This month the #WinePW crowd headed to the Middle East for our wine and food pairings. Our host Wendy Klik posted this preview on her blog. I was excited to have a chance to write about some Israeli wines I tried earlier this year as part of a tasting held by Tali Dalhaba with a group called the Judean Hills Quartet for a group I am part of, Les Dames d’Escoffier.
I know a few things about Israeli wines but this was a part of the country I was unfamiliar with although one of the wineries in the group is a very well known winery, Domaine du Castel. I had tasted a number of their wines in the past, all made form Bordeaux varieties but I knew nothing really of the family or what a pioneer their Patriarch had been in founding not only the winery but this area of winemaking in Israel. As their website notes, wine has been made in this area for centuries and is even mentioned in the Bible. The winery while large is still a family firm with the second generation largely running operations today. During our tasting we tried a small sample of their rose which was made from Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. I also had no idea how far up the vineyards were in this part of the country. Domaine du Castel has vineyards at 750 meters above sea level.
A second winery in the group is called Tzora Vineyards – Judean Hills, Israel . Israel’s first Master of Wine, Eran Pick has been working with the winery since 2006. The winery makes a host of white and red wines and has some experimental vineyards. It was founded by Ronnie James. Today his son, Dor is part of the team running the winery. I was intrigued by the shape of their vineyards. Everything seems so clipped and manicured.
The third winery was called Sphera. They plant white grapes and make only white wines. It is a family team, Doron Rav Hon and Sima Rav Hon. Doron is the winemaker and came to wine after studying in Burgundy and then in Champagne. Sima cures the brand and operations. We tried a sample of the Chardonnay which was both modern and traditional in style which is interesting because of where Doron learned his craft.
The four winery in the quartet is Flam. The winery has a long history and it’s founder, Israel Flam, is said to be among the founders of Israel’s modern winemaking tradition. Today it is run by his sons, Golan and Gilad, who bring different skills to the table and they are joined by their Mother and sister, Kami and Gefen. Their vineyards are located in both the Upper Galilee and in the Judean Hills.
It was great fun to taste through these wines, learn about the families behind them and think about how ancient this terroir is although modern Israel winemaking is more recent than one might expect.
As this is a wine and food pairing event, I thought of making Tabbouleh. I found a recipe from Ina Garten on the Foodnetwork. It was delicious and would have worked great with the rose and the white. The reds were more structured by not overpowering.
I ran out of scallions so I substituted with red onion. Easy to make and delicious my only dismay was that it said it serves 8 people in this quantity. I could have finished this whole dish by myself. I loved visiting the Middle East this month. I hope to cover wines from other areas as well. I’ve written some other posts about Israeli wines here and here during the past year but not from other countries. I have a lot to discover or in some cases, catch up on.
Our group will be meeting up on Saturday morning, May 8th, at 11 AM ET on Twitter to chat about our findings. We would love to have you join us. You will find us by following #WinePW. Here are the topics we will be discussing……
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles is Celebrating Sauvignon Blanc Day at the table with St. Supéry and easy Middle Eastern Dishes
- Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairing is Drinking Serious Wine from Israel’s Domaine du Castel and Eating Causal Israeli Food
- Nicole of Somm’s Table is “Indulging My Lebanese Cravings with Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge”
- Susannah of Avvinare shares Israeli Wine From the Judean Hills and Tabbouleh Salad
- Terri of Our Good Life talks about Kofte Kebabs and Ben Ami Cabernet Sauvignon: a BBQer’s Bliss.
- Andrea of The Quirky Cork visits Lebanon and Syria, a Crossroads of Wines and Flavors
- Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing Man’oushe + Château Musar Lebanon Jeune Red 2017
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm made up a Mezze Platter with Middle Eastern Wines
- Jane of Always Ravenous is “Pairing Middle Eastern Flavors with Wine”
- David of Cooking Chat is serving Sesame Free Hummus with Wine from the Middle East
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator shares So Africa’s Organic Reyneke Chenin Blanc and Syrah Paired with Middle Eastern Lamb Shanks