Wine: Not just for kiddush

More and more admirable kosher wines are springing up and putting Israel on the international wine map.

pouring wine glass 88 (photo credit: )
pouring wine glass 88
(photo credit: )
The Israeli wine industry keeps evolving from harvest to harvest, and as a wine critic I enjoy seeing (and tasting) more and more admirable kosher wines springing up and putting our country on the international wine map. Here are few to choose from. The Cave winery has launched its 2005 vintage. The winery is named after a cave excavated in the heart of the Carmel Mountains in the early 16 century as part of the construction plans under Ottoman rule. Presented in a stylish bottle, this wine is a blend of 65 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot grapes from a single vineyard in Upper Galilee. It was aged in the cave for 26 months in French oak barrels prior to bottling, then left to mature for more than five months before being released. It feels gentle and soft on entry, then stuns with hidden power and depth. The wine is fully ripe with cassis and cherry flavors, followed by notes of dark chocolate on the finish. Beautiful now, and should develop well for the next couple of years. NIS 170. In its reserve series, Barkan wineries presents four new red wines. Three are from the harvest of 2006, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is from 2005. Barkan, Shiraz Reserve 2006: With grapes from Kiryat Anavim in the Jerusalem Hills and from a vineyard in Hulda, next to the winery's location, this wine was made by a traditional winemaking technique. It has cherry notes with a lush feel and some tannins. NIS 69. Barkan, Pinotage Reserve 2006: Much like the Pinot Noir, the Pinotage is a wine that really benefits from some breathing time. It takes its time in the glass to tease you with its aromas before revealing its full bouquet. The grapes for this wine came from a vineyard in Tel Tzaif in the Judean foothills. Aged for 12 months in oak barrels, the wine has excellent structure with firm tannins and good acidity. NIS 69. Barkan, Merlot Reserve 2006: A pretty wine with berry and vanilla notes and a nice finish. The grapes come from four different vineyards in Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights and were aged separately for 14 months in oak. NIS 69. Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005: This is probably the best wine in the series. Aged for 22 months in French and American oak barrels, it is elegant and interesting, with red fruit aromas, very fine tannins and good acidity. NIS 69. And for dessert: Golan Moscato 2008 from the Golan Heights Wineries is the first local wine from the harvest of 2008. Young, refreshing and lightly sparkling, this white wine has plenty of tropical fruit and green apple flavors. NIS 40. Serve chilled.