There was an event yesterday at the Galil Mountain Winery (GMW). They hosted a group of us for a tasting and description by Micha (vintner of the winery) of three vintages of their Pinot Noir varietal from three consecutive years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The Oxford Companion of Wine refers to Pinot Noir as the grape variety wholly responsible for red burgundy. They go on to describe Pinot Noir as demanding much of both vine-grower and winemaker. “It is a tribute to the unparalleled level of physical excitement generated by tasting one of Burgundy’s better reds that such a high proportion of the world’s most ambitious wine producers want to try their hand with this capricious and extremely variable vine. Although there is relatively little consistency in its performance in its homeland, Pinot Noir has been transplanted to almost every one of the world’s wine regions, except the very hottest, where it can so easily turn from essence to jam. If Cabernet produces wines to appeal to the head, Pinot’s charms are decidedly more sensual and more transparent. The Burgundians themselves refute the allegation that they produce Pinot Noir; they merely use Pinot Noir as the vehicle for communicating local geography, the characteristics of the individual site on which it was planted. Perhaps the only characteristics that the Pinot Noirs of the world could be said to share would be a certain sweet fruitiness and, in general, lower levels of tannins and pigments than the other ‘great’ French red varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The wines are decidedly more charming in youth and evolve more rapidly, although the decline of the very best is slow. Part of the reason for the wide variation in Pinot Noir’s performance lies in its genetic make-up. It is a particularly old vine variety, in all probability a selection from wild vines made by mankind at least two millennia ago. There is some evidence that Pinot existed in Burgundy in the 4th century.”
At GMW the Pinot Noir is cold soaked for an extended period of time followed by relatively short hot fermentation. For my taste the Pinot’s were flat and exhibited little complexity that the other wines of the tasting exhibited. We were treated to Yiron, a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon plus Merlot and Syrah from 2008 and Moron, a mainly Syrah blended with Cabernet Saugignon and some Syrah, also from 2008. I especially am taken by the Yiron with it’s fullness and elegance. It has always been one of my favorites from this region of Israel.
After the tasting and tour of the winery, we were treated to a picnic under the huge oak tree in the middle of the kibbutz kiwi orchard (click on the under the oak tree link to see a panoramic picture of the event). The site was idylic. The food was delicious and we were treated like royalty.
My hat goes off, once again, the the staff of Galil Mountain Winery. All participated with gusto and joy to make this a memorable experience. Thank you very much to each and every one of them.