Why You Need to Stop Ignoring Israeli Wine (And Four Bottles to Help Get You Started)

Posted March 18, 2015

Stephen Fahy DWS

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Right around the time that one of my all time favorite one liners graced the silver screen, Israel's modern day winemaking scene began to explode. Shifts in financial investments that focused on quality over quantity paved the way for wineries throughout Israel to take on a very competitive world-wide wine market. Here's what happened:

First up, Israel has an incredibly wide range of terroirs. Despite being an area that is only the size of New Jersey, diverse subregions bred regional brilliance, and forced 'best practice' breakthroughs that fueled the growth of more than 200 wineries (only 30% of which are actually practicing 'kosher'). This lead viticulturists and winemakers to develop an experimental dynamism that was honed through training and education locally but especially abroad (read: France and America). Winemakers favored French Varietals, first bringing Bordelais clones, and more recently Rhone-inspired vines into the mix.

Then there were the technological breakthroughs. Many modern standards in winemaking actually originated in Israel before spreading throughout the world. Most notably, Israel’s wide array of Israel’s often desert-like conditions lead it to become the first winemaking region to use both drip irrigation and insulated stainless steel fermenting tanks.

Most recently, however, we've been able to overcome one of the biggest hurdles to Israeli wine imported into the U.S. - It ain't quality, because they've got plenty of great quality wines -  It's price! Finding a high quality wine at the right price has been our biggest challenge, until now. At the risk of being shunned for SSP (shameless self promotion), here are four wines that we've found to be remarkable examples of what Israel has achieved, priced right and ready to rock. Cheers!

2012 Flam Classico

92 Points - Wine Enthusiast

"This blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot is dark garnet in the glass, offering a slightly wild nose of blackberry and green pepper. Flavors of cassis, blackberry, toffee and leather are joined by a potent burst of cranberry. Well-integrated flavors continue into the lasting finish, which offers comforting warmth before culminating in a jolt of acidity."  - Wine Enthusiast

2012 Or Haganuz Amuka Series Marus Single Vineyard Shiraz Upper Galilee

"Or HaGanuz Winery was founded in 2005 and lies at the foot of Mount Meron in the Or HaGanuz settlement, a collaborative, religious community of Orthodox Jews who have adopted the principle of “working for the common good” – similar to the kibbutz model.” - Winery

2014 Tabor Adama Sauvignon Blanc

"Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety which displays unique characteristics in the Israeli climate. Abundant in bright citrus fruit flavors and aromas such as grapefruit and lemon underlayered with tropical fruit hints of guava and passionfruit. This wine combines a soft crisp body and distinct flavors, making it an ideal drinking wine on warm summer days. The wine is clean and refreshing and leaves a pleasant enduring finish." -Winery
 

2009 Tzuba Cabernet Sauvignon

92 Points - Wine Enthusiast

"Deep brick-red in color, this wine leads with aromas of stewed black fruits, petrol and green pepper. Flavors of cherry preserves, smoked meat, vanilla and a pop of tart cherry make their way across the palate, encased in silky tannins. The finish is simultaneously cool and bright." - Wine Enthusiast

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Stephen C. Fahy, DWS is the Sales Director and a Wine Buyer at the Wine Library. Prior to this, Stephen managed the buying and sales initiatives for stores large and small in both New Jersey and Manhattan. In addition, Stephen sold to some of Manhattan’s top restaurants and retailers while a Wine and Spirits Consultant for Importer/Distributor, WINEBOW.

STORY TO CART

Item: 77834

750 mL

Retail: $22.99

$14.99 per btl


Item: 86557

750 mL

Retail: $21.99

$15.95 per btl

Product Label.

Flam Classico Red Upper Galilee

90 Wine Enthusiast


Item: 86756

750 mL

Retail: $34.99

$27.94 per btl


Item: 86760

750 mL

Retail: $23.97

$19.97 per btl

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