Best of the Best?

From #130 – June 13, 2010

Among the treats I was fortunate to enjoy over the last couple weeks was the Rom from the Golan Heights Winery. This newly released Israeli wine has been generating a significant amount of chatter among wine consumers for a number of reasons not the least of which is the fact that Daniel Rogov rated it 96 points – the highest rating he has ever given to an Israeli wine. Mostly as a result of this fact but coupled with a very limited release of 6000 bottles (3000 destined for export to the U.S.), these facts have created a slightly insane secondary market with bottles going for more than twice their suggested retail of NIS 380 in Israel or $135 in the U.S. While the exact longevity of this wine remains in question given its first release, the pedigree of the Golan Heights Winery indicates that it probably has at least a decade of improvement ahead of it. All this, together with it being from Zevi’s birth year, led me to purchase a few bottles which i intend to save for Zevi’s Bar-Mitzvah (B”H). I had the pleasure of tasting this wine due to the generosity of MK – thanks and much appreciated – truly a special wine as you will see from my note below.

Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Rom, 2006: Two things hit me right off the bat with this wine – the first was how utterly approachable it was at release and right out of the bottle; and the other was how strongly the Syrah dominated the nose and palate of this wine. An interesting blend of 37% Syrah, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot, the wine was the result of collaboration between GHW’s chief winemaker Victor Shoenfeld and Zelma Long. Zelma has been assisting GHW for almost 20 years and was one of the first vintners to make the direct link between wine growing and wine quality through extensive experiments in the vineyard resulting in GHW’s current focus on individual vineyards and their different qualities and characteristics. The name Rom means summit in Hebrew meant to reference the culmination of their partnership over the years. Tons of fruit on the first attack including red cherries, juicy blueberries, tangy raspberries with loads of juicy Syrah notes reaching out of the glass in a full-frontal attack. Notwithstanding the abundance of fruit, the great structure and body on this wine indicate its cellarability and potential for elegance. I look forward to opening a bottle in about 8 months from now (unless another buddy wants to share :-)).