After completing her oenology studies in Piacenza, Italy and completing her internship at the distinguished Tenuta Belvedere winery in Tuscany, Ms. Orna Chillag returned to Israel and decided to produce wines independently. Orna’s first wine upon her return was released in 1999. This was a barrel of Primo Merlot, produced at the Nachshon Winery and relying on grapes from the nearby Latrun vineyards.
When tasting a Chillag wine, it is evident that Orna is influenced by the philosophy of the“Old World” winemaking methods. These rely on quality grapes and emphasize the importance of the terroir, thus producing wines that “speak of the earth and vines”. Although the wines may not be as aggressive or fruity as some of the other Israeli wines, all of the Chillag’s that I have sampled are elegant, spiced and full of character (as is Orna herself).
The Chillag winery, located in the industrial area of Yehud, is currently producing approximately 20,000 bottles annually.
Chillag’s two main labels are Primo and Giovane. Their export oriented kosher label - Orna - is made using hand-selected grapes grown in Upper Galilee vineyards.
While Primo is considered the winery’s reserve series, their Giovane (Italian for young) is intended for earlier drinking.
Name: Chillag, Primo Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Type: Red, Dry
Variety: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot
Aging: Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels
This full bodied Cabernet suggests aromas of spices, black fruits and thyme. On the palate similar to the nose the wine is showing plenty of fruit and spices, all leading to an elegant finish.
This wine will be an excellent choice to serve alongside quality grilled meats in particular, an elegant piece of beef tenderloin or a juicy steak topped with a red wine and stock sauce. Another option would be to serve this red with a platter of potent cheeses or simply drink it on its own.
When speaking to Orna about food and wine pairing, she mentioned making a Pot roast with beef, saut?ed mushrooms, fresh herbs and a bottle of her Primo Cabernet Sauvignon 2003. I can only hope that next time she prepares this dish, perhaps she will save me a plate.
Tip of the week: “cooking with wine”
In my opinion it is usually a good idea to cook with the same wine you plan on serving with the meal. The character of the wine will provide a link between the dish and the Vino you drink with the meal.