A VISIT TO DALTON WINERY

Dalton Winery is located in the industrial zone of the moshav by the same name. The description of the winery taken from their web site is  pasted as follows:

The Dalton Winery is set in the beautiful green, mountainous country of the Upper Galilee, five kilometres from the Lebanese border, overlooking the Hermon Mountain.

First of all, though I agree that the area is beautiful, I must admit a certain bias.  Hey, I live here and I especially love this part of the country.  However, when I compare the location of the winery to many other places in the world that I have visited, it ranks amongst the lowest.  Like I said, it is located in an industrial zone.  I also take exception to the use of the color green.  That is appropriate from January through April when the winter rains paint the countryside green.  The other eight months of the year it is brown, except for the vineyards and orchards where drip irrigation brings out the magic of nature and its products that we eat and drink.  As regards the distance from the Lebanese border, I haven’t measured it.  But what’s the big deal anyway?  Nearly everything in Israel is only a few miles from a border.  And my house is less than 2 miles from the Lebanese border.  All that does for me is put me at risk from an attack by Hezbollah!  As my last comment on their description of the winery, it is definitely NOT overlooking Mount Hermon.  The dictionary tells us that overlooking means “to look over, as from a higher position: a balcony that overlooks the ballroom.”  Maybe they should have said “underlooks” but that also is inaccurate as it is far enough away that there isn’t much looking unless you use binoculars.  Anyway, I have beaten this to a pulp and what I am really trying to point out is that a lot of what they say, including descriptions of wines that you will read, are largely written by someone trying to convince you of something, like to open your purse/wallet and take out your credit card.

The Winery was established in 1995 when the Haruni family from England came to settle in Israel. Initially the winery was situated in “makeshift premises” in Kerem Ben Zimra, a picturesque moshav situated on the side of a hill.  In the beginning they produced some 20,000 bottles, which has grown to about 800,000 bottles annually in recent years.

Dalton Tasting Room

Let’s go to their tasting room situated next to the winery.  It is surrounded by flowers and one can stand and sip, comparing wines or sit on the shaded back porch and savor one which you particularly love without feeling pressured by the helpful and informative staff.  I might add that there is no charge for the tasting and neither is there a limit placed on what what you taste.

Now on to the wines.  They produce a low price Canaan from a mix of grapes that don’t make the grade to be put into a varietal.  Now in addition to Canaan Red or Canaan White, there is Canaan Cabernet and Canaan Merlot.  I have not yet tasted these last two.  The price is low, but not cheap, and the quality is not bad.  But if you want to taste something really good, try their Shiraz Reserve which was the subject of an earlier post.  I also recommend Alma, a wine which is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab), 47% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc.  It has always been one of my favorites, perhaps my coming from a background of having fallen into love with wine back in the 70’s when I was drinking a spectrum of Bordeaux chateau wines.  We drank the Alma from 2008.  It smells of musty oak and tannins.  I would describe it as thick and velvety, full of a complexity of well balanced flavors. Am I starting to sound like an advertising exec?  Nurit, my wife, says “almonds and prunes” and the back of the bottle says “generous aromas of cherries, plums and sweet dark fruits with a soft buttery palate offering essences of vanilla and dark chocolate.”  But hey, that’s their advertising.  Taste it yourself and let me know how you would describe it!  There’s no bite and it has a pleasant lingering aftertaste.

They also produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petit Syrah, Fume Blanc and Unoaked Chardoney varietals.  This year the Alma series also includes Alma S-M-V, a blend of Shiraz, Mourverdre, with Viognier and Alma C-V, a blend of Chardoney with Viognier.  The S-M-V, to my taste, is thin and weak.  I look forward to tasting the C-V.  There is also a “higher” series of oak aged wines they call Reserve. These include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Sauvignion Blanc and Wild Yeast Viognier.  The very top of the line Matatia and single vineyard Meron are too rich for my blood.  Maybe when I become THE world famous israelwinetaster.com, they will grace me with a gift bottle to talk about on the internet.  Until then, the plain old original vanilla Alma is my pick of the litter.  Enjoy it……….

………….AND HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE FOURTH OF JULY 🙂

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3 thoughts on “A VISIT TO DALTON WINERY

  1. Pingback: Tasting Alma 2007 from Dalton Winery | israelwinetaster

  2. I am a Tourist from Switzerland. Is it safe enough to visit the wineries around Hermon Mountains ? And if yes what Is the best Route to make.? Are there wineries with hotel facilies ? Kind regards Peter

  3. All of the wineries on the Golan Heights are safe to visit. Though there are many accommodations in this region of Israel, none are owned by the wineries. I would be happy to provide you with more detailed information if you send me an email to israelwinetaster@gmail.com.

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