Tamar saved her 40th birthday present to enjoy a wine tour with her husband in the Spring. The first winery I took them to was Tzora Winery , where we saw 25 year old vineyards and tasted the Shoresh white, Judean Hills 2009, Givat HaChalukin 2008 and Shoresh red 2008. Tamar and Oded loved the olive oil, bread and cheese as well. They enjoyed the elegant taste of Tzora Winery.
The second winery we visited was Agur Winery where Shuki entertained us with his passion of winemaking and philisophical conversation. Tamar and Oded tasted the Blanca 2009, Rosa 2009 and 2010, Kessem 2009 and Special Reserve 2008. They loved the special quality of the Reserve 2008.
We ended the day at Tzuba Winery, over looking the Jerusalem Hills. We tasted the Belmont White, Merlot 2008, Metsuda 2008 and Port style wine. Oded really enjoyed the Port and will bring it out for special occasions with friends and family. The day was a
HaKerem, the Israeli Wine Blog writes about the new wines and Israeli Wine Industry...check it out!
The Golan Heights Winery, for the last twenty years, has been one of the most influential wineries in Israel. Having been cited as the winery that sparked the quality wine revolution in Israel, Golan Heights has grown into the third largest producer of wine in the Holy Land but maybe should be rightly known as the largest producer of consistently good wines. Under their flagship label Yarden (Hebrew for “Jordan” as in the Jordan River), this winery has paved the way for Israeli wines into more restaurant’s’ wine lists internationally and more wine magazines than maybe any other Israeli winery. That’s not to say necessarily that they make the best wine in Israel. They might but there’s now plenty of competition to that elusive prize however, the case can easily be made that make more well-respected wine than any other Israeli winery and that for the last 25 years they blazed the trail for many smaller producers by showing the potential for which grapes could make great wines in Israel.
Additionally, Golan Heights under its various labels, may account for the largest selection of varietals being made by one winery in Israel. It’s vineyard locations situated at a wide range of altitudes in Israel’s most northern wine growing region, gives it the flexibility to plant and prosper with a range of grapes that many international wine makers might envy. Visiting their Visitor Center adjacent to their winery in Katzrin, the impressive size of their tasting room rivals that of many smaller wineries complete facilities. It’s takes a large room to display all their labels and when I was last passing through, a bus load of Eastern European tourists easily could work their way around the shelves without overcrowding anyone travelling alone.
On my first visit, I was treated to a tasting of about dozen wines and there was still at least a dozen more that I wanted to try before time constraints and palette fatigue (the bane of any wine writer or critic) convinced me another tasting would have to be in the cards at a future date.
Diana and David's children and daughter-in-law did not know what to give to their parents for their 40th wedding anniversary, so they decided they would treat them to a wine tour with me since Diana and David love wine but do not know too much about Israeli wine.
We started the day at Agur Winery where Diana and David enjoyed an authentic experience with Shuki, the winemaker. They tasted the Blanca 2010, Rosa 2009 and 2010, Kessem 2009 and the Special Reserve 2008. They love the Rosa 2010 and will enjoy it on a summer's day back in England.
The next winery we visited was Ella Valley where Diance and David loved every wine more than the other. We tasted the Chardonnay 2009, Cabernet Franc 2008, Syrah 2007, RR 2004 and Moscato dessert wine. They will be enjoying Ella Valley wines for a while together remembering their great experience at Ella Valley.
Since we had more time than expected we popped over to Tzora Winery where Shula gave us a tasting of Shoresh white 2009, Judaen Hills 2009, Givat HaChalukin 2008, Shoresh 2008 and specially the Misty Hills 2007. Diana and David also saw vines that are 25 years old and I explained to them the importance of the terrior, low yield and how quality grapes make quality wine.
We ended the day at Tzuba Winery, at this point Diana and David were very happy! We tasted the Chardonnay from the vat since Tzuba ran out of the 2009 Chardonnay. We also tried the newly bottled blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. We finished the tasting with the Merlot 2009 and Metsuda 2007. Diana and David learned a lot about the art and science of wine making and I broke down some of the mystery of wine although there is always a mystery to wine, even for the pros.
The Stowe family of Leeds, England enjoyed a day visiting three Jerusalem Wineries: Domaine du Castel, Tzora and Agur. They love wine, food and Israel so it was just natural to take a wine tour during their Passover visit.
We started the day at Domaine du Castel where we enjoyed a tasting of the C 2009, Petit Castel 2009 and Grand Vin 2008, which was Grahame’s favorite of the day. The Stowe family is a big fan of Castel wines and really loved seeing where the founding family lives and where they produce the delicious wine.
Our next winery was Tzora winery where Uri, the manager, gave us a tasting of the Shoresh white 2010, Judean Hills 2009, Shoresh red 2008, Misty Hills 2007 and the Or (ice wine) 2008. The Stowe family will be enjoying the Shoresh red and Misty Hills in their country home for many months or depending on how fast they drink it, a couple of weeks.
The third winery we visited was Agur winery where Alon and Shuki entertained us with their wine, philosophy of life and laughs. We enjoyed a tasting of the Blanca 2009, Rosa 2009, Kessem 2009 and Special Reserve 2008. We sat with Shuki for an hour and talked about why he wanted to move to Agur and start a winery, his passion for wine and food from the age of 9 years old and his love for the Jerusalem Hills region. The day was fantastic and the Stowe family now has a lot of Israeli wine to enjoy when they go back to England.
Gary Vaynerchuk interviewed me in New York city at the Sirius Radio building about Israeli wines and My Israel Wine Tours. The interview is 17 minutes long and there are pictures along the way, enjoy it!
Debbie and Alan are visiting their son in Israel and when they come to Israel they like to do interesting and different tours that are off the beaten track. Debbie and Alan have known me since I was a little girl running around in Temple and we enjoyed a day touring the Carmel Region breweries and wineries. We started the day at Alexander Brewery tasting their Blond, Ambre and Black beer. Alan and Debbie learned a lot about how beer is made and the unique Israeli beer taste that pairs well with falafel to a nice piece of meat and on a hot summer’s day or a cold rainy winter’s evening. We then walked around Ramat HaNadiv and enjoyed the view and flowers.
At Tishbi Winery I explained to them the art and science of winemaking and the history of the Tishbi family from the first Aliyah to being the first family owned winery to be established in modern day Israel. We tasted the Gewürztraminer 2010, Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Shiraz 2007 and the Barbara Zinfandel 2006 Port style wine.
We ended the day at Somek Winery where we enjoyed an intimate tasting with Barak, the winemaker and owner, of the Adom 2008, Carignan 2005 and the Birkat HaNadiv 2005. Debbie and Alan bought their son, whose back in Boston, a nice bottle of wine from Barak to enjoy with his wife and friends.
Debbie and Alan learned a lot about Israeli wine and the modern day microbreweries that are opening in Israel.
Jess and her crew came to Israel for a month to enjoy the local cuisine and wine. They are crew on a yacht and Jess is responsible to choose the wines that her boss enjoys with guests. We started the day at Domaine du Castel where we appreciated an intimate wine and cheese tasting. We tasted the C 2009, Petit Castel 2009 and Grand Vin 2008. The crew loved the intimate story of Eli Ben Zaken and how he started his family owned winery out of passion for good food and wine.
Our next stop was a pit stop at Tzuba Winery where we explored the ancient wine press, vineyards and tasted a wide variety of wines including the Chardonnay 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Shiraz 2008, Metzuda 2006 and Port wine.
The third winery we visited was Tzora Winery where we drank the new Shoresh white 2009, Judean Hills 2008 and 2009, Givat Haluchim 2008 and Shoresh red 2008. Shula explained to us how Tzora names their wines after their vineyards which are located 5 kilometers away from the winery and they come from the highest quality grapes.
The last winery we visited and had some great laughs was Agur Winery where we tasted the Blanca 2009 and 2010, which is not even released to the public yet, Rosa 2009, Kessem 2009 and Special Reserve 2008. Even though Shuki was not at the winery, Alon, the manager, entertained us. Jess’s crew loved their wine tour and now even more so appreciates Israeli wine.
Cait is a wine enthusiast from New Orleans and as a part of her work trip to Israel, she wanted to experience the wineries and taste Israel! We started the day at Agur Winery where Cait, a historian and anthropologist by study, had an invigorating and philosophical conversation with Shuki as they tasted the Blanca 2010, Rosa 2009, Kessem 2009 and Special Reserve 2008. Cait agreed that the Special Reserve is a wine that her and her husband will enjoy with a special New Orleans bbq.
The second winery we visited was Tzora Winery where Cait enjoyed a tasting with Shula, the manager of Tzora Winery. Shula explained to Cait the importance for Tzora to make wine that tasted of the terrior of the Judean Hills. We enjoyed a tasting of the newly released Shoresh white 2010 and Judean Hills 2009. We also tasted the Givat Hachaluchim 2008, Shoresh red 2008 and the special ice wine Or. At this point, lunch was a must so we enjoyed some Israeli Arab food in Abu Gosh.
The third winery we visited was Tzuba Winery, where Cait enjoyed a personal explanation of Tzuba’s wines from Paul Dubb, the winemaker. We tasted the Chardonnay 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Shiraz 2008, a new Chianti blend that Paul created that was just getting bottled that day, the Metsuda 2006, late harvest Chardonnay and Port style wine. Cait will enjoy the Port that she bought with some yummy cheese!
After the tasting at Tzuba, we explored the ancient wine press and vineyards. Cait enjoyed her last day in Israel and learned a lot about the quality wines coming out of Israel.