Yossi’s Wine Page

19th Annual Judean Hills Wine Festival and Fair: Nov 2 – 25

Time again for the long awaited 2017 Judean Hills Wine Festival.

Judean Hills Wine Festival 2017 - banner

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Wine or Beer?

Dina, my wife, is Swedish. As her English is outstanding there was never any reason for me to learn Swedish. Nevertheless, a few years ago I thought it might be fun to learn a few words so we could converse without the kids understanding us, and so I’d be able to manage a bit better when visiting Sweden. So I bought a cheap self-taught Swedish course on eBay and started listening to the lessons in the car on my way to work. It turns out that this course featured choice phrases like “would you like to go back to your place or mine” making it ideal for guys trying to pick up Swedish women, but other than that it was not particularly useful.

So what has this to do with liquid libations? Well, one of the phrases in the course that struck a chord with me was Vill du dricka vin eller öl which means, Would you like to drink wine or beer?

It so happens that wine and beer lovers alike have reason to rejoice, as Israel’s largest wine and beer tasting events are taking place next week (Sommelier is arguably the largest wine tasting event, but it is geared to professionals rather than the public). Read more…

18th Annual Judean Hills Wine Festival and Fair: Oct 27 – Nov 19

Fall has arrived, the 2016 grape harvest is behind us, and the holidays season will soon be a memory. Fortunately the festivities will continue with the Judean Hills Wine Festival.

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June 2016 Wine Events

Lots and lots of wine events this month, including many that are part of the Wineland Festival in the north, and quite a number (especially white wine events) celebrating the Shavuot holiday.

Click the calendar below to see what’s doing. I’ve been getting a lot of event notifications in the last few days, so check the calendar regularly for updates.

Also check Israel Preker’s calendar in Hebrew for events I might have missed.

Lots of good wine in lovely settings all over the country, so take advantage of the wealth and variety of events and enjoy!

Jun 2016 Wine Events

Pesach is Coming

Lots of wine events last weekend in the run up to Pesach, and even more over the coming weekends.

If you’ve got time between Pesach cleaning, and fancy some relaxation with wine, check out my calendar of wine events. With so many wineries around, there are events in the north, south, and center.

Pesach 5776 Wine Events Calendar

There are even a few events during Pesach this year, notably the Netofa Exodus from Egypt Celebration and Salute 2016 at Neot Hovav.

So take a break from cleaning and go have some wine.

Wine Jerusalem 2016 – March 9 & 10, 2016

On March 9th and 10th A. A. Pyup Wine & Spirits will be hosting the 5th annual Wine Jerusalem kosher wine festival at Jerusalem’s Binyanei Hauma. This is the single largest wine festival in Israel featuring only kosher wines, and is a must for wine lovers who only drink wines with kosher certification.

According to the official announcement, almost 40 wineries (including liqueur and cognac producers) will be participating. Here’s the latest list, but last minute changes are not uncommon.

Ella Valley
Galil Mountain
Golan Heights
Gush Etzion
Har Bracha
Lavie Liqueurs
Louis Royar
Morad Liqueurs
Odem Mountain
Schmerling’s Liqueurs

Some of these wineries, including Gros which is rather new, and Ventura, which has one of the best Chardonnays I’ve ever tasted, exhibit only rarely, so this festival so a good opportunity to meet the winemakers and sample their wines.

Several of the participating wineries will be launching new wines at this festival. In addition, a number of wineries will open a few bottles of their older cellared wines and special edition wines. these include

  • Hevron Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
  • Tanya Techelet 2014
  • Psagot Edom 2013
  • Psagot Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard
  • Gvaot Blanc 2015
  • Gvaot Gofna Cabernet Franc 2014
  • Abouhav Almaya 2014
  • Galil Mountain Yiron Sirah 2005
  • Galil Mountain Meron 2007
  • Galil Mountain Meron 2009
  • Galil Mountain Meron 2011

Festival attendees are also invited to participate in free workshops. Details will be added when available.

All of the wines (with the possible exception of some of the special edition and older wines listed above) will be on sale at the festival with a special buy 3 get 1 free deal.

The festival will run from 17:00 – 23:00 each day. Admission costs NIS 90 and includes unlimited tastings, a wineglass to keep, a bottle of San Pellegrino (to rinse your mouth between tastings) and free parking. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

Additional information (Hebrew only) is available here, or call (02) 581-1122.

If it’s not good enough to drink …

There are two kinds of cooking wine. The wine you drink while you’re cooking and the wine that actually goes into what you’re cooking.

The advice “If it’s not good enough to drink it’s not good enough for cooking” obviously refers to the latter (since the former is drinking).

Some months ago a well-meaning guest brought a bottle of a recent vintage supermarket wine from a major winery, and of a series that I generally avoid. While I have found some quite respectable wines at the supermarket at very attractive prices, there are some I eschew, and this was one of them.

One day after work a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. All I can say is that it was quite vile. I had expected a shallow flat wine with no body or character, but this was bitter and undrinkable. Ever the optimist, and always curious, I stuck a vacuum stopper in the bottle and waited a couple of days. By this time much of the bitterness had dissipated, but the wine had already started to go sour.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to preparations for Shabbat dinner. Dina had bought short ribs, and wanting to prepare them in the slow cooker she asked me for some cooking wine. I told here there were a few open bottles in the pantry and to take whichever she wanted.

As luck would have it, Dina picked the aforementioned terrible wine.

Wonder of wonders, the short ribs were absolutely marvelous; I can’t remember having better.

Would the ribs have been even better cooked in a Kayoumi Shiraz? I suppose I’ll never know.

In the meantime, I, for one, have no problem cooking with wine that’s not good enough to drink. As long as I get to drink something else while I’m cooking.

Sign Up!

A couple of weeks ago, while much of the world was celebrating Christmas, the Netoafa Winery was throwing a kick-off event for members of the winery’s Netofamily Club.

It was a beautiful Friday morning, and when we arrived Yair (CEO) was already grilling some of his excellent homemade sausages in the winery’s courtyard.

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A Busy Weekend

Anyone reading this probably knows very well that the weekends leading up to Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year) and Pesach (Passover) are laden with wine events. All the wineries want you to buy their wines for the holiday feasts, and many of them have tasting events to lure you in. The problem is that so many of the wineries have their events at the same time, making it impossible for us enthusiasts to attend them all.

I had a plan, and surprisingly I actually managed to stick more or less to it, fitting in eight events starting Thursday evening and ending Saturday night. My schedule wasn’t even too rushed, as it was my great fortune that many of the events were quite nearby. I even managed to get in a 10 km run on Friday morning! Unfortunately I missed the Chillag Rosh Hashana tasting (not nearby), so I’ll have to make up for that another time. Read more…

A Perfect Friday

Last Friday was definitely a fun day.

I woke up shortly past dawn and went out for a 10 km run. Ok, that wasn’t so much fun, but I feel good knowing I’m doing something good for my body. At least I hope it is. And I listen to terrific music while running (Traffic, Joe Bonamassa, Albert Cummings, Queen, The Who, The Doors … you get the idea), and that makes it a good bit more enjoyable. Also, I run in the fields of Binyamina, among the fruit orchards and the many many vineyards. The smell of the peaches is delightful, and the vines are developing quite nicely, thank you very much.

Dina had just gotten up by the time I returned and we had breakfast (omlettes with onions and cheese, and Swedish filter coffee) in the garden.

Then it was off to the Tulip Winery for the latest in their series of international wine tastings. This time it was wines from Greece. I must say that while I was quite intrigued I didn’t expect to be very impressed by the wines. I’m very happy to stay that I was completely wrong about that. Read more…

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