Israeli wines are really beautiful and recently I had the pleasure of having dinner with Micha Vaadia, Winemaker of Galil Mountain Winery in Israel. This winery is unique, sustainable, inspiring, and was established in 2000 by Golan Heights Winery and Kibbutz Yiron Galil Mountain Winery. Galil Mountain is located in the Upper Galilee mountain range, which is one of Israel’s best wine growing areas!
We enjoyed a lovely family style dinner at Bar Bolonat beginning with Everyday Cauliflower, Hudson Street Kibbeh, and fresh Edamame. The edamame was absolutely addicting; seasoned with cumin and maldon salt. The saltiness and spice really complimented the dry, fruit forward 2014 Galil Mountain Viognier. This wine is simply beautiful and opens up while in the glass to a nose of honey and apricots. Some slight oak is noticeable (20% in oak for 3 months) but it is extremely well integrated and adds texture to the wine.
Up next was one of my favorites from the dinner: 2014 Galil Mountain Rosé made from 74% Sangiovese, 23% Pinot Noir, and 3% Grenache. This bright pink wine has a lovely nose of watermelon Jolly Rancher, fresh rose petals, strawberry, and some guava. On the palate this wine is dry with under ripe raspberry flavors and a medium finish. I think this makes an ideal summer wine! Paired with the wine was some Japanese Eggplant, Shrimp in Yemenite Curry, and Kibbeh. The rosé is very pair-able with a variety of foods, and really paired beautifully with the shrimp as well as the Kibbeh (Kibbeh: Bulgar teardrops with spiced beef, pine nuts, and preserved lemon yogurt).
Up next were some reds with more family style dishes! A 2011 Galil Mountain Alon and a 2012 Galil Mountain Yiron. The Alon (which means oak in Israeli) is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah, 7% Petit Verdot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. This wine has some pretty big power to it and is fruit forward with a lot of spice and prune notes. This wine went beautifully with the Wild Mushroom Pasta, while the Yiron paired beautifully with the Duck. The Yiron is 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Syrah. Aged 16 months in French oak with a blend of grapes that changes annually. The duck really makes the cinnamon spice come out in the wine and when accompanied by Israeli couscous, baharet mole, and pickled red onions, the entire pairing really worked well.
Have you tried the wines of Israel yet? If not, I recommend trying the whites, reds, or rosé, ranging from $12.00-28.00, there is a wine that fits every budget, style, and palate preference!