Boutique Wine Festival at Azrieli Tel-Aviv
Reading the paper in the train on the way to work a couple of days ago, I saw this ad for a boutique wines festival being held this week at the Azrieli shopping center in Tel-Aviv. So I left work a bit early and hopped back on the train to go have a look.
When I arrived I found tables displaying quite a number of Israeli (and a few imported) wines as well as a few Israeli boutique beers, staffed by representatives of the Israel Wine Center. It turns out that this was more of a sales event sponsored by the Israel Wine Center than a serious wine festival, but even so it was a good opportunity for shoppers who don’t generally attend wine events to sample a broad range of Israeli wines, along with a few kosher imports.
All the tables had small disposable cups for tastings, but there was a central table with a few real glasses available, and I managed to nab one.
Some of the wines, such as those from the Dahdah, Lueria, and Eyal wineries are not often available for tastings except at the wineries or at major wine festivals, so this was a good chance to try them. Also represented were (in no particular order): Tishbi, Golan Heights, Netofa, Psagot, Odem Mountain, Ruth, Or Haganuz, 1848, Arza, Dalton, Tulip, Gush Etzion, Kadesh Barnea, Tura, and Tavor, and possibly a few others that I missed. Imports included Baron Herzog, Bartenura, Sito, and a few others. The beers I saw were Jem’s and Malka.
So, of what I tasted, here’s what I liked the best:
* Har Odem Volcanic Shiraz 2010 – Medium body with tantalizing flavors of slightly sourish red fruits
* Dahdah Malbec Barbera 2011 – Probably one of the best Malbec blends in the country
* Tel Arza Malbec 2010 – Light, balanced, and extremely approachable, though not much finish – good value for money
* Ruth Casual 2012 – Just a pleasant well balanced blend that goes with almost anything
* Dalton Alma Red 2010 – This is Dalton’s wildly successful blend of Cabernet, Morvedre, and Viognier – just a delight to drink
Of the beers I rather liked Malka’s Pale Ale and their Stout. The Wheat Beer was just too sweet for me.
In addition to the liquid enticements were also a couple of cheese tables from the Man Ha’adama deli. I tasted and bought some excellent cheeses including something called Camemzola (Camembert wih a vein of Gorgonzola – what could be bad?), a marvelous Parmesan, and a very fresh tasting St. Mor (just the way I like it).
Prices of everything were high, as one would expect in such a setting, but there were deals of 3 + 1 for the wines that brought them down to a more reasonable level.
As I mentioned, this wasn’t really a wine festival as there were no representatives of the wineries present, and the staff didn’t know much more about the wines than what was printed on the labels, but I enjoyed it and got to taste some wines that I hadn’t tried before.
The festival continues through Thursday February 27th, and runs every day until 22:00. There’s no charge for the tastings which makes this “Festival” a very good deal indeed.