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Israeli Wine

I was hoping to buy a bottle of red for Passover. Any general suggestions? I am hoping to spend between 20-30 dollars.

Thanks

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  1. Israeli wine? Or merely wine that is Kosher for Pesach?

    As with any question regarding wine:
    -- where do you live?
    -- what are you serving?
    -- what kind of wine(s) do you like?
    -- and, are you looking for something dry or sweet?

    4 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      Thanks Jason,

      To answer your questions:
      1. I live in Boston
      2. It does not have to be Kosher. I think I would rather an Israeli wine; no one is strictly Kosher.
      3. I am attending a Passover wine, not hosting it. But traditional food will be served - brisket, etc.
      4. Personally, I enjoy Cabernet, Shiraz, Malbec, and Bordeaux.

      Thanks Again

      1. re: drewames03

        Well, my preference would STRONGLY be for something like Hagafen Cabernet Sauvignon. It's Kosher for Passover. Problem: it's from Napa Valley, and as good as any Napa Cab up to 2x the cost (and better than most).

        I've yet to have an Israeli wine that impressed me, period -- more like, "you know, for an Israeli wine it's not bad." That said, there have been marked improvements in Israeli wine over the past five years or so, but most of the top wines are very difficult to find here in the US. Those wines which can (relatively easily) be found -- like Yardin and Golan -- are vast improvements over Carmel, but still leave a great deal to be desired.

        Sorry I can't be of more help.

        Cheers,
        Jason

        1. re: zin1953

          Strange. I browsed thru all their web site pages, I couldn't find a single mention of Kosher certification, much less Kosher le Pesach. Even the labels pictured on the web site don't show a hechsher.

          All I found is this vague statement:
          "We are proud of our success and honored to be able to produce these fine wines according to Jewish dietary laws" which I wouldn't call a statement of kashrut...

          http://www.hagafen.com

          Am I missing something here?

          1. re: RicRios

            Unless they got "de-certified" somehow, they ALWAYS have been.

    2. Jason and others may want to reassess Israeli wine. I'm not impressed with the big growers like Gamla/Yarden and Carmel's new single vineyard wines. But definitely worth a look are:

      Yatir
      Clos du Gat
      Castel
      Ella Valley

      Well crafted wines: Ella Valley and Yatir are new world style, Clos du Gat and Castel are elegant, traditional clarets.

      5 Replies
      1. re: chefdilettante

        It's not a question of reassessing. If you look at what I posted I actually said: "[T]here have been marked improvements in Israeli wine over the past five years or so, but most of the top wines are very difficult to find here in the US."

        What's to reassess? Do you disagree that there have been great improvements? It doesn't seem so from your post. I guess I'm just confused.

        1. re: zin1953

          I was responding to the initial remark: "I've yet to have an Israeli wine that impressed me, period," but in the name of discussion, not argument. I do agree with you that the improvements have been tremendous. There's still plenty of average wine (and some worse), but recent visits to several Israeli wineries and speaking to the winemakers have left me excited about some of the top wines and the future of the winemaking scene there. Cheers.

          1. re: chefdilettante

            how about chateau musar 95 or chateau kefraya 99.

            its from the bekaa valley so more or less a neighbourhood wine.

            1. re: pecandanish

              Both are superb, but perhaps NOT what you want to serve at Passover.

        2. Just read this rather good review of 10 or so wines from Israel:
          http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/9...

          Check with the individual wineries for distribution info in the US.

          1 Reply
          1. re: maria lorraine

            And, in today's San Francisco Chronicle Wine Section, wines for Passover are reviewed, and some of the selections are surprisingly familiar. To echo Zin1953,
            two of the recs are for Hagafen wines. Here's the link:
            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

            1. Apparently there's a new online vendor specializing in Israeli wines (aptly called "Israeli Wines Direct"). Have no idea where they ship to and where they don't, but it might be worth a try:

              http://www.israeliwinedirect.com/isra...

              1 Reply
              1. re: olivethegreat

                Hi! I'm the founder of Israeli Wine Direct - thanks for mentioning us. Actually, our first shipment of 800 cases of wine from 9 boutique wineries is making the sea voyage to California right now (arriving in May). Meanwhile, I recommend trying Yiron from Galil Mountain winery - good-value red blend from Israel that just happens to be kosher and readily availble. We'll be shipping to 13 states - wine is available for pre-arrival ordering now.

              2. In today's NY Times, with Eric Asimov et al, on wines from Israel.

                http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/16/din...

                http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...

                Good luck.

                1. My wife received a bottle of 2006 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Mount Hermon White from one of her customers in Israel, but we haven't tried it yet.

                  There is also a store in Howell, NJ called Wine on 9 (located on Route 9)that specializes in Kosher wines. They actually have a really nice selection of Kosher Bordeaux! Worth checking out if you are ever in the area, but they do not have an online store. -mJ

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: njfoodies

                    I'm with Bill Hunt, in general while Israeli wines have improved a great deal in the last 5 years or so, I still am not inpressed with the ones that I can get here in DC. Actually the best Kosher for Passover wine that I've found is Spanish, Capcanes Montsant Peraj Ha'Abib. I but it because it is great wine, not because it is KFP (although I do buy it to take to the Sader every year.)

                    1. re: dinwiddie

                      There are some tremendous Israeli wines, both kosher and non-kosher (although very few non-kosher wines are available in the US). Have you tried the wines from Ella Valley or Castel? How about Galil Mountain (especially the Yiron and Yiron-Syrah). I actually just returned from Carmel on Thursday and their high end series (single vineyard, especially from the Kayumi vineyard or the Shaal Gewurtzraminer) and medium end (appelation) series are excellent from this old-stalwart. They also have a great bordeaux blend (Limited Edition) as does Golan Heights Winery. The Mount Hermon series of GHW is a supermarket wine and should not be considered a "true Yarden," however.

                      dinwiddie -- where are you going in DC for wine? Have you checked out Potomac Wine & Liquor in Georgetown? They probably have the widest selection of Israeli wine in DC and also kosher supermarkets have great finds, even for those who aren't kosher keepers or Jewish (although, again, many Israeli wines aren't kosher -- which has no affect on the taste --, but few are in the US)

                      It may be after Passover, but there is no reason that a wine from Israel isn't good any time of the year.
                      If you're interested in Israeli wine, check out my wine blog HaKerem: The Israeli Wine Blog http://israelwine.wordpress.com

                        1. re: SteveTimko

                          What wine are you referring to in particular? Small production wine, like most small production wine from around the world, is a bit costly but some is worth it and others -- well, not so much, but that's anywhere.

                          On the other hand, the wines of Carmel, Galil Mountain, Segal, and others (particularly the large producers) are very well priced. Considering their value (several Israeli wines scored over 90 in the Wine Advocate), the price is appropriate to the quality.

                          Of course, I agree that Israeli wine - like much wine - does cost a lot, partly due to the weak dollar, and also because there is still so little of it in the US and it's not well known outside of a few kosher consumers and oenophiles. But that's why I'm trying to raise awareness of the great yayin from Israel.

                          http://israelwine.wordpress.com

                  2. I know it is after Passover, but there is always next year. We drink some kosher wines and some non-kosher wines. There are many Israeli wines that are very good and I would drink any day. Carmel has a private reserve collection that we had good luck with one year (not as good the next). Yarden is usually pretty reliable. Golan makes a good moscato but avoid the merlot and the new "white wine" they came out with. Castel is GOOD. They have an higher end wine that we bought for $50 and an every day merlot for closer to the $10-15 range. Haven't tried the lower end, but if the $50 bottle is any indication, it should be worth it. A new one we tried this year was the Dalton. I believe it was also right about $30-40.

                    Another great source for kosher (and Israeli) wines is kosherwine.com
                    I've tried most of their top 10 list from 2007. All were quite good.

                    1 Reply