Yossi’s Wine Page

Archive for the month “July, 2008”

Gush Etzion Tasting at Har Adar – July 18th

Definitely another successful event.

We started a bit later than planned as Shraga Rosenberg, the winemaker and owner of the Gush Etzion Winery, had been up rather late the night before as he had been exhibiting at the Wine Festival at the Israel Museum. He arrived in Har Adar at about 10:30 and shortly thereafter people began showing up.

As with June’s tasting, people came by in fits and starts, but overall, attendance was up over last time as were sales. Thanks to all of you came.

Shraga brought a large selection of wines including two dry Chardonnays (one organic and one not) that were perfect for the hot weather. There was also a semi-dry Chardonnay, which is something you don’t come across very often, and even a desert Chardonnay.

In the reds department were Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals, and a Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot – Cabernet Franc – Petit Verdot blend that I particularly liked.

To round things out Shraga had two liqueurs: Blackberry and Sour Cherry. While the former is very good, the latter is exceptional; the sourness of the cherries comes through and it’s not too sweet as are most cherry liqueurs (IMHO).

If you didn’t make it to the tasting I strongly recommend a visit to the winery. In addition to the wines, Shraga and his wife run a dairy and fish restaurant there, and I’m told it’s quite good indeed. Dina and I plan to go with friends sometime during August.

In the Swedish baked goods department, Dina sold out of breads halfway through the event leaving some folks disappointed. Last time Dina had leftovers that ended up in the freezer. While we happily ate them at home, they can’t be sold as fresh after freezing, so Dina baked fewer loaves this time. Murphy, of course, stepped in and sent lots of bread customers this time, resulting in the aforementioned early sellout. Not to worry, there will definitely be more next time, and Dina happily takes orders too. Visit Dina’s blog for more information. For some reason the cookies didn’t sell so well this time. Go figure.

Looking forward, I have already made contact with the next winery I’d like to host for a tasting in Har Adar. It’s too early to divulge who it will be, but if it works out as I’d like, this will be a very special treat indeed.

Till next time …


Wine Festival at the Israel Museum

Here’s the gang at the wine festival last Thursday night (July 17th). The picture was taken by an obliging passer-by towards the end of the evening, so we’d all already tasted more than a few wines and were in great spirits.

From left to right, starting in back, are Steve, my very best friend (except for my wife Dina who’s in front with the big grin) who’s visiting from the States, Avi Yehuda, owner and winemaker of the Yehuda Winery, Shlomi Zadok, owner and winemaker of the Ben-Hanna Winery, and yours truly. Filling out the crew are Dina and her friend Francoise.

The white wine offerings this year were plentiful and delightful. Lots of unoaked and lightly oaked Chardonnays, perfect for the weather this time of year. Also some very pleasant Viogniers, rosés, and blends. Avi Yehuda planned to stick with only whites and rosés all evening, but after an hour or so he started slipping and sampled a red here and there.

As much as I enjoy wine I am not proficient in describing what I have tasted, so I will leave that task to those more accomplished. Also I’m having some trouble reading the notes that I did scribble down. I will say that most of the wines I tasted at the festival were good to very good and some were quite excellent, though there were several I didn’t care for at all. Here’s the short list of the wines I most enjoyed (in no particular order):

  • Tzuba Sangiovese 2006 – light and just right for the warm weather
  • Psagot Viognier – light, crisp, and delightful
  • Tishbi Chardonnay Estate 2007
  • Avidan Shiraz Reserve 2005
  • Saslove Shiraz Cabernet 2005
  • Galil Mountain Pinot Noir 2006 – my favorite Israeli Pinot Noir so far
  • Yatir Sauvignin Blanc 2007
  • Teperberg Terra Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (+ 5% Cabernet Franc) 2006
  • Yarden Syrah 2003
  • Recanati Merlot Reserve 2004

After having read such wonderful reviews of the Yatir Shiraz, I was disappointed that there was none for tasting at their table.

Towards the end of the evening we met some lovely folks who were part of a group from California and we exhange tasting notes and recommendations.

Needless to say we had a marvelous time. Luckily for me, Dina agreed to drive us home.

For those of you who missed this event, I stringly recommend that you try to make it next year, but don’t go on the last night as we did. It was a mob scene, so next year we’ll try to go on the middle day.

Our First Tasting Event – Ben Hanna Winery

Our first wine tasting was held on June 6th and we hosted Shlomi Zadok, owner and winemaker of the Ben-Hanna winery. Attendance was about 30 people, which was less than I hoped for but more than I expected.

Many of those who came were special friends of ours or Shlomi’s, making the day something of a social event.

Shlomi brought his Shalem 2005 and Mediterraneo 2005 blends. These are both very good wines now and they promise to improve in the bottle over the next several years. These and the other Ben-Hanna wines are described on the winery’s website at http://www.ben-hanna.com. You can also read Shlomi’s posting with his thoughts about the tasting at the website.

As a special treat, Shlomi brought a bottle of his very first wine, vinted in 2002 and appropriately dubbed Breisheet. This is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes grown in the S’de Boker region of the Negev highlands. The wine was pleasant when opened and it improved throughout the day, reaching it’s peak about two hours after opening, at which point it was extraordinary. I’m no good at describing the flavors in wine, but suffice it to say I’d pay a pretty penny for this wine if there was any left to buy. To my extreme good fortune, Shlomi left me one of the very last bottles of the Breisheet along with several other assorted bottles as a thank you for hosting the event.

Along with the wine were tastings of my wife Dina’s unique Swedish cookies and breads. Shlomi claimed that he devoured half of those tastings, and I tend to believe him.

Both Shlomi and Dina sold respectable quantities of their respective offerings, and everyone went home happy.

For a first time event I consider this to have been an unqualified success, and Dina & I look forward to the next one. Check back regularly to see what we have in store, or drop me a line at ydwine1@gmail.com and I’ll put you on my mailing list.


Map and Directions to Har Adar Wine Tastings


Here’s a map so you can find your way to our wine tastings. It’s easier than it looks.

Take the Jerusalem – Tel Aviv highway to the Hemed exit and get off. Drive through Abu Gosh passing two traffic circles, and make the first right after the second circle. It’s about 2.2 km from the first circle till the turn.

Drive up the hill about 3 km till you reach the gate of Har Adar. Continue past the first traffic circle and turn left at the second one. Our house is about 800 meters on the right. The address is 52 Nof Harim and it’s the second house on the right after the intersection with Hakramim St. The house is below street level. Go through the gate and down all the steps to ground level. If you get lost, call us at (077) 352-2544.

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