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Red Wine for the Holidays
Red Wine for the Holidays Yonatan Sternberg
"When asked about food and wine pairing, my first response is usually to ask for a budget…I then inquire as to the style of the meal and the dishes served (BBQ, fish, dairy, roast etc.). Finally, the most important factor is the drinker’s personal taste…" Yonatan Sternberg offers red wine recommendations for every budget this holiday season.
Over the past couple of weeks my cell phone has been ringing of the hook. I had reached my breaking point, and was just about to turn it off, when again, it rang. My good friend Dor was on the line, calling to get some wine and food pairing suggestions for Rosh Hashanah. Though the endless lunches and dinner so Rosh Hashanah are now behind us for another year, I decided that due to the myriad of holidays taking place through the month of October, posting this article might allow me to answer at least one less phone call over the next few weeks.

When asked about food and wine pairing, my first response is usually to ask for a budget. After establishing the budget, I inquire as to the style of the meal and the dishes served (BBQ, fish, dairy, roast etc.). Although I am mentioning it last, the most important factor is the drinker’s personal taste. Do they prefer a fruity sweeter wine, would they rather have a full bodied aggressive red like Yatir Cabernet Sauvignon (just the kind of wine that I would serve at a BBQ), or would they rather drink a more subtle elegant Merlot like Flam Merlot Reserve 2005. When pairing food and wine, at the end of the day the most important rule is that your taste is the one that counts.

As noted above, budget is often a salient factor when going wine shopping. Unfortunately not many people can afford to open a bottle of Chateau Margaux when they are in the mood for a good bottle of wine. To this end, I decided to divide the wine suggestions according to price range.

33-44 NIS
Golan Heights, Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007
This Cab offers pleasant aromas of dark berry fruits including: cherries and currants followed by hints of oak and vanilla in the background.

Galil Mountain, Merlot, 2006
The wine suggests aromas of berries and young plums along with hints of green pepper and thyme.

45-64 NIS
I find that in this price range it is often difficult to find a red wine that really offers good value for money. One of my favorites however is the: Galil Mountain, Cabernet-Shiraz blend, this full bodied red is sold at around the NIS 50 mark and offers lovely aromas of black berry fruits, herbs and a touch of wood.

65-95 NIS
At a price range, try sampling the reds from Carmel’s regional series. I recommend the Petite Sirah or the Cabernet-Shiraz which in my opinion are the best in the series.

I recently enjoyed an excellent Merlot from Ramat Hagolan’s Yarden series. Over the years the Yarden series has been very stable (particularly with their Cabernet Sauvignon and merlot wines) and when in doubt this is one of the “safest” wines to purchase.

95-120 NIS
Once one crosses the 95 NIS mark a whole new world of boutique and premium wines is revealed.

Yatir, Shiraz, 2005
Excluding the Yatir Forest, this is my favorite red produced by the winery. Garnet in color, this full bodied wine is showing concentrated aromas of red and black berry fruits, particularly black cherries and plums while in the back round hints of wood and a touch of leather.

Enjoy!

P.S For all of the white wine fans, I will compose a similar article dedicated to white wines in the near future.

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