Wine Cellar: Cave men, art house

Hame'ara enjoys a new release, and the boutique Ramim winery boasts a series for the art connoisseur.

wine 2 88 (photo credit: )
wine 2 88
(photo credit: )
In the early 16th century, as part of the Ottoman building scheme in the region, an impressive cave was excavated in the heart of the Carmel Mountains. Located near the forested area of Mount Hurshan, this stone-wall cave was large and spacious. Over the years, the cave was used as a warehouse for storing foods, and in the 19th century it was converted into a brandy and wine cellar. The fact that it maintains a steady average temperature and good humidity all year long makes it ideal for that purpose. In 2000, Avi Lerner and Dani Dimbort of the Binyamina Winery chose the cave as the optimal cellar to age a unique series of an excellent wine bearing the name "The Cave" (Hame'ara). The winery is now launching the fruits of their fifth harvest: The Cave 2004. The wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot grapes from a single vineyard in Upper Galilee. Aged for 26 months in French oak barrels prior to bottling, then left to mature for more than five months before being released, this red wine feels gentle and soft on entry, then stuns with hidden power and depth. It is fully ripe with cassis and cherry flavors, while layers of chocolate and vanilla are revealed toward the long finish. Ready now, but should develop well for the next three years. NIS 170. The Golan Heights Wineries has just launched Golan Muscato 2007: the first Israeli wine from the harvest of 2007. A young dessert wine, light and refreshing with plenty of tropical fruit and green apple flavors. NIS 36. Carmel, Private Collection, Merlot 2006: Made of 100% Merlot grapes, this dry red is medium to full-bodied with aromas of violets, blueberries and just a whiff of spices. NIS 66. Dalton, Cabernet sauvignon 2006: rich and balanced, offering an intense aroma of cherries, blueberries, with notes of vanilla and caramel. Marked by firm tannins, this Cabernet is finely structured, ripe and sweet. NIS 58 Dalton, Shiraz 2006: Dark in color with powerful aromas of bright raspberry fruit, cherries, backed by some herbal notes and a pinch of peppery spice. Great winemaking and a price more wineries should follow. NIS 58. The boutique winery Ramim, located in Yoav-Yehuda's Moshav Shahar, presents "Art," a Reserve series including eight bottles, six red, two white, each sold for NIS 75. The labels are illustrated by Israeli-born artist Osnat Tzadok, who currently lives in Canada. The winemakers at Ramim matched the titles of Tzadok's paintings to each wine in the series. Names such as Merlot "Dancing around fire," Cabernet Sauvignon "Passion," and Cabernet Franc "Against all odds" adorn the bottles of dry red wines aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, while Gewurztraminer ("The last continent") is a semi-dry white, and "Display of affection" illustrates the label of the dessert wine. (Not kosher.) [email protected]