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The Best Israeli Wines Tasted in 2008: Not 100 But 122

I suppose it is reasonable that many are wondering why this is a list of 122 and not of 100 wines. Simple enough. Because I base these lists entirely on scores (indeed, well aware of the limitations of scores) and because so many of the local wines tasted earned scores of 90 or over, I simply felt that the list would be far more representative and more realistic to include all wines that attained that score. And, because the list also includes reviews of several wines tasted in advance tastings, I felt that it might serve as a better mini-guide to what has been recently released and what will be released within the next month or two.

That the number of wines earning scores of 90 or higher grows from year to year does not reflect on me or on my scoring. It reflects on the reality that the better long-established wineries and at least some of the smaller and newer wineries are doing a better job on a regular basis.

Finally, lest it slip anyone's attention, please let us keep in mind that scores are merely shorthand summary statements of how I perceive the overall quality of a wine. As I wrote just the other day in HaAretz, people who buy wines only on the basis of their scores are either foolish or snobs, for it is not the score but the tasting note that will give clues to whether this person or that will actually enjoy the wine in question. Within the score categories, wineries are listed in alphabetical order.



Score 94

1. Clos de Gat, Syrah, Sycra, 2004: Oak-aged for 20 months. Full-bodied, with oak that at one moment seems spicy and at the next smoky but never dominating; with firm tannins integrating nicely now. A dense, almost muscular wine but one that sits gently and opens to show a tempting array of cherry, berry and currant fruits, those on a just spicy enough background to highlight hints of freshly roasted coffee. Well focused, intense and long. Drinking nicely now but best 2009-2012. Score 94.

2. Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elrom Vineyard, Yarden, 2004: Showing every bit as well, perhaps even a tad better than at barrel and advance tastings. Developed in French oak barriques for 18 months, deep garnet in color, full-bodied, with firm tannins and spicy wood integrating well with fruits and despite its youth already showing elegance and finesse. Look for layer after layer of currant, blackberry and both red and black berries, those supported beautifully by notes of cedar, sage and tar, all leading to a near-sweet fruity finish that lingers on and on. Approachable now but best 2010–2018. Score 94. K

3. Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Ortal Vineyard, Yarden, 2004: Perhaps the best Syrah ever in Israel. Extraordinarily deep ruby, full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood. Opens with a burst of almost-jammy raspberries and kirsch liqueur, those yielding to blackberry, cherry and plum fruits. In the background generous hints of anise and Oriental spices and a hint of freshly tanned leather. Approachable and enjoyable now, but best 2010–2018. Score 94. K

4. Yatir, Yatir Forest, 2005: A full-bodied Bordeaux blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 10% Merlot. A third aged in new and two-thirds aged in old wood barriques for 15 months, this dark royal-purple towards garnet, deeply aromatic wine casts intense orange and green reflections. Soft tannins integrating beautifully and the intentionally gentle hand with the wood come together nicely to let the wine open with spicy berry and cassis aromas and flavors, those going on to show blackberries and an underlying and fascinating mélange of bitter herbs. Long, generous and elegant. Drink now–2014. Score 94. K


Score 93

5. Clos de Gat, Ayalon Valley, 2005: A Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot (63%, 30% and 7%) given a distinct Mediterranean note by touches of black olives and mint. Dark garnet, opens with a sweet red nose, that overlayed with note of spicy cedar wood. Showing soft, mouth-coating tannins, opens to revel currant, blackberries and notes of slate. On the long and generous finish look for notes of raspberries and mocha. Approachable now but best from mid-2009-2014, perhaps longer. Score 93.

6. Clos de Gat, Chardonnay, 2007: Deep bright gold in color, full-bodied, reflecting its 12 months sur lie in oak with no battonage with a near creamy texture, opens with delicate honeyed green apple and pear notes, those concentrated and well focused and showing fine balance with just enough acidity to keep the wine fresh. Closes with an earthy-mineral overlay that lingers nicely. Generous, mouth-filling and almost extrvagant, the wine is approachable now but will be at its best only from 2010-2015. Score 93.

7. Clos de Gat, Merlot, Sycra, 2006: Showing every bit as excellent as during barrel tastings. Full-bodied, reflecting its 20 months in new oak with generous spicy wood and equally generous but softly mouth-coating tannins, those in fine balance with fruits and acidity. Opens with currant, purple plum and mocha notes, those yielding to blackberry, citrus peel and light herbal and tobacco overtones. Score 93.

8. Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2005: A Bordeaux-plus wine—that is to say, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, plus 4% Syrah. Full-bodied and concentrated but simultaneously soft and elegant, with generous cassis and black fruits, with velvety tannins and reflecting its 16 months in French oak with gently spicy and dusty wood, all of which lead to a super-long finish. Perhaps the best to date from the winery. Approachable and thoroughly enjoyable now but best 2010–2015. Score 93. K

9. Golan Heights Winery Merlot, Ortal Vineyard, Yarden, 2004: Dark ruby towards garnet, full-bodied, with once firm tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely now. Opens to reveal a tempting array of blackberry, raspberry, plum and cassis fruits, those supported nicely by hints of smoky cedar wood and licorice, all leading to a gently spicy and notably long finish. Simultaneously complex, concentrated and elegant. Approachable on release but best 2010-2018. Score 93. K

10. Margalit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2006: Cabernet Sauvignon blended with about 13% of Margalit’s very special Petite Sirah. Full-bodied, dense and intense, but at the same time round and yielding, offering up chocolate-covered cherries, cassis, wild berry and kirsch, those balanced nicely by spicy-cedary oak. Long, complex and destined for elegance. Best 2009–2017. Score 93.

11. Margalit, Enigma, 2006: Full-bodied, subtle and round, a softly tannic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Cabernet Franc and 17% Merlot. Opens with red currants and red plums, goes to black cherries and a pleasing light spiciness and closing with a long fruity and persistent finish. Best 2009-2013. Score 93.

12. Pelter, T-Selection, Shiraz-Grenache, 2006: Deep garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with silky tannins and reflecting its 14 months in oak with a gentle spicy touch. Supple and graceful, showing cherry, blueberry and pomegranate fruits all on a background of white pepper and a hint of star anise. Drink from release-2012. Score 93.

13. Recanati, Special Reserve, 2005: Full-bodied, dark garnet towards royal-purple, with once firm tannins now integrating nicely with spicy and vanilla-rich wood. Aged in barriques for 19 months, this blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot, all from the Upper Galilee, shows fine balance and structure. On first attack blackcurrant, blackberry and a hint of anise, those followed by lightly toasted, near-sweet cedar and oak along with an appealing hint of black licorice. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2009-2014. Score 93. K


Score 92

14. Amphorae, Syrah, 2005: A full-bodied, aromatic and generous blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, showing soft, caressing tannins and generous peppery plum, wild berry, exotic spices and hints of roasted meat and earthy minerals. Round, ripe and long with notes of citrus peel and vanilla on the long finish. Best 2009-2014. Score 92.

15. Carmel, Limited Edition, 2005: A Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (65%, 17%, 15% and 3% respectively). Deep garnet in color, medium to full-bodied, with generous soft tannins and reflecting its 15 months in barriques with light toasty and spicy oak. Blackberry, black cherry and purple plums fruits on first attack yield to black currants and appealing hints of lead pencil and vanilla and, on the long, mouth-filling finish, a near-sweet and elegant tobacco note. Round and elegant. Drink now–2013. Score 92. K

16. Carmel, Shiraz, Single Vineyard, Kayoumi, 2005: Dark towards inky garnet in color, full-bodied enough to be thought of as dense with firm tannins integrating now to show fine structure and balance. Opens with a strong gamy aroma but that fades quickly in the glass to reveal black currants, purple plums and black olives, those highlighted by reined acidity and notes of tar and smoky oak. Long, with meaty flavors and fruits rising on the juicy finish. Best 2009-2013. Score 92. K

17. Castel, Grand Vin, 2005: Showing far darker than at barrel tastings, but with still firm tannins, those integrating nicely now with spicy and smoky oak. Opens slowly in the glass to show a nose and palate of blackcurrant, blackberry and purple plum fruits on a background of generous Mediterranean herbs and near-sweet tobacco. On the long finish hints of citrus peel, anise and dark chocolate. Approachable on release but best 2010-2014. Score 92. K

18. Chillag, Merlot, Primo Riserva, 2005: Supple and round but with fine structure, Chillag's best to date. Blended with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 22 months in French barriques, showing dark garnet in color. Full-bodied with tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood, fresh acidity and generous fruits. On the nose and palate black cherries, plums, toasty oak and roasted coffee, finishing with plum and lead-pencil notes. Best 2009-2012. Score 92.

19. Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot-Cabernet Franc, Vineyard's Choice, 2006: A full-bodied blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, dark ruby towards garnet in color and reflecting its time in oak with Oriental spices and firm tannins. Opens nicely in the glass to reveal blackberry, raspberry and dried currant fruits. Generously spicy, with a tantalizing hint of red chili rising on the super-long finish. Needs time. Approachable on release but best 2010-2013, perhaps longer. Score 92. K

20. Clos de Gat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Har'el, 2007: A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied (leaning towards the full) and firmly tannic, opens with an unusual but very appealing light musky note and then goes on to well focused red currants and cherries, those supported nicely by notes of freshly turned earth and Mediterranean herbs. Supple, rich and deep, with a finish that goes on seemingly without end. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2010-2016. Score 92.

21. Clos de Gat, Merlot, Har'el, 2007: Royal purple towards black, muscular, with bold tannins and spicy oak integrating nicely. Made entirely from Merlot grapes, aged in barriques for 14 months. On first attack near-sweet plum and cocoa aromas and flavors, those yielding to notes of currant jam and licorice. A solid finish on which arise notes of citrus peel. Needs some time. Approachable by mid-2009 but best 2010-2015. Score 92.

22. Ella Valley Vineyards, Syrah, 2006: Showing every bit as well as during barrel tastings. Blended with 3% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, dark, almost inky garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, deeply aromatic and showing a generous array of blackberry, black cherry and currant notes. Long and mouth-filling. Drink now-2011. Score 92. K

23. Flam, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006: Oak-aged for about 14 months, a full-bodied blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet towards royal-purple, with soft near-sweet tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood. Intense and multi-layered, opening with cherries and raspberries, those going on to show currants and blackberries, and all on a background of brown spices. Long and generous, with the tannins rising nicely on the finish. Best 2010–2014. Score 92

24. Flam, Merlot, Reserve, 2006: Dark garnet, a full-bodied blend of 86% Merlot and 14% Petit Verdot reflecting generous but not-at-all exaggerated oak aging with still firm tannins and notes of vanilla and spices. On first attack black fruits, those opening to reveal raspberries and blueberries, those on a background of mocha and sweet-cedar. Give this one time and it will show fine balance between tannins, wood and fruits. Has the structure for aging. Approachable now but best 2010-2015. Score 92.

25. Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin, 2004: Showing every bit as well as during barrel tastings. Dark garnet towards royal purple, with orange and violet reflections. Shows generous oak and still firm tannins, those in fine proportion and well balanced by blackberry, blackcurrant and cherry fruits, those on a background of white pepper, Mediterranean herbs and, on the long and generous finish hints of vanilla and peppermint. Best 2009-2016. Score 92. K

26. Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2005: Brooding dark ruby-red, full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and spicy oak wrapped around black currants, berries, spices and a hint of dark chocolate. Look as well for enchanting hints of citrus peel and vanilla on the long finish. Fine balance and structure bode well for the future. Best 2010–2018. Score 92 K

27. Golan Heights Winery, Blanc de Blancs, Yarden, 2001: As I have written at earlier tastings, the best Blanc de Blancs to date from the winery. Made from Chardonnay grapes by the traditional methode Champenoise, this medium-bodied sparkling wine shows just the right balance between yeasty sour-dough bread, peaches, citrus and minerals. With a generous mousse and sharp, well-focused bubbles that go on and on, this crisp and sophisticated wine goes on to a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2012. Score 92. K

28. Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, Yarden, 2006: Full-bodied, opening with subtle aromas of figs, pears and apples, going on to show a generous dash of smoky, toasty oak and then blossoming forth with pineapple, citrus peel and minerals leading to a long finish that is simultaneously creamy and bright. Drink now–2013. Score 92. K

29. Golan Heights Winery, Noble Semillon, Botrytis, 2004: Bright, almost polished gold in color, with fine concentration and balance and developing deep honeyed botrytis-impacted spices and funkiness. On the nose and palate dried apricots, orange peel, toasty oak, and tropical fruits that come in towards the long caressing finish. Drink now–2018. Score 92. K

30. Margalit, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006: Almost inky black in color, offering a generous mouthful of currant, cherry, blackberry and blueberry fruits, those matched by layers of sweet spices. Big, broad and intense but yielding on the palate to show grace and elegance, and closing with a long, fruity finish. Best 2009–2015. Score 92.

31. Margalit, Cabernet Franc, 2006: Dark garnet towards royal purple, medium to full-bodied. Blended with 5% of 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and showing rich black currant, cherry and blackberry fruits matched nicely by floral and light earthy aromas and flavors, all coming to a long, round and caressing finish. Best 2009-2013. Score 92.

32. Pelter, T-Selection,, Pinot Noir, 2006: Dark cherry red towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with a generous 14.5% alcohol content but don't let that you off because all is here in fine balance and with enviable structure. Ripe and distinctive in flavor, with blackberry, currant, raspberry and floral aromas and flavors supported by minerals and a hint of raw beef all coming together beautifully with delicate spices. A multi-layered and complex wine. Best 2009-2013. Score 92.

33. Pelter, T-Selection, Cabernet Franc, 2006: Ruby towards royal purple in color, full-bodied, with silky tannins and a gentle hand with the oak. Showing gorgeous plum, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors on a background of sweet spices and, coming in on the finish, a tempting hint of semi-sweet chocolate. Long and generous. Best 2009-2012. Score 92.

34. Sea Horse, Munch, 2006: Petite Sirah at its best. Dark, almost impenetrably inky garnet in color, full-bodied, concentrated and intense, showing generous wood and mouth-coating tannins, those in fine balance with red plum, blueberry and currant fruits. Give this one time and it will prove supple, ripe and rich. Approachable now but best from mid-2009-2012. Score 92

35. Yatir, Viognier, 2007: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Light golden straw in color, made entirely from Viognier grapes, some intentionally harvested early, some quite late and wisely unoaked to maintain the fruity and aromatic nature of the variety. Rich, ripe and crispy dry, a generous mouthful of pear, green apple, melon and summer fruits, those backed up by crisp acidity and a hint of unsweetened cream on the long finish. Drink now–2011. Score 92. K

36. Yatir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: Blended with 15% of Shiraz, this dark garnet with purple and orange reflections is showing fine balance between gentle spicy wood and mouth-coating tannins that are integrating nicely. On first attack blackberries and currants, those yielding to raspberries, spices and light overlays of earthiness and leather, all with a hint of what at one moment feels like lead pencil and the next like cigar box. Long, generous and destined for elegance. Best 2009–2014. Score 92. K

37. Yatir, Blended Red, 2005: A blend of Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot (37%, 36%, 15% and 12% respectively). Aged in oak for 12 months, showing firm tannins nicely balanced with lightly spicy wood. Starts with a rich blackberry nose and then goes on to aromas and flavors of wild berries, currants, and anise, all on a gently herbal background. Best 2009–2012. Score 92. K

38. Yatir, Shiraz, 2005: Dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color, intentionally aged in old oak barriques in order to highlight the typical characteristics of the variety, but still showing generous wood, the wine opens with meaty and herbal aromas, those yielding nicely to cherry, red currant and berry fruits and finally, creeping in comfortably, an agreeable hint of saddle leather. Long, generous and destined for intense elegance. Approachable now but best 2010–2014. Score 92. K


Score 91

39. Avidan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005: Oak-aged for 16 months, and blended with 15% of Merlot, this full-bodied red shows traditional blackberry and black currant aromas and flavors, but is bold for its firm tannins and distinctive peppery and anise overtones which lead to a long and mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2012. Score 91.

40. Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 720, 2005: Opens with a smoky, spicy nose, and goes on to
deliver appealing plum, blackberry and currant fruits, those overlaid with Oriental spices. Soft,
caressing tannins and gentle wood add to the complexity of the wine. Look as well for a tantalizing hint
of earthy bitterness that comes in on the long finish. Drink now-2013. Score 91. K

41. Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Superieur, 2003: Dark, almost impenetrable royal-purple in color.
Firm and concentrated, this is one of the best ever from Barkan. Full-bodied, with gently mouth-c
Coating tannins and a judicious hand with spicy oak, shows intense aromas and flavors of black
currants, blackberries and black cherries, those complemented by hints of dates, sage and near-sweet
cedar wood. A long chocolate and tobacco finish bursting with minerals and black fruits. Drink now–
2010. Score 91. K

42. Ben Hanna, Mediterraneo, 2005: Deep, brooding garnet in color, full-bodied, with still-firm tannins and generous spicy wood waiting to settle down, but showing fine balance and simply needing a bit of time. A blend of Grenache, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc (50%, 33%, 12% and 5% respectively), aged in French oak for 22 months, opening to show a generous mouthful of black cherry, dried raspberries, eucalyptus and cinnamon. Drink now–2011. Score 91.

43. Ben Hanna, Cabernet Franc, La Mariée, 2005: Broad, dense and concentrated, yet caressing and not at all heavy. Opens with generous raspberries and dried currants highlighted by gentle black and red chili peppers. Moves on to plum and floral aromas and flavors with soft tannins rising on the long, spicy and fruit-rich finish. Best yet from the winery. Best 2008–2011. Score 91.

44. Carmel, Petite Sirah, Old Vines, Appelation, Judean Hills, 2006: A big wine, full-bodied, deep garnet towards royal purple, with gripping tannins just now starting to settle down but showing fine structure between tannins, wood and fruits. Dark and delicious, with ripe plum, blackberry, and boysenberry notes, those on a background of minerals, minted chocolate and spicy cedar wood. Approachable now but somewhat chewy. Give this one time to show its harmony and elegance. Best from 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91. K

45. Carmel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, Kayoumi, Upper Galilee, 2005: Dark garnet with green and orange reflections, full-bodied, open textured and generous showing a spicy, peppery mouthful of blackberry, currant, coffee and black olive notes all leading to a long, round and mouth-filing finish. As this one develops look for an appealing hint of smoked meat rising. Approachable now but best 2009-2013. Score 91. K

46. Chateau Golan, Eliad, 2006:. Dark garnet, full-bodied and with fine balance and structure, a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.5% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot, oak-aged for 12 months. Opens with red and black berries, those joined by black currant and black cherries supported by a light note of spicy oak and sweet cedarwood. Ripe, round and generous, will most assuredly call to mind Bordeaux with a Mediterranean hint added by notes of fresh herbs and black olives. Drink now-2013. Score 91.

47. Chateau Golan, Geshem, 2006: A blend of 81% Grenache, 14% Syrah and 5% of Mourvedre, each developed separately and having spent a total of 13 months in barriques. Medium-dark garnet, medium-bodied, opening quietly on the nose but showing very nicely indeed on the palate, opening to reveal raspberry, blueberry, cherries and red currant fruits, those supported nicely by vanilla and hints of spices and bittersweet chocolate. Long and generous. Best 2009-2012. Score 91

48. Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Primo Riserva, 2005: Blended with 10% Merlot, reflecting its 22 months in French oak with generous but judicious spicy wood in fine balance with soft tannins and opening to show a tempting array of blackberries, currants and oriental spices, all leading to a rich, long and blueberry-laden finish. Drink now–2012. Score 91.

49. Clos de Gat, Chanson Blanc, 2007: A well-crafted unoaked blend of Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier and Chenin Blanc (about 75%, 15%, 7% and 3% respectively). Pale gold in color with orange reflections, medium-bodied, opening with minerals and citrus fruits, those opening in the glass to reveal passion fruits and ripe melon. Long, lively and thought-provoking. Drink now–2010. Score 91.

50. Dalton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005: Dark garnet with orange and green reflections, medium to full-bodied, with still firm tannins integrating nicely and showing light spicy oak. Opens with currants and plums, goes on to wild berries and hints of black licorice and chocolate. Long, round and generous. Drink now–2010. Score 91. K

51. Dalton, Syrah, Reserve, 2005: Blended with 10% of Viognier, nearly black in color, but a wine of remarkable elegance. Aromatic, with spicy and floral scents on first attack, those yielding to aromas and flavors of berries and plums, all backed up by hints of white pepper, and on the long finish, surprising but pleasing notes of peaches and apricots. Drink now–2010. Score 91. K

52. Dalton, Viognier, Reserve, 2007: Perhaps the Israeli Viognier most loyal to the variety to date. Fermented partly with wild yeasts, developing in barriques on its lees, showing intense, vibrant and complex with spice, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. Drink now–2011. Score 91. K

53. Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2006: Showing somewhat fuller in body than at barrel tastings, a solid, almost muscular wine but with gently gripping tannins in fine balance with spicy wood. Dark ruby towards garnet, showing a tempting array of raspberries, cherries and spices on a tempting earthy-mineral overlay. Long and generous. Drink from release-2012. Score 91. K

54. Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, 2006: Developing beautifully, showing medium- to full-bodied, light golden in color and with flavors and aromas that seem to play on the palate, shifting from moment to moment from grapefruit and nectarine to pineapple and lemon peel and finally to orange curd, all on a crisp mineral-rich background. Vibrant and lively with a long, lightly oaky and lemon blossom finish. Drink from release-2009, perhaps a bit longer. Score 91. K

55. Flam, Superieure, 2006: A blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon (86% and 14% respectively),oak-aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and with a nice "bite" of spicy wood. Concentrated on the palate, showing purple plum, blackberry and raspberry fruits, those supported by tantalizing hints of leather and smoked meat Drink from release-2012. Score 91

56. Galil Mountain, Yiron, Syrah, 2005: Dark, almost inky-garnet in color, medium to full-bodied, with fine balance between soft tannins, spicy wood and fruits. On first attack raspberries and chocolate, those yielding to blackberries, currants and a rich floral note. On the long finish the tannins rise along with fruits and an appealing hint of red licorice. Drink now–2013. Score 91. K

57. Galil Mountain, Barbera, 2006: Showing darker, deeper and even more impressive than at an advance tasting. Now showing dark, almost inky ruby towards garnet in color, with its impressive 15% alcohol content in fine balance with wood, tannins and fruit. On the nose and palate blackberries, blueberries, plums and violets, those supported nicely by notes of vanilla, milk chocolate and, rising on the long finish notes of black pepper, minerals and red cherries. Generous but gently mouth-coating tannins, fine concentration make this supple wine a fine candidate for drinking now or for cellaring until 2011. About as fine as you're going to find anywhere with Barbera. Score 91. K

58. Golan Heights Winery, Viognier, Yarden, 2006: As during earlier tastings, this release reminds me of the white wines of Condrieu and shows traditional a thoroughly traditional Viognier personality. Following an aromatic and floral nose, flavors and aromas of ripe Anjou pears, peaches, spring flowers and minerals along with hints of citrus. Lively, clean, fresh and long, the best local Viognier to date. Drink now-2010. Score 91. K

59. Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden, 2005: Garnet, but so dark that one might describe it as inky. Full-bodied, with spicy oak and generous soft tannins, showing fine structure and balance. Opens with raspberry and red currant notes, those going on to show generous hints of black pepper, anise and wild berries all coming to a long and generous chocolate and smoky finish. Best 2009-2013. Score 91. K

60. Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2004: A wine that outshines its vintage year. Deep, dark, and brooding. Generous smoky oak and tannins now settling down to reveal rich currant, cherry, blackberry and plum fruits along with hints of asphalt, earthiness and Mediterranean herbs all leading to a generous and spicy finish. Drink now–2013. Score 91. K

61. Gustavo & Jo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Unfiltered, Inbar, 2005: Inky-dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with fine balance between gently gripping tannins and spicy oak. On the nose and palate generous black fruits, those supported nicely by notes of bitter orange peel and spices. Long and generous. Drink now-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91.

62.Pelter, Shiraz, T-Selection, 2005: Dark crimson in color, opening with lightly sweet vanilla notes on the nose, this full-bodied, round and elegant wine shows a generous array of plum and currant fruits, freshly tanned leather and an appealing light earthy-herbaceousness. The soft but gripping tannins linger well into the long finish. Look as well for an appealing hint of bittersweet chocolate developing. Drink now–2012. Score 91.

63. Recanati, Cabernet Franc, Reserve, 2006: With its once firm tannins now integrating nicely, showing medium-dark garnet, full-bodied, and reflecting its 14 months in oak with generous but not imposing sweet cedar. Opens with blueberries and blackberries, those going on to show black cherry and plum fruits highlighted by notes of tobacco, bell peppers and a hint of licorice, all lingering nicely on the finish. Drink now–2013. Score 91. K

64. Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved, 2006: Made entirely from organically raised Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Kadita vineyard, oak-aged for 24 months in French and American oak, a full-bodied wine with firm but gently mouth-coating tannins that part nicely to reveal traditional Cabernet aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and blackberries. The fruits supported nicely by complex notes of mocha, bittersweet chocolate, Oriental spices and Mediterranean herbs, all of which play nicely on the palate and lead to a long and generous finish. Approachable now but best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91.

65. Saslove, Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, Adom, 2005: Developed in oak for 20 months this blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon will remind many of the Mollydooker wines of Australia. Dark garnet, full-bodied, with firm tannins and peppery wood notes, those given a racy feeling by generous currant, cherry and raspberry fruits. On the background, tantalizing hints of pepper and tar, all culminating in a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2012, perhaps longer. Score 91.

66. Tabor,Cabernet Sauvignon, Mes’cha, 2001: Showing every bit as well as in its youth. Dark garnet-red, medium to full-bodied, with good balance between firm but well-integrated tannins, spicy oak and an appealing array of black currant, plums, smoke and fresh earthy aromas and flavors. On the long mouth-filling finish hintsof minted dark chocolate. Drink now2010 Score 91. K

67. Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2006: A medium- to full-bodied blend of 86% Cabernet Franc and 14% Petit Verdot, reflecting its aging in new French barriques with cedar and vanilla notes, opening to reveal blackcurrants, black cherries and figs, those on a background of sourdough bread, figs and, towards the finish hints of mocha and tobacco that rise nicely. Drink now-2013. Score 91.

68. Vitkin, Carignan, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Made from grapes of 30–40-year-old vines, this full-bodied red offers up generous oak and tannins, those integrating well and showing fine balance with purple plums, blackberries and spices. Light meaty and mineral overlays. Drink now–2011. Score 91.


Score 90

69. Amphorae, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: Dark garnet, full-bodied with very generous smoky and dusty oak on first attack, that happily settling down as the wine sits in the glass. A deep-garnet blend of 90% Cabernet Saucvignon with 5% each of Syrah and Cabernet Franc, showing fie balance between the wood, soft tannins and aromas and flavors of spicy plums, currants and espresso coffee. A long mineral-rich and sage finish. Drink now-2011. Score 90.

70. Assaf, Shiraz, 2006: Blended with 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and oak-aged for 14 months, shows a distinctly Shiraz nose of spicy wood, plums and blackberries, all with a hint of saddle leather. Dark garnet towards royal purple, with just the right notes of spicy wood and fine balance between still firm tannins and fruits. Concentrated and intense but with a distinct touch of elegance and a long finish. Best 2009-2012. Score 90.

71. Assaf, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006: Dark garnet towards royal purple, full-bodied and with fine balance and structure that bode well for the future. On the nose and palate hints of sweet cedar followed by blackcurrant, purple plum and blackberry fruits, those supported nicely by hints of minted dark chocolate. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2009-2013. Score 90.

72. Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2004: A distinctly Old World style of wine. Dark cherry red
towards garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied but showing fine concentration with generous layers of
currants, berries and red plums supported by now well integrating tannins and a gentle hand with the
wood. On the finish look for a tempting note of Mediterranean herbs. Score 90. K

73. Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 624, 2005: My earlier tasting note holds firmly: Deep,
almost impenetrable garnet in color, this medium to full-bodied wine shows on first attack firm, drying
tannins and spicy oak but those receding in the glass to add a near-sweetness to the black and red fruits,
oriental spices and hints of freshly picked mushrooms and green olives. Long and generous. Drink
now–2010. Score 90. K

74. Binyamina, The Cave, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2005: Showing much as at an advance tasting. Full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and showing a moderate dose of spicy cedarwood, all in fine balance with fruits and acidity. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot, those vinified separately before the final blend was made near bottling time. Dark garnet toward royal-purple in color, with currant, blackberry, spices and hints of bitter orange peel all coming together as a long and coherent whole. Drink now–2011. Score 90. K

75. Binyamina, Shiraz, Reserve 2005: This dark garnet wine’s once firm tannins are now settling down nicely and showing a gentle hand with spicy oak. Fine balance between those and plum, black cherry and cassis and, on the background, appealing hints of leather, chocolate and minerals all leading to a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K

76. Bustan, Syrah 2004: Dark garnet, full-bodied, with firm tannins and gentle smoky wood influences. On the nose and palate black fruits, exotic spices and hints of saddle leather and earthy minerals. Long and generous. Best 2009-2013. Score 90. K

77. Carmel, Sauvignon Blanc, Appelation, Upper Galilee, 2007: The first Sauvignon Blanc released in this series. With a mere 7% of the wine aged in new 300 liter French barrels and the rest very cold fermented and developed in stainless steel, the wine guards the varietal nature of the grape. Bright and lively, with passion fruit, pink grapefruit, green apple, and just tart enough citrus fruits backed up by gooseberries, grassy and mineral notes. Lingers nicely and finishes with high-style. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 90. K

76. Carmel, Viognier, Appelation, Upper Galilee, 2007: The first Viognier release in this series and a resounding success. With 75% cold fermented in stainless steel and the remainder in barriques, that aged sur lie for 4 months. With a bare, tantalizing hint of spicy oak on the nose as it opens, that yielding to an array of spicy pear, grapefruit and tangerine fruits all on a supple and just spicy enough frame. Simultaneously refreshing and rich. Drink now-2010. Score 90. K

79. Carmel, Merlot, Appelation, Upper Galilee, 2006: Dark garnet towards royal purple, with soft tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood. Medium- to full-bodied, opens with a plum-rich nose that shifting on the palate to berry, black cherry and cassis fruits all supported nicely by hints of white pepper and eucalyptus. Best 2009-2011, possibly longer. Score 90. K

80. Carmel, Carignan, Old Vines, Appelation, Zichron Ya'akov, 2006 A super-dark garnet blend of 85% Carignan and 15% Petit Verdot, the Carignan from 35-40 year old, very low yield wines with no irrigation. A blockbuster on first attack but the firm tannins and generous wood settling down nicely to reveal a rich array of plum, red cherry, raspberry and currant fruits all supported nicely by hints of cocoa and spices. Look as well for a generous mocha-rich finish. Approachable now but best 2009-2011. Score 90. K

81. Castel, "C", Chardonnay, Blanc du Castel, 2007: Gold, with green and orange tints, deeply floral, full-bodied and with generous but not overpowering oak that parts comfortably to reveal a complex array of citrus peel, summer fruits, hazelnuts, vanilla and crisp minerals. Lively and complex, opening nicely at this stage and showing a near creamy personality, that with a most welcome note of bitterness to enchant. Drink now-2011. Score 90. K

82. Chateau Golan, Syrah, Royal Reserve, 2006: Medium-dark garnet toward royal-purple in color, full-bodied, this blend of 89% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 3% Petite Sirah was aged in oak for 12 months. Generous but soft tannins and spicy wood along with fairly high alcohol (14.7%), those in fine balance with fruits and acidity. On the nose and palate ripe blackberries, raspberries and red plums, those matched nicely by spices and hints of citrus peel and saddle leather. Drink now–2012. Score 90.

83. Chateau Golan Merlot, Royal Reserve, 2006: Showing more full-bodied than at earlier tastings, with soft, near-sweet tannins. Opens with a somewhat veggie nature but shifts quickly to show tempting black fruits, damson plums and crushed berries, those complemented nicely by an exotic near-sweet spicy note that lingers nicely through the vanish. Drink now-2011. Score 90.

84. Chateau Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Royal Reserve, 2006: Showing even better than at earlier tastings. Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 9% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Syrah and 1.5% Petit Verdot. Oak-aged for 12 months, medium-dark garnet, with a hint of sweetness on the nose, turning firm on the palate with mouth-coating tannins and hints of wood. Opens to light oak and mocha, which support currants, blackberries and a hint of vanilla bean that adds a nice touch; tannins and fruits rising on the finish. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2010–2013. Score 90.

85. Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon, Giovane, 2005: Blended with 10% Merlot, showing a distinct Tuscan flair, this deep garnet, round and medium to full-bodied wine shows soft tannins and a tempting array of black cherries, raspberries and cassis all on a warmly spicy background. Long and generous. Drink now–2010. Score 90.

86. Chillag, Cabernet Sauvignon-Petite Sirah, 2005: A blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Oak aged for 20 months showing medium- to full-bodied and with still firm near-sweet tannins, those just starting to settle down and opening to reveal generous black fruits, those on a light background that hints nicely of licorice and bitter almonds. Easy to drink but with just enough complexity to grab and hold our interest. Drink from release-2010. Score 90.

87. Dalton, Zinfandel, 2006: Faithful to the variety, wiih full-body, wild berries, plums, vanilla and notes of white chocolate and cinnamon, all with a bare and tantalizing hint of sweetness. Aged in new American barriques for twelve months, showing fine balance between sweet and spicy oak, notes of black pepper, soft tannins and fruits. Very nice indeed. Drink now-2011. Score 90. K

88. Dalton, Shiraz, 2007: A distinctly New World wine – fruit forward, medium- to full-bodied, with generous but not-at-all overpowering oak and soft tannins in fine balance. At first sip a virtual attack of berry and plum fruits, those yielding on the palate to blackberries and peaches (yes, peaches!) and an array of spices. Long and generous. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2009-2012. Score 90.

89. Dalton, Merlot, Reserve, 2005: Soft and round but well focused, opening in the glass to reveal silky tannins and a gentle touch with the wood, those supporting currant, berry, cocoa and light hints of mint and black licorice, all of which linger very nicely on the palate. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K

90. Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006: Medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and gently spicy wood reflecting its 14 months in oak. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot showing currants, berries and hints of pepper, all eading to an aromatic and fruity finish. Best 2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 90. K

91. Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2006: Developed in one and two-year-old barrels and blended with 5% of Merlot. Garnet toward royal-purple with green and orange reflections, with blackberry and black cherry fruits overlaid with notes of rose petals. Medium-full bodied, opens slowly to reveal light tobacco and leathery notes, those on a background of crisp minerals. Tannins rise on the long finish to give grip to this elegant wine. Best 2009–2013. Score 90. K

92. Flam, Classico, 2006: Aged in French and American oak for 6 months, this full-bodied, softly tannic blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot shows an appealing array of lightly spicy black currant, raspberry and black cherry fruits on a background of Mediterranean herbs. Moderately long and quite generous. Drink now–2010. Score 90.

93. Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic Vineyard, Yarden, 2007: Showing much as at barrel tastings. Full-bodied, deep golden with a distinct tint of orange that plays in the glass, a wine reflecting generous wood but that in fine proportion to acidity and fruits. On the nose and palate opens with pears, grilled nuts and pie crust notes, those going on to show ripe fig, pineapple and baked apple aromas and flavors. Long and creamy with the oak rising on the finish. If t'were I, I would hold this one for another six-nine months before drinking. Best from mid-2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 90. K

94. Golan Heights Winery, Merlot, Yarden, 2004: Dark garnet towards purple, medium to full-bodied, with tannins and wood integrating nicely and showing a generous array of berry, cassis and plum fruits, those supported by minerals, sweet cedarwood and, rising on the medium-long finish, an overlay of spices and tobacco. Drink now–2011, perhaps longer. Score 90. K

95. Golan Heights Winery, Syrah, Yarden, 2004: Medium-dark ruby towards garnet, with firm tannins and spicy oak integrating nicely. Shows a generous array of near-jammy raspberries, blackberries, black cherries and plums, those supported nicely by hints of spices and herbs and a hint of polished leather. Drink from release-2013. Score 90. K

96. Golan Heights Winery, Pinot Noir, Yarden, 2004: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins well integrated and showing a generous array of blackberry, plum and black cherry fruits, those supported very nicely by hints of pine nuts. On the generously fruity finish a tantalizing hint of anise. Drink now-2012. Score 90. K

97. Gvaot, Cabernet Franc, Gofna Reserve, 2007: As predicted at an early tasting. the best yet from this winery. Medium- to full-bodied, opening with notes of freshly turned earth and loam, those opening to reveal black and blue berries along with spicy and toasty oak notes. Firm tannins but with fine balance and structure, a simultaneously muscular and elegant wine. Approachable now but best from 20910. Score 90. K

98. Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo, 2006: Showing more tannic and with a somewhat heavier wood influence than at barrel tastings. Dark royal purple in color, medium- to full-bodied and with overall good balance between still firm tannins and spicy wood that allows the fruits to sow nicely. On the nose and palate currants, wlld berries and mint notes, those lingering nicely. Best 2009-2012. Score 90.

99. Karmei Yosef, Merlot, Bravdo, 2006: Blended with 15% of Cabernet Sauignon, aged in barriques for 12 months, deep garnet towards royal purple in color, with once gripping tannins now integrating nicely with spicy wood. Full-bodied, the wine opens to reveal a core of plums, blackberries and blueberries, those on a background of exotic spices and hints of chocolate and mocha that linger nicely on the palate. Drink now-2012. Score 90.

100. Pelter, Merlot, T-Selection, 2004: Oddly enough a wine that had escaped my attention earlier, so this was my first tasting. Big and bold, full-bodied, with firm tannins that take time to recede in the glass and then open to reveal blackberry, cassis and smoky oak on a generously spicy background that takes on deth and richness towards the long finish on which a burst of fruit makes itself felt. Drink now-2009. Score 90.

101. Poizner, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, Kfar Yuval, 2006: Dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and reflecting its 14 months in French oak with gentle spicy and vanilla overlays. Opens to reveal traditional Cabernet aromas and blackcurrant and blackberry fruits, those with an appealing hint of minted chocolate, black licorice and a note of red cherries on the long finish. Drink now-2011. Score 90

102. Saslove Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagol, Single Vineyard, 2007: Although Barry Saslove's name appears nowhere on this wine, it carries his winemaker's signature in every way. Oak-aged for six months, and thus reflecting gently spicy wood and soft tannins, a soft but concentrated wine showing generous black fruits, those balanced well by hints of spices and tobacco all coming to a long finish on which you will find notes of dark chocolate and anise creeping comfortably in. A fine example to demonstrate why there need be no contradiction whatever between the rules of kashrut and the making of fine wine. Enjoyable now but best 2009-2012. Score 90. K

103. Saslove, Cabernet Sauignon, Adom, 2005: Well-crafted. Full-bodied, with firm tannins integrating nicely with spicy and vanilla-rich wood. Opens with blackcurrants and wild berry fruits, those yielding to notes of black cherries, orange peel and, on the long, generous finish an appealing hint of white chocolate. As the wine develops look for hints of sweet herbs coming in nicely. Best 2009-2012. Score 90.

104. Savion, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005: Blended with 15% of Merlot and developed partly in American and partly in French oak, medium to full-bodied, with now softened tannins and vanilla-rich wood. Opens to reveal currant, blackberry, black cherry, spicy cedar and hints of sage. On the long finish, cherry and berry fruits rise. Drink now–2011. Score 90.

105. Sea Horse, Camus, 2005: This almost inky-garnet, full-bodied blend of 92% Syrah and 8% Petite Sirah is reflecting its 12 months in French oak with a gentle layer of spicy wood, that well balanced by generous but yielding tannins and on the nose and palate smoky blackberries and currants, Oriental spices and hints of game meat. Soft, round and well focused with the tannins, rising on the long, supple finish along with appealing hints of leather and black pepper. Best 2009–2011. Score 90.

106. Sea Horse, Antoine, Tete de Cuvee, 2006: Full-bodied, with still gripping tannins waiting to settle in. Reflecting its oak-aging for 18 months with generous but soft and spicy cedar notes, showing tempting bittersweet chocolate and a cigar tobacco note that underlie red berry and currant fruits. A blend of 74% Syrah and 13% each of Grenache and Mourvedre, with an appealing bitter herbal hint rising on the long and so-far muscular finish. Score 90.

107. Sea Horse, Lennon, Tete de Cuvee, 2006: Deep garnet towards royal purple in color, a blend of 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah. With gripping tannins and generous spicy oak, those yielding slowly in the glass to reveal an appealing array of plums, wild berries and bitter-sweet chocolate, those complemented by gentle hints of Oriental spices and Mediterranean herbs. Long and mouthfilling. Best from mid-2009-2012, perhaps longer. Score 90.

108. Sea Horse, Fellini, 2006: A medium-bodied, soft and round blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, those oak-aged for 18 months. Showing soft and round, with silky tannins and a gentle hand with the oak. Opens to show plums, raspberries and cassis, those with notes of vanilla and licorice that linger nicely. Drink now-2011, perhaps longer. Score 90.

109. Recanati, Special Reserve, 2006: A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot. Full-bodied, with firm tannins integrating nicely and showing currant, blackberry and cherry liqueur aromas and flavors. Generous toasty oak here at this stage but that, with the tannins, are settling in nicely to show a simultaneously intense but round and elegant wine. Best 2009-2013. Score 90. K

110. Recanati, Cabernet Sauvigjon, Reserve, 2005: Showing better than at an earlier tasting. Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with softly caressing tannins and showing a generous array of blackcurrant, wild berry and purple plum fruits, those supported nicely by hints of sweet herbs. Rich, round and generous. Drink now-2011. Score 90. K

111. Recanati, Petite Sirah-Zinfandel, Reserve, 2007: Medium-to full-bodied, dark, almost impenetrable garnet, opens with black fruits and a gentle note of spicy wood. Goes on in the glass to reveal red berry and light leathery and peppermint notes. Drink from relese-2012. Score 90. K

112. Segal, Caberent Sauvignon, Unfiltered, 2004: Blended with 10% of Merlot and oak-aged in French and American barriques for 22 months, showing dark, firm and intense. Full bodied, with still gripping tannins and generous but not dominating oak with good balance between those and the red and black currants, black cherries, sage and spicy cedar wood on the nose and palate. On the long finish a generous overlay of minerals and an appealing hint of bitterness. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K

113. Somek, Bikat Hanadiv, Reserve, 2005: Dark, almost inky garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, this 24 months oak-aged blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carignan and Petite Sirah (40%, 40%, 15% and 5% respectively) opens with a rich crushed berry and spicy nose. Firmly tannic at this stage of its development, but with gently mouth-coating tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely the wine opens to reveal blackberry and cassis fruits, those with overlays of tobacco and chocolate. Drink from release-2012. Score 90.

114. Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Adama, Bazelet, 2006: Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with fine grained tannins integrating nicely. A ripe, supple and harmonious wine showing currant and blackcherry fruits, those supported by hints of near-sweet cedar wood and dark chocolate. On the long finish an enchanting hint of licorice Best 2009-2012. Score 90. K

115. Tanya, Cabernet Sauvignon, Halel Reserve, 2005: Deep and concentrated, almost impenetrable garnet in color and with firm tannins and generous wood still holding back the fruits here. No fear though, for this one shows fine balance and structure that bode well for the future Oak-aged for 16 months, opening in the glass to reveal firm but elegant dried currants and blackberry aromas and flavors, those gaining complexity and depth on the long finish. Best from 2009-2012. Score 90. K

116. Tanya, Cabernet Franc, Halal Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2006: Made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes, developed in barriques for 14 months, dark, almost impenetrable garnet in color, a medium- to full-bodied, softly tannic wine. On first attack notes of plums, tar and bittersweet chocolate, those yielding to aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and espresso coffee, all with a comfortable overlay of black pepper. Long and generous. Drink now-2012. Score 90. K

117. Tishbi, Special Reserve, 2004: Super-dark garnet in color, full-bodied, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the grapes all from Sde Boker in the Negev. Good balance between firm tannins, spicy wood and fruits, showing appealing blackcurrant, blackberry and tobacco notes. On the long finish a light minty note. Drink now-2010. Score 90. K

118. Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvigon, Estate, 2005: Deep garnet with violet and orange reflections, one of the best in this series. Medium- to full-bodied, with still firm tannins but those in fine balance with acidity, wood and fruits and boding well for the future. A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc ad 3% Petit Verdot, oak aged for about 13 months, showing an appealing layer of spiciness that opens to reveal currant and blackberry fruits along with a generous hint of licorice. Drink from release-2011. Score 90. K

119. Trio, The Spirit of The Jerusalem Hills, 2006: Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, with a light and tantalizing hint of spicy wood and gently mouth-coating tannins integrating nicely and parting easily to show the fruits. Medium- perhaps medium- to full-bodied, dark garnet in color and opening in the glass to reveal red currant, blackberry and raspberry fruits along with gentle hints of white chocolate all of which linger nicely on the long finish. Elegant in a not-at-all pretentious manner and despite its hints of complexity as easy to drink on its own or with lamb chops, steaks or even grilled lobsters. Drink now-2010. Score 90.

120. Tulip, Reserve, Syrah, 2006: Dark garnet with orange and violet reflections, this full-bodied red is lithe and well focused. Opens with a surprising but pleasing root beer note which holds through the long finish as a background to plum, blackberry and leathery notes. Well balanced, long and generous. Drink from release–2011. Score 90.

121. Yatir, Sauvignon Blanc, 2007: Showing elegance and subtlety with citrus, passion fruit, green apple and grapefruit aromas flavors on a stony-mineral background. Well crafted, simultaneously lively and sophisticated. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K

122. Ye'arim, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sasson's Wine, 2005: Garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with caressing tannins and gentle wood parting to reveal blackberry, blueberry and cassis notes, those on a background of Oriental spices and a note of red licorice. Drink now-2011. Score 90.