Wine and Spirits Grown in Gush Etzion

Gush Etzion's wines are released in three series: Emek Bracha, top-of-the line blended reds aged for 20-22 months; Alon Haboded ("the lone oak"), a mid-range series of varietal wines; and Nahal Hapirim, the basic line.

Daniel Rogov
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Daniel Rogov

Located south of Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion Winery is owned primarily by vintner Shraga Rosenberg and partly by the Tishbi family. Its own vineyards in the Judean Hills provide Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Viognier and Johannisberg Riesling grapes. First releases in 1998 were of about 2,000 bottles, and today the winery produces about 30,000 bottles annually, though it is capable of producing about 50,000 a year.

Gush Etzion's wines are released in three series: Emek Bracha, top-of-the line blended reds aged for 20-22 months; Alon Haboded ("the lone oak" ), a mid-range series of varietal wines; and Nahal Hapirim, the basic line.

Gush Etzion’s vineyards in the Judean Hills.

The whites

Gush Etzion, Gewurztraminer, Alon Haboded, 2009: Light gold in color, opening with a nose of browned butter, freshly cut flowers and slate-like minerals. On the nose and palate a potpourri of summer fruits, lemons and tangerines, matched nicely by a note of eucalyptus honey. Ripe and refined. Drink now-2012. NIS 70. Score 89. K

Gush Etzion, White Riesling, Alon Haboded, 2009: Fresh and bright, this dry Riesling opens with notes of peaches and peach-pits, going on to reveal quince and green apples. Fine lime-flavored acidity and a hint of pea-blossoms rise on the finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 70. Score 89. K

Gush Etzion, Sauvignon Blanc, Alon Haboded, 2009: Golden straw in color, light and fragrant with generous melon, peach, nectarine and lemon fruits highlighted by notes of freshly picked herbs. Juicy and refreshing. Drink now. Score 88. NIS 65. K

Gush Etzion, White Wine, Nahal Hapirim, 2009: A half-dry blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc, 14% White Riesling and 11% Gewurztraminer. Light gold in color, deeply floral, opening with generous tropical and citrus fruits, going on to reveal quince and green apples. Lacking that extra bit of acidity that would have made the wine more refreshing. Drink now. Score 85. NIS 55. K

The reds

Gush Etzion, Dry Red Wine, Emek Bracha, 2007: A blend of 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc, showing dark garnet with a note of adobe brick. Oak-aged for 20 months; full-bodied with firm tannins and generous spicy wood, and in need of decanting at this stage of its development. Opens to reveal black and red berries, cassis and notes of freshly picked Mediterranean herbs, all on a light earth background. Approachable now, but best 2011-2014. Score 90. NIS 130. K

Gush Etzion, Dry Red Wine, Nahal Hapirim, 2007: A full-bodied Bordelaise blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc (60%, 26%, 9% and 5% respectively ). Aged in French barriques, showing gently mouth-coating tannins and a gentle note of spicy cedar wood, parting to reveal currant, blackberry and earthy notes. Drink now-2012. NIS 70.Score 89. K

Gush Etzion, Cabernet Franc, Nahal Hapirim, 2007: Dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with generous soft tannins and notes of spices and vanilla from the oak in which it aged for 18 months. On the nose and palate an appealing array of blackberries, black cherries, cassis and - from mid-palate on - notes of Mediterranean herbs and saddle leather. Drink now-2012. NIS 130. Score 89. K

Gush Etzion, Dry Red Wine, Emek Bracha, 2006: Aged in French oak barriques for 22 months, a dark garnet blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Opens with a blow of spicy wood and firm tannins, happily receding in the glass to reveal notes of blackberry, raspberry and licorice, with tannins and wood rising on the finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 130. Score 87. K

Three from Saslove

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aviv, 2008: Deep, almost impenetrable garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, showing gently gripping tannins and a moderate hand with the oak. Opens to reveal traditional red and black currants and blackberries on first attack, yielding comfortably to red fruits that linger nicely along with a hint of white pepper. Drink now-2013, perhaps longer. NIS 72. Score 90. 72

Saslove, Marriage, Aviv, 2008: A blend this year of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 10% Shiraz. Almost inky dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating nicely and showing soft and round. On the nose and palate an appealing array of spicy red fruits. Drink now-2014. NIS 72. Score 90.

Saslove, Merlot, Aviv, 2008: Dark garnet in color, reflecting its six months in barriques, with soft, gently gripping tannins and hints of near-sweet cedar wood. Medium- to full-bodied, with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries, cassis and generous hints of cloves and cinnamon. A hint of milk chocolate rises nicely on the generous finish. Drink now-2013. NIS 72. Score 89.

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