Saturday, 7 June 2014

Israel: You don't have to be high

In Israel recently, we found it as good a filter as any to look out for wines with modest alcohol levels. This was no more difficult than at Vinitaly which was a surprise, given Israel's climate. A short drive-by of Tel-Aviv's wine merchants produced the following:




The shops included Eliasi in Tel-Aviv and the Wine Boutique in Jaffa.

At Eliasi, Marcelo from Buenos Aires (left) was our knowledgeable guide. Here we looked for Dovev Segal's Argaman and thought we had found it but due to the label being in Hebrew, failed to realise what we had was just a Cabernet Sauvignon. Still, we guess that will be headline news: "Slotovino buys a Cabernet Sauvignon"

It was written plainly on the back as you can see but our excitement at finding as we thought a bottle of the fascinating Argaman of this producer was such that we didn't check the back label. 

We found a bottle of this rare wine later in New York at Gotham Wines.


There is a great deal of Israeli wine in New York of course but we were lucky to find this.

Israeli Wine shelves at Gotham Wines of New York
We have heard that Segal will not be making any more of it which is a pity as Argaman could be called the unique Israeli grape and the method of vinifying it is interesting in itself (fermenting on Merlot skins).

Other bottles from different sources which took our fancy included this Italian blend including Sangiovese and Barbera,

an 85% Cabernet Franc / 15% Merlot blend from Tulip (I say, steady on Slotovino, another Cab?)

and a Carignan from 100 year old vines which we also heard will not be made again as the Yaffo winery has moved from this address.

The Wine Boutique in Jaffa is a new venture, just 3 months old when we visited. It stocks exclusively Kosher wines. We didn't buy there but liked the look of the place. Chico was helpful too; we wish him good luck.

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