As a Jerusalemite, I have been cooped up in the house for the past few days due to the weather conditions. Aside from spending quality time with the family and working from home, I also had the opportunity to go through my wine cooler and invited a couple of friends over for dinner (a rich and hearty beef stew) and a tasting of Israeli Syrah wines.
There are of course various styles of Syrah wines and a vino from cooler regions like the northern part of the Rhone Valley or Washington State. But they will be very different compared to warmer climate vinos hailing from Australia or the Napa Valley. As for food pairings, if you are serving a lighter-cooler climate Syrah try pairing with grilled lamb, mild semi-hard goat cheeses or dry sausages. If you are serving a fully bodies-juicy Syrah or Shiraz, a rich beef stew or grilled rib eye (entrecote) steak would be an excellent choice.
Our wines for the evening included (in alphabetical order):
Galilee Mountain, Meron, 2010 – Not a varietal wine but rather a blend of Syrah (73%), Petit Verdot (18%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (9%) from vineyards in the Upper Galilee; 16 months in French oak result in a fruit forward and smooth wine suggesting ripe dark berry fruits, fresh herbs, caramel and toasted oak leading to a long and silky finish.
Golan Heights, Yarden, Syrah, Tel Fares Vineyard, 2008 - aged for 18 months in barriques, dark ruby towards purple in color, the wine is drinking very well now, full bodied, on the nose and palate juicy layers of plums, cherries and black berry fruits followed by notes of flowers, dark chocolate and anise all coming together nicely for a long and pleasant finish.
Recanati, Reserve, Syrah – Viognier, 2010 – 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier , 9 months in French oak, this is a full bodied wine, suggesting pleasant aromas and flavors of red berry fruits alongside dry herbs, floral notes and just a touch of smoke with good supporting acidity and a long finish - a very enjoyable and elegant wine.
Tulip, Reserve, Syrah, 2011 – 95% Syrah and the balance Petit Verdot, 16-18 months in French oak barrels result in a dark ruby towards purple vino suggesting generous notes of dark and ripe berry fruits, plums, roasted coffee beans and thyme leading to a long finish. Still a bit firm, so allow to aerate in the glass for a few minutes.
L’Chaim and stay warm!