Dalton Winery
Part 2 of a series on the wines of Israel

Website: www.dalton-winery.com

Dalton, based in the Upper Galilee, is a reasonably large winery, with an annual production of around 1 million bottles. Unusually, though, for this size of winery, they grow over 90% of their grape requirement in their own vineyards.

I met with Alex Haruni and winemaker Naama Sorkin. The winery is owned by Alex’ family, and he grew up in London before moving to Israel to run operations here. The Harunis founded Dalton in 1995 and the first harvest was in 2000. The wines made here are Kosher, so the winery can only be run by male Sabbath-observant Jews. If you are not sabbath observant, or are female, then if you are a winemaker you can’t actually touch any of the winery equipment, or barrels, or tanks: you need to get someone else to do this for you. Alex explains this here.

We tasted quite extensively from the range. Quality is consistently high: the wines are made in quite a ripe style, but they are made really well. 


Dalton Cannan White 2012 Upper Galilee, Israel
Mainly Sauvignon and Chardonnay, with a bit of Muscat. Textured, fresh and quite pure with simple fruit and some grapey notes. Quite pretty. 86/100

Dalton Fumé Blanc 2012 Upper Galilee, Israel
Some barrel work and some stainless steel, partial malolactic, and a portion is wild ferment. Tight and quite herbal with some grapefruit and a hint of oak. Fruity bright and pure, with nice texture. 88/100

Dalton Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Upper Galilee, Israel
From an old and a new vineyard, no oak. Fresh and pure with some mineral notes. Tight and citrussy with some lemony notes. Lively and pure with nice crispness and good acidity. Lovely texture. 90/100

Dalton Semillon 2012 Western Galilee, Israel
This is the first release of this wine, a single vineyard Semillon from the Elkosh vineyard, fermented in older barrels. Very stylish with intergrated oak notes, and flavours of grapefruit, lemons, herbs and wax. This will age beautifully, too. 92/100

Dalton Alma White 2012 Upper Galilee, Israel
Semillon, Viognier and Chardonnay, a mixture of barrel and tank fermented. Waxy, herby and rich. Slightly toasty on the nose with ripe fig and peach fruit. Lively sweet and pure with nice depth of flavour. Rich, fine and textured: a bold, stylish wine. 90/100

Dalton Reserve Viognier 2012 Upper Galilee, Israel
100% barrel-fermented. Spontaneous fermentation, and aged in barrel for four months. Fat, broad, textured wine with peach and pear notes. Rich mid palate is soft with some spiciness. A big style. 88/100

Dalton Grenache 2012 (barrel sample)
This is a barrel sample; the Grenache may be blended. Sweet textured with pure, sweet, spicy fruit and a hint of green. Supple and textured. 88–90/100

Dalton Shiraz 2012 (barrel sample)
From a lower Galilee vineyard at 400 metres. Very deep coloured. Sweet, spicy, rich and warm with pure, lush berry fruits. 87–89/100

Dalton Shiraz 2012 (barrel sample)
From Elkosh vineyard in western Galilee at 700 m. First crop. Fresh, pure, supple and quite tight with lovely floral peppery notes. 90–92/100

Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (barrel sample)
Elkosh vineyard. Very fresh, vivid and tight with reductive blackcurrant fruit. Lovely fruit presence. 90–91/100

Dalton Petite Sirah 2012 (barrel sample)
From Kidron in the center of Israel. Very rich, sweet and bold with lovely purity of fruit and some spiciness. 89–91/100

Dalton Alma Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011 Upper Galilee, Israel
Nicely aromatic, fresh and berryish with some cherry notes. The palate is supple and berryish with nice bright fruit and a bit of spiciness. Sweet but with a spicy, savoury edge. 90/100

Dalton Alma Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2010 Upper Galilee, Israel
A hot vintage. Ripe, sweet, lush and jammy with a slightly stewed character. Broad and generous with blackberry jam notes. Seductive style. 87/100

Dalton Alma Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Upper Galilee, Israel
Fresh and berryish with some green-edged blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Nice freshness to the attractive sweet fruit, with appealing green notes. 89/100

Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon Meron Vineyard 2011 Western Galilee, Israel
Sweet herbal nose with some eucalyptus notes, and a hint of mint, but the dominant theme is ripe, berryish, blackcurrant fruit. Ripe, supple and sweet on the palate with some chalk and spice characters. Stylish. 92/100

Dalton Single Vineyard Shiraz 2011 Upper Galilee, Israel
Supple, smooth and quite textured. Ripe and a bit peppery with sweet, fresh berry fruits. Lovely purity. 92/100

Dalton Reserve Shiraz 2011 Upper Galilee, Israel
Ripe, sweet, lush and textured with forward black fruits, as well as notes of meat and pepper. Attractive sweet blackberry and berry fruits, with hints of tar and oak spice. 90/100

Dalton Reserve Merlot 2011 Upper Galilee, Israel (cask sample)
Gravelly, chalky black cherry and plum nose. Very aromatic and fresh. Pure bright berry and plum fruits with some grip and definition. 90–92/100

Dalton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Upper Galilee, Israel (cask sample)
Fresh and grippy with nice definition, lovely blackcurrant fruit. Pure, fine with good grip and definition. 90–92/100

Dalton Matatia 2008 Upper Galilee, Israel
An ultrapremium wine named after Mat Haruni, Alex’ father – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Fresh, sweet, well defined blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with some spicy structure. Ripe but well defined with nice structure and purity, and hints of chalk and gravel. 92/100

Dalton Anna NV Upper Galilee, Israel
A solera of fortified Muscat, with four different vintages in it. Sweet, mellow, spicy and warm with lovely grapey fruit and hints of tea.

Shvo vineyard, Upper Galilee, Israel
Dalton Winery, Upper Galilee, Israel
Golan Heights Winery/Yarden, Golan Heights, Israel

Wines tasted 05/13  
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