Posts Tagged ‘Galilee’

From Kuntra to Mourvedre in four bottles

In less than two weeks we will be living in our new house! At the same time that we are preparing the new house, we are wrapping up on the sale of our current house.  Various aspects of the sale continue to occupy my time so while it is impossible to conduct any historic research, they do not preclude liquid research.  My latest round involved four bottles of Turkish and Israeli wine I brought to taste while my daughter had a playdate.

According to the article On a Turkish Isle, Winds Tend the Vines Cabernet Sauvignon is king on the tiny island of Bozcaada.  As such the 2010 Corvus Vineyards, Karga, Bozcaada Island is a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon along with Kuntra, which is specific to the island.  Together this produced a wine that will please many with its different flavor profile.  And it is quite affordable!  The 2011 Kavaklidere Wine Co, Egeo, Syrah, Anatola presented a softer, riper profile but kept interest.  I rather liked the 2012 Domaine Netofa, Basse Galilee for it took on orange and rose notes.  It too, was a touch soft but the finish of salivating acidity kept it in check.  The 2013 Dalton Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee is sure to please any lover of forward, Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was the biggest and most generous of the wines, which certainly created fans at dinner.

I thought, if being generally critical, that the wines were a touch soft and could benefit from more acidity.  That aside these were all tasty wines that provided good fun.  I might give a slight nod to the Turkish pair but in recommending one from each country I suggest the Corvus and Netofa.  These wines were purchased at Potomac Wines and Spirits.


2010 Corvus Vineyards, Karga, Bozcaada Island – $15
Imported by The House of Burgundy.  This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Kuntra.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A mixture of mature aromas and prune but with some freshness.  In the mouth this fruity wine had a touch of glycerin and creamy feel before fresh, textured black fruit and a touch of greenhouse came out in the middle.  With air there was a rather ripe note along with more structure and aromas of cocoa.  In general, a good twist of flavors.  ** Now-2018.


2011 Kavaklidere Wine Co, Egeo, Syrah, Anatola – $23
Imported by Stefano Selections.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were saline notes of the sea on the nose.  In the mouth was a similar seaside accented flavor of black fruit and prune.  This wine showed a softed entry with more body.  It was a little rugged with a mineral finish and an aftertaste of cinnamon spiced wood notes.  ** Now-2018.


2012 Domaine Netofa, Basse Galilee – $20
Imported by Royal Wine Corp.  This wine is a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were red berries on the nose.  In the mouth were clean, slightly soft flavors of red berries.  The wine was a bit laid back but the salivating acidity and texture in the finish added interest.  It eventually developed orange and rose water notes.  Everything wrapped up with spiced and ripe tannins.  ** Now-2016.


2013 Dalton Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee – $22
Imported by Allied Importers.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for eight months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were some greenhouse infused blue and black aromas.  In the mouth was a rounded, softer entry with tart, purple flavors,  This was the biggest of the four wines with creamy, root beer like flavors, that left texture on the gums and a finish of salivating acidity.  ** Now-2017.


Two Alternative Wines from Whole Foods Market

April 18, 2012 1 comment

I recently stopped by the Whole Foods Market near my mother’s house to pick up a few appetizers.  With the wine section conveniently located near both the entrance and the fresh produce I decided to take a quick look.  We live in Montgomery County, Maryland where the Whole Foods Markets are not allowed to sell beer and wine.  So I always get pleasure from browsing the stores in DC and Virginia.  I promptly found the Alternative to Europe section where there was a selection of wines from the Golan Heights Winery, Israel and Teliani Valley, Georgia.  Having happily drunk the 2003 Golan Heights Winery, Yarden Syrah that Lou brought over last year I thought I would grab an entry-level wine the 2010 Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon.  Upon seeing the Georgian wines of Teliani Valley I was unable to recall the last time I tried a wine from Georgia.  With the choices being a white, dry red, and sweet red I grabbed a bottle of the dry red wine made from the Saperavi grape.  Both bottles were priced around $13 which is a great price for trying something new.  While my preferences tilt towards the Golan I would not hesitate to try the Teliani Valley if you are interested in Georgian wine or interesting grape varieties.

Yarden Vineyard, Image by israel21c_internal (flickr)

Israeli wine making has foundations in the late 19th century when returning Jews to the Holy Land began planting vineyards.  With a lack of success from the harsh conditions Baron Edmond de Rothschild gave tremendous funds for viticultural development in the agricultural programs.  With no surviving indigenous vines, vine cuttings from the Rhone and Southern France were brought over along with French experts.  The cuttings came from regions judged to have a similar climate.  The early vine growers and wine makers received up to date education and propagated such vines as Carignan, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, and Muscat of Alexandria.  The Carmel Winery was promptly established in 1882 and continues to operate today.  In 1983 the Golan Heights Winery was founded in the higher altitude, thus cooler, Golan Heights.  As wineries and vineyards expanded into the cooler regions of Israel they were planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, and Chardonnay.  The climate is hot, sunny, and dry requiring vineyards to be irrigated and vines trained such that the leaves provide shade for the fruit.  The chief winemaker at Golan Heights Winery is Victor Schoenfeld a graduate of UC Davis.  He employs the latest technologies and imports barrels, bottles, and corks.  There is also a micro-winery which is used for experimentation.

Vineyard at Teliani Valley, Image by Jake Marvin Miller (flickr)

Georgia has an ancient viticultural history dating back over 5,000 years.  Archaeological excavations have uncovered a rich assortment of artifacts throughout the country.  Viticulture was the prime agricultural practice which is evidenced by the more than 500 indigenous varieties, some of which still grow as wild vines throughout.  In the early 20th century the vineyards were destroyed by Phylloxera requiring vineyards to be replanted on resistant rootstock.  Today there are 2-3 dozen varieties approved for commercial use.  Teliani Valley is located in southeast Georgia in the viticultural zone of Kakheti.  This region experiences a moderate climate and produces the majority of the fruit used in making wine.  The winery was founded in 1997 on the location of the 19th century winery of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze.  With an influx of money in 2004 from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development they were able to build a new winery with updated equipment and to expand their vineyards.  The wine featured in this post is made from the indigenous Saperavi grape.  This grape is one of the few varieties where the pulp is red.

2010 Golan Heights Winery, Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee –
Imported by Yarden Inc.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vineyards located at 400 to 1,200 meters in elevation.  It was aged for six months in American oak barrels.  The nose reveals jammy black berries.  In the mouth the flavors are fruit driven, starting with a ripe and sweet nature before becoming a touch racy with some spice.  The flavors tightened up in the finish with blue and black fruits, a pebbly texture, and round personality.  Jenn found this international styled wine to be “very drinkable.”  ** Now-2014.

2008 Teliani Valley, Saperavi, Kakheti –
Imported by Georgian House of Greater Washington.  This wine is 100% Saperavi which was aged for three months in oak barrels.  In the mouth there were tart red citrus fruit and plenty of tannins in this lean bodied wine.  It is brighter in nature with plenty of acidity and chestnut flavors.  On the second night the flavors simplified and hardened so this is best on the first night.  ** Now-2015.