Israeli Label Yarden Shows Much Promise

August 22, 2012

Yarden Chardonnay

A review of Yarden wines from Israel’s Golan Heights Winery.

In 1972, oenologist Cornelius Ough identified the Golan Heights as an ideal location for grape growing due to its altitude, cool climate and volcanic soil. More than a decade later the award-winning Golan Heights Winery was established and it is credited with invigorating Israeli winemaking by dramatically improving the quality of the country’s wines. Its early successes led to the search for a winemaker that would build upon these accomplishments. In 1992, a young American graduate of UC Davis, Victor Schoenfeld, arrived in Israel to become its new head winemaker. It could be argued that advanced Israeli winemaking really began that year.

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A Chief Winemaker’s Ordeal

August 17, 2012

Barkan Sauvingnon Blanc

A review of the Barkan Classic Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and White Horse Blended Scotch Whisky.

A winery’s goal is to create appealing wines on a consistent basis. They begin by establishing a benchmark and then take appropriate steps to assure that each vintage meets consumers’ expectations in terms of quality, flavor and price. There will be some variations from vintage to vintage depending upon the growing conditions, but the basic character of the wines should not vary. Improvements are welcome but backsliding will result in warehouses of unsold wine.

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“Not For The Very Young, The Vain And The Active”

August 9, 2012

InVita 2011

A review of the ElviWines InVita 2011 and some Port-based cocktail suggestions.

Spain continues to be a source of well-made wines. The country is the world’s third largest wine producer but ranks first in total acres “under vine,” with over 600 grape varietals planted over nearly 3 million acres. The most popular grapes are mostly foreign sounding – Airen, Albarino, Carinena, Garnacha, Macabeo, Monastrell, Parellada, Tempranillo, Xarel-lo – and are utilized to create red, white and sparkling wines as well as the renown fortified port and sherry wines.

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Biblical Connection

August 5, 2012

ancnoc whisky

A review of the Tzuba Metsuda 2008 and the AnCnoc 12 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Israel is dotted with locations that attest to the Holy Land’s ancient links to winemaking. One such site is at Kibbutz Tzuba located in the Judean Hills. Known as Tzova in biblical times, the village is mentioned in the book of Samuel (Book II, 23: 36) as the hometown of one of King David’s 37 mighty warriors. The area abounds with archeological evidence of a large local wine industry. Scattered about are numerous ancient wine presses along with cisterns, mikvaot and burial sites. Archeologists think winemaking persisted here until the late Second Temple period.

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Scotch In A Can?

July 26, 2012

Scotch in a can

A review of the Mony Reserve Syrah 2009 and look at a new product: Scotch in a Can.

The Mony Winery is an unlikely producer of kosher wines. The winery is located at the Dir Rafat Monastery in the foothills of the Jerusalem Mountains, part of the much vaunted Judean Hills wine region (the mountain range that divides the Sharon Coastal Plain to the west and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east). Mony is nestled on a peak overlooking the Soreq Valley, opposite Beit Shemesh, its vineyards and olive trees start at the winery and descend the slopes towards the valley.

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An Alluring Varietal

July 18, 2012

Dovev Cabernet Frac

A review of the Dovev Cabernet Franc 2010 and some news about Bruichladdich along with a review of their 10-year-old, Unpeated, Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Although often relegated to a secondary role in winemaking, Cabernet Franc is actually a very alluring grape varietal. Traditionally utilized as a blending grape to soften the tannins of Bordeaux’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cab Franc has become successful as a single bottling in France’s Loire region as well as some New World wineries where convention holds less import. It also makes a fantastic dessert-style ice wine.

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What’s In A (Wine’s) Name?

July 12, 2012

gilgal1

A review of the Gilgal Merlot 2007 and the Arran Malt 14 year old Single Malt Whisky.

On a plateau within the Golan Heights is a series of five concentric stone circles made up of more than 42,000 volcanic basalt rocks. Thought to be from the early Bronze Age period, this megalithic monument’s outermost wall stands nearly 8 feet tall and around 520 feet in diameter. At the center of this site is a 15 feet tall burial mound. Bear with us, the booze is coming.

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Modest Beginnings

July 4, 2012

Gush Etzion Winery

Reviews of the Gush Etzion Cabernet Franc 2007 kosher wine and 2 expressions of Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey.

Inspiration comes in many forms, but for the Gush Etzion Winery, an Israeli boutique winery, it came in the improbable form of a blackberry bush. When Shraga and Tamar Rosenberg relocated from Jerusalem to Efrat in 1986, their new neighbors informed them that the blackberry bush in their yard produced fruit that made good blackberry wine. Shraga, a former retirement home manager, decided to tinker, fermenting crushed blackberries in his basement, and moved on from blackberries to grapes.

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Wines Worth The Search

June 28, 2012

segal

A review of the Segal’s Special Reserve Chardonnay 2009 and the Glenmorangie Artein Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Israel’s Segal Winery has its roots in the early 20th century when Yankel Hirsh Segal and his brothers Elhanan and Yehezkel established the country’s first distillery in Tel Aviv’s German Colony. Their early successes lead the regional colonial authorities to ask them to set up similar enterprises in Damascus and Beirut. In the 1950s, the Segals changed their focus to winemaking, initially calling their winery “Ashkelon” before changing it to the family name. Until the Golan Heights Winery launched Israel’s quality wine revolution in the 1980s, Segal’s was considered a high-end producer.

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