Tasting Adir Winery’s Shiraz 2010

This is a great wine! How’s that for a start? I really let the cat out of the bag and got to the punch line before even telling the joke! But what can the likes of little old me say about the wine that won first prize in the Shiraz category at the recent “Eshkol HaZahav 2012” Israeli wine competition put on by Sommelier.co.il. They call this event the Oscars of Israeli Wines Even considering that some wineries may not have entered at all or not entered their best Shiraz varietals, this is a feather in the cap of Adir Winery. I say, all the more power to them. The naysayers may try to put this award down for this reason or that reason, but let’s call a gold medal a gold medal. And Adir’s Shiraz 2010 won it.

We tasted a bottle at home and we agree with the Sommelier judges. The wine has an big nose with complex, earthly aromas wafting up from the wine glass. It reminded us of a spice mixture with some cardamon in it. There was also some cherries and chocolate with cinnamon and a hint of the honeysuckle that grows around our house. The tastes (emphasis on the pleural) include peppery prunes and rasberries and a little tobacco. Nurit exclaimed that the taste is “really good” and commented that the wine is full of character. It is, in her terms, “A Hell of a Wine!” It is full in the mouth with integrated tannins and has an extra long finish.

The wine resided in oak casks for 12 months before being bottled. It is considered to be a “high alcohol wine” as its alcohol content is 15%. This effects neither its aroma nor its taste, both of which shine through gloriously, and are not overwhelmed by the alcohol.

According to our modified israelwinetaster grading system, we give it an A with ** as it’s price at the winery is 89 shekels (equivalent to just under $23 at the present rate of exchange). At least that was the price before the prize!

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Tasting “a” – The New Wine from Adir Winery

"a"

Adir was described by Daniel Rogov as “A Winery On The Way Up,” and in the past year they have come up with several new offerings added to their heretofore limited selection. When we first met Avi and Yosi Rosenberg, they produced only four wines. These were Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals, a Port-style wine, and their flagship wine, Plato which is basically a Cabernet Sauvignon varietal with a small bit of Shiraz added. They have expanded their inventory to include a Chardonnay, recently a “Blush Port”, and now this new offering they call, “a”. I guess it’s the “in” style type of name, as Golan Heights Winery’s “2T” and Tabor Winery’s “1/13,000” and “1/6,000”. I have no idea where this style of wine naming comes from but at least it’s not like those racey and crude names appearing elsewhere. For my part, I like the more romantic names that come from place, soil, and especially the many terms relating in some way, to nature. But I guess that I’m an old dog and I’ll try to learn these new tricks. As William Shakespeare said in Romeo & Juliet, “A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet.” It is not nearly as important what is on the outside, but what is inside the bottle. It is not what is in the looking and hearing, but what is in the smelling and tasting.

Israelwinetaster & his friend, the "corky" expert Naftali Admoni

This wine is a blend of 60% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. I was aged 18 months in oak and ha 14 % alcohol content. We tasted the 2009 vintage last week at the Adir Winery Visitors Center and when I first raised the glass to acquaint myself with its aroma, I was extremely disappointed. It reminded me of a dark and dank, moldy, and wet dirt floor basement where there is no air exchange. I couldn’t recognize the smell, but when my wine tasting companion, Naftali Admoni, gave it a whiff, he loudly exclaimed, “CORKY.”     Yosi Rosenberg, who was at the Visitors Center at the time, agreed, and they dumped out what had been previously poured, replacing it with wine poured from a new bottle. It was only then that the pleasant aromas wafted forth. We decided that it was a welcome addition to the Adir family of wines and purchased some for drinking that night at supper.

At the Admoni home Friday night, the wine nicely complemented the wonderful food conjured up by Michal. Once again she served many delicious salads in addition to rice with walnuts and roasted chicken. She merely shrugged when I asked for the recipe for one of the salads. It was an avocado, apples, and lettuce with “craisens” salad that I thought was spectacular. “I just threw some things together,” she said. Needless to say, there was nary a drop of it left at the end of the meal.

Adir’s first attempt at producing a blended wine was declared a success. In the glass, it is a lovely rich purple color and in the mouth it has a moderate body and moderate to long finish that lingers and trails off slowly. The complexity of aromas reminded Nurit of our visit to Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France. 

She went on to opine that its taste was of a rich cherry and plum pie. 

It has a nice medium tannin level without a bit of a bite and should age well for several years in our cellar. We declared this wine a success and gave it an israelwinetaster Grade of A- with the minus for its high end price of 120 shekels. This is approximately $32 for a bottle. I think it deserves a 91 in the usually quoted  grading system of Robert Parker. L’Chaim