Tasting Gamla Syrah 2009

A new wine has been added to the armamentarium of wines of the Golan Heights Winery. Their Yarden Syrah which we tasted two months ago now has a sister in the Gamla series. We were introduced to it at the winery today and opened it tonight to drink with our dinner. We gave it the chance to breath an hour before pouring and it rewarded us with a pleasant experience. I would describe it as alive and bursting wit a complex bouquet of spices and burnt wood. Nurit described the aroma as that of a flower garden. I felt a taste of puckery pepper and Nurit said the taste was O.K. but not up to the smell. There is a nice finish thought not super long, which is actually better than the taste itself. My summary was that it is a Syrah (Shiraz) lite. You can’t beat the price. At the winery it sells for 69 shekels, which at the latest exchange rate of 3.66 shekels to the dollar, equates to under $19. Compare this to this wine’s big sister, the Yarden Syrah which sells for 106 shekels at the winery or just under $29 and you’ll realize that this Syrah of the Gamla series is really a bargain. I could drink it every evening. You might call it a “table wine” in that it is a good quality wine at an affordable price. In summary, it is well worth the cost. I’ll save the Yarden Syrah for special occasions.

But this raises a quandary and exposes a weakness in the israelwinetaster grading system. Saying that I will buy it again, which I would for this wine, automatically classifies it as an “A” grade. But how can I differentiate the Gamla Syrah from the Yarden Syrah, which I think is better. So I guess that the solution is just like the grading system in many schools, and that is to add a minus (-) or a plus (+). I think that this Gamla Syrah 2009 should be given an A- . I hope that solves the problem, though, obviously no system is perfect and there will probably be more quandaries in the future. So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to quandaries. May they all be easy to solve.”


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