Yarden, which makes its wine in northern Israel in the turbulent border country with Syria and Lebanon, has long been known for the quality of its products. The wines are influenced by the Eastern Mediterranean climate and are stylistically a blend of New World and Old World.
The 2010 Yarden Galilee chardonnay ($19). A very nice wine — creamy and chalky with a touch of toast. Pair it with Brie and other runny cheeses.
The 2010 Yarden "Oden Vineyard" Galilee chardonnay ($20). A little more complex — add smokiness to the toast, some cloves, some peach. A touch limpid. A good mid-afternoon snack with some ripe fruits.
The 2008 Yarden Galilee cabernet sauvignon ($32). This wine exhibits the "merlot" side of cabernet — creamy black raspberry flavors with light tannins, good acidity, moderate fullness, and good length on the palate. It would go well with duck with a cherry sauce.
The 2008 Yarden Galilee merlot ($25). Similar in its black raspberry flavors to the cabernet along with some savory notes of dried herbs. Although I enjoy many high-alcohol wines, this one at 15 percent comes across as a little too hot and assertive. Try it with cheese dishes with a high fat content.
The 2010 Yarden "Heights Wine" Galilee gewürztraminer ($27 per ½ bottle). Made from frozen grapes, this is a very satisfying dessert wine with lovely floral and spicy aromas. Its flavors are like liquid gingersnaps with some dried fruits mixed in. Full-bodied and rich without being heavy. Try this one during the holidays with a slice of well-made fruitcake.