As you probably know by now, Passover is not only the holiday marking the time at which our forefathers left Egypt after years of slavery but also a holiday for the local wine industry with sales volumes increasing exponentially in the weeks leading up to the Seder. There are some excellent buys in the 3 or even 4 for NIS 100 range and some of my recommendations include: Carmel, Private Collection, Cabernet-Merlot blend; Golan Heights, Mt. Hermon red & white blends; red and rose wines from the Galilee Mountain Winery’s Galil label; Tavor Winery’s Har label and a couple of wines from Binyamina’s Teva label with the Shiraz 2012 winning first places at the recent ‘Best Value’ competition.
For the night of the Seder and if your budget permits, I would suggest picking up at least one ‘nicer’ bottle and serve it alongside the festive meal.
Adir, ‘A’, 2011 –comprising 65% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, concentrated purple in color, medium bodied, a bit firm when first poured and then opens to suggest red and dark berry fruits, plums and rosemary. Those followed by notes of vanilla and warm spices (cloves and cinnamon come to mind) leading to a long and satisfying finish. In my opinion, one of the best wines I’ve tasted from Adir and with the beautiful box in which it is sold; the Adir ‘A’ also makes a very nice gift.
Golan Heights –As I have written in the past, the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the closest thing to a safe bet in the Israeli wine industry and is often used as a benchmark when comparing the quality vs. price ratio of Israeli wines. The Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 08 is up to par with previous releases. Aged for 18 months in barriques, dark purple in color, full bodied and good structure, this Cab suggests pleasant aromas of dark berry fruits, cherries and blueberries come to mind followed by plums and notes of tobacco and cloves, all leading to a long finish. The wine recently received a gold medal at the prestigious VinItaly wine competition.
Teperberg, Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2011 – 100% Cab Franc and 18 months in French oak, the wine is dark ruby in color, medium-full bodied, good balance and very pleasant texture on the palate suggesting dark berry fruits, firm plums followed by subtle notes of lightly toasted oak and fresh herbs leading to a smooth and satisfying finish.
Dalton Winery, ‘D’, Zinfandel, 2012 - dark purple towards garnet in color, medium bodied, with juicy dark berry fruit and plums notes followed by hints of vanilla and toasted oak leading to a pleasant finish.
Tulip Winery, Black Tulip, 2010 – the winery’s flagship vino, this is the first kosher edition. This is a ‘big’ full bodied wine, suggesting plenty of ripe dark fruit plums, toasted oak and notes of warm spices leading to a long and mouth filling finish If you plan on barbequing on one the holiday’s warm afternoons, I would suggest tasting Tulip White Franc – a very refreshing and tasty wine comprising an untraditional blend of cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.
Launch of New Israeli Wine Guide
In the post Rogov era, there has been a gap and with the exception of a couple of dozen wine writers, the industry was lacking a comprehensive wine guide that will cover the new wines released every year. Journalist Yair Gat and Sommelier Gal Zohar joined forces and after months of tasting and writing, launched a new wine guide that is also available in E-Format. While much less comprehensive when comparing to the guides issued by Daniel Rogov (z”l), this is a very important and welcome initiative.