This article is sung to the tune of, “You made me love you, I didn’t want to do it…..” Here we are in our apartment in Naharia, having brought a carton of wines down from our mountain moshav home at Evan Menachem and several also from our shared wine storage cellar at Moshav Amkah. We drank every bottle that we brought including some very good ones, and finished off our case of recently purchased Rose from Castel. We were wineless except for a single bottle of Yarden Rom from 2006. Ask me why I even took it out of storage and brought it here were we are now living, eating, and drinking wine. I just don’t have an answer. But it was our last bottle of wine. It came down to either opening it and drinking it against the late Daniel Rogov’s advice to save it until it would reach full maturity and be at its best in the years 2014 to 2020, or even later, or not drinking any wine with dinner. So we “bit the bullet” and tried not to “choke on the cork.” Once again, “You made me open you, I didn’t want to do it…..”
This was, according to the late guru of Israeli wines, Daniel Rogov, the best wine ever produced in Israel and he rated it highly with a score of 96. It is New World Blend of 37% Syrah, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot. This blend goes against the grain of tradition with little or no precedent in any French wine region for blending the Rhone Valley variety, Syrah, with the Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grapes were selected from from 8 different vineyards, seven on the Golan and 1 in the Upper Galilee, the wines blended nine months after harvest. It was oak-aged in French barrels for a total of 21 months and bottled without filtration. Yarden Rom is a joint endeavor of Zelma Long, internationally acclaimed winemaking expert, and Victor Schoenfeld, Head Winemaker of Golan Heights Winery. Zelma Long has been working with Victor and the Golan Heights Winery team since 2002 on a project studying specific vineyard blocks with the aim of increasing wine quality. Yarden Rom is a natural extension of those efforts, allowing Zelma and Victor an opportunity to carry their work together through to a finished wine that reflects both the quality of their relationship and the quality of the Golan Heights as a winegrowing region. Rogov’s wine tasting notes stated,
“A wine to follow in stages for at this point in its development it opens so fruit forward, with ripe blueberries, cherries and red currants that some may actually mistakenly think it sweet. Even now however, that sensation passes quickly to reveal a full-bodied, well extracted and remarkably intense wine with aromas and flavors that literally flood the palate. As the wine continue to develop and as its elements come fully together look for notes of fresh herbs, espresso coffee and hints of both anise and cinnamon.”
We opened and decanted it before letting it sit a while. Then, not being able to wait further, poured, swirled and sniffed, allowing the deep complex aromas flow over us like a warm wave of love and earthiness. We imagined a deep forest with mossy stone walls and newly mowed grass. The tasting blew us away with its thick velvety feel on the palate and tastes of cinnamon and cloves mixed with black cherries. The tastes of a variety of nuts came to mind including brazil nuts, chest nuts, and almonds. You might guess that I am exaggerating when I say the finish lasted an infinity. O.K., but it sure was long and pleasant with wafting waves of hints of the flavors crashing back and forth like the slowly receeding tide.
You can purchase it in the United States by going to the Wine Enthusiast Magazine‘s website where it is priced at $150 for a bottle. Incidentally, on this web site, they give it a score of 91. I would guess that they punished it for its not being the traditional Bordeaux Blend. In some circles, “New World” is looked down upon. On the Cellartracker web site the average of three reviewers resulted in a score of 93.7. Give us your opinion in the Comment section below.