Sukkot Vinos & Judean Hills Wine Festival

Following are several wine suggestions for the holiday

If you are barbequing over the holiday or having a casual meal in the sukkah, following are several wine suggestions for the holiday.

Golan Heights, Gamla Hashmura, Rose, 2013 – produced from Syrah, this is a dry and refreshing rose with pleasant notes of red berry fruits, apples and blood orange leading to a clean finish. The wine will pair well with piquant ceviche or chicken in an Asian hoy & sour marinate.

Ramat Negev, Ramon, Cabernet Franc, 2011 – 100% Cab Franc grapes from a single vineyard in Halutza, an area known as one of the first places in Israel to strike oil. 16 months in French oak, the result is a medium-full bodied red, ruby with purple reflections suggesting pleasant aromas of cherries, plums and red berry fruits alongside mild notes of green pepper and dry herbs coming together nicely and leading to a long finish. Not a typical Cabernet Franc but quite enjoyable and it is very interesting to see the impact of the terroir.

Binyamina, Reserve, Shiraz, 2011 – while it is often overlooked, the Binyamina Reserve label offers some very enjoyable white and red vinos at good value. 100% Shiraz grapes, 14 months oak, bright ruby in color, the wine is medium bodied, suggesting aromas and flavors of cherries, blackberries, those followed by hints of chocolate and white pepper leading to a long (and slightly bitter) finish.

MAIA, Mare Red, 2013 – comprising Carignan, Mourvedre and Syrah grapes – when I first approached the wine, it reminded of a nice Cote du Rhone. Medium bodied, this is a very easy-drinking wine with pleasant aromas of ripe plums and berry fruits followed by black pepper and dry herbs all leading to a medium and clean finish. Not a ‘big’ wine but quite enjoyable and showing character.

Judean Hills Wine Festival

I have written about the influx of wine festivals and in some cases the overlap in events in the local industry. In my opinion one of the better annual events is the Judean Hills Wine Festival that is part of a larger regional tourism campaign. The festival includes various events, organized nature hikes, vineyard tours and other activities taking place every weekend from Oct. 24 to Nov. 14.

The main wine event is a grand tasting that will take place at Mini Israel (by Latrun) on Oct. 23 starting from 19:30. It will offer wine aficionados from all over the country, a chance to meet the people behind the wines and sample vinos from over 25 local wineries. The event is unique in that it is the only regional event that provides the visitors a true sense of the diversity and different terroirs within the region, but also features leading boutique wineries that often do not exhibit at larger wine festivals. Exhibitors include: Bravdo, Ella Valley Winery, Mony, Ben Hanna Winery, Castel, Flam, Katlav, Tzafririm, Teperberg, Agur, Tzora and others.