With a rich history of wine production dating back to biblical times, Israel is a part of the cradle of wine civilization. Here, wine was commonly used for religious ceremonies as well as for general consumption. During Roman times, it was a popular export, but during Islamic rule around 1300, production was virtually extinguished. The modern era of Israeli wine-making began in the late 19th century with help from Bordeaux’s Rothschild family. Accordingly, most grapes grown in Israel today are made from native French varieties. Indigenous varieties are all but extinct, though oenologists have made recent attempts to rediscover ancient varieties such as Marawi for commercial wine production. In Israel’s Mediterranean climate, humidity and drought can be problematic, concentrating much of the country’s grape growing in the north near Galilee, Samaria near the coast and at higher elevations in the east. The most successful red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, while the best whites are made from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The main objective of this tasting is to explore and asses a sample of wines from Israel.
Type of Tasting: Open
Wines presenter: Pedro Turina
These are the wines:
- 2016 Barkan Classic Chardonnay, Judean Hills
- 2013 Yatir Mt. Amassa, Blend, Judean Hills
- 2013 Tabor, Adama Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, Galilee
- 2016 Tabor, Mt. Tabor Shiraz , Galilee
This is the menu:
- Vegetables lasagna
- Spinach salad with strawberries, red onions and cherry tomatoes
- Gnocchi with light pesto sauce
- Lamb with rosemary sauce and green beans, zucchini and broccoli.
Participants: Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Jorge Gracia-Gracia, Orlando Mason, Agilson Perazza, Claudia Perazza, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sánchez, Ginger Smart, Pedro Turina, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zinke
Information on the Wines
(The information below has been compiled from various internet sources) .
2016 Barkan Classic Chardonnay, Judean Hills
The Wine: The wine is produced from 100% Chardonnay grapes, picked from the vineyards of the Barkan Winery in the Upper Galilee region and the Jerusalem Mountains. The wine has an abundance of fragrances and tastes of citrus fruit and white peaches with a smooth and round finish.
The Winery: (From Wine.com) Barkan was founded in 1899, to produce sweet Kiddush wine and brandy for the Jewish settlement in Israel. In 1990 the winery set forth on a program of modernization and planting of vineyards and selected Kibbutz Hulda to be a good site for the new center. The proximity to one of Barkan’s main vineyards – Hulda – was the most important consideration, and its central location, close to major roads and removed from urban areas, was also important. Barkan receives grapes from vineyards from all the best regions in Israel. The winery’s location allows the grapes to be quickly transported to the winery, to insure freshness and to maximize quality. In addition, the strategic location was optimal for distribution of the bottled wine to market.
2013 Yatir Mt. Amassa, Blend, Judean Hills
The Wine: WE: With aromas of cherry, cranberry and chocolate, this wine offers similar notes on the palate, along with a hint of eucalyptus. Its strong and slightly grippy tannins are kept in check by vibrant acidity that triumphs on the mint and orange finish.
Yatir Mt. Amasa 2013 is composed of 8% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot from a number of plots in the Yatir Forest vineyards at altitudes between 650 and 900 meters above sea level. The composition of species of the wine differs from year to year, depending on the nature of the harvest, in order to emphasize the âYatirâ character and uniqueness of the region and its vineyards. The wines from the various vineyards are matured separately in oak barrels for one year prior to creating the final blend. The wine was bottled in March 2013 and left at the winery for another year and a half to age in the bottle. It is suited to continued maturing for another five years or more
The Winery: The fundamental wine of the Yatir Winery, which has been listed in some of Israel’s finest restaurants, presents stability and consistency of the highest quality, year after year. The wilderness, the mountain and the vegetation on the reservation, along with Mount Amasa (at an altitude of 859 meters+) border the Yatir Forest and its vineyards and serve as a unique meeting place between the mountain and the desert, the snow and the sun, the rocks and earth – all which embody the nature of the Yatir wines. This is how the new name of the wine was conceived. Up to the 2010 vintage, it was called “Yatir Merlot / Shiraz / Cabernet.” The wine is based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz varieties. As with similar climatic regions in the world (the South of France, Australia), the combination of these varieties is synergetic and it intensifies the wine with a refreshing, peppery body of the Cabernet and a fruity softness and smoky zing of the Shiraz. The Winery uses varying percentages of Merlot / Malbec / Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc in its blends. The assortment of varieties contributes to the accentuation of the regional character of the wine over the nature of each individual variety. The wine is aged for approximately one year in small barrels (225 liters) and in large wooden containers (5,000 liters), with the goal of obtaining fresh fruit and mineral-oriented wine, with no emphasized wood flavors. The Yatir-like nature of the wine is manifested in the firm structure of the wine and its aroma of Mediterranean seasoning herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) which blend beautifully with the fruit flavors. The wine is bottled and marketed after two additional years of further aging in the bottle.
2013 Tabor Adama Cabernet Sauvignon, Terra Rosa, Galilee
The Wine: This Cabernet Sauvignon plot grew in the Upper Galilee’s Kedesh Valley. This unique area is characterized with stony Terra Rossa soil causing the vine roots to search for stored water deep into the layers of rock contributing to a strong and balanced wine.
The Winery: Tabor is known as one of Israel’s largest wineries that feature many premium wines in their portfolio (it is the 5th largest but should be noted that there’s a big difference in volume between Tabor and the 4th largest winery). The winery was started in 1999 by four growers in the Tabor Village (Kfar Tabor), in the Lower Galilee,. Over the years, they have been able to grow from producing 30,000 bottles a year to close to two million. Tabor Winery does not own any of their vineyards, which is common in Israel, yet they have long relationships and contracts with their growers that are typically between 17 to 18 years with stipulations added from both sides to protect the interests of each party. Tabor is known for their impressive Cabernet Sauvignon wines, and it is no surprise noting that they work with 30 different individual Cabernet Sauvignon plots from an array of vineyards across Israel.
2016 Tabor, Mt. Tabor Shiraz , Galilee
The Wine: This wine’s bramble fruit and violet aromas set the scene for raspberry, lavender and tobacco flavors. It’s smooth on the palate, with a nice balance of fruit and savory characteristics and a zesty finish marked by a touch of salinity.
In the select vineyards of Tabor Winery in the Galilee, high-quality Shiraz grapes were grown and carefully harvested. From these grapes we created the wine while paying close attention to preserving the natural aroma and original flavors of the grape variety. The wine consists of 90% Shiraz grapes and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. By maintaining the freshness and vitality of the grape, this variety’s classic aromas and flavors of ripe fruits and violets combined with light earthy notes are present. The wine is soft-bodied with round velvety tannins and is light and pleasant to drink. The wine was especially created for moments of joy, closeness and good friendship. It is fresh and fruity and carries the spirit of Mount Tabor. Tastes great with leaner red meat, stew, and mildly spicy ethnic foods.
The Winery: (See above)
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