The classic Tempranillos of Spain, the stunning Sangioveses of Italy, and of course who can forget the amazing Marselan of Israel. Wait what??
Israel may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a classic Old World wine region producing incredible wines, but there’s some incredibly exciting things happening in this small Mediterranean country.
First of all it’s important to recognise that wine has been produced in this part of the world for probably about 5000 years. So this is no new fad. Wine was made in Biblical times all the way to the present day, from a range of varieties and in a range of styles. The warm even climate, tempered by the influence of the Mediteranean Sea provides ideal conditions for the growing of high quality grapes.
The modern wine industry in the country had a signifiacnt leg up as well, founded sometime in the late 1800s by banking magnate Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, owner of the famous Bordeaux estate Chateau Lafite-Rothschild – one of the world’s leading wineries.
This boost, coupled with native know-how and the aforementioned classic climate puts Israel in a great position for the production of exciting wine.
There’s a lot of classic grape varieties planted across the country – grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot certainly get a lot of coverage. But there’s also plenty of Riesling, Chardonnay, Carignan and Grenache. As well as that there are local varieties like Marawi and Jandali that are slowly re-emerging.
And then there’s Marselan, that we mentioned briefly before. This is an unusual crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache that is most commonly found in the Languedoc in the south of France. A newcomer to Israel, but already making waves – floral and round, yet dark and powerful! One to watch our for.
With wineries spread up and down the length of the country, and a range of varieties to choose from, it’s no wonder that Israeli vignerons are starting to be recognised internationally.
Back in 2011, famous winery Golan Heights was awarded best wine producer in the world at the International Wine Competition in Verona in Italy. More recently, international wine magazine Wine Spectator awarded 12 wineries in Israel high scores, comparable to the great wines of Europe.
From sparkling wine, to rosé, and of course a broad selection of whites and reds, this small coastal country is turning out an exceptional selection of great wines that are food friendly and easy to enjoy.
There sure is a perfect bottle out there for every palate. Do you know your wine personality? If your answer is no, then our quiz below will tell you which wines to pick up next!