L’chaim!

Sampling the holiday spirit at Israel’s Premium Wine Shop

Premium Wine Shop’s Shachar’s House of Drinks at Derech Beit Lehem 66 in Jerusalem (photo credit: Courtesy)
Premium Wine Shop’s Shachar’s House of Drinks at Derech Beit Lehem 66 in Jerusalem
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As the High Holy Days pass and we begin to rejoice for Simhat Torah, this is the perfect time to taste a range of quality wines from Israel and around the world, not to get drunk but to be happy. I recently visited the Premium Wine Shop’s Shachar’s House of Drinks at Derech Beit Lehem 66 in Jerusalem, which comprises both a wine shop and a premium liquor room.
I was greeted by Shmulik Cohen, the proprietor, who said the family business was begun in 1963 and was named after his son. In addition to the Beit Lehem branch, there is also a shop nearby at Emek Refaim 29.
“This is a new store, and we have tried to make it look much better than others,” Cohen says. “We sell everything from cheap wine to the most expensive, from countries all over the world. But our specialty is Israeli wines.”
Every Friday morning, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the store holds a tasting to give customers the chance to sample its wide range of wines. “The people who host the wine-tasting are owners or workers at the wineries who really know their wines,” says Cohen. “The most popular kosher wine in America is California Covenant.”
Cohen highly recommends Covenant’s Landsman Syrah, which is made from grapes grown in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights. In Europe, he says, the average person is much more savvy about wines, and knows the delicate differences between the various brands and different years.
“You won’t hear people talking about Merlot, but there is a wide variety and everyone is different. I myself don’t discriminate too much between Carbernet and Merlots,” he says. “I drink with taste. As wine critic Hugh Johnson says in one of his famous books of wine, in the end, it is all a matter of taste. They once asked the Baron de Rothschild what his favorite wine was. Instead of answering that he had tasted wine worth a fortune, he recalled that when he was young he took a beautiful young woman to the beach and on the way there they bought a five-franc bottle of wine. ‘And that was the best wine I’ve ever tasted in my life,’ he said.”
As Cohen concludes, even though some wines are better than others, wine depends a lot on who you drink it with and the food that accompanies it; in other words, the story surrounding the bottle of wine.
If you’d like to have a wonderful wine experience, visit one of Shmulik Cohen’s stores. He’ll give you a warm reception, a free wine-tasking and perhaps he might even offer you some good cheese.


Tags wine alcohol