Tabor: Adama and Adama II Tasted and Re-Tasted (K)
By: Daniel Rogov
Precisely one month ago Wednesday, 9 March, I attended the unveiling of a new series of wines from the Tabor winery. I neither wrote formal tasting notes nor posted on the forum, and that for three reasons….
1. Named Adama II, it struck me as rather odd that this series is now being listed as presenting the "premium wines" of the winery. This struck me rather automatically as saying that the wines in the regular Adama series were no longer to be considered "premium". Considering that the wines in the regular Adama series have been regularly earning scores of 89 and 90 which puts them well into the category of excellence, I had to scratch my head just a bit.
2. I was also somewhat confused because the Adama (Earth/Soil) series was originally intended to be quite specific as to showing the type of soil on which the grapes used were raised, that indicating a clear relationship to the winery's believe in terroir. In the original Adama series, each wine is named both for its variety and its soil type (e.g. gir or chalky-limestone rich soil; terra rose being red earth; charsit being clay and bazelet referring to volcanic soil). In the new Adama II series, that information is not listed on the front label and in some cases not listed at all.
3. Not unimportant in my logic for not formalizing tasting notes, foods were served throughout the tasting, some of those quite aromatic and highly seasoned making it neigh unto impossible to do an accurate tasting. Thanks though to the courtesy of the winery's CEO, Oren Selam, I received a bottle of each of the four new wines to taste in my own tasting room.
Not to misunderstand please, even though my original tasting was far from the formality that I require, it was apparent that each of the wines was excellent.
Wines in both the Adama II and Adama series of 2008 today entered my blind tastings. As will be seen in the tasting notes that follow, my earlier overall thoughts as to quality hold firmly. Fine wines! I will admit however to chuckling when a thought popped up – perhaps instead of calling the new series Adama II, it might have been well to name them Adama Plus. That is to say, regular Adama plus about 25 shekels. Perhaps a marketing ploy, perhaps the winemaker's honest thought that these wines are indeed a marked step in quality above those in the regular series, or perhaps one critic's failure to understand just why the new series was even necessary. In those cases where both Adama and Adama II of the same variety were released from the 2008 vintage I have blocked those to make for easy comparison.
Tabor, Merlot, Adama II, 2008: Dark cherry red toward garnet, made entirely from Merlot grapes harvested on Kerem Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee on bazelet based soil, reflecting its 12 months in oak with full-body, soft tannins and light notes of smoky oak. On the nose and palate currants, red berries and notes of citrus peel all on a light note of white pepper. Round, long and generous. Drink now-2014. Score 90. K (Tasted 8 Apr 2011)
Tabor, Merlot, Adama, Bazelet, 2008: Made from grapes harvested in the Upper Galilee, medium- to full-bodied, leaning to the full, with soft tannins and showing dark cherry red towards garnet. On the opening nose spicy and smoky oak. Opens in the glass to reveal black and red cherries, red berries, cassis and peppery notes, all with a hint of citrus peel. Drink now-2013. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 8 Apr 2011)
Tabor, Syrah, Adama II, 2008: Dark ganet with a royal purple robe, made entirely from Syrah grapes harvested in the Galilee from vines cultivated in red earth soil, reflecting its 12 months in oak with full-body, gently gripping tannins and sweet and spicy wood, those parting to reveal aromas and flavors of purple plums, blackberries and blackcurrants, those supported nicely by notes of bitter-sweet chocolate and cigar tobacco. Long and generous, with hints of black olives and earthy minerals on the finish. Drink now-2013, perhaps longer. Score 90. K (Tasted 8 Apr 2011)
Tabor, Syrah, Adama, Terra Rossa, 2008: Dark ruby toward garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a tempting hint of sweet cedarwood opening to reveal generous blackberry and black cherry fruits, those supported nicely by notes of dark chocolate and an appealing bittersweet note that rises on the finish. Drink now–2012. Score 88. K (Tasted on my visit to the winery, 12 May 2011)
Tabor, Petite Syrah, Adama II, 2008: Dark garnet toward youthful royal purple, made from grapes harvested in the Eastern Galilee and developed for 12 months in 2nd and 3rd year oak. Full-bodied, with firmly gripping tannins that yield nicely in the glass to reveal generous blackberry, blueberry, and huckleberry fruits, those with overlays of peppery cedar wood. Mouthfilling, generous and well focused, promising well for a long future. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from mid-2012-2018. Score 91. K (Tasted 8 Apr 2011)
Tabor, Cabernet Sauvignon-Petite Sirah, Adama II, 2008: Think of this as a Bordeaux blend plus, that is to say 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot plus 20% Petite Sirah. By whatever name, a fine effort, showing full-bodied, with notes of spicy cedar and generous, somewhat rustic tannins parting to reveal currants and juicy red and black berries. On the long finish an appealing hint of smokiness. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from 2012-2017. Score 90. K (Tasted 8 Apr 2011)
P.S. I shall be paying my annual visit to Tabor this coming Tuesday, 12 April. I shall report back then more in detail on the new series and other wines that I will be tasting at that time.