The Golan Heights Winery has launched a new wine called Yarden 2T from the 2008 vintage. The name is taken from the first letters of the two grape varieties, of which it is a blend, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao, each contributing 50% to the wine. These are grape varieties from Portugal that are being grown in the Yonatan vineyard. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.
Touriga Nacional is the most revered vine variety for port and, increasingly, for fine dry reds in Portugal. It produces small quantities of very small berries in the Douro valley in northern Portugal and the Portuguese Dão region (where it probably originated) which result in deep-coloured, very tannic, concentrated wines. The vine is vigorous and robust but is prone to poor fruit set and low yields,making it very unpopular with growers. This almost led to its extinction in the mid 20th century. Tinta Cao, which means red dog in Portuguese, is another top-quality black grape variety for the production of port. Having almost disappeared from the vineyards of the Douro valley, despite its long history there. It is being planted with greater enthusiasm since it was identified as one of the five finest port varieties, although it is not one of the deepest colored. Victor Schoenfeld, winemaker of the Golan Heights Winery, apparently refers to it as more like Pino Noir.
Daniel Rogov stated, “Not everyone is going to appreciate the relatively recently released Yarden T2, and that perhaps largely because one almost has to develop a somewhat special need to involve with two Portuguese varieties… both relative strangers to Israel.”
This wine has been highly touted by others, but, as you’ll see, I don’t agree. I don’t think that it comes up to the high standards of the Yarden label. That being said, let me share with you some of my first experience with this wine. It is, like the reds that we drink, a deep purple color. But not being able to differentiate between purple, deep purple, and deep & dark, I think that I am going to remove this from my wine tasting notes and not address it in future posts unless there’s something out of the ordinary for the color of the wine. The notes have the option of checking off “weak and light” as an option under color, but we just don’t taste or buy those wines. So to finish philosophizing and get on with tasting, I will address its body, the perceived “weight” or sensation of fullness resulting from density or viscosity of a wine on the palate. It is, in my opinion, of medium body. It has a high tannin level which may be related to its excessive astringency. But I have a feeling that it is astringent out of proportion to its tannin level. And I was careful to open it and let it breath a good hour before pouring in addition to doing the obligatory swirling in the glass. It has, according to Nurit my tasting companion and articulate word artist, the aroma of a moldy wood pile. This, she qualifies, is a compliment. We both agreed that it tasted of prunes and that it hurt our throats. In the description of his tasting, Rogov included the phrase, “lightly burned espresso coffee.” But who wants to drink wine that tastes of burnt coffee? I definitely think that it is not worth the price, which, at the winery costs 110 shekels. I, perhaps being overly generous, gave it a grade of “B” which is translated on the wine tasting notes’ grading system as, “I”m glad I’m drinking it but won’t buy it again.” I think it probably only deserves a “C” indicating that “It’s O.K. but not worth the price.”