Yossi’s Wine Page

Grape Man’s Boutique Wineries Open House

On Friday Nov 14, The Grape Man is holding an open house featuring wines from boutique wineries that produce up to 25,000 bottles annually.

בית פתוח יקבי בוטיק

Here’s is a free translation of The Grape Man’s event announcement.

Does size really matter, or is that just a myth? Read more…

20th Annual Olive Days Festival, 28 Oct – 18 Nov 2014

Did you know that it takes 5 – 10 kg of olives to produce 1 liter of olive oil?

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Or that the average per capita consumption of olive oil in Israel is 2.5 liters per year, while Italians and Greeks consume 5 and ten times as much respectively? Read more…

16th Annual Judean Hills Wine Festival and Fair

While not so common just a few years ago, wine festivals now abound in Israel. And though there are several regional wine festivals that take place annually in various parts of the country, I believe the Judean Hills Wine Festival, now in its 16th year, is senior among them.

Certainly this is my favorite regional wine festival in Israel, partly because of the warm friendships I’ve developed with quite a few of the winemakers, and partly because I particularly enjoy wines made from Judean Hills grapes.

In any event, though details are still sparse, this year’s Judean Hills Wine Festival has been announced, and the published dates are for the weekends between 23 Oct and 20 Nov 2014. Seeing as how 20 Nov is a Thursday, this seems a bit strange and I will try to get clarification. Check back for updates.

Judean Hills Wine Festival (23 Oct - 20 Nov 14)

The festival will kick off on October 23rd with the traditional wine fair, beginning at 19:30. The fair will be held again at Mini Israel near Latroun, as it was last year. Most, of the Judean Hills wineries will be participating in the fair, where they will be pouring their newest wines for your tasting pleasure. In the past, the admission fee got you a glass (that you get to keep) and unlimited tastings (but don’t get carried away: tastings are for tasting not for putting on a buzz  – for that you should buy a few bottles). I imagine this year will be the same.

I have not yet seen a list of participating wineries, nor have I seen any information about ticket prices, advanced ticket sales, etc. I will post updates if and when I have any new information to share.

Judean Hills Wine Fair (23 Oct 14)

On the four Fridays of the festival – Oct 24 & 31, Nov 7 & 14 – there will be organized bus trips to wineries in the area. Each trip will visit three different wineries. Space is limited, so if you are interested, call 02-990-0903 or 1-800-800-242 0r *8108 for information and to make reservations.

During the weekends of the festival most of the Judean Hills Wineries are open to the public for visits. It’s always a good idea to call a winery before visiting, especially on Shabbat, since some of the kosher wineries will be closed. Most of the wineries are listed, with contact information (just click on the winery) on this page of the tour-yehuda website.

The tour-yehuda website has a map of the Judean Hills Wineries, but it appears to be a bit out-of-date, and the legend showing the winery names is missing. As an alternative, have a look at my Google map of wineries in Israel; most of the Judean Hills wineries are there, with contact information.

Check back here or at the tour-yehuda.org.il and m-yehuda.org.il websites for more information and updates.

 

A Wine to Watch

Last Friday I went to the annual pre Rosh Hashana tasting at the Poizner Winery in Zikhron Ya’akov.

Yoav Poizner, the winemaker, produces some 2,500 bottles a year, all from the family’s own vineyards where they grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Carignan, and Malbec. (Yoav claims that Poizner’s Malbec is the oldest in the region.)

Poizner’s philosophy is to produce wines that suit the Mediterranean climate, so none are terribly heavy or overpowering. All the wines I tasted are quite nice for the warm weather, despite their high alcohol content (~14 – 14.5%), and probably wouldn’t mind being served slightly chilled.

The wines presented at the event were:

  • Merlot 2009 (with 5% Malbec)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (with a bit of Petit Verdot and Malbec)
  • Syrah 2010 (with a bit of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2010 Milack Valley (Wadi Milek) blend (45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, and 5 % Malbec)

All of the wines were rather pleasant, and to my surprised I actually preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon over the others, as it exhibited greater complexity.

The Merlot was unusual in that it was not at all overly fruity, and the Syrah surprised me by being rather one dimensional. The Maleck Valley blend was nicely balanced and remarkably light.

After trying the “official” wines of the event, Yoav let me sample the 2011 blend, which is in a stainless tank just waiting to be bottled. This unusual blend of Carignan, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Malbec is altogether different from the 2010, and is by far the most enjoyable Poizner wine I have had to date. The flavors are intricate and nicely balanced, the tannins are smooth and well integrated. And with light to medium body I believe it will go well with a wide range or foods, while standing quite nicely on its own as well.

Release of the 2011 blend is scheduled for Pesach 2015, and I intend to be at the front of the line to get some.

Wishing everyone a year of peace, health, fun, happiness, and of course, lots of good wine.

Wineland (B’Shvil HaYayin) 2014 Pre-Festival Tour

This year’s Wineland Festival included over two weeks of wine events in the Galil and Golan, starting at the end of May and running halfway through June. It was literally impossible to attend them all, though I tried my best. To get an idea of how much was going on, have a look at the schedule.

But for some of us the fun actually began even earlier, as the promoters organized a promotional tour a week before the opening of the festival for journalists and other “influential” wine people, and I was delighted to be invited.

Our bus was scheduled to leave Tel Aviv at 08:00, and we actually did leave at about 08:15 which is better than I expected. The optimistic itinerary included five wineries, a short jeep trip, and lunch, not to mention quite a few km on the road. That we managed to finish up only an hour or so later than planned, without skipping anything (though we did cut short a few stops along the way), is a credit to our driver and to the organizers who it seems had each visit timed down to the minute.

IMG_7435a Read more…

Sommelier 2014 – Part II

As promised, here, finally, is Part II of my posting about the 2014 Sommelier wine fair.

I hope you can all forgive me for the delay in my postings. Is it my fault that there are so many wine events in such a short period of time? I could keep up much better if I quit my day job, but then I wouldn’t be able to buy any wine.

Ok, enough excuses.

I’m not going to try to cover all of Sommelier in this posting. Instead I’ll stick to the wines and wineries that I found most interesting, impressive, or significant.

In Part I of this posting I mentioned that Oded Shoham also makes his own wines, and as Oded’s table was next to Rami Bar-Maor’s (Oded markets Bar-Maor wines), I tried his wines next. Oded does not have his own winery per se, and he utilizes the services of one Yehuda Gross, who has a small kosher winery in Moshav Nehalim near Petak Tikva (definitely worth a visit, especially since the marvelous Markovich dairy in the moshav as well). At Sommelier, Oded presented two wines both from the 2011 vintage. The first, called Onyx, is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot. Made from grapes grown in Kadita, this wine, while not exceptional, is nicely integrated with good body and a pleasant finish. The Black Onyx 2011 is quite a different story. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Black Onyx is extremely elegant with subtle flavors and nuances that I could not identify. Certainly not what I would expect from a varietal Cabernet, this is a wine that will not overpower foods having delicate flavors. As you might be able to tell, I immediately became a big time fan of this wine; I just hope I can afford it. Read more…

Coming Events: 4th Annual Ra’anana Wine & Beer Festival – June 25 & 26, 2014

After the last few incredibly busy weeks of wine events, we all get a short break to prepare for this year’s Ra’anana Wine & Beer Festival to be held on Wednesday & Thursday evenings, June 25 & 26 2014, in the beautiful Ra’anana Park (look here for directions and a map).

Ra'anana Wine Festival 2014

Surprisingly, I’ve never been to the Ra’anana Festival so I’m really looking forward to this one. This year, along with wineries, the festival will be hosting a number of local micro-breweries, adding yet another dimension to the event. Read more…

6th Annual White Wine Fair at the Herzlia Marina

With so many wine events going on at the same time, it’s impossible to attend them all, but I wasn’t going to miss this one.

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First of all, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I work in Herzlia Pituah, and it’s just a 20 minute walk from my office to the marina.

Secondly, as far as I know, this is the only white wine event in the country. Most wine festivals in Israel feature a few white and blush wines, but reds definitely dominate. Some events have almost no whites at all. Read more…

More Wine Events Over the Next Few Days

As I suspected, I missed a few events for the coming weekend. Thanks to Meir for bringing them to my attention. I have also added these events to the calendar.

I’m sure I’ve still missed some, but by the time I find out about them they’ll probably be history.

Enjoy and Chag Sameach!

May 30th: Wine & Cheese at Recanati Winery

Recanati Wine & Cheese (30 May 14) - short Read more…

Wine Events Over the Next Few Days

With Shavuot quickly approaching there are wine events all over the place. To try to keep on top of all of these events I have started a Google calendar of wine events in Israel, and have made it public for everyone to use.  For convenience, I have created a more-or-less easy to remember link: bag.gy/yossiswineevents

Here’s a rundown of the events I know of through the end of the month. I’m sure there are more that I just didn’t hear about, but I think these are enough to keep us all busy (and tipsy).

May 27th & 28th: Bikurim Wine & Cheese Festival in Haifa

Bikurim Wine & Cheese Festival Haifa (28-29 May 14) Read more…

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