Guy Eshel's Playground
(Picture credit - Dalton website)
When talking about big scale wineries, I often come across the same surprised comments -
Oh but that’s a big winery, do they have good wine?
Oh they have “supermarket” wines
Sure they have a 3 for 100 sale, are they considered good?
These are very common misconceptions , that big wineries produce only supermarket wine.
But that’s the thing about big wineries, they are BIG and therefore can tend to various markets.
They can definitely aim for the masses and the everyday drinkers, but have also leverage to experiment, study and play!
If they are managed well, they will put great emphasis on owning and nurturing their own vineyards, But also on nurturing and “growing” really really good winemakers.
They can afford great equipment , technologies and therefore can also produce premium level wine.
We can often see with big wineries that they have collections. Each collection has it’s level such as “entry level / table wine” “mid level” “premium / reserve”.
But, enough about that, today i want to talk about a BIG winery, and a very specific collection.
Meet Dalton winery’s winemaker - Guy Eshel and his “playground collection” Asufa.
Beyond the fact that in my eyes, these are the most beautiful labels, this collection, made out of 4 wines, is one to stop everything for.
A few words about Guy,
even though his young age (30’s I won’t tell you precisely;) managed to gain a vast experience. Graduating from Davis California, he spent time working in Napa, Rhone Valley France & even Murrumbateman, Australia. He worked with some big shot wineries and built an impressive Tool box.
Two stages, half pressed in whole clusters (without removing the grapes from the stems) where the juice is then pressed directly to be aged in barrels.e
Let us begin,
Order of wine is the order in which i’ve opened them during the week.
Wild one - as said - wild natural insane
100% Chenin Blanc
Two stages, half pressed in whole clusters (without removing the grapes from the stems) where the juice is then pressed directly to be aged in barrels.
Other half is destemmed in the traditional method but spent some time with the skin before pressing the juice out.
Very interesting techniques.
Now i want to tell you, Chenin Blanc is a very very interesting grape that has many different expressions, complex honey like but with very good acidity.
Here the first impression was that the nose was so floral, so refreshing that me & the rest of the table felt like it should be a perfume, THE summer perfume!
Floral & Citrus & so many layers wow!
This wine once we all tasted it, made us all smile silly. Seriously, this was like an uncontrollable reaction - we all smiled. SO elegant, Guy really managed to get a different kind of personality out of these grapes. Many layers, so many flavors but yet super light, refreshing and happy. This is a happy complex wild one. Absolute star of the summer.
FRONT LABEL ART
40 year old vines
Also two stages
Half - destemmed in concrete tanks,
Other half - whole bunch carbonic maceration in concrete tanks as well.
After fermentation they reunited in old barrels.
Nose was something wild, Both husband and I said immediately - feels like asian food!
Don’t recall smelling this oh so very specific scent in a wine. Scents of an asian beef stew with teriyaki, kimchi, soy, I don’t know but we both felt a dark meaty sauce. I’m still looking for that very specific something.
On the other hand, the taste and texture in the pallet was so tender, so soft. I felt that this wine had air, now I know it’s not common to describe wine like this but I'm going to anyway. To me it felt like this wine gave me space, as if it had its own breath.
Being that, it allowed me to discover it’s many many layers, tastes of blood but also flowers. It is a very powerful wine but with perfect acidity that makes it feel light and ready to dive in.
This old vine is a serious one.
My favorite of the list. Top!
FRONT LABEL ART
50% Petite Syrah. 25% Grenache. 25% Carignan
Different vineyards in the country
Each Pressed & fermented separately. After 10 months of rest in the barrel, the plots are reunited for 2 months in a barrel all together.
Ok - this one is the ”Player”
Smokey, meaty, Sassy, fruity, juicy.
So, this wine... every sniff I took- something else came out, like it’s teasing me. I felt like it’s laughing in the glass. It has bones, layers and for sure lot’s of personality.
In the mouth it felt super elegant, with flavours of prosciutto & hay. it felt easy but evolving. This wine has body & structure but it holds itself elegantly and easily.
Meaty flavours and a strong color, along side with a lot of flowers, Purple fruit, Marzipan and perfume.
If this wine was a person - he was that funny cool dude, a big guy, not the common pretty boy, but the life of the party. full of humor & charm kinda guy.
FRONT LABEL ART
Coast to coast
85% Zinfandel, 10% Shiraz, 5% Petite Sirah
All from Safsufa, Galilee
For depth of color and extraction, while fermented, the cap of the grapes was pumped over several times. All varieties were fermented together. After fermentation, the wine was pressed and off to American Barrels.
Coast to coast to me felt like the youngest boy of the batch.
Scents of bonfire, salt & the beach came up. It threw me to California, chilled night on the beach - BBQ, friends, ocean breeze. Also plum, meat, blueberries & many spices - passion.
It felt to me like the wildest one. still young and untamed, Maple syrup while salty at the same time. In the mouth it felt salty, metallic, “sewery”, but also smoked meat for this meaty blend. To me the acidity came quite strong & grabbed me.
For my pallet it was my least favorite but still part of the magnificent 4.
FRONT LABEL ART
This collection is surprising, unusual and i can’t wait to return to all 4.
Guy, keep on playing. you’re doing it right & it makes us happy!