Tag Archives: 2005

AG Pick: Yarden Syrah 2005

If you were to taste this wine without seeing the label, you might think it was from the northern Rhône region in France.  Elegant with earthy notes and good acidity, it displays characteristics of an Old World wine.  Once the label is revealed, it would certainly be surprising that this red comes from Israel, a country that’s now producing delicious wines.

The 2005 Yarden Syrah comes from the Galilee, Israel’s most northern appellation.  Galilee includes the Golan Heights, a volcanic plateau that is the coldest region in Israel.  This Syrah is made with grapes from one vineyard in the northern Golan and two vineyards in the central Golan.

The cooler weather and the somewhat difficult growing season are evident in the wine.  As described by the winemaking team at Yarden, below average temperatures over the summer led to a “hectic, relatively short harvest.”  The resulting vintage has higher acidity and somewhat restrained flavors — quite different than the big, bold Syrahs of central California.

Purple-red in color, the 2005 Yarden Syrah has aromas of black fruit and smoke.  On the palate, layers of blackberry, plum and boysenberry mingle with tobacco, leather and black pepper.  In the mouth it’s silky without being heavy, with a lingering spicy finish.  A touch of oak from 18 months in small French barrels adds complexity.

Pair the Yarden Syrah with lamb, filet mignon or full-flavored chicken or pasta dishes.

The wine is Kosher, though its appeal extends far beyond those who observe these dietary laws.

A bottle of the 2005 Yarden Syrah costs $25.

14.5% alcohol by volume

AG Pick: Heron Hill Riesling

I’m really excited about the wines that are coming from my home state, New York.  There are some impressive Rieslings being produced in the Finger Lakes region.

That’s where Heron Hill Winery is located.  It’s in a town called Hammondsport, about a 5 hour drive from New York City.  The scenic route will take you through New Jersey and Pennsylvania before crossing back into the Empire State.

I normally select a specific wine for my AG Pick but with Heron Hill I couldn’t pick just one.  I tried the Ingle Vineyard Riesling, the Semi-Dry Riesling and Semi-Sweet Riesling and liked all of them for different reasons.

The 2005 Ingle Vineyard Riesling is a nicely structured wine that goes well with a variety of food or on its own.  Citrus and melon flavors are complemented by a pleasant minerality.  There’s a slight petrol character in the wine like with German Rieslings.  Overall, this is a very pleasant wine to drink and a good introductory Riesling for people who may not be fans of or familiar with the grape.  Serve this with seafood, sushi, pasta or cheese.  The Ingle Vineyard Riesling retails for $15.99.

The 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling is a delicate mix of ripe peach, apricot and mango.  It’s sweet and yet crisp at the same time, with good acidity.  This is a versatile white wine that pairs nicely with Asian cuisine.  Try it with stir-fry or Thai coconut curry.  The 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling retails for $12.99.

The 2007 Semi-Sweet Riesling has a gentle floral aroma and flavors of juicy peach and apricot.  The finish is soft and lingering.  Sweetness-wise it’s similar to a German Spätlese Riesling, the lightest of the late harvest wines.  It’s great for wine drinkers who want a hint of the sweetness that the Riesling grape can offer.  My husband who is not generally a fan of Riesling really enjoyed this wine.  This pairs nicely with fruit, cheese and spicy Asian dishes like an Indian curry.  It’s also great for an afternoon picnic.  The 2007 Semi-Sweet Riesling retails for $12.99.

At one of the wine stores I most often visit, the wines from New York State are given a small shelf in the “Atlantic Wines” section, hidden between Kosher wine and specialty beer.  I rarely pass by it when I go to the store — though that’s going to change.  Heron Hill may be hard to find in your local wine store, but it’s definitely worth searching for.

For more information on Heron Hill visit www.heronhill.com.