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Your behind-the-scenes look into Israeli Wine Direct and the re-emerging Israeli wine scene!

Anastasia Bulay
 
May 20, 2024 | Anastasia Bulay

Kishor Winery: Where Wine Meets Inclusion and Empowerment

Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Upper Western Galilee, Kishor Winery transcends the ordinary vineyard experience. Founded in 2010 within Kfar Kishorit, a village for people with special needs, Kishor offers a unique tapestry woven with delicious Kosher wines, a rich history, and a deeply inspiring mission.

Echoes of a Forgotten Legacy

The land upon which Kishor Winery stands whispers tales of a bygone era steeped in winemaking. Standing proudly amidst the vines are ancient winepresses, unearthed testaments to a thriving industry that flourished over a thousand years ago. Imagine a magnificent wine route snaking through these very mountains around 1000 AD, dotted with vineyards and bustling with activity. Sadly, with the departure of the Crusaders and the Islamic conquest, the vineyards disappeared, leaving the land silent for centuries. Not a single vine graced these slopes for over a thousand years.

But today, the Galilee became the Tuscany of Israel. It is the most beautiful wine region of the country, with mountains, plunging valleys, stony ridges, running streams and thick forests. In the summer of 2007, a remarkable decision breathed new life into the land around Kfar Kishorit. Inspired by this unearthed legacy and a desire to empower their village members, the residents of Kfar Kishorit made a bold choice: to revive the age-old tradition of winemaking. Led by Richard Davis, the Professions Manager, and Itay Lahat, the Oenologist and Wine Expert, the team planted their first grapevines in 2007 and had their first harvest in 2010.

For such young vineyards, the quality of the grapes is extraordinary. This is no doubt a result of the expertise of Mr. Davis and Mr. Lahat, the dedicated work of all the Kishor employees, but also of the particular terroir of the Western Galilee, which contributes significantly to the grapes' excellence.

More Than Just Grapes: Cultivating Purpose

Today, Kishor boasts over 60 acres of meticulously cared-for vineyards. But what truly sets them apart is the deep and meaningful involvement of the village members in the entire winemaking process. From the meticulous pruning of the vines to the critical harvest at the perfect moment, and all the way to bottling and labeling the finished product, Kishorit residents are active partners in bringing Kishor wines to life.

This involvement fosters a profound sense of belonging and purpose, while also providing valuable skill development opportunities. It transcends the act of winemaking, becoming a bridge that breaks down barriers and fosters understanding. Visitors from around the world are drawn to this unique connection, creating a beautiful tapestry of inclusion and empowerment.

A Perfect Terroir for Exceptional Wines

The vineyards bask in the unique climate of the Galilee, experiencing dramatic temperature shifts between day and night. This diurnal rhythm, coupled with the characteristically rocky terrain, creates the perfect environment for slow and even grape ripening. Imagine cool nights preserving the grapes' natural acidity, while warm days coax forth intense flavors and sugars. This slow maturation process allows the grapes to develop a depth of flavor and complexity that translates beautifully into the finished wines.

The Terra Rosa soil, rich in limestone deposits, provides the perfect mineral composition for flourishing grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Riesling. This diverse selection thrives in the Kishor vineyards, permitting the crafting of exceptional blended wines alongside single-varietal expressions like their award-winning Viognier. Each bottle is a testament to the dedication and skill that goes into Kishor's winemaking process.

Flagship Wine

Unveiling one of the winery's most celebrated offerings, the Kishor Viognier, is a revelation for the senses. It’s an exceptionally well-balanced pale-gold wine, boasting a luxuriously rich texture with a touch of buttery roundness. It’s a symphony of white peach, orange blossom, and a touch of ginger on the nose, and flavors of melon, pear, and honeyed orange peel mingle together, accented by a touch of citrus on the palate. Light notes of vanilla and cream add a layer of complexity, while a whisper of herbal and mineral character lends elegance to the overall profile. The finish is exceptionally smooth, lingering pleasantly and leaving you wanting more.

This medium-bodied Viognier is not simply a delightful solo experience. Alive with crisp, vibrant acidity, it pairs beautifully with roast chicken or poached salmon, allowing the flavors to complement each other perfectly. Creamy and buttery cheeses and freshly baked bread find an equally delightful companion in Kishor Viognier. A true crowd-pleaser, this wine is sure to impress all wine drinkers, from novices discovering the world of Viognier to connoisseurs seeking a truly exceptional expression of the grape.

A Diverse Selection for Discerning Palates

Beyond Viognier, Kishor Winery offers a diverse selection of wines to tantalize your taste buds:

One of the finest Kosher Rosés you'll ever encounter!
Kishor's GSM blend, a harmonious marriage of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, that boasts intense fruitiness with a hint of spice.
Kishor Tefen Red, a Bordeaux-style blend that features earthy, green, and smoky-meaty notes.
Refreshing and delightful Rieslings.
And much more!

Time Posted: May 20, 2024 at 10:34 AM Permalink to Kishor Winery: Where Wine Meets Inclusion and Empowerment Permalink
Anastasia Bulay
 
May 3, 2024 | Anastasia Bulay

Orange Wine: Your New Wine Adventure

Orange wine has become a rising star in the world of wine, offering a captivating adventure for curious palates. But what exactly is it, and why is it suddenly all the rage?

Orange is somewhat akin to rosé, but sits within its own category. One way to understand it is as a "rosé inversion." Typically, rosé is crafted from red grapes with minimal skin contact, giving it a light pink hue. In contrast, orange wine uses white grapes, but the skins are left in the juice during fermentation, similar to red winemaking techniques. This extended skin contact is what gives orange wine its distinctive color and flavor profile.



Orange wines boast incredible diversity, making them a captivating adventure for the taste buds. Unlike standardized white, red, and rosé production, orange wine is currently experiencing a period of unmatched flexibility in crafting. Any white wine grape varietal could be used. The length of skin contact determines the spectrum, with orange wines ranging from light and refreshing to bold, rich, and complex, mirrored in their captivating colors that span golden-orange to deep amber and copper. With all sorts of styles and flavors to explore, wine lovers of all palates can find a perfect orange wine for themselves.

Orange wine's complexity goes beyond color. The flavor profile is remarkably diverse, ranging from refreshingly floral, fruity, and citrusy styles to more complex expressions. With their nuanced profiles, these wines offer a surprising array of aromas, including tropical fruits, orange zest, ripe sweet apples, honey, hazelnuts, juniper, green tea, and herbaceous hints. This rich tapestry of flavors makes a single, definitive description challenging. Orange wines are so versatile that even if you dislike one, you might just fall in love with another.



Being neither white nor red wines, orange wines excel at food pairings. They are bold enough for beef, but their delicate notes complement fish beautifully. Often dry with a touch of tannin and a full mouthfeel, they pair perfectly with Indian curry or spicy Moroccan cuisine. The vibrant acidity in orange wine cuts through the richness of fermented ingredients found in Korean and Japanese dishes. Truly a culinary chameleon, orange wine tackles strong-flavored dishes that can pose a challenge for other wines.

Orange wine's rise in popularity isn't just about its unique taste. The very fact that it's crafted from diverse grape varietals and boasts a unique character sparks conversation. Orange wine drinkers tend to be a curious bunch – inquisitive enthusiasts eager to learn. Ordering a glass becomes an invitation to explore, prompting your server's questions about your preferences and opening a gateway to a deeper understanding of the wine world. One could even say orange wine is the most social of beverages within the wine world.



Orange wine's recent interest might make it seem like a new invention, but surprise! The techniques behind these intriguing wines stretch back an incredible 6,000 years, originating in what is now the country of Georgia. After all, Georgia and the Caucasus region proudly claim the title of birthplace of wine and winemaking.* Orange wines, therefore, offer a unique window into ancient winemaking. 

Georgian winemakers used massive clay vessels called qvevri, buried underground for natural temperature control. This slow fermentation process, a cornerstone of Georgian winemaking to this day, imbues orange wines with their distinctive character. The grape of choice in Georgia is Rkatsiteli, an indigenous varietal renowned for producing wines with a deep, reddish-orange hue. Though internationally known as "orange wine," Georgians, the originators of this style, refer to it as "amber wine." Order it by this name next time for a touch of connoisseur cred!

So these days we’re just re-inventing the great things of the past. Along with Georgia, today’s leaders in producing orange wines are Italy and Slovenia. This style has created a splash worldwide and is now found in many regions. In France, the Jura region boasts some well-regarded orange varieties. The New World has embraced the trend as well, with experimentation flourishing in Australia, Chile, California, and beyond.

Speaking of ancient traditions, Israel, a land steeped in wine history, is also exploring the world of orange wines. While Israeli orange wines are still a rarity in the U.S., a recent arrival, Ramat Negev Orange, offers a promising example. Hailing directly from the sun-drenched Negev desert, this harmonious blend of Pinot Gris and Semillon grapes yields a wine boasting a sunny orange hue, mirroring its desert birthplace. It's definitely worth trying!

It turns out our current favorite is actually nothing new under the sun. The enduring human quest for delicious discoveries has been going on for millennia and shows no signs of stopping. So why not join this exciting journey?

 

* https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/you-say-orange-wines-the-georgians-say-amber-heres-what-they-all-have-in-common/2018/10/05/9a707aae-c805-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html

Time Posted: May 3, 2024 at 8:46 AM Permalink to Orange Wine: Your New Wine Adventure Permalink
Anastasia Bulay
 
April 22, 2024 | Anastasia Bulay

What is Kosher and Kosher for Passover Wine?


Wine boasts a rich history within Judaism, with archaeological evidence throughout Israel confirming its production thousands of years ago. Kosher wine is a product deeply rooted in tradition and spirituality. Jewish law dictates specific requirements for wine used in religious ceremonies. To be considered Kosher, the wine must follow kashrut, a set of Jewish dietary laws. This ensures its ritual purity and involves observant Jews overseeing every step of production, from crushing the grapes to final bottling.

Don't be misled by the term "Kosher wine” – it can be just as delicious and varied as any other type of wine. Made from a range of grapes, Kosher wines come in all the familiar styles: red, white, rosé, dry, sweet – you name it. The winemaking process itself, from fermentation to aging, is also identical to non-Kosher wines. So, what makes a wine Kosher? It simply means it adheres to a set of religious regulations. The focus on quality remains the same – the grapes, the climate, the soil, the sunshine, and the expertise of the winemaker are all paramount. In fact, many Kosher wines produced today are considered premium, offering deeply pleasurable experiences for your palate.

A small percentage of Kosher wines undergo a heating process called 'mevushal,' meaning "cooked" in Hebrew. This allows anyone, not only observant Jews, to handle an opened bottle without affecting its Kosher status. In the past, mevushal wines were indeed boiled, sacrificing flavor. Today, a gentler flash-pasteurization method heats the wine to 175°F and rapidly cools it to 60°F, minimizing the impact on taste.

To qualify as Kosher for Passover, wine must meet stricter requirements than regular Kosher wine. Since Passover forbids the presence of hametz (leavened grain products), Kosher-for-Passover wines must come from facilities entirely free of bread, dough, grains, and leavening agents. This extends to the clarification process, where the specific mold used cannot have been grown on grain. Sugar or fruit-based mold are acceptable alternatives. While this may seem like a more intricate production process, it doesn't affect the final taste of the wine. In Israel, many Kosher wines hail from small, boutique wineries. They often embrace sustainable practices, using organically grown grapes and crafting their wines with meticulous attention to both Kosher standards and exceptional quality.


This week, as we celebrate Passover, no Seder dinner is complete without wine. The Seder wine carries great significance, symbolizing the Jewish people's journey from slavery to freedom. The four cups of wine, consumed throughout the ceremony, are steeped in layers of meaning. 

The most prominent meaning connects each cup to a stage in the Israelites' liberation from Egyptian slavery, as recounted in the Exodus story. But the symbolism goes deeper. Another interpretation links the four cups to the four holy mothers: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. Their strength and resilience are seen as foundational to the Jewish people's very existence and, ultimately, their redemption.

Further interpretations connect the four cups to the four symbolic foods of the Seder plate: bitter herbs (maror) that represent the bitterness of slavery; charoset: a sweet mixture with nuts symbolic of the mortar used by the Israelites during their labor in Egypt; eggs, representing the circle of life and resilience; and matzah: unleavened bread, symbolizing the haste of the Israelites' escape from Egypt, when there was no time for bread to rise.

Finally, the four cups can also symbolically correspond to the natural elements: earth, air, fire, and water. This represents the idea that true liberation is achieved only when our lives are in harmony, signifying a wholeness and completeness. Enjoying a delicious (and Kosher!) wine can be seen as contributing to this sense of harmony!

Chag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover!

Naomi Hochberg
 
February 19, 2015 | Naomi Hochberg

Israeli Wine Tour Day 3: Kitron & Kishor

Day 3

 

We’re on to Day 3! So far, we have stayed in and around the Tel Aviv area.  Today, we travel north! As a special treat, our IWD Israeli Representative, Tamir Ronen, who is our eyes, ears and taste buds on the ground in Israel, joins us today!

 

Tamir lives in the Moshav Mei Ami, just across the road from the Arab city Umm Al-Fahm.  We pick up Tamir, have a quick cup of cappuccino (Israelis love their cappuccinos), and head to meet Meir Biton from Kitron Winery, at his home in the religious communal settlement Hoshaya.

 

The Kitron Winery is located in Netanya however they are currently building a new gravitational winery in the Lower Galilee.  A gravitational winery, or “gravity flow” is typically built on multiple tiers, each tier for a different phase in the winemaking. This allows the wine to flow naturally, which enables the wine to preserve as much color and flavor as possible, rather than pushing the wine with air and pumps.  Meir studied this kind of winemaking in Burgundy and in Sonoma and it will be the first and only one of its kind in Israel.

 

Image from: http://blog.winecollective.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/GravityFlowProcess.jpg

 

We took our leave of Meir and his lovely home and headed to a meeting we were all particularly excited for because it will be a new winery for Israeli Wine Direct to represent this coming spring!

 

That’s right, we are proud to announce the newest member to the IWD portfolio: Kishor Winery! We are thrilled to bring you these new and excellent wines NOT only because of their outstanding quality NOT only because they are kosher and will be our 2 first KOSHER white wines but because the people and the story of Kishor is remarkable and is one we are proud to be a part of.

 

Kishor winery is located in the Western Galilee, nestled within beautiful rolling hills, a part of the Kishorit community, a home for a adults with special needs.  Five of the members of Kishorit work permanently in the vineyards and winery, while more members come on to work during the heavy production season. All workers take part in every aspect of wine production, from grape cultivation and vineyard management to wine making, bottling, and marketing, and are managed by Richard Davis, a South African viticulturist and winemaker as well as Itay Lahat, oenologist and wine expert.

 

We arrived at the Visitor’s Center, a beautiful and modern building, recently finished, and were greeted by Richard Davis and Yair Una, head of marketing and sales, as well as Yaron Biran, a member of the community who works in the vineyard and winery.  Yaron brings us a selection of cheeses, breads and vegetables, all grown, made and baked in Kishorit. If you get a chance to visit this magical place you MUST try the food! Perhaps the best spread of our tour!

 

  

 

Keep in mind that the vineyards were only planted in 2007. They harvest their first grapes only in 2010 and the permanent winery was finished only in 2013 so this is a baby winery, in its toddler years, but the wines they make are far more mature than their age! First production yielded 9,000 bottles; by 2013 they had grown to making 34,000 bottles and are seeing a future of over 55,000 bottles so their growth is exponential!

 

To the wine! Their vineyards are terra rosa and limestone and the unique micro-climate of the region helps them grow grapes of excellent quality. Of the grapes they grow, 7 are red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre) and 3 are white (Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Riesling).  They have just started to bottle the Syrah and next year will begin with the Mourvedre and Grenache.

 

We will carry 4 of their wines: Kerem Kishor White (blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier), Savant Viogner (100% Viognier), Kerem Kishor Red and Savant Red (both blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot).

 

Now the moment you (and we) have all been waiting for: the tasting! The first we try is the Kishor White 2013. It is a dry wine, well balanced, expertly made; drinkable, highly enjoyable.

 

Next we try their Riesling, which we don’t carry as of yet. We tasted the 2012, which was one of the last bottles from that vintage, but Richard remarked that with each year, their Rieslings are getting better and better. What we tried was still a very good Riesling. It was sweet and fruity with a nice dry finish that kept the wine from being too sugary. It had a slight petrol odor to it which sounds much more unpleasant than it actually was. The wine was excellent! Could easily last another 10+ years.

 

Richard indulged us next with trying their Rose. Made from 100% Merlot grapes, which are grown specifically for making this rose, it had a beautifully salmon-orange tinge to it.  The wine is crisp with a good acidity and a refreshing bouquet, a result of early picking. 

 

Next, we moved on to the reds with the Kerem Kishor Red; a dry medium-light bodied wine with a smooth, long finish that isn’t tannic. It is a wine that can be easily had now but will age well over the next 5-8 years.

 

Lastly, we tried the Savant Red, a similar blend to the Kerem Kishor Red, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it has a greater, almost entirely quantity of Cabernet Franc. As such, it is light and peppery with a hint of raspberries. It will be a wine that shall be greatly enjoyed by our customers, it’s that good!

 

After chatting for over three hours with Richard and Yair, we took our leave, elated to have tried these outstanding wines and to have met these impressive people.  And excited to be bringing these wines here to the States; we hope you are, too!

 

 

 

Time Posted: Feb 19, 2015 at 6:09 AM Permalink to Israeli Wine Tour Day 3: Kitron & Kishor Permalink
Naomi Hochberg
 
February 17, 2015 | Naomi Hochberg

Israeli Wine Tour Day 2: Midbar

Day 2

 

The first day was a fantastic start to our trip! Unfortunately, the weather on the 2nd day put a bit of a damper but our meeting with Midbar owners Itzhak and Shelly Wolf more than made up for the unusually cold and wet Israeli winter.

 

We met at their beautiful apartment in Kikar Hamedina, the largest plaza in Tel Aviv with chic stores and quaint cafes.  Originally, we were going to travel south to the winery in Arad to see them and vine grower, Eran Raz, but the weather prevented us from doing so. It is unfortunate because they had scheduled for that day a religious ceremony to make the winery kosher. That’s right, readers; Midbar Winery will now be producing KOSHER wines! More on that a little later but it is a very exciting announcement.

 

     

 

As always with winemakers, wine importers and wine lovers alike, when you have a meeting, you must have some wine; and maybe a little something to eat, too.  We started right off with their 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, which we have never tried before. It was crisp and fruity, with a pale yellow, almost greenish color. Not as tart as the Pelter Unoaked Chardonnay that we already carry, but just as refreshing.  Our customers in the States have always enjoyed the white wines we import from Israel so the hunt to find new and delicious white wines is always on! 

 

Next we tried the Viognier; we carry the Midbar White 44 and have sold out of the Southern White, which both contain this special grape, but what we tasted was a 100% Viognier, and we loved it. It was floral and buttery, rich and full bodied yet still dry, so golden in color one would almost think it’s a sweet wine, like a Sauterne. The Viognier impressed us, the Midbar blends are all enjoyable but the single varietal wines, which Itzhak explains, he only uses the best grapes for, are truly spectacular.  When you realized that the winery is still young, the quality becomes even more impressive and the promise of what to come makes it all the more exciting and enjoyable!

 

Since the rain hadn’t abated yet and it was our only meeting for the day, we indulged in a few more samples of wine, moving on to the reds. The first one was the Red 55, which we unfortunately don’t carry, but was remarkable. Asking Itzhak why they chose “55” in the name, he answered that they were looking to create a memorable number with no particular meaning, perhaps only a mystique, like Heinz 57.  Back to the 55, it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  The wine is smooth and subtle, with a light finish. The Wolfs don’t like tannin in their wine and that cannot be anymore evident than in the 55. It has a deep garnet color and the bouquet is heady with perfume.

 

Our last wine was the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon 800, which we do carry, but the 2012 vintage. According to Itzhak, this is exactly the wine that defines Midbar Winery, “for the good and the bad, its exactly a desert wine”.  If you tasted the wine, you already know its quality. If you haven’t had it yet, do! It tastes of blackberries and pine with a soft, earthy finish.

 

   

 

The conversation moves to Midbar’s becoming Kosher and what that has meant for the winery. To put it simply, it was done to increase sales, once a winery grows to a certain size in Israel, it makes no sense not to go Kosher. Many people ask if that will have an effect on the quality… it will not! By becoming Kosher, the winery simply needs to be overseen by a Mashgiach, or a religious supervisor. It sounds perhaps a bit less complicated than it really is; but basically once the grapes are harvested, the entire wine production up to shipment, basically, needs to be run by these religious men in order to guarantee Kashrut.  The wine maker, Meital Damry, even Itzhak and Shelly, the company’s owners, can’t taste their wine in the barrels, unless the Mashgiach is there to serve it to them! It’s a complicated process for an ancient belief but rest assured, the wine will remain as great as it ever was and with the coming years and the growing experience of those working at Midbar, it will probably get better!

Time Posted: Feb 17, 2015 at 10:51 AM Permalink to Israeli Wine Tour Day 2: Midbar Permalink
Naomi Hochberg
 
February 9, 2015 | Naomi Hochberg

Israeli Wine Tour Day 1: Margalit & Somek

Day 1

 

We landed in Israel and immediately hit the ground running. The morning after we arrived, we had a meeting with Margalit Winery.  Still groggy from jetlag, we started our trip with a brief tour of the winery with winemaker Asaf Margalit. 

 

          

Margalit Winery and barrel rooms

He showed us their beautiful barrel room before taking us upstairs to a cozy tasting room.  We started talk about Margalit wines, one of the biggest cult wineries in Israel.  Shortly before opening the first bottle, we were joined by Yair, Asaf’s father, founder and master winemaker at Margalit. Yair could probably be the man credited with starting the boutique winery movement in Israel.  A chemist in training, he holds a PhD in physical chemistry, which brought him to California U.C. Davis as a visiting research professor. It was there that his love of wines was, for a better term, cultivated. That was thirty years ago. He went on to be Tishbi Winery’s first winemaker before founding Margalit Winery in 1989.  Aside from producing some of the best wines Israel has to offer, he has written not just one but two leading books in wine technology, chemistry and production.  If you want to read up more on Yair and his background, read this excellent article written last summer in the Jerusalem Post HERE.

 

Back to our tasting.  Never mind breakfast (although there was a beautiful spread of freshly cut vegetables, burekas, cheese and bread, lets have some fruit salad! Ok ok, by fruit salad, we mean wine. Who says we can’t mix business with pleasure?

Array of wines and food

We try the Merlot, which will be a new wine for us to carry this coming spring.  It is a perfect Merlot, full of those quintessential cherry, tobacco and chocolaty flavors. Beautifully balanced, easy tannin & rich, this will please all of our red wine-loving customers. 

 

Next we move on to the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Special Reserve, two of their signature wines. Many of our customers will already be familiar with the amazing quality of these wines. They are outstanding, perhaps the two wines that Margalit is best known for. 

 

We try a few more wines, a Petit Verdot that is an in house wine only. It has that characteristically grapey, vanilla and spice flavor one expects to find in Petit Verdot, albeit very tannic, which is why they decided not to put it on the market.

 

Lastly, we try an experiment of the winery, a rose! Now, we carry 3 roses from 3 different superb wineries and are always excited to try more. Sure, they may be considered the fluff of wine, but when it’s hot out, there’s nothing like opening a bottle of crisp rose. Yair explains that they have made a rose that they believe to be exactly what a rose should taste like.  We have to agree; it is very good. Crisp! That’s definitely the first word. It was approaching the end of fermentation so there was a slight carbonation to the wine, which made it no less enjoyable. It was fresh, lively, and springy, with grassy and strawberry notes.  Will they put it on the market? Let’s hope so!

Arie Hochberg, IWD Principal and Asaf Margalit, Winemaker

We take our leave of the Margalits.  The weather appeared to be getting hazier, there was a storm forecasted, or maybe it was just the wine…

 

We have one more appointment scheduled for the day at Somek winery, with vintner and Zichron Yaakov native, owner of Somek Winery, Barak Dahan. In fact, Barak isn’t just a native, he is the fifth generation of his family to be living in Zichron Yaakov and the family has been tending the same vineyards all that time! In fact, the vineyard Barak still cultivates is the same land, albeit a bit more has been accumulated over the years, that Baron de Rothschild gave to his family over a century ago!

  

Backyard of Somek Winery

 

For those who know wine in Israel, the town may be familiar to you, because it came under the patronage of Baron de Rothschild in 1883, when he came to Israel to survey land for agriculture, particularly vineyards. He founded a winery in the Carmel Mountains and set up a bottling plant in Zichron Yaacov, the town was renamed in memory Rotheschild’s father, James (“Ya’acov) and in 1954, Baron de Rothschild’s remains were reinterred close to the town.

 

The Dahan family cultivated their land and sold the grapes to wineries for decades. Finally, ten years ago, Barak and his wife, Hila, decided to expand upon their knowledge and begin making their own wine. Hila then went on to study viticulture and oenology at the University of Adelaide, in Australia. A decade later, their winery has grown, along with their knowledge.

  

New barrels and wine presser; barrel room

We carry several labels by them, all of them fantastic, one of the most notable, perhaps, is their Carignan, a beautiful wine with a wonderful, round texture, firm tannins, and ripe fruits.  Another wine that is perhaps less popular, though no less delicious, is the Bikat Hanadiv. In Hebrew it means “blessings of the righteous man”, Barak’s and Hila’s praise of Rothschild.  It is a blended wine of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot and was so named because it is reminiscent of the famous Chateau Lafite.

Barak and Hila are have become very knowledgeable winemakers indeed, they are gaining recognition, and rightly so, for the wines they are producing. A year ago, the Jewish Daily Forward wrote a wonderful article, linked HERE, on the Dahans and their wines.  Currently, they are even expanding on what they know and are starting to make new wines, one of which, a chardonnay, we were very excited to try.  We sit in the newly built, lovely tasting room and sip the sample Barak has brought for us.  Like the rose from Margalit, it is still undergoing fermentation, so it also has slight carbonation that will eventually dissipate. The wine will be slightly oaked, to round out the burst of citrus, and will be just as superb as his other wines.

The day is getting a bit more precarious. The chickens in Barak’s coop seem to understand that there is a storm coming. Wintertime in Israel is no joke! As we leave the winery, the gusts of wind almost force us back inside.  Sad to go, Barak is so inviting and generous with his time and explanations, the conversation was endless and could have gone on longer, we take our leave, excited by all we have learned and tasted in the first day alone! What a successful start to our winery tour, the excitement would not let up, regardless of how much the weather tried to dampen it!

Arie Hochberg and Barak Dahan

 

   

Time Posted: Feb 9, 2015 at 8:22 AM Permalink to Israeli Wine Tour Day 1: Margalit & Somek Permalink
Zeev Smilansky
 
October 29, 2014 | Zeev Smilansky

Socialists, Philistines and Zionists: the story of Meishar Winery

Some people own vineyards or wineries because they were born into a winemaking family. Others buy vineyards and start wineries for their love of wine. Still others consider winemaking a profitable venture and pursue winemaking from a business point of view. For us in Meishar Winery, the story is different.


Meishar is a small village, about a 30 minute drive from either Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem, 15 minutes away from the Mediterranean coast and only a couple of miles from the small town of Gedera. 

Meishar is a moshav – a type of settlement where the community owns the land and leases it to families. Polish immigrants, mostly holocaust survivors, started Meishar in 1951. At the time, each family received from the government two cows, a few chickens, a donkey and cart and a simple 230 sq. ft. home to start their new life. In those years, this part of Israel was considered wild and remote; in winter, the dirt roads turned to mud, and in summer, the newly made farmers had to deal with scorching heat, thorns and poisonous snakes. In addition to the cows and chickens, the moshav planted a large, commonly owned, citrus orchard. At the time, citrus growing was the main Israeli export; much of the village soil was medium to heavy – just right for citrus. Three of the 60 family farms of Meishar had very sandy soil – too sandy for citrus. These few families received alternate plots to plant their citrus groves.

Nearly forty years later, in 1989, we came to Meishar. By then the country had made much progress, travel was fast and easy, and the number of inhabitants grew to over 7 million. Agriculture was playing a much smaller – an almost negligible part in the national economy, now based on high-tech and other advanced exports. Water was becoming scarcer while wages were growing higher. When we bought the farm in Meishar, the orange groves planted in the early 1950s were still gloriously green as far as the eye could see, but very soon they began to be cut down, until by 2005 they were all gone (today, as recycled water begins to flow in, citrus groves and avocado orchards are beginning to be replanted). The farm we bought was one of the three farms that were considered too sandy for citrus growing. Looking out from the house we bought and renovated (Mr. Klepeter, the previous owner, an architect from Vienna, enlarged it two times – in 1962 from 230 to 400 sq. ft, and in 1968 to 2200 sq ft, adding a large living room and a second floor; we kept the outer structure and re-did the interior) – we saw a plot of about 4 acres, that was probably never cultivated: not by the people of Meishar, since it was considered too sandy; certainly not by anyone before them, since there is no water here for intensive agriculture, except for a few months during the winter. Most probably, these fields were used for grazing by the sheep and goats of the Arabs and Bedouins who lived in nearby villages until 1948; possibly by the crusaders before them; by the Byzantines before them; and without doubt by the Philistines who lived exactly in this area in the famous days of David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah.

 

We stood on our new porch and looked at our new, sandy property and wondered what to do with it. Each of us had a full-time job – my wife a teacher, myself a high-tech engineer. We had two little children. Our hands were full, our bank account empty (after buying the farm and making the house habitable). But the land didn’t let us turn our back on it. As the bible says:  “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2, 15). So, even though we are not religious in the orthodox sense of the word, we felt, and still feel, compelled to work the land, with our own hands whenever possible, and take good care of it- and certainly not allow it to lay uncultivated, breeding weeds, thorns and snakes.

   

Our new piece of land in 1990, in winter (left) and summer (right). Note the old orange groves on the hill across.

There is an additional point. Labor, especially farm labor, and in particular manual labor, plays an important part in my family. My grandfather, Zeev Smilansky, after whom I am named (he died 10 years before I was born), was one of the first Zionists to arrive here, from what is today Ukraine, all of 18 years old, and carrying two books with him – the bible in the proverbial one hand and Tolstoy in the other, determined to create a new, healthy, just and moral Zionist society, a home for Jews who would work the land with their own hands and live by the sweat of their (own) brows. Indeed, he was, by choice, a manual laborer for most of his life, writing learned articles on economy and politics at night, in a tent, with a candle for light, after a hard day of plowing the fields with the mules. He was a member of the Gordonist movement of the “religion of labor”, calling for personal liberation through manual labor. Anyone who is interested can (and should) read about these times in “preliminaries”, the wonderful semi-fictionalized biography of my father and his parents.

My grandfather Zeev, grandmother Miriam, father Yizhar, aged 3, and his brother Israel, aged 9, in 1919.

So this is how we came to plant a vineyard and start a winery: we had about 4 acres of sandy land, unfit for oranges, which were never properly cultivated. And we felt that we had no choice but to plant and cultivate it. We also had a small hobby of making homemade wine. Some research showed that vineyards needed much less water than oranges – about 150 cubic meters per dunam (1000 sq meters) vs. 850 for oranges; That vines are very sturdy; that they are grafted, so you can select the rootstock according to the soil type, and the scion according to the grape type – cabernet, merlot, shiraz etc. Thus, in 1992, we planted the first plot of Cabernet, with “saltcreek” rootstock that is most fit for sandy soils. Our unique sandy soil allows the roots of our vines to be 30 feet deep that most years require no irrigation thus producing small quantities of unique and very special tasting wines.

Israeli Wine Direct is our exclusive importer in the United States and is proud to offer you four of our top wines and in conjunction with this blog a 10% discount good through November 10th.

    

The vineyard in February                                                         My two sons - Ofer (left) and Shaul (right) in the vineyard.

 

Our wines – purchase at: http://www.israeliwinedirect.com/products/brand/Meishar

 Meishar #41 – 2008 - A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet with some Merlot, this well rounded wine has medium body, with strong aromas of ripe purple fruits and bright flowers with a hint of forest berries. In the mouth the Shiraz is strongly felt with layers upon layers of fruit with a hint of herbs and toasted nuts. Goes well with any accompaniment - beef, pasta, hearty soups, and cheese. Ready to drink but can keep until 2016.

 Meishar Merlot (2009) - Medium to dark ruby in the glass, aromas of green herbs and lush fruit with a hint of spices. In the mouth the wine opens to layers of red berries and stony minerals. Long finish. Excellent with spicy foods, light meats, spicy cheese and dark chocolate. Ready to drink but can improve until 2018.

 Meishar Vinyard 730 (2010) - The flagship of Meishar Winery, not made each year. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, medium to dark garnet in the glass, aromas of toasted spices, characteristic licorice and cedar aromas. In the mouth exceptional spices, red berries, pepper, and wet forest floor. Exceptionally powerful and balanced. Ready to drink now but will definitely mature well until 2020 at least.

 Meishar “Goliath” (2010) - A unique blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot, made only in exceptional vintages. Medium body and medium to dark garnet in the glass.  Aromas of black berries and smoky toasted spices give way to chocolate and tobacco. In the mouth spices, ripe purple fruit, pepper, rich spicy fruitcake and wet forest floor. Wonderfully balanced.  Ready to drink now but will mature well until 2025.

 

 

Time Posted: Oct 29, 2014 at 7:45 AM Permalink to Socialists, Philistines and Zionists: the story of Meishar Winery Permalink Comments for Socialists, Philistines and Zionists: the story of Meishar Winery Comments (6)
Naomi Hochberg
 
August 12, 2014 | Naomi Hochberg

Wine in Ancient Israel

Hello winos! We hope you have been having an amazing summer and drinking your fair share of wine to keep cool. This month, we’re kicking off a new series of blog posts, writing about the history of wine making in Israel. We are constantly asked about how long Israel has been producing wine and the answer may surprise you. Wine production in the Holy Land has been happening for over 5,000 years! That’s long before any Bordeaux was ever produced. In fact, the earliest wine pits were discovered in the Middle East and dated back to the Stone Age, around 8,000 BCE. Indeed, the Middle East was the center of wine production for over 2,000 years before the grape vine ever reached Europe; you can find evidence of its presence all throughout the Bible and in archeological digs all over Israel and the Middle East!       

One of Isarel's oldest winemakers, Carmel Winery's emblem depicts the Joshua and Caleb returning to Moses with a grapevine so large it took both of them to carry it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Starting with Noah and continuing on into the New Testament, wine is frequently mentioned in the Bible. It was used for religious, medicinal and social purposes and praised as a Godly gift that could be enjoyed or a dangerous intoxicant that could corrupt. The Old Testament records first viticulturist, Noah who, following the deluge, planted grapevines and tended to his vineyards. His relationship with wine, however, turned sour after a drunken night, but that is another story.

 

                         

Medieval manuscript depicting Noah in his vineyard and again, making wine.                      

 

In the Book of Kings it is written that King David, had so many vineyards and such a large wine cellar that he had 2 court officials to direct them, one to oversee the vineyards and the other to be in charge of his cellar; the first recorded sommelier!

 

In the New Testament Gospel, the Book of John, Jesus created proved his divinity with miracles involving wine, by turning the pitchers of water at a wedding into wine. In another gospel, the Book of Luke, Jesus recounts a story where thieves attacked a traveler on the road to Jericho. A Good Samaritan healed the traveler, pouring oil and wine, a remedy commonly used in biblical times, to clean his wounds.

 

      

 Detail of Wedding at Cana                                       The Good Samaritan 

by Paolo Veronese, 1571-72                                    by Unknown Netherlandish Master, 1537

 

The time of the Second Temple was when wine making was at its height however, after the Romans destroyed the Temple, the Jews dispersed and wine production in Israel stopped. During their time of success, however, the wine production flourished; its evidence can be found all throughout Israel in the excavation of its archaeological sites. Aside from oil, wine was the biggest agricultural industry in Ancient Israel. Wines made from the first harvest were the highest quality, later harvests were sweeter, while the last harvest included the skins and seeds were the lowest quality. Then, like today, grapes were picked at their ripest, towards the end of summer. The grapes were first treaded on by men or boys with bare feet, so as not to crush the seeds, which would make the wine bitter. The juice would be collected in a special treading floor that would lead to a collecting vat. The remaining skins were then squeezed in a winepress located near the vineyard to preserve the freshness of the grapes.

 

Graphic of a winepress in Ancient Israel

 

From there, wild yeast was added and the juice was left to ferment for approximately three days. Once the fermentation stage was completed, the wine was strained and poured into amphorae to age. Older jars were preferred over newer ones, as they did not absorb as much of its contents. Amphorae were then sealed with stoppers, even cork, and were inscribed with the vintage, the grape, and the name of the winemaker, implying that the source of the wine was just as important in ancient times as they are today!

 

           

A Roman glass wine jug found in the Judean Moutains                  2nd Century Amphorae

100-200CE

http://baidun.com/a-roman-glass-jug-with-a-handle/

 

These discoveries are super interesting and very important and the best news is that they are happening even today! In 2013, archaeologist Eric Cline of the George Washington University and his colleagues from Tel Aviv University discovered a wine room in an ancient Canaanite palace in Kabri, Israel. The discovery was huge and will hopefully lead us to better understand the winemaking culture in ancient times! You can read more about the dig by following the link below!

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/11/21/246581682/ancient-wine-bar-giant-jugs-of-vino-unearthed-in-3-700-year-old-cellar

Time Posted: Aug 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM Permalink to Wine in Ancient Israel Permalink
Naomi Hochberg
 
June 19, 2014 | Naomi Hochberg

It's Time for a BBQ!

It’s Time for a BBQ!

 

We are getting ready to fire up our grill here at Israeli Wine Direct for our Independence Day festivities. Of course, a BBQ wouldn’t be complete for us without the perfect wine list, which we’ve carefully prepared to go along with our delicious food. For this posting, we’re going to talk about the wines that will pair perfectly with the menu for July 4th so get ready for fireworks, a dip in the pool, and of course, the perfect glass of wine!

 

Our first course will naturally be a salad, but we’re taking it to the next level by pairing it with a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Shvo Winery. This wine is rich in texture with the perfect balance of acidity to complement our salad. For this first course, we’ve chosen Bobby Flay’s Grilled Fennel and Orange Salad with Almonds and Mint. The warmth of the grilled fennel and richness of the almonds will mimic the wine’s smoothness while the orange and mint will bring in the zest with the wine’s acidity. This is an easy and delicious salad, a perfect way to kick off a fantastic BBQ!

                                                                                                                  

Ingredients

2 bulbs fennel, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 oranges, peeled and segmented, plus 1 orange, juiced and zested (only zest half of orange)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Directions

Heat grill to high. Brush the fennel with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until slightly charred and almost cooked through. Place fennel on a platter and scatter orange segments over the top. Whisk together the orange juice, zest, mustard, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad. Sprinkle with almonds and mint and serve.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-fennel-and-orange-salad-with-almonds-and-mint-recipe.html?oc=linkback

                                       

 

Our next wine is a unique Chardonnay. Many people shy away from this grape because they dislike the buttery oakiness of the wine. Our Pelter Chardonnay is unoaked and is thus missing all of the aforementioned flavors. What it has is flavors of bright tropical fruits, perfect to offset the smokiness of grilled mushrooms and brine of seafood. We’re pairing this wine with two dishes, Grilled Lobster Paella and Portobellos Stuffed with Corn and Mushrooms.

                                                                  

Grilled Lobster Paella

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 pound Spanish chorizo, sliced into 1/2"-thick rounds
6 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 finely chopped leeks, white and light-green parts only
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 1/2 cups short-grain rice (such as bomba, Valencia, or calasparra)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
7 cups hot seafood or chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1–1 1/4-pound lobsters, halved lengthwise, claws cracked
2 cups shelled peas or frozen peas
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 halved lemons

Directions

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill. Let burn down to red-hot coals; rake to edge of grill. (For backup, start a second round of coals in a charcoal chimney on pavement nearby.) Put a 16"–18" paella pan on grill grate; heat 1/2 cup olive oil. Add 3/4 lb. Spanish chorizo, sliced into 1/2"-thick rounds, and 6 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 finely chopped leeks, white and light-green parts only; cook until golden, 3–4 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 2 1/2 cups short-grain rice (such as bomba, Valencia, or calasparra); cook, stirring often, until rice is coated, 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads to 7 cups hot seafood or chicken stock. Add stock to pan and season to taste with kosher salt; stir to distribute ingredients. Let cook, undisturbed, until stock simmers and rice begins to absorb liquid, about 10 minutes. Rotate pan every 2–3 minutes to cook evenly.

Arrange 3 1-1 1/4-pound lobsters, halved lengthwise, claws cracked, over the rice. Continue cooking, rotating the pan often, as the rice swells and absorbs the stock. Add more coals from charcoal chimney to maintain even heat under the pan. Cook until the rice is almost tender and the lobster is cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Scatter 2 cups shelled peas or frozen peas, thawed, on top. (If the liquid evaporates before the rice is tender, add more hot stock.) Cook without stirring, allowing rice to absorb all of the liquid, so that a crust (the socarrat) develops on the bottom and the edges begin to dry out and get crusty, 5–10 minutes, for a total cooking time of about 40 minutes.

Remove pan from grill. Cover with large clean kitchen towels and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and serve with 3 halved lemons, making sure to scrape some of the socarrat from the bottom of the pan onto each plate.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Lobster-Paella-366437

                                                     

Portobellos Stuffed with Corn and Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons corn oil

10 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

5 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

8 5-inch-diameter portobello mushrooms

1 pound assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as oyster and stemmed shiitake), sliced

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

3/4 cup whipping cream

1 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese

Directions

Whisk 1 cup oil, garlic, vinegar, 3 teaspoons thyme, and 2 teaspoons oregano in medium bowl to blend. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/3 cup garlic-herb oil to small bowl; reserve.

Trim and thinly slice Portobello stems; set aside. Brush both sides of Portobello caps with remaining garlic-herb oil; place caps, rounded side down, on large rimmed baking sheet. Preheat broiler. Broil Portobello caps until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from broiler. Turn caps rounded side down. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add assorted mushrooms and Portobello stems; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in reserved 1/3 cup garlic-herb oil; sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add corn; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add cream; simmer until almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture among Portobello caps, mounding in center. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)

Preheat broiler. Broil Portobello until heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons each thyme and oregano.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Portobellos-Stuffed-with-Corn-and-Mushrooms-107132

                                             

 

For our last glass of white (it is summer, after all!), we’re going back to Shvo vineyards, this time to enjoy their Chenin Blanc. This is a bold white wine, filled with flavors or dried fruit and minerals. This is the kind of wine that should be paired with sweat/savory food. Therefore, we’re pairing this wine with Grilled Halibut, Eggplant, and Baby Bok Choy with Korean Barbecue Sauce and Cranberry BBQ Sauce Turkey Sliders (we know it isn’t Thanksgiving but what is more American than turkey and cranberry sauce?!).

                                                       

Grilled Halibut, Eggplant, and Baby Bok Choy with Korean Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons minced serrano chile with seeds

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

8 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

4 medium-size Japanese eggplants, trimmed, halved lengthwise

4 6- to 7-ounce halibut fillets (each about 1 inch thick)

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and chile; sauté until fragrant and light golden, about 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons water and bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes (sauce will be thin). Remove barbecue sauce from heat; whisk in sesame oil. Transfer 1/4 cup barbecue sauce to small bowl and reserve for serving.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Combine bok choy and eggplant halves in large bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush fish with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables and fish until vegetables are tender and slightly charred and fish is just opaque in center, turning occasionally and brushing with sauce, about 10 minutes total for vegetables and 7 minutes total for fish. Transfer vegetables and fish to plates; sprinkle with green onions. Drizzle with reserved sauce and serve.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Halibut-Eggplant-and-Baby-Bok-Choy-with-Korean-Barbecue-Sauce-235590

                                       

 

Cranberry BBQ Sauce Turkey Sliders

Ingredients

Celery Apple Slaw:

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced

1 granny smith apple, cored but not peeled, cut into 2-inch matchsticks

Cranberry BBQ Sliders:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup Cranberry Sauce, recipe follows

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups shredded turkey

12 sweet dinner rolls

Cranberry Sauce:

One 1-pound bag fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cinnamon stick

1 orange, zested and juiced

Directions

Cranberry BBQ Sliders:

For the sauce: Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, oil, celery, apples, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside while you make the sliders.

For the sliders: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cranberry sauce, ketchup, vinegar, Dijon, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the sauce into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Place the turkey into a large bowl and pour the sauce over the turkey, stirring to coat evenly with the sauce. To serve, spoon a 1/4 cup of the turkey onto the bottom half of the rolls, garnish with 2 tablespoons of the slaw and top with the top half of the roll.

Cranberry Sauce:

Combine the cranberries, maple syrup cinnamon, orange zest and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Turn the burner off. Using the back of your spoon, lightly mash the cranberries to desired consistency. Chill until ready to serve.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/cranberry-bbq-sauce-turkey-sliders.html

                                   

 

Three glasses of wine and plenty of food in, we’re feeling pretty good! Done with the whites, we’re moving on to richer reds, hopefully it’ll be cooler outside! This round is our Pelter Cabernet/Shiraz which tastes of raspberries and cherries with a smooth, long finish. The smoothness of the Cabernet with the pepper of the Shiraz pairs perfectly with juicy lamb, a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. This Minted Lamb Burgers with Feta and Hummus is flavorful and fresh, a great compliment to your wine and BBQ!

                                                             

Minted Lamb Burgers with Feta and Hummus

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb

1/2 cup minced fresh mint

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 7- to 8-ounce block feta cheese, sliced

4 kaiser rolls, split, lightly toasted

8 onion slices

4 romaine lettuce leaves

Hummus

Directions

Mix first 7 ingredients in medium bowl; shape into four 4-inch-diameter patties. Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to skillet; cook until bottoms are well browned, about 3 minutes. Turn patties over and top with feta cheese. Continue cooking to desired doneness, about 3 minutes longer for medium-rare.

Place roll bottoms on plates. Top each with onion, burger, lettuce, another onion, and hummus. Press on roll tops.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Minted-Lamb-Burgers-with-Feta-and-Hummus-233924

                                           

 

We’re almost there. One more glass! For this one, we’re going all out and opening a bottle of Margalit Enigma. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend is bold and complex and it needs a dish to stand up to it. What better way to off set it than with a juicy steak to round off the meal? And to make it even more delectable, this steak comes with a whiskey (whoever says whiskey and wine don't go together is dead wrong!) butter. YUMM!

                                                                     

Grilled Steak with Whiskey Butter

Ingredients

Whiskey Butter:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 shallots minced, soaked in 1 shot of Jack Daniels or other whiskey or bourbon
3 teaspoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons Jack Daniels or other whiskey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
White pepper to taste

Steaks:

4 cowboy steaks, bone-in rib eye steaks, or other favorite steak, about 1-inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, coarsely ground
Olive oil
Chopped parsley, optional

Directions

Grilling Method: Combo/Medium-High

Make Whiskey Butter:
Make Butter at least 3 hours in advance. Combine butter, shallots soaked in Jack Daniels (or other bourbon or whiskey), parsley, Worcestershire, mustard, whiskey, salt, and pepper. Mix well. On a piece of plastic wrap, drop butter in spoonfuls to form a log. Roll butter in plastic wrap and smooth out to form a round log. Refrigerate until hard and easy to slice into round, coin-shaped pieces.

Prepare Steaks:
Allow meat to come to room temperature about 15 minutes before grilling. Just before grilling, brush both sides of the steaks with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place steaks directly over medium-high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, just long enough to get good grill marks. Turn steaks and sear the other side. Move steaks to indirect heat and continue cooking for about 7 more minutes for medium rare. Remove steaks from the grill, top with a pat of the whiskey butter and allow to rest at least 5 minutes but no longer than 10 before serving. Spread the melted butter all over the tops of the steaks and top each with a fresh slice of the whiskey butter and parsley, if desired.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Steak-with-Whiskey-Butter-242257

                                 

 

That's it! We've grilled our hearts out and drank wine to our utmost content. Finish off your meal with a bowl of fruit salad or, if you're us, one more glass of your favorite wine!

 

Happy 4th of July!!

                                

 

Time Posted: Jun 19, 2014 at 11:17 AM Permalink to It's Time for a BBQ! Permalink
Naomi Hochberg
 
May 29, 2014 | Naomi Hochberg

Rosé!

Rosé

 

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy a very special kind of wine… Rosé.  A typically misunderstood wine, rosé receives heavy flack on account of its “girly” pink color and freakishly sweet soda-like champagne brands like André enjoyed by young twenty-somethings. Despite this, rosé is actually very complex with varying methods and techniques to create the wine. Another common misconception is that rosé is a sweet wine however, it actually has a broad range of flavors.  This is the perfect wine to enjoy in summertime either with BBQ, as a cocktail, or by itself as a cooling, refreshing beverage!  So read on and find out more about some of the most enjoyable wines out there!

The biggest mistake people often make when thinking about rosé wine is that it is actually not made by combining red and white wine. There are actually several ways to produce rosé wines and each produce different colors and intensity in the wine.

The most common method is the maceration method, which is when red grapes are crushed and left to sit in their skins. The longer the juice sits, the darker the wine will be. Typically in red wines, maceration happens during the whole fermentation process, however with rosé wine, the fermentation only begins after the skins, called “must”, are strained from the juice.

Vin gris, which means “grey wine” in French is a traditional way of making a rosé wine and is when the wine is made from red, typically Pinot Noir, grapes but with white wine making techniques. This results in a rosé that is very clear and with only a tinge of pink, like a pale salmon.

This differentiates greatly from the final winemaking technique, called Saignée, which produces some of the best-aging rosés as well as the darkest and most tannic. In this method, a certain amount of juice is extracted, or bled off, from red wine during its fermentation. This is a common practice with most winemakers as it increases the skin to remaining juice ratio in the leftover fermenting wine, producing a richer, bolder red wine. The juice that has been extracted is called “Saignée”, meaning bled, and is fermented into a rosé wine.

 

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/wine-for-beginners-infographic/

 

Blush, pink, rosé, there are many ways to describe this particular kind of wine, which actually ranges all shades of pink, depending on which grape or grapes are blended into the wine. The paler salmon coloring usually comes from Pinot Noir, Carignan and Zinfandel and tastes of mint, grapefruit and strawberries. Deeper pink rosés, made from Merlot, Grenache and Sangiovese taste of sweet cherries, raspberries and blood oranges while the darkest rosés, made from Cabernet or Tempranillo, will taste jammy and of blackberries. Aside from fruit, rosés will also have herbal notes, especially if they are Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon, or Syrah based. So whether you want a sweet white Zinfandel or a savory French-style blend, this wine has every flavor on the spectrum to please every customer!

 


 

Agur Rosa 2013 : Kosher

Variety:  70% Cabernet Franc, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

ABV: 13%

Vinification: The Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre are extracted by a free-run drain in the saignée method while the Cabernet Franc was gently pressed directly after crushing. Each batch is fermented separately in old barrels.

Palate: A unique full bodied Rosé de Barrique. Flower and herb aromas, fresh tart strawberry, apricots, red grapefruit, with a long sweet aftertaste. Good company for an eclectic variety of dishes, and on its own. Serve chilled.

 

Ein Teina Rosé 2012

Variety: Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Gvartz, Alicante, Rocher Vigonier, Muscat, Petit Verdot.

ABV: 13.5%

Vinification: The wine is composed of a variety of nine different red & white grapes, handpicked from vineyards in the southern Golan Heights.  It was cold fermented in stainless steel tanks.

Palate: The wine offers up an aroma of new fruit, followed by a delicious gentle mouth feel. It stays lively and refreshing through the finish.

 
Shvo Rosé 2012

Variety: Barbera

ABV: 12.5%

Vinification: An organic rosé

Palate: On the nose, lovely fresh strawberries without a hint of candy. On the palate, gushing with acidity, a bit of prickly pear and lots of ripe red fruits on the mouth. It's not syrupy and feels full bodied but not heavy on the tongue. Enjoy it alone as a summer refresher or with pizza, pasta, veggies and other flavorful dishes.

Time Posted: May 29, 2014 at 2:39 PM Permalink to Rosé! Permalink Comments for Rosé! Comments (19)