While the rest of you enjoyed a routine week at work or school, at the Isrotel King Shlomo Hotel in Eilat Israel's most important wine festival was held: TerraVino 2008, an international wine competition now in its 3rd year, sponsored by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). More than 600 wines and more than 60 spirits from 30 countries participated in the competition. About 50% of the wines that were tasted during the competition were local wines. In addition, wines from the Czech Republic (51 wines), Spain (48 wines), Argentina (40 wines), Brazil (25 wines), Chile (24 wines), Italy (24 wines), and others were represented.
The Israeli Market from a Marketing Perspective
In the Israeli wine market, the competition is vast. No less than 30 judges – including wine writers, sommeliers, wine shop and restaurant owners and leading winemakers from Israel and all over the world – tasted 337 Israeli wines from more than 75 local wineries over the course of the competition. Experience holding the competition in past years has taught that participation in the competition contributes to the image and the sales of all participants.
In addition to the expense involved in participating in an international event, this is an unequalled opportunity for direct meetings between Israeli wines and the people behind them, and between the top echelons of international wine community. International wine judge John Slavi said "it is exciting to follow the development of Israeli wines" about the local wine market, and vintner James Sackling declared "I was extremely impressed by the interesting style of Israeli wines, which combines old world and new world."
In addition to exposure to international professionals, the local wines are also exposed to media outlets and professional organizations who took part of the competition. International wine organization OIV, who gave full sponsorship to the event, took part of the competition, in addition to WAWWJ – the international organization of wine and spirit writers, and Global Wine & Spirits, the world leading wine and drink website.
The prizes awarded in the competition
The Israeli wines that won double gold medals are: Barkan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Adir Winery Plato 2005 Vintage, Carmel Shiraz 2005, Alona Merlot 2006 by Gvaot, Lili Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005, Odem Mountain Merlot 2005, Tabor Adama Cabernet Sauvignon Terra Rosa 2005, Halel Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006, and 3 Vins Cabernet Sauvignon 2003.
In addition, 4 double gold medals were awarded Israeli made liqueurs. Additional double gold medals were awarded to liqueurs from Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Ukraine.
The international wine competition finished off with a magnificent gala meal, held on Wednesday night during which the winner's names were announced. And the delicacies that prepared by Chef Michel Ben Streit were:
Halved cherry tomatoes and champignon mushrooms with basil, walnuts and walnut oil.
Quinoa salad trio with crispy almond chips.
Chestnuts and root vegetables with macadamia nuts and hot chili.
Red tuna tartar, crispy peppers, lemon juice, grey sea salt and black sesame.
Salmon on a bed of mushroom risotto with grilled artichoke.
Lamb shank resting atop pureed potatoes, natural jus, root vegetables and sunflower sprouts.
Seared aged entrecote served with shallot confit and red wine sauce along with potato and sweet potato.
Filet of beef on grits and truffle sauce and asparagus.
Browned whole pullet o a bed of Portobello mushroom in lavender sauce.
Chopped fruit seasoned in chilled Muscat wine and vanilla syrup.
Mille-feuille mousse gianduja resting atop pearls of chocolate crunch.
Chocolate marquise with cherry sauce.
Limoncello foam on a lemon strudel.
Truffles with a crispy coating.
Halva mousse and halva fluff, with kadaif with lemon crème patissiere
In fitting with a gala meal at a wine competition, a range of local wine was included in the meal.
Emerald Riesling – French Columbard (Dry)
Tidhar 2007 Zion Winery
Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Recanati Winery
Chardonnay Tel Tzuba 2007 Tzuba Winery
Rose Blend Havli Eretz (Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah) 2007 Asif Winery
Argman Single Vineyard 2006 Segal Winery
Shiraz Kyomi Single Vinyard 2005 Carmel Winery
Pinotage Reserve 2005 Barkan Winery
Special Reserve Merlot 2005 Binyamina Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon Terra 2006 Tepperberg 1870 Winery
And Israeli wines to wine the TerraVino 2008 are…
The best Israeli wine of 2008: Plato 2005, Adir Winery Vintage.
The best kosher Israeli wine of 2008: Mazada 2006, Gvaot Winery.
The best boutique winery in Israel: Gvaot Winery.
The best small (less than 10 000 bottles) Israeli boutique winery: Adir Winery.
The best winemakers team of 2008: Barkan Winery's winemaking team.
Full results can be seen on the competition website.