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An Inside look at the Dalton Winery!

We at the Kosher Wine Society are eagerly anticipating our scheduled August 23rd vertical wine tasting with Alex Haruni owner of the Dalton winery. This event promises not only to be tremendously enjoyable, but also to provide a first rate educational experience for all the attendees. One of the first steps to gaining an awareness of wine’s complexity and adaptability over time is by sampling the same wine across a number of vintages. This time-honored exercise enables the sampler to gain a better understanding of the ageing potential of the wine, the development of a wine over time, and most importantly your own personal preferences. Many people favor the fruity, freshness of a youthful bottling to the more contemplative, elegance of a timeworn vintage. At this event, you will have the opportunity to sample a number of Dalton wines at different points in their life span and decide whether you are a fan of the old or the new.

As we approach this unique event, we thought it best to better acquaint our readers with the Dalton winery and the assorted wines in the Dalton portfolio. The Dalton winery is situated in the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel. The vineyards of Dalton are all planted in close proximity to the winery, with many vineyards situated mere kilometers from the Lebanese border. This of course makes the grape harvest a tricky and potentially dangerous endeavor in Israel’s more turbulent periods. Yet these winemakers have braved through the geopolitical hazards that their particular location poses for the sake of viticultural success. The Galilee is distinguished from the other wine producing regions of Israel by the convergence of higher altitude, cooler temperatures, and gravelly, well-drained soils that allow for the cultivation of a wider variety of grapes. For this reason, the Dalton winery does not limit itself to the reproduction of the ubiquitous Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (though they do excel in those wines).Rather, the Dalton winery has extended its talents to developing the less common Barbera, Shiraz, Primitivo, Viognier, and Zinfandel varietals.

The winemakers at Dalton, seeking to capitalize on what they believe to be the unique terroir of their vineyards, have also recently released both a single vineyard Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard utilized for these cru wines is the Meron, which year after year has produced grapes with a distinct character, perhaps the result of the chalkier soil content of the slopes there.

Over the years since the initiation of the Dalton winery in 1995, the wines bottled by this estate have been much lauded in the wine industry. The wines show consistent improvement and a general trend toward excellence, but also are invariably priced fairly.When so many kosher wines released on the market are notorious for inflating prices, the Dalton winery strives to match price to quality. Indeed, the superior steps taken by the Dalton winery to improve their standards year after year prompted the renowned Israeli wine critic, Daniel Rogov, to list the Dalton winery among the top ten fastest improving wineries in Israel. The public’s appreciation for Dalton’s wine is evident by the growing consumption and demand for Dalton products year after year. It was this demand that allowed the Haruni family to grow quite rapidly from a mere 20,000 bottle annual production in 1995 to an astounding 600,000 bottles today.

Many of Dalton’s wines released over the past decade have earned honors and medals in international wine expos. Most notably, Dalton’s 2000 Muscat desert wine came away with the Best in Show Award at the Taster’s Guild International, USA. However, it is actually Dalton’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons that turns the most heads in tasting competitions. More of Dalton’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserves have left award shows with gold medals than any other wines in the Dalton portfolio. It will certainly be a rare treat to have the opportunity to sample these wines back to back.

We hope that this brief introduction to the exciting world of Dalton piqued your curiosity! Far more detail and greater opportunity for insight into the Dalton wines will be provided by Alex Haruni who will lead our August 23rd tasting. We look forward to sharing this unique tasting experience with you.