A couple of years ago we visited Omar Zumot at his winery in Amman and tasted his extensive portfolio of white and red wines. Since his wines are not available in the US, Omar recently sent us new samples via a traveler’s suitcase. These are world class wines made in a very challenging environment, both in terms of climate and culture. Our reviews of his top of the line Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are given below.
Omar’s wines are made from fruit coming from three vineyards. The first is located in the clay and limestone soils of Madaba, southwest of Amman, where the old St. George chapel is located, which lends its name to his best wines. The second is in Samas al-Sarhan near the Syrian border and not far from the extinct volcano Jabal Druze, which lends basalt to the soil mixture. And the third is in Souf in the mountains of Jerash; it’s very high altitude (1150 m) and dry farmed. The vineyards are all organically certified by IMO of Switzerland, and no pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers are used. Yields are extremely low. See the CNN interview with Omar for more information. Not available in the US, but if you’re planning a trip to Amman you’ll find the St. George wines in all the better hotels and restaurants.
St. George 2009 Merlot Winemaker’s Selection 91 The Merlot is a wine of considerable depth and complexity, revealing notes of savory dark red fruit, smoke, and chocolate. It’s ready to drink now with round tannins showing on the finish along with notes of dark cherry and cocoa dust.
St. George 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker’s Selection 90 When we tasted this wine earlier, we said this is reminiscent of a California Cab with ilayered cassis, cedar, and earth notes. We also said this wine would improve with time. And that it has. The wine now shows excellent balance, very nicely integrated oak, and still firm, fine tannins on the finish. While the flavors are on the ripe side, the wine is still fresh and delicious.