This early afternoon (8 Mar 2011) I made my way to Tel Aviv's Deca restaurant, there to meet with Shivi Drori and Amnon Weiss of the Gvaot winery in order to do a tasting. I must say that whatever winemaker Drori is doing as he continues to aim for elegance in his wines, he is certainly doing it well!
Founded by Shivi Drori and Amnon Weiss on Shiloh in the Shomron region, with vineyards at an altitude of 700–900 meters above sea level, this boutique winery released its first wines from the 2005 vintage. Current production is about 20,000 bottles annually, those of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay grapes. The winery is currently releasing wines in three series, Gofna Reserve, Masada and Herodion. I have listed approximate prices where those are known to me.
My warm thanks to Shivi and Amnon for a fine tasting and their good company.
Gvaot, Pinot Noir, Gofna Reserve, 2009: Made from still young vines and showing light garnet, a rich, medium-bodied and elegant wine. Oak aged for 12 months, opens with a cherry-berry nose, goes on to show soft, gently caressing tannins and abundant wild berry, plum and cherry fruits, those on a just spicy enough background to tantalize. Well focused and long with fruits and tannins rising nicely on the finish. Drink now-2016. NIS 140. Score 91. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2011)
Gvaot, Vineyards Dance, Herodion, 2009: A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, each variety fermented separately until the final blend was made. Oak aged for 12 months in French and American oak barriques, about 40% of which were new, showing dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied with soft tannins that almost dance in the mouth. Ripe and generous, offering up a generous array of blackberry, plum and floral aromas and flavors that go take one to a long firm-textured finish. Combines intensity with style and grace. Approachable now but best from 2012-2016, perhaps longer. NIS 110. Score 91. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2011)
Gvaot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Herodion, 2009: Blended with 10% Merlot, dark garnet towards royal purple opens with a bit of funk on the nose but that blows off quickly to reveal appealing aromas of crushed berries and spring flowers. Medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full), with light notes of spicy oak and silky tannins that grip gently those making way for blackberries, purple plums, espresso and earthy minerals. On the long finish with the tannins rising, freshly picked herbs. Best from 2012 or 2013-2018. NIS 110. Score 90. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2011)
Gvaot, Merlot, Herodion, 2009: Dark garnet toward royal purple, full-bodied with ample tannins caressing nicely and notes of spicy and smoky wood. Developing half in French and half in American barriques, opens with an unmistakable blueberry and spring flower nose and then opens in the glass to show purple plums, blackberries and currants on a lightly spicy background. Showing fresh, long and complexity and elegant. Drink now–2015. NIS 110. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 8 Mar 2011)
Gvaot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gofna Reserve, 2009: Oak-aged for 16 months, showing full-bodied with still gripping near-sweet tannins and spicy wood in fine balance with fruits but needing a bit of time to settle down. Opens in the glass to reveal generous blackcurrants, blackberries and bitter citrus peel on a background that hints at one moment of baking chocolate and at another of espresso. Long and firm but not at all aggressive. Best from mid-2012-2016. NIS 170. Score 91. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2011)
Gvaot, Masada, 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot (50%, 35% and 15% respectively), destined for oak aging of 21 months. Super dark garnet, one feels the spicy oak and the still firm tannins, those needing only a bit more time to meld together with the fruits and acidity. Opens in the glass to reveal a richly textured wine, with well focused currant, plum and blueberry fruits, those complemented nicely by notes of wild berries and Mediterranean herbs. Give this one the time it needs. Best from mid-2012-2016, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 90-92. K
Gvaot, Chardonnay-Gewurztraminer, 2010 (Advance Tasting): A barely off-dry and deeply aromatic blend of 83% Chardonnay and 17% Gewurztaminer. Medium-bodied, with fine balancing acidity. On first attack guava and pinapple, those followed by hints of litchi, and nectarines. As this one develops in the bottle look as well for notes of dried apricots and dried apples. Best as an aperitif or with desserts such as kadaif or peach pie. Drink from release-2017, perhaps longer. Score 91. K (Tasted 8 Mar 2011)