IsraWinexpo 2010 opened last night to journalists, critics, and wine industry representatives. The exhibition opens to the public today and tomorrow, Feb. 10-11, from 16:00 -22:00 hours. It takes place at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center.
Green Prophet attended. Glass in hand, we circulated between the attractive, well-organized stands, which were staffed by friendly, knowledgeable servers. At the stands of boutique wineries, the owners and winemakers were available for chat and to answer questions. As always at wine tastings, there was a cheerful hubbub, people clinking their glasses together, and the perceptible aroma of fine wine hovering in the air. While we happily tasted wines from many different sources, we were hot on the trail of organic wines.
The yield was disappointing. There was a Bartenura Nebiolo made from certified organically grown grapes and with minimum sulfites (sulfites occur naturally in wine, but must be boosted to a certain minimal level to prevent the wine from going sour). It’s a pleasant medium-bodied red wine, fine for the table. But kosher as it might be, this imported Italian wine was no greater than many reds coming out of local Israeli wineries. The American Kedem winery represented a sweet wine, Kedem Eshkol Organic Estates. It was over-sweet and weak-bodied.
Israel’s Golan winery produces Odem, an organic Chardonnay under the Yarden label. It wasn’t represented at IsraWinexpo, sadly. It’s a pity altogether that so few organic wines are available from Israel.
But if buying locally-produced fine wine is important for you, there’s a very satisfying range of choices in Israel. It’s no news anymore that many Israeli wines rank in quality next to respected wines from Europe and the U.S. What’s great to see is how the standard is raised with every harvest.
If you’re interested in unusual wine, there’s the unique Rimon – a pomegranate wine. The Rimon port wine was excellent, and the Premium dry wine (only 180 bottles left out of a 3000-bottle production) was very good indeed. The sweet/tart taste of the pomegranate harmonizes much more, and more subtly, than in previous years. The same owners produce two grape wines called 72, for the 72 Kabbalistic names of God. The vineyards are located in the Galilee, close to the famous tomb of Rabbi Bar Yochai.
An impressive sweet wine is Tepperberg’s Late Harvest Reisling. Normally I’m no fan of sweet wines, but this was seductive, honeyed without being cloying. I confess I went back and tasted again.
For NIS 60 you get a glass and coupons allowing tastes of 10 wines. Good value for the money and a chance to try wines that haven’t yet appeared where you buy. Best of all, support the Israeli wine industry. Chat with the owners and distributors, make some notes of your favorites, and enjoy.
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