For Shavuot I decided to splurge and try inaugural releases of two top tier rosés from sister wineries Golan Heights Winery and Galil Mountain Winery (GHW owns about 2/3 of GMW). Both of these rosés retail for about NIS 99 ($28 or so) and as such are among the most expensive Israeli rosés produced. Neither of these was shown at Sommelier in April, so I did not have a chance to preview them. Truth is I was really excited. I have found 2019 to be utterly underwhelming rosé-wise and I figured that if both GHW and GMW are pushing new releases at the top price tier they must have been able to produce something really special. You want to launch a wine on the right foot – and try to build a good rep. So I was really psyched for these bottles over what would be a beautiful chag and Shabbat.
2019 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Rosé – I started with the GHW Yarden Rosé. Not to be confused with the sparkling wine of the same name, this wine is made from Tinta Cão, a Portuguese grape primarily used in the manufacture of port wine and in Yarden’s T2 port style wine and its dry brother, 2T. The wine has 13.5% abv. On the nose you get beautiful pink grapefruit and some orange blossom. In the mouth acid. Then more acid, a little grapefruit pith, lemon, and more acid. In fact the acid is all that I really felt. I tried mightily to let this wine settle down. But even the next day that was all I was getting, As I was writing this, I figured I would take a swig to see where it’s at – not expecting it to be good, but at least give me an idea of the underlying flavors, and sadly all I got was pith and, believe it or not, still some more acid. It actually held together better than I would have thought – though I still wouldn’t call it enjoyable.
- Price: NIS 99
- For Aging: No
- Would I Buy Again: No
- QPR Rating: Abysmal
- Taste/Depth/Quality: Poor unless you REALLY like acid.
- Overall Rating (1-5): 1.5
2019 Galil Mountain Winery Yiron Rosé – Friday night I popped the GMW YIron Rosé. GMW makes a lower end rosé, which depending on the vintage can be quite nice. The Yiron is made of 67% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 3% Viognier and clocks in at a very reasonable 12%. On the nose – nothing. Totally muted. Tried shaking it, swishing it. Still nothing. In the mouth at first it was a dead ringer for Castel’s rosé. Now rosé is a very personal drink and usually I am not really a big fan of Castel’s. It’ s fine – maybe a little pareve and a touch “watery” for me – but really I just can’t see myself paying over NIS 90 for that bottle when there are always better lower cost options out there. Over the course of the meal though, this wine changed. A TON of peach came out along with some lemon. There have been times where I have struggled to describe what I don’t like about peachy wines. Truth is, peach as a flavor doesn’t bother me when kept in moderation and balance. But there is a type of fuzzy yet under-ripe peachiness that throws me back to the blush wines that were available when I was growing up. I have a visceral negative association with that flavor – and it is there in spades in the 2019 Yiron rosé. I gave the wine some time to change again, but sadly that is where it stayed. Maybe this flavor appeals to some; I just can’t stomach it.
- Price: NIS 99-109
- For Aging: No
- Would I Buy Again: No
- QPR Rating: Poor
- Taste/Depth/Quality: Personally, I really disliked it – but there maybe people who like this profile out there.
- Overall Rating (1-5): 2
So I am trying to wrap my head around why these wines were introduced now – and at these price points. I mean is my palate so different from everyone else’s? And even if it is, is it so different from everyone else who drinks NIS 99 bottles of Rose? And if it isn’t, then what’s the rationale here? If anyone else has tried either of these, I’d love to hear about your experiences.