“Year after year the winery has produced excellent red blends receiving awards and recognition from wine critics around the world. Full bodied and well balanced, this sophisticated red wine offers layered aromas of various berry fruits, dark chocolate and hits of thyme...” Yonatan Sternberg takes a tour of Domain du Castel winery, tasting the fruits of their labour.
Visiting a winery is always an exciting event. There's something special about meeting the people behind the wine. Speaking to the winemaker, the vintner and other winery personnel can be an educating and interesting experience.
But today I was especially excited; hey it is not every day that I get invited to participate in a personal tour at the Domaine du Castel winery. To those of you who aren’t familiar with the name, what started off as a garage winery is considered by many to be one of the top wineries in Israel. Founded in the early 90’s by Mr. Eli Ben Zaken and situated on the Ramat Raziel Moshav, the name Castel has become synonymous with high quality wines.
With production levels at about 100,000 bottles per annum, Castel, under the guidance of owner and winemaker Eli Ben Zaken offers wines produced in three series. The winery’s white wine, simply titled “C” is definitely one of my favorite Israeli chardonnays. Castel also produces two red wines: Petit Castel and a sophisticated Bordeaux style blend titled Castel Grand Vin or GV for short.
After touring the grounds and visiting the winery’s impressive barrel room it was time to move on to the more hedonistic part of the visit. We started off with a tasting of the chardonnay. I enjoyed the “C” 2007 and was lucky enough to be offered a barrel tasting of the “C” 2008. Although the wine is meant to rest for several more months in barriques, the wine is already showing plenty of character and holds much promise for the future. This exclusive white offers various aromas including: white flowers, fruits and hints of oak all leading to satisfying finish.
I also enjoyed the Castel Grand Vin 2006. In fact, one of the best things about the GV label is consistency. Year after year the winery has produced excellent red blends receiving awards and recognition from wine critics around the world. Full bodied and well balanced, this sophisticated red wine offers layered aromas of various berry fruits, dark chocolate and hits of thyme. It will be interesting to see how the Castel wines develop and age. Recently, I was able to put my hands on a bottle of the Grand Vin 1995, while it was definitely over its peak, the wine was still showing interesting aromas and flavors.
To Whom It May Concern - since 2003 all of the Castel wines have received kashrut certification.
Domain du Castel Ramat Raziel
Haute Judee 90974
Tel: +972 2 534 22 49