Israeli Wine for the Holidays

“Why not try something different this year. Not that I have anything against Cabernet or Merlot, but from time to time I like to experiment with something different…” Yonatan Sternberg is on the prowl for holiday wines to suit every pallet and pocket.

Yes, hard to believe, but it's that time of the year again – Holiday Season! Last minute dinner plans are being scheduled, menus are being drafted and, most importantly, case after case of wine is being purchased. But with so many different wineries and wines available, how does one choose the right wine for your holiday table. At the end of the day it's mostly a matter of budget and personal taste.

Following are several holiday wine suggestions to fit every pallet and pocket.

Up to NIS 54:

If you're looking for a refreshing white wine to get the evening started, try the Yarden, Sauvignon Blanc, 2008. The winery recommends serving the wine alongside grilled fish and even sushi. A red wine option is the Yogev Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz. ‘Yogev’ – the biblical term for farmer, is dedicated to the farmers and vintners that are an inseparable part of the wine production process. Medium to full bodied red wine recommendations at this price range include the Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008; Teperberg, Cabernet Sauvignon, Silver 2008 or the Galil Mountain, Merlot 2008.

NIS 55 - NIS 90:

Why not try something different this year. Not that I have anything against Cabernet or Merlot, but from time to time I like to experiment with something different. Barkan's, Carignan, Reserve, 2007. Dark garnet in color, the wine offers generous aromas of black berry fruits, plums, warm spices and hints of coffee all leading to long finish. Recanati's Petit Sirah – Zinfandel, Reserve, 2007 is another interesting option. Deep purple, this unique blend is showing various berry fruits including: blueberries, black cherries, chocolate and some vanilla. Try serving with a rich meat tajine. Last but not least, is Binyamina's, Zinfandel, Reserve, 2007. Released only a couple of days ago, this full bodied Zin, offers tempting aromas of ripe strawberries and other berry fruits along with hints of black pepper and herbs.

NIS 91 – NIS 120:

Both the Yarden Merlot or the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon would be excellent choices in this price range. If you are looking for Israeli boutique wines try Adir Winery's Cabernet sauvignon, 2007 or the Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 by Katlav. The Adir winery is situated in the Upper Galilee and if you happen to be in the area, you can also stop by their new visitor's center to sample the wines. Another option is the Galil Mountain's recently released Meron 2006 blend. Deep purple in color and with a somewhat silky texture, the wine offers layered aromas of black berry fruits, blueberries, plums and fresh herbs all leading to a long and satisfying finish.

NIS 121 – NIS 205:

If you have the budget, why not indulge on some high end Israeli wines. Wines produced by the Margalit Winery are always a treat - my favorites are the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Cabernet Franc and the blended wine titled Enigma. My white wine of choice in this price range is Domaine Du Castel's Chardonnay, simply titled "C". Other excellent reds include Tishbi's award winning Sde Boker blend of the winery's Jonathan Tishbi series, Ella Valley's, Merlot, Vineyard Choice, 07, Merlot, Tel Fares, 2005 by the Golan Heights winery and Recanati's Special Reserve 2005.

Happy Holidays!