Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Bordeaux Grapes Via Israel

People who are looking for kosher wines should look into the lines offered by the Royal Wine Corporation. They import wines to the U.S. from all over the world and produce wines at their winery in Southern California. They have been in business for 175 years, dating back eight generations to their beginnings in Europe. Their wines are top quality, as I have found through tasting a number of their bottlings through the years.

Royal's Director of PR and Manager of Wine Education Gabriel Geller says that this year "brings an abundance of exciting releases to complement every course" of holiday meals.

Bin Nun is a new boutique Israeli winery. Winemakers Itzhak Lotan, Eddy Gandler and Danny Yaniv, under consulting winemaker Irit Boxer, work with grapes grown in well-drained clay loam soils above a limestone subsoil. Are you thinking of Bordeaux? So are they.

There is a quote from Benjamin Franklin on their website, in which he said that wine is proof that "God loves us, and loves to see us happy!" I like that thought.

The Bin Nun wines include Reserve ($39.99), Cuvée ($49.99), and Songs of Solomon ($79.99). Speaking of songs, they also have a strong connection with the world of jazz, with labels like Grappelli, Marsalis, Blue Note and Chanson. I was given a sample of the 2021 Bin Nun Judean Hills Reserve to try, which was made from 55% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, 37% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Aging took place in French oak barrels for 12 months. This $40 bottle carries alcohol at 14% abv, it is non-mevushal and kosher for Passover.

This wine definitely feels like BDX. It is dark, it smells of the earth and it tastes like the best of the world. Aromas of black fruit are joined on the nose by tar, tobacco, vanilla, clove and cedar. The palate is also dark, boasting blackberry, blackcurrant and coffee notes. The tannins are firm and the acidity is fresh. Try it with any steak from your grill. Or just sip it. Either way, you'll be happy. 


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Bordeaux Grapes From Israel's Coolest Climate

Galilee is a highly respected wine region in Israel. Golan Heights Winery says it's the best area, and they also push their sub-region as tops. Well, it is the northernmost in the nation, and it is the coolest region. That is where the grapes for the 2022 Mount Hermon Red wine were grown. 

Golan Heights Winery's rocky volcanic soil, cool climate and high altitude estate yielded the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes that went into the 2022 Hermon Mount Hermon Red Galilee. It is kosher for Passover, has alcohol at 14% abv and sells online for less than $20.

This wine is medium dark in the glass. It has a nose which puts ripe fruit up front, with cherry, raspberry and red currant dominating. Some spice rack is present, but oaky notes are not overwhelming here. Earthiness comes on in a co-starring role, however. Red fruit is the leader on the palate, too. There is a bit more oak influence in the flavor profile, but not to a great degree. Earth and mineral notes support the fresh, fruity aspect of the wine. Tannins are medium firm and the wine is very tasty and drinkable.


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Wednesday, July 26, 2023

A Syrah From Galilee

The 2019 Yarden Allone Habashan Vineyard Syrah Galilee is one of the more prized wines from Yarden, which operates under the Golan Heights Winery umbrella.

This delicious - and kosher - Syrah was produced and bottled from grapes grown in the historic Allone Habashan Vineyard at an elevation of 2,000 feet. The plot was one of the first vineyards in the Golan Heights, and the winery restored it to its original state a dozen years ago. The volcanic soil is largely basalt and clay, with great drainage.

The wine was aged for 18 months in French oak, and only 19 of those barrels were produced for the 2019 vintage. Alcohol sits lofty, at 15% abv and the retail price is up there, too, at $96. 

This wine carries a dark purple hue and a rather complex nose of clove, tobacco, cassis and anise. On the palate, dark fruit comes forward first, with a spice rack in tow. Earthy notes arise perhaps from the volcanic soil. The wine has firm tannins, but it is elegant first and foremost. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Red Blend From The Holy Land

Wine from Israel isn’t just for Jewish holy days, but here is a kosher wine from the holy land.  Carmel Winery was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who was the owner of Château Lafite in Bordeaux.   Carmel is now under the Royal Wine Company umbrella.  The winery covers a lot of land in Israel - more than 3,000 acres of vineyards in some of the country's prime growing regions: Carmel Mountains, Upper Galilee and Judean Hills.

The 2019 Carmel Private Collection Winemakers Blend is a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made by Carmel's Chief Winemaker Yiftach Peretz. The wine aged for only eight months in French and American oak barrels, but it feels like a little more. The Winemakers Blend clicks 14% abv in alcohol and retails in the $15 range.

This wine is dark and offers up a nose of black cherry, cassis, licorice and a chalky, dusty note of earth. On the palate, the tannins bite a bit but the flavor is there. Dark red fruit leads the way with oak spice playing a minor role. There is a tingly acidity and the spicy finish is medium long. It is a serviceable wine, if not one to ruminate on very long.  


Monday, June 5, 2023

Bold Israeli Wine

Shiloh Winery is an Israeli winemaking outfit, one that prides itself in producing high quality wines for the Jewish community. They use the bull in their logo, the symbol of the tribe of Joseph. They quote King David: "Wine gladdens the heart of man." They like to think that their wines are perfect for "welcoming the Sabbath or bidding it farewell, celebrating holidays or special occasions, or elevating a simple meal."

The grapes for the 2019 Shiloh Petite Sirah were grown in the Judean Hills and crafted by Shiloh's winemaker Amichai Lurie. The wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels and vinified to an alcohol content of 15.5%. The retail price is $41.

This wine is very dark in color and bombastic on the nose and palate. Aromas of ripe, dark fruit burst forth, accompanied by earth notes and oak spice that was maybe a little heavy-handed. Still, it's a party on its own. Flavors of blackberry, plum, blueberry, licorice and clove are as muscular as one would expect from the grape. The huge finish lasts quite some time. 


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Israeli Wine With A Touch Of Volcano

Israel's Carmel Winery launched their fine wine line two years ago. They have now expanded Carmel Signature Single Vineyards to include wine made from volcanic soil. The new Volcano series introduces a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot to the winery's luxury line. The wines were both grown in an Upper Galilee vineyard that is rich in volcanic earth. Both are kosher for Passover.

The 2020 Evyatar Creek Merlot was aged for a year and a half in French oak barrels, with another year of maturation in the bottle afterward. Head winemaker Yiftah Perets says the wine was produced in a unique growing area, on the slopes of the Dalton Volcano, 2700 feet in elevation.

The nose features bright red cherry aromas along with some campfire smoke, black pepper and a minty herbal note. The medium dark wine offers a palate that is rich and dark, graced with good tannic structure, refreshing acidity and a long finish that begs for a pairing with beef, game or even a smoked cheese.


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Friday, April 21, 2023

Israeli White Wine With Great Nose, Palate And Acidity

The Sinai White M Series 2021 from Israel's Psâgot winery is made from 76% Gewürztraminer grapes, 10% Viognier, 7% Chardonnay and 7% Sauvignon Blanc, all grown in the northern part of the Jerusalem Mountains.

Alcohol tips only 13% abv, retails is $25 and winemaker Sam Soroka attests that the wine is kosher for Passover and mevushal. 

The floral and fruity nose is as sweet as could be hoped for, while the palate offers fleshy peach, pear and melon flavors with a nice acidity that begs for food pairing. I had mine with a delicious white pizza, and it was perfect.


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Kosher Cab From Galilee

Israel's Carmel Winery has their Appellation series, wines produced from grapes grown in the Judean Hills, Galilee and Shomron. The label of the 2020 Carmel Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon from Galilee shows the likeness of an Israeli gazelle, endangered and indigenous to the Galilee.  Alcohol touches 14% abv while the price tag reads $25. The wine was aged a year in oak barrels.

The dark ruby kosher wine from Galilee has a nose which is rustic and earthy. Plum and other dark red fruit aromas abound, while spices show themselves well. The palate shows plenty of minerals and earth notes without crossing over into chalkiness. The finish is medium long. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Have You Tried A Marawi Wine?

I love to get the opportunity to try grapes that are new to me. The Marawi grape is one that I had not even heard of before my introduction to it. The ancient white grape variety is indigenous to the area of the Middle East which roughly covers Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Marawi is also known by another name, Hamdani. It was likely a wine much like this which was used in sacred services in the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem a couple of millennia ago.

The Segal Winery has been around since the 1950s, when the Segal family gave up their distillery and moved into wine. Today it focuses on its Israeli heritage and produces a range of wines that are well respected in the region.

The 2019 Segal Native Marawi was made by winemaker Ido Lewinsohn, a Master of Wine. Alcohol is low, at only 11% abv, and the retail price is $25. The wine is labeled as kosher for Passover and non mevushal. 

I'm guessing that this wine was given some sort of oak treatment, as the color is quite golden and the nose shows some oaky notes. There is also a strong sense of mango and other tropical fruits on the nose, along with an almond nuttiness. The smell puts me in mind of a cross between an old-style California Chardonnay and a Roussanne. The palate shows a lot of savory salinity, a somewhat subdued acidity and a rather full, oily mouthfeel. It's a fairly complex wine, and a delicious one, too. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Kosher Wine With A Fruity Twist

The Buzz line is produced by the Israeli winery Carmel, which was founded in 1882 by none other than Château Lafite's Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Buzz wines are flavored Moscatos, easy-to-drink sweeties which are targeted to GenZ drinkers. They come in peach, mango and pineapple and have a nice fizz to them. 

The Carmel Buzz Mango Moscato Sweet Bubbly Wine 2021 has low alcohol - just 5.5% abv - and a retail sticker of $11. The grapes were grown in the Judean Hills region of Israel and the wine is kosher for Passover.

The wine pours up with a golden tint, a nice bit of foamy bubbles and a nose that practically rides a rocket out of the glass. Despite the advertised mango, it's peach I smell most. Hints of nectarine and pear are also on hand. On the palate, again, it's peach that comes through strongest, but there is some mango in there. It's sweet, whatever it is. The mouthfeel has some viscosity to it and the finish is medium long. Aside from not being too terribly complex, this wine offers nothing to complain about. 


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Monday, April 11, 2022

Wine For Passover: From Israel's Carmel Winery

Wine from Israel isn't just for Jewish holy days, but since Passover is just around the corner, let's take a look at a kosher wine from the holy land.  Carmel Winery was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who was the owner of Château Lafite in Bordeaux.   Carmel is now under the Royal Wine Company umbrella.  The winery covers a lot of land in Israel - more than 3,000 acres of vineyards in some of the country's prime growing regions: Carmel Mountains, Upper Galilee and Judean Hills.

Chief Winemaker Lior Lacser was in charge of the 2018 Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz, a 60/40 split of Cab and Shiraz grapes, respectively, from Upper Galilee.  It was aged 12 months in oak barrels, hits 14% abv in alcohol and retails for around $25.

Carmel Winery's 2018 Appellation Cab-Shiraz is a dark wine with a fragrant nose.  Blackberries, blackcurrants and plums stand right out front, with a nice layer of oak spice draped over them.  Notes of clove, cinnamon, coffee, chocolate and vanilla all appear in the aroma profile.  On the palate, it's a show of dark fruit and sweet oak.  The tannins are firm and ready to help with a brisket or roast chicken.  


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Rhône Wine Via Israel

The Jewish High Holy Days happen this month, which means you'll need some kosher wines.  You can always turn to Royal Wine Corporation for reliably high-quality kosher wines.  Royal is owned by the Herzog family, whose wine history dates back to the middle of the 19th century.  Royal imports and distributes kosher wines from all over the world, and they make their own at the Herzog winery in Southern California.

The 2018 Razi’el red wine blend comes from Israel's Jerusalem-Haute Judée region.  The winery is located west of the holy city in Ramat Raziel.  The name means "secret of God," but in this case, the secret is out.  It's a wonderful wine.

Razi’el was made from Rhône varieties, 60% Syrah grapes and 40% Carignan, aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol stands at 14% abv and I found it online selling at quite a discount, from $70 down to $50.

The Rhôn-ish nose of this dark wine delivers blackberry aromas draped in savory notes of earth and spice - forest floor, cardamom, allspice, even a bit of roasted meat.  The savory aspect really takes hold on the palate, with a beefy flavor coming through.  The tannins are firm enough, but not too firm.  The finish is long and satisfying.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Extremely Tasty Syrah From Israel, Kosher

The Jewish High Holy Days happen in September, which means you'll need some kosher wines.  You can always turn to Royal Wine Corporation for reliably high-quality kosher wines.  Royal is owned by the Herzog family, whose wine history dates back to the middle of the 19th century.  Royal imports and distributes kosher wines from all over the world, and they make their own at the Herzog winery in Southern California.

Nana Estate Cassiopeia 2019

Nana Winery is located in the small Israeli town of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev Desert.  Eran Raz - his nickname is Nana - started it in 2004. He was later joined by Niv Ben Yehuda of 3 Corners Winery, who had come to the vineyard looking for grapes which represented the terroir of the desert.  Here, he found them.

The 2019 Cassiopeia was made from 85% Syrah grapes, 12% Petite Sirah and 3% Petit Verdot.  They also make a Chardonnay, a Chenin Blanc and a Cab-heavy red blend.  The Cassiopeia fruit was partially whole-cluster pressed.  The wine aged for 14 months in French oak, most of it new barrels.  Alcohol is 14.5% abv

This wine is inky dark indigo in the glass - no light gets through.  The nose is full of blackberry and cassis aromas and savory notes of leather, tobacco, cedar and a whiff of smoke.  The palate is juicy and fruity with an amazing acidity to go along with some rather firm tannins.  The savory notes stay on the finish the longest.  This will be a great wine to have with a brisket.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Israeli Wine: Chardonnay

This week, we are looking into two worthwhile wines made in Israel.  Both are kosher and both are very well made and tasty.

The Segal Wild Fermentation Chardonnay 2019 hails from Galilee, where native yeast was used to ferment it, which chief winemaker Ido Lewinsohn says brings forward "unique aromas and rich flavors."  Alcohol is quite restrained at 12% abv and the wine sells for around $20.  It is kosher.

This Galilee wine offers up some nice Chardonnay notes - Meyer lemon, orange peel, wet rocks, some French oak spice.  The palate follows suit.  The oak is not overdone, it is a welcome part of the flavor profile.  The acidity is fresh, but not zippy.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Israeli Wine: Marselan

This week, we are looking into two worthwhile wines made in Israel.  Both are kosher, both are imported by Royal Wine, and both are very well made and tasty.

Tabor Marselan Revadim Vineyard 2016 is made from a grape with which you may not be familiar. - Marselan.  Marselan is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, first bred in France in 1961.  This example from Tabor is a single-vineyard selection, grown in the Judean Hills along the peaks of the Judean Mountains at around 900 feet in elevation.  Alcohol hits 13% abv and it sells for less than $20.

Red fruit dominates the nose - cherries and raspberries, mostly - and it is quite earthy.  The palate is fresh with acidity and bursting with fruit flavor.  There is a touch of oak, but it is not overplayed and it fits well into the wine’s profile.  


Monday, January 27, 2020

Israeli Wine Shows Its Oak

Carmel is Israel's largest wine producer, makers of about half of the wine from the country.  It was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, whom you may know as the owner of Château Lafite in Bordeaux.  Chief Carmel winemaker Yiftach Perets is listed on the label, along with his signature.  The wine is kosher and mevushal - flash-pasteurized. 

The winery has released a trio of premium reds under the banner Private Collection, which recognize Israel's 137 years of modern winemaking. 

The Carmel Private Collection Winemakers Blend 2018 is a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine aged for only eight months in French and American oak barrels, but the oak effect suggests more than the advertised time.  The label's Cabernet Sauvignon also saw eight months, but doesn’t smell or taste like it.  Their Shiraz is a wine I liked a lot, too.  The Winemakers Blend clicks 14% abv in alcohol and retails for $15.

This dark red wine has a nose of black cherry, blackberry and vanilla.  The palate shows its fruit forward, with dark berries layered over sweet oak spice.  It is not terribly complex, but it sips well enough and has firm enough tannins to pair with a ribeye steak or tri-tip. 




Friday, December 20, 2019

Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon From Galilee

Carmel is Israel's largest wine producer, makers of about half of the wine from the country.  It was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.  You may know him as the owner of Château Lafite in Bordeaux.  Chief Carmel winemaker Yiftach Perets is listed on the label along with his signature.  Carmel has released a trio of premium reds under the banner Private Collection, which recognize Israel's 137 years of modern winemaking. 

Carmel Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Billed as a "dry red wine" from Galilee, The 2018 Carmel Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for eight months in French and American oak barrels.  The wine is mevushal - flash-pasteurized - and is kosher for Passover.  Alcohol tips 14% abv and the wine retails for $15.

This Israeli Cab has a nose which shows the grapes, not so much the wood.  Only eight months in oak means this Cab displays plenty of ripe cherry and plum flavors.  The oaky notes are kept to a minimum.  The palate follows suit, with a bushel basket of fruit, easy on the staves.  I always enjoy a Cabernet Sauvignon that is made in this way, because that grape generally tends to get beaten by oak.  The freshness of the wine comes across in the juicy palate and refreshing acidity.


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Monday, December 9, 2019

Israeli Shiraz Reminds Of Rhône Valley

Carmel is Israel's largest wine producer, makers of about half of the wine from the country.  It was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, whom you may know as the owner of Château Lafite in Bordeaux.  Chief Carmel winemaker Yiftah Perets is listed on label along with his signature.  The wine is mevushal - flash-pasteurized - and is kosher for Passover. 

The winery has released a trio of premium reds under the banner Private Collection, which recognize Israel's 137 years of modern winemaking. 

The grapes for Carmel’s 2018 Private Collection Shiraz were grown in Shomron, the Hebrew name for Samaria.  That is where God instructed vineyards to be planted on the hillsides, according to Jeremiah. The wine was aged for only eight months in French and American oak barrels, hits 13.5% abv and retails for $17.

This wine may come from Israel, but it smells like the southern Rhône Valley to me.  Tastes a bit like it, too.  There is a liberal amount of tar on the nose, along with black olives, beef jerky and a whiff of cigar shop.  The palate is juicy and ripe, with a mouthwatering acidity.  Flavors of blackberry and blueberry get a slight touch of oak spice.  The tannins are fairly gentle but the wine finishes quickly.


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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Three Big, Red Grapes From Israel

Yatir is billed as one of Israel's premier boutique wineries, releasing some 12,000 cases of wine each year.  The winery works with select vineyards which showcase the terroirs of Israel's Yatir Forest in the southern tip of the Judean Hills.  The Yatir kosher wines have won high praise from critics internationally.  Yatir's general manager, Yaakov Ben Dor, says wine presses existed in the region more than 3,000 years ago, so the heritage is there.  The winery itself has been around for fewer than 20 years, and Israel's present wine industry is very young.

The 2016 Yatir Creek is a red blend made from 76% Syrah, 12% Tannat and 12% Malbec grapes.  The fruit was harvested at elevations of 2100 to 2900 feet above sea level, where the soil consists of chalky clay.  The wine was aged in large oak barrels for 12 months and matured in the bottle for two years, and winemaker Eran Goldwasser says it will age and cellar well for five to 10 years.  The wine's alcohol content hits 14.5% abv, and it retails for around $50. 

This inky wine's nose is a strong blast of dark fruit, and I do mean dark.  There is spice and oak, along with a strong element of forest floor, perhaps that of the Yatir Forest.  The palate is fruit forward, dark fruit forward.  The Syrah takes the lead, but the Tannat certainly makes itself known.  Even the Malbec's spicy character can't hide behind the Syrah.  There is a grapey note in the background which reminds me of Lambrusco a bit.  The tannins are firm, but not as forceful as I expected. 


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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Israeli White Wine Deserves Spot At The Table

Yatir is billed as one of Israel's premier boutique wineries, releasing some 12,000 cases of wine each year.  The winery works with select vineyards which showcase the terroirs of Israel's Yatir Forest in the southern tip of the Judean Hills.  The Yatir wines have won high praise from critics internationally.  Yatir's general manager, Yaakov Ben Dor, says wine presses existed in the region more than 3,000 years ago, so the heritage is there.  The winery itself has been around for fewer than 20 years, and Israel's present wine industry is very young.

The grapes for the 2017 Yatir Mt. Amasa White - 52% Viognier, 33% Chenin Blanc and 15% Roussanne - were grown in the Judean Hills wine region.  The wine was fermented and aged for five months in a mix of concrete, steel and huge oak barrels.  Alcohol hits only 13.5% abv, and it is imported by Royal Wine Company.

The nose on the Israeli white wine is quite nice.  The usual suspects from Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Roussanne show up - citrus, floral, nuts - and there’s a savory salinity to it as well.  The palate is a delight, with the savory aspect again rivaling the fruit.  The acidity is wonderful, so it's food friendly and would be welcome on the table for any holiday feasts on the calendar.