Wine Talk: Sheer celebration

White wine is great to drink on Shavuot because it's simple, fruity, easy drinking, refreshing and not astringent.

May 5, 2013 15:02
3 minute read.
Summer wine

Summer Wine_311. (photo credit: MCT)


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Hard to believe today, but in the early 1990s most of the wines drunk in Israel were white. Then a few things happened to change the masses to red. Firstly, there was the American TV program Sixty Minutes, which highlighted “the French paradox.” This proved that even with a bad diet, those who drank red wine could be healthier. It did wonders for red wine sales around the world.

At around the same time, wineries also learned to make some entry-level red wines in similar style to white wines.

That is, simple, fruity, easy drinking, refreshing and not astringent. So newcomers to wine, who wanted to show they were among those that “understood,” could drink a young fruity red wine lightly chilled and enjoy it basically like a white wine.

Furthermore, those keen on pairing food with wine realized that it was okay to drink red wine with fish and to hell with the rules. Finally, a new drinking public decided that quality wines were red wines. I still hear many people boast: “I only drink red wines” as if they understand more because of this preference.

Actually, to say you drink only red wine is the same as saying “I only eat a certain food” or listen to a particular style of music all the time. It is a free world, but how boring!These so-called experts are missing something of the wonderful variety there is in wine.

So today, for all these reasons and more, more than 60 percent of the wine we drink in Israel is red. However, there are trends, below the surface, that indicate a return of interest in white wines.

Firstly, white wines are far more versatile to match with food than reds. Secondly, white wines are far more suitable for our hot climate than red wines. Who wants to sit on the balcony at home drinking a 14.5 % alcohol oak-aged red wine on a hot summer evening, when a crisp dry white is also an option? Now as we approach Shavuot, I want to further disappoint red wine lovers by telling them that white wines are generally far better accompaniment to cheeses and dairy products than red wines. So let’s make this Shavuot a celebration of white wines.

Dalton Canaan

White 2012 For those who want a semi-dry wine, this represents great value. Fruity, light and easy drinking with a delicate sweetness.

Great with quiche.

Recanati Yasmin White 2012

An aromatic blend of Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Well-balanced and refreshing.

I think this will go well with cream cheeses or a fondue.

Tabor Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Deserved reputation as the country’s best Sauvignon Blanc.

A regular gold medal winner. Aromatic and grassy, with notes of lemon and lime and great acidity.

Perfect with goat’s cheese.

Private Collection Chardonnay 2012

Unoaked Chardonnay with an appley aroma and good refreshing acidity, it will accompany a soft cheese such as brie or camembert.

Tabor Roussanne 2012

For those who want something new! This is the first Israeli example of a Roussanne, a grape variety known in the Rhone. The wine is very complex, with an herbal nose that will accompany well a soft cheese with herbs.

Tabor Gewurztraminer 2012

Very aromatic and flavorful, with tropical notes. Good with smoked cheeses or overripe runny cheeses. A gold medal winner at the recent Best Value Competition.

Golan Moscato 2012

Light, very fruity, slightly sparkling and sweet. This is a perfect wine to counteract those strong, smelly, overripe cheeses.

Teperberg Silver Riesling Late Harvest

A good quality sweet dessert wine made from late harvested Riesling grapes, which will go well with blue vein cheeses such as Stilton or Roquefort.

A match made in heaven.

Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine in Israeli and international publications.

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