeks.
Clos de Gat, Ayalon Valley, 2005: NIS 185
Clos de Gat, Chardonnay, 2007: NIS 169
Clos de Gat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Harel, 2007: NIS 130
Clos de Gat, Merlot, Harel, 2007: NIS 130
Clos de Gat, Syrah, Harel, 2007: NIS 145
Clos de Gat, Chanson Blanc, 2007: NIS 100
Clos de Gat, Merlot, Sycra, 2006: NIS 250
Clos de Gat, Ayalon Valley, 2005: Showing every bit as well as during barrel tastings. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon flushed out with Merlot and Petit Verdot, oak-aged for 20 months. Dark garnet, with purple and green reflections, full-bodied, with soft, mouth-coating tannins integrating gently with spicy oak. Opens slowly showing currant, blackberries, slate and cedary oak, those yielding to raspberries and mocha and culminating in a long mouth-filling finish. Best 2009?2013. NIS 185. Score 93.
Clos de Gat, Sycra, Merlot, 2006: Still in its infancy but already showing full-bodied, rich and concentrated with bold aromas and flavors of currants, purple plums and mocha opening slowly to yield to blackberry and light herbal overtones. Remarkably long. Best from 2009?2013, perhaps longer. NIS 250. Tentative Score 92?94.
Clos de Gat, Chanson, 2007: A well-crafted unoaked blend of Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier and Chenin Blanc (about 75%, 15%, 7% and 3% respectively). Pale gold in color with orange reflections, medium-bodied, opening with minerals and citrus fruits, those opening in the glass to reveal passion fruits and ripe melon. Long, lively and thought-provoking. Drink now?2010. NIS 100. Score 91.