One of the world’s most diverse and successful grape varieties, Syrah has now made its presence felt in the vineyards and wines of countries as diverse as France, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Slovenia, the USA, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Israel, and Australia (as Shiraz). It now ranks among the most widely planted wine grape varieties in the world, and consumer demand for Syrah and Shiraz wines shows little sign of abating in the early 21st century. We’ve been talking about Gamla Syrah and Yarden Syrah so it seems like recently we have been fixated on this grape variety. That being said, here is some information from kosherwine.com about the origin of this wine. “Yarden Syrah Avital Slope Vineyard was produced entirely from Syrah grapes grown in the Avital Slope Vineyard, located in the northern Golan Heights at an altitude of 920 meters. Syrah was planted in this vineyard in 1999 and 2000. The Syrah from Avital Slope Vineyard has given excellent results since its first harvest in 2002. Aging in French oak barrels for eighteen months gives a layer of rich oak that highlights the ripe black fruit, wild berry and intriguing earthy notes characteristic of Syrah.”
But let me tell you that this is a FANTASTIC wine, to say the least. Daniel Rogov gave it a high grade of 93 in his wine tasting notes from August 14, 2011 when he wrote a post about various Yarden Syrahs in his Rogov’s Wine Corner of the wineloverspage.com discussion forum. He stated, “Yarden, Syrah, Avital Slopes (formerly part of the Ortal Vineyard), 2007: Deep, dark and concentrated, with soft, lightly dusty tannins and notes of cedarwood. Full-bodied and aromatic, opening in the glass to show generous purple plums, blackberries and black cherries, those yielding to a comfortable hint of crème de cassis. On the long finish notes of earthy minerals and a light and tempting hint of bitterness. Drinking well now but best from 2014–2022.”
We tasted it last night after letting it breath for an hour. Perhaps it could have used more time to accustomize itself to the fresh fall air with which we have been blessed of late. It is an unbelievable, dark purple, almost black color in the glass. Its gentle but high tannin level indicates a need for more time to rest in the optimal conditions of our wine cellar, perhaps two to five more years, to reach maturity and its full potential. The aromas and tastes are all that Rogov says, plus the usual Syrah pepperiness combined with complex, sweet, dark fruits and strawberry jam flavors, And what a long lasting finish.
In the israelwinetaster grading system, it gets an A+, the highest rating and we’ll definitely buy some more to put into the wine cellar for tasting again in future years. Incidentally, it is not cheap, costing 150 shekels (a bit over $40) at the winery. I see that it sells for about $10 more on web sites in the USA. Living in Israel, close to the wineries, does have its advantages. L’Chaim