Last week, for the second time in five years, thieves broke into the Dalton Winery - backing up a truck, wreaking havoc on the winery and making off with over one million shekels' worth of wine. Considering some of Dalton's very best varieties were stolen, it seems almost as if the theft was "made to order."
You should not hesitate to buy these wines at reputable wine shops, but if you are approached with a "super-special" offer from an unknown source, a phone call to either the winery or the police is definitely in order.
Founded by the Haruni family in 1995, this fully modern winery located in the Dalton industrial park in the Upper Galilee has vineyards in Kerem Ben Zimra and several high altitude sites along the Lebanese border.
An Australian and Californian-trained winemaker, the talented Naama Mualem is currently producing wines in seven series. A wine under the Matatia label was released as part of the 2006 vintage, and is perhaps destined to become Dalton's flagship wine. The winery's first production was 50,000 bottles, a figure which now stands at about one million bottles annually.
Best of the red
Dalton Matatia, 2006: A Bordeaux blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Developed in new French oak, showing very deep and dark in color. On first attack aromas of mint, tar and a hint of iodine, remarkably and perhaps surprisingly pleasing. Yields in the glass to reveal generous blackberry, black currant and bitter orange peel notes and finally, on the long finish, hints of espresso coffee. With fine balance between wood, acidity, tannins and fruits, a thought-provoking and delicious wine. NIS 350. Score 93. K
Dalton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2007: Deep garnet toward royal purple, its once firm tannins and generous wood now settling in to reveal the wine's fine balance and structure. On the nose and palate traditional Cabernet black currant and blackberry fruits, supported by hints of freshly cured tobacco and bitter-sweet chocolate. Long and generous and on the finish an appealing hint of green olives. Drink now-2016. NIS 125. Score 92. K
Dalton, Alma, 2008: A full-bodied blend of 45% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with 10% Cabernet Franc. Gently caressing tannins and moderate notes of spicy cedarwood open to reveal an array of wild berries, currants and citrus peel, hinting of roasted herbs and espresso coffee. Drink from release-2015. NIS 110. Score 91. K
Dalton, Shiraz, Reserve, 2007: Dark garnet in color, medium- to full bodied, blended with 5% Viognier and developed in new French oak. Opens with an appealing floral and bitter-nutty nose, that going on to show spicy wood and gently mouth-coating tannins. On the palate a generous array of black and purple fruits, those complemented nicely by notes of Mediterranean herbs and cigar tobacco. Drink now-2014. NIS 125. Score 91. K
Dalton, Zinfandel, 2008: Dark garnet toward royal purple, blended with 12% of Petite Sirah, oak-aged in new American oak for 12 months, showing fine balance between wood, soft tannins and fruits. On the nose and palate ripe wild berry, blackberry and boysenberry fruits. Elegant and polished, generously mouth-filling without ever feeling heavy. Drink now-2013. NIS 125. Score 91. K
Dalton, Viognier, Reserve, 2008: Light gold in color, fermented with wild yeasts. A rich array of aromas and flavors including honeyed nectarine and pineapple fruits, with a hint of white pepper. Rich, lively and harmonious despite its high 15% alcohol content. Drink now-2013. NIS 75. Score 91.
Dalton, Fume Blanc, Estate, 2009: Allowed to ferment spontaneously and then developed sur lie in for three to four months in new 500 liter oak barrels, that just pass on a hint of smoky and spicy wood. Fragrant, and on the nose and palate an appealing smoky quality that comes together nicely with citrus, grapefruit, peach and spicy notes. Fine acidity makes this an easy to drink wine, but one with just enough complexity to grab our attention. Drink now-2012. NIS 50. Score 89. K
Dalton, Chardonnay, Unoaked, 2009: I'm delighted the winery has started producing this unoaked Chardonnay once again. Light gold in color, with lively acidity and appealing apple, citrus and tropical fruits on a light mineral background. A wine that consistently reminds me of Petit Chablis. Drink now. NIS 50. Score 88. K
Dalton, Moscato, 2009: Lightly frizzante, with generous sweetness set off nicely by acidity to keep it lively. On the nose and palate citrus, citrus peel and tropical fruits. Serve as well-chilled as you would a Champagne. Mevushal (pasteurized ), but that seems to highlight the freshness of the fruits. By any standards, a fun wine that will make you smile. Drink now. NIS 45. Score 87. K