Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jerusalem Wine Festival Summer 2017

It's that time of year again, where what many consider the highlight of the Jerusalem social scene takes place in the 'Statue Garden' of the Israel Museum.

Yes, I am talking about the annual Wine Festival, which over the past few years has gotten a bad rap in that too many wineries were foreign or not kosher, the weather was too hot, ticket prices keep rising, or because the wines being poured were mostly mediocre...

Whatever my feelings on these issues, I cannot skip it, as it's a place for me to network and arrange for new products and sales prices for the upcoming Rosh Hashana season -- in addition to the fact that I feel that I owe you all my annual report on the event!

As it turns out (and as you'll see below), there are actually some new, exciting wines (and wineries!) to discover, and yes - if you like getting to know the latest and greatest, you'd be missing out by skipping the event. Without further ado, here is what the first night had to offer:

Over 20 kosher local wineries (plus a couple from overseas), pouring some very nice wines -- even if they aren't all over NIS 150 a bottle.

I didn't make it to all the tables, so I will only add in the notable mentions where I can.

The Lineup:

Jacques Capsuto

Although not personally the most ardent fan of his wines, he does create some very unique blends --  it is worth stopping by for the introduction to grapes like Roussanne, Marsanne and Claret.

Or Haganuz
I have always found these wines to be crowd pleasers: good wine, good value, and they have the right wine for the occasion...and the pocket book.

Bat Shlomo
Always a favorite of mine (although lately, they have some very interesting competition). Last night I sampled (again) the Sauvignon Blanc - the wine that got them started - as well as the all new Regavim - Red blend. This wine came out as the "younger brother" to the superlative Betty's Cuvee and it is the winery's answer to providing a red wine at a much lower price point. Unfortunately the wine will only be available in restaurants for the time being...

Covenant Israel
A new venture from the owners of Covenant Winery in California, Covenant Israel is pouring all four of their superb wines! As is the case with Bat Shlomo, the local winemaker is Arie Earl. If you haven't heard of him, you will -- he is making waves in the local industry with the quality of his wines. Arie is working together with Jeff Morgan from Covenant California and these two super talents are quickly making a name for their wines (collective and respective) as leaders in the Israeli Industry.

The Viognier is citrusy and full of nice fruit, the Rose hits every point that should be hit, and the Syrah is, well, out of this world! Stop by here first, in the middle and at the end, tell them I sent you, and then join us for the Wine Maker's dinner on September 11th at Eucalyptus (details on the Kfar HaYayin Facebook page - https://m.facebook.com/KfarHaYayin/ )
You will not be disappointed!

From the house of Pelter, is pouring Rose, Cummulous and every hour or so a Premium bottle (last night was CB).  The Cummulous, in particular, I found to be among the best value for money wines that I know of, coming in at under NIS 100!

La Citadelle
The 2015 lineup was actually among the best I've had in a long time, and the 2016 lineup is just as good. Get here early and enjoy their three rose wines while it is still warm out - they will be a perfect fit to the sunset and warmer temperatures before the sun goes down. Tell them I sent you...

Livni - although pouring from just their basic line, I strongly suggest trying his Cabernet Sauvignon.

No specific comments (yet) on:
- Ramat Negev
- Odem  Mountain
- Lueria
- Tulip
- Maia
- Chateau Remo
- Har Bracaha

...but all have a variety of wines including clean, clear fruity whites, nice quality reds and even a reserve or two...

Other wineries: Eyal, Ella Valley, Ramat Hagolan, Galil, Tishbi, Tavor, Segal (Rechasim) and Midbar.
They are all there and actually, all enjoyable. While not everything you'll taste is mind-blowing, the overall "flavor variety" is much more interesting than the past few years.

In short, the wines are back, the temperatures are cooler, and the social aspects never dwindle.
Spend the NIS 90... bring some friends, and have fun!



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