Yossi’s Wine Page

Reuven Winery – First Visit

This posting is soooo late; my day job is interfering with my avocation 😦 . My apologies to Ayala & Eilat.

During Hol Hamoed Sukkot I finally visited the Reuven Winery located in Givat Ada. Considering that the winery is just a few kilometers from home, this visit was long overdue.

In recent years many grape growers in the Zikron Ya’akov – Binyamina region have established their own boutique wineries. With control over almost everything but the weather, these growers can select the best grapes for their own use, giving them a leg up over others who must buy grapes. The Reuven Winery is a perfect example of this trend.

After making small quantities of wine for personal use and to share with friends, and with the encouragement of his wife Ayala, vintner Eilat Ben Moshe took a wine making course, and in 2006 the two of them opened the Reuven Winery.

Reuven is an estate winery with some 45 dunam of vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Petit Verdot, and Muscat) that were planted by Eilat’s father, after whom the winery is named. Most of the grapes are sold to the Carmel winery, with about 3,000 bottles worth of hand picked grapes reserved for their own wines.

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When I arrived at the winery I was greeted by Ayala and Eilat in the winery’s cozy and inviting visitor’s center, conveniently located between their house and the vineyards. Though small, the visitor’s center can accommodate about 50 people and is quite popular for intimate gatherings.

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As we chatted, Eilat & Ayala mentioned some recent visits to the winery by small groups of army and post-army age girls who have taken a serious interest in local wines. They find this very heartwarming and I must agree. Exploring Israeli wines is a fun adventure, and meeting the people behind the wine adds a dimension you can never get at a wine shop, and certainly not at a supermarket. I have also noticed that those who appreciate the wine are less likely to drink to excess. After all, it’s hard to appreciate the nuances of the wines when you’re wasted.

I was then offered three wines to taste, starting with a 2010 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This was an enjoyable medium bodied Cabernet that would compliment many dishes quite nicely.

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In stark contrast was the 2007 Cabernet Special Reserve made from grapes harvested at a yield of just 400 kg/dunam. Low yield generally intensifies the flavors, and that was certainly the case here. Even so, the full body of this wine was not overpowering, making it quite pleasant to drink even on its own. Eilat makes Special Reserve only when the grapes are exceptional, and even then only in small quantities, so if you’re interested I recommend a visit to the winery soon.

The last tasting was a young 2012 Carignan with 5% Petite Verdot (there was not enough Carignan for topping), oak aged for 12 months. With a beautiful ruby color, the Carignan was my personal favorite of the day, with delightful but subdued fruitiness and lovely balance despite its youth. But then again, I’m rather partial to Carignan (and Petite Verdot) so I might not be entirely objective.

As chance would have it I was invited to a 70th birthday celebration of a friend named Reuven that very evening, so of course I had to take a bottle for him. After all, how often can you bring someone a wine with their name on it? Ayala & Eilat were extremely gracious and refused to let me pay for it. I did, however, also buy a bottle of the Carignan that I enjoyed so much.

Reuven wines are reasonably priced and available only at the winery, which is open for visits on weekends (Fridays & Saturdays), and sometimes during the week. As with all of the smaller wineries, make sure to call in advance to coordinate your visit. The winery is easy to find, located at the entrance to Givat Ada, and there are clear signs. For the exact location have a look at my wineries map.

The Reuven Winery will be participating in the upcoming Festival of Wines and Plenty to be held at the Ramat Hanadiv Gardens on April 9th & 10th. If you don’t have a chance to visit the winery make sure to try some Reuven wines at the festival and meet the winemaker. More information about the festival is available at the festival’s website and Facebook page, and on my soon-to-be-published blog posting. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a friendly place to have an intimate gathering, consider the Reuven winery. You won’t be disappointed.

Many thanks to Ayala and Eilat for a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

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