Wine and Spirits / Stately With a Wild Side

The Avidan winery, founded in 2000 by Shlomo and Tzina Avidan on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region, is currently producing about 30,000 bottles annually.

The Avidan winery, founded in 2000 by Shlomo and Tzina Avidan on Kibbutz Eyal in the Sharon region, relies on Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Petite Sirah and Merlot grapes selected from various vineyards in the Upper Galilee.

The winery is currently producing about 30,000 bottles annually. With major expansion and modernization now completed, wines are released in several series - the age-worthy Premium and Reserve wines and the varietal Avidan, and the Blend des Noirs and Petite Soleil, meant for earlier consumption.

A relatively new series, Fringe, is so named because the blends are both playful and unusual.

Avidan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2007: Almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, with notes of licorice, chocolate and purple plums on the nose. Opens in the glass to reveal black cherry and black currant on a background of tobacco and sage. Destined always to be full-bodied and chewy but at the same time polished, long and generous. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2012-2017. NIS 145. Score 92

Avidan, Petite Sirah, 2008: Showing every bit as well as at barrel tastings. Super-dark garnet, full-bodied, concentrated and even muscular, with "stick-to-the-lips" tannins but showing its intensity in ways that are discrete. On the nose, black fruits, smoke and a hint of white pepper. Opening in the glass to reveal aromas and flavors of both blackberries and raspberries, complemented nicely by notes of sweet cedar. Long and generous with a hint of bitter orange peel on the finish. Complex, focused and mouth-filling. Approachable now but best from 2012-2016, perhaps longer. NIS 160. Score 92.

Avidan, Mor, Fringe, 2006: Made by drying the grapes on mats before pressing them - a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Merlot grapes showing notes of dried currants and prunes, those on a full-bodied background that is rich, dense and silky. Delicious, opulent and harmonious with fresh fruit notes that linger on and on. Drink now-2015, perhaps longer. NIS 360. Score 92.

Avidan, Full Wine, Fringe, 2008: Super dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with its once-firm tannins integrating nicely. A blend of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 percent Petite Sirah, oak-aged for one year. On the nose spicy oak and freshly turned earth, integrating well and opening in the glass with generous notes of blackberries, currants and pepper. On the notably long finish an appealing hint of tar. Drink now-2015. NIS 160. Score 91.

Avidan, Blend des Noirs, Tagsegol (Purple Label ), 2008: A super-dark garnet blend of Merlot, Shiraz, Petite Sirah and Carignan (40 percent, 25 percent, 20 percent and 15 percent respectively ), aged in mostly second and third year French and American oak for 12 months. On the nose, black fruits, opening in the glass to show medium- to full-bodied with gentle notes of spicy oak, soft, gently gripping tannins and black currants, wild berries, plums and citrus peel, yielding on the long finish to notes of licorice and black olives. Drink now-2015. NIS 80. Score 90.

Avidan, Blend des Noirs, Tagkatom (Orange Label ), 2008: A blend this year of 40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 35 percent Merlot an 25 percent Grenache, oak-aged for 12 months. Dark garnet with orange reflections, showing medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full ), with soft, gently caressing tannins and notes of spicy wood, complementing and not at all hiding currant, wild berry, and plum fruits, all on a lightly earthy-mineral background. Drink now-2014. NIS 95. Score 90.

Avidan, Prio, Fringe, 2008: Dark garnet with a surprising hint of adobe brick in color, a full-bodied blend of Carignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. On the nose, notes of spicy cedarwood and tar, parting to make way for aromas and flavors of currants, blackberries, cigar tobacco and licorice, with the fruits and tannins rising on the finish. A wine to capture not only the palate but the imagination. Some will love it. Others will not. Me, I loved it. NIS 160. Drink now-2016, perhaps longer. Score 90.

Avidan, Petit Rose, Fringe, 2010: Reflecting its intentionally minimal skin contact of 3 - 4 hours, a pale salmon pink color, a blend this year of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium-bodied, not so much a "lively" rose as a complex one, even with a hint of tannins to highlight aromas and flavors of peaches, peach pits and freshly cut herbs and with a hint of sweetness that creeps in on the surprisingly long finish. Perhaps at its very best (as was the case after today's tasting ), with a platter of goat cheeses, bread and butter. Drink now-2012. NIS 60. Score 89.

Avidan, Tagadom (Red Label ), Blend des Noirs, 2009: A blend that varies from year to year depending on the winemaker's whims, this one of 60 percent Grenache, 20 percent Argaman and 20 percent Petite Sirah. Deep garnet with an equally deep royal purple robe, full-bodied, with soft near sweet tannins and notes of spicy oak. Opens in the glass to show plums, blackberries and currants, set off by finely tuned acidity and, on the finish hints of roasted herbs. Drink from release-2015. NIS 70. Score 89.