The Ella Valley Vineyards winery was established back in 1998 and is situated adjacent to the Netiv Halamed Hey Kibbutz, in a valley which according to tradition was the setting for the monumental battle between David and Goliath. Judging by the various archaeological findings, even back then, the Ella Valley was a prominent source for grapes and wine. Today, this state-of-the-art winery produces just over 200,000 bottles per annum with roughly 35-40% intended for export. The winery produces an array of wines relying on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat from three different vineyards/areas in the region. Over the years I have noticed that Merlot from the Ella Valley as well as from other vineyards in the Judean Hills region has been showing excellent results; a Merlot that is full of character and at the hands of the right winemaker can produce concentrated and elegant age worthy wines.
Winemaker Lynn Gold who joined the team a couple of years ago, taking over from Doron Rav Hon (who went on to establish the Sphera Winery), seems to have settled in and feels quite comfortable in the position.
I first met Gold at the winery several weeks after she “took office” and while at the time she was pouring wines that were de-facto produced by her predecessor, one could tell that she was very passionate and take the responsibility very seriously. Gold fell in love with the world of wine while working as a lab assistant at the Tavor Winery and decided to pursue her studies as a winemaker. After she completed her BA in Israel, Gold packed her bags and traveled to the University of Adelaide in Australia to become a professional winemaker. To date, Gold worked a couple of vintages in Australia and for the 2010 vintage joined the Chateaux Golan Winery before being recruited by the Ella Valley Vineyards.
Enough with the history and overview and on to the more juicy and enjoyable part of the article. Ella Valley Vineyards recently released two new red vinos from the Ella Valley and Vineyard’s Choice labels. Both are rather fruit forward showing ‘ripe’ fruity profiles and this is attributed to the warm weather during the 2010 vintage.
Ella Valley Vineyards, Ella Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 – 85% Cab, 10% Merlot and the balance Syrah, 14 months in oak, the wine is deep ruby in color, full bodied, suggesting generous aromas and flavors that bring to mind, ripe berry fruits, plums and plenty of cherries; good balancing acidity, Mediterranean herbs, freshly ground pepper, toasted oak and vanilla also add to the overall profile leading to a medium-long finish.
Ella Valley Vineyards, Vineyard's Choice 32˚N35°E Blend, 2010 – A blend comprising Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot of varying proportions, 18 months in oak barrels, deep garnet in color, full bodied, the wine opens in the glass to reveal concentrated and layered notes of ripe dark berry fruits, plums, dry herbs and orange zest, followed by toasted oak and tobacco all coming together nicely for a long finish.