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Mar 27, 2008 05:57 AM

Israeli Wines

Try any good Israeli wines lately? please recommend which ones and add tasting notes if you like.

Anyone out there try anything from "Ella Valley", "Psagot" or "Tabor"?

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaickyt

      Thank you

      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...

    2. 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.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LI Guy

        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,

        1. re: p.j.

          After some quick Web research, it looks like Royal Wines is the U.S. distributor. The Royal Web site lists retailers:

          I know has the cab/merlot, and 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.

          1. re: LI Guy

            Thanks, LI Guy!
            I appreciate your information-filled reply! We have a couple of stores here that carry decent selections of Israeli wines. I will have to call and see if they can get Royal to provide some of the Gush wines.

            1. re: LI Guy

              Also check out - excellent selection with reviews

        2. 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!


          3 Replies
          1. re: ShikaSfrn

            Thanks! Im gonna try to pick up a bottle of 2004 Carmel Petite Sirah and 2005 Carmel "Sha'al'" Late Harvest Gewurztraminer


            1. re: Faune

              I tasted some of the wines that Talia was commenting on and the Carmel "Sha'al" is really fantastic. I bought a bottle myself and can't wait until Passover to drink it!

            2. re: ShikaSfrn

              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.

              Thanks :)

            3. For Pesach, I would recommend the Anav cab. Very reasonable and tastes very well for its price. It's from the Ella Valley. For a white, I would recommend the sauv. blanc from Cloudy Bay. I know it's Australian but it's very, very good.

              1. 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!


                1 Reply
                1. re: charlotte s

                  Thank you very much Charlotte your advice was very helpful.