Depends what you like, and the selection is huge from Barkan Classic at around $8 to well over $60 for the Castel.
On the red side, the Carmel single vineyard wines and the appelation ones are really good ($25 - $40 in the NY/NJ area). Segal's Dishon and Dovev wines are also good ($30 range). Barken has a broad range and their reserves are good and reasonably priced. Best bet would be to go to a store where you can talk to someone who has an idea what they are talking about and will let you taste. Skyview in Riverday seems to have some of the best prices around and also has wine you can taste. Queen Anne in Teaneck does wine tastings most Thursday nights and their prices are not bad.
Unfortunately $'s (USD) don't help me, I pay in ₪ (NIS) and they are somewhat cheaper :) I love Carmel's Regional series, I recommend the Cabernet Franc.
Have you tried the Carmel Appelation Carignan or Petit Syrah? I was wondering if they were any good.
Petit Castle is also another excellent choice as you recommended.
Dalton Estate has some excellent wines that I have recently tried: Cabernet
Sauvignon and Barbera I would highly recommend.
If you can get your hands on a bottle of Yatir Cabernet-Merlot-Shiraz 2003 as was enjoyable.
I wanted to start this thread to hear what people have to recommend. If there are any good wines that you have tried lately I'd love to know...
Of the three you mention, Psagot has gotten some very positive reviews but I haven't tried them yet. I'm not familiar with the others.
Here's a very recent blog entry recommending specific kosher Israeli wines from a guy who's a huge fan of Israeli wines (kosher and nonkosher):
As for my own recommendations, without getting too long winded I'd say that Segal's and Dalton are usually good bets, and the wines from Domaine du Castel have gotten consistently high marks from prestigious wine publications. Castel wines are quite expensive but the Petit Castel is excellent and, at around $35, is the cheapest of the group. (Segal's and Dalton tend to be in the $20s and $30s.)
If you're looking for something a bit less expensive, I'm a big fan of the Gush Etzion winery, which makes a fantastic Chardonnay that's oaky and crisp. It's hard to find in the States, though. Their reds are easier to find here and are very pleasant and drinkable but without much complexity.
re: LI Guy
Do you know who distributes the Gush Etzion wines in the U.S.? Our cousins live in the block, where we visited them a couple of years ago. I didn't realize the wines were available here.
I would like to try the wines for Pesach, if I can get them here in St. Louis. The name of the U.S. distributor would be helpful, so thanks in advance,
After some quick Web research, it looks like Royal Wines is the U.S. distributor. The Royal Web site lists retailers:
I know kosherwine.com has the cab/merlot, and onlinekosherwine.com has the cab and the chardonnay, though I've found the cab and cab/merlot slightly cheaper in my local stores in NY.
WineWeb lists a few other places to buy Gush wines online:
I must add that while I like the 2005 chardonnay, the 2006 organic chardonnay is even better. Unfortunately, I have yet to find it stateside and I'm almost out of the bottles I brought back with me last time I was there.
I will second the rec on Carmel... they have some really nice wines. I recently tried the 2004 Carmel Petite Sirah, and was really pleased. Also second the Yatir, which was a Cabernet-Shiraz-Merlot blend. Berry and cherry undertones, with some nice spice and a bit of a grip. Really nicely balanced, and I think it received 91 points from Wine Advocate. Other favorites are 2003 Carmel Kayoumi Shiraz, as well as the Kayoumi Cabernet. The Cabernet was more uinique than others, it was big but still soft, almost chocolatey and jammy, nice tannins.
If you want to talk about white wines, the 2006 Domaine du Castel "Blanc du Castel" is a really outstanding Chardonnay, and I'm not generally a Chardonnay fan. Not overly oaked like Napa Valley, citrus, fig... crisp and nice acidity but definitely balanced and elegant... more Burgundian in style. I think that received 92 points in Wine Advocate.
For an out of this world dessert wine, try the 2005 Carmel "Sha'al'" Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. For me, it takes a certain type of Gewurztraminer or Reisling, etc. for me to really enjoy it, and I did this one. It's succulent, coats the mouth... apricot and peach, obviously sweeter on the finished but still well balanced. This got 90 points, as well.
These are also from Royal Wine distributors, in case you were wondering. Hope that helps!
Thank you very much ShikaSfrn and Chew on That!
My Wife and I enjoyed a bottle of the Carmel Sha'al "late harvest" Gewurtztraminer 2006 (we could not find 2005) at your suggestion and it was out of this world!
It was succulent and full bodied with hints of Lychee, peach, honey, apricot and citrus fruit.
I strongly recommend this excellent dessert wine with much enthusiasm.
Hi! I loved Ella Valley's Cabernet Sauvignon 2003- very rich and fruity. I like Hevron Heights' "Jerusalem Heights" (2002) at about 75 nis it's very deep and complex, yet easy to drink. Most wine stores in Israel will have tastings on fridays- thats definetely the best way to try new wines!