So here’s what most of you missed Monday night while you were at home being lazy. The Gush Etzion Wine Festival (have to work on the name) was held in Elazar, which at 20 minutes south of Jerusalem is no big deal to get to. Ten boutique wineries presented over thirty different wines in a setting intimate enough that it felt as if you were invited to a private tasting. Host Eli Poch continues to seek out and find boutique wineries throughout Israel that go beyond the Cabernet – Merlot grapes. There were so many different varietals and blends, I didn’t drink a single Cabernet all evening.
And this year, we got to keep the glasses!
Adir Winery‘s A Series label is a blend of 60 Shiraz/25 Cab S/15 C Franc, dry but not overly so, with a lingering finish. The blush port, the best at the showing, was not cloyingly sweet and finished very smoothly.
Bat Shlomo presented their Sauvignon Blanc, which has that almost carbonated palette and finished pleasantly dry. The winery’s focus is on white wines, with grapes grown in a vineyard that dates back to Rothschild.
Tanya Winery, whose namesake was there pouring the wine, offers twelve varieties under names like Enosh, Elya, Hallel and Ivri. At the show I sampled their Ivri blend which was a fair Cab/Merlot/Shriaz blend, and their port, which had a finish that was just a little too dry for me.
Teperberg presented their Terra Malbec again, which is an Argentinian varietal grape. It still has a strong tannic finish but otherwise a good not-Cab wine.
Saslove Winery had Varod, a blush wine with a delightful apple bouquet and finish. I was disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to try their Shiraz.
Gvaot Boutique Winery‘s Herodion “Vineyard Dance” red blend was almost sweet –in a good way– with a peach nose and a deep finish.
Kadesh Barnea the “wine from the desert” is a wine label that I’ve enjoyed for years. This year was no exception. The Petit Verdot had a round mouthfeel and a warm palette. Although I didn’t have a chance to try it, their red was described as having strong grapefruit notes.
Tzuba Winery had my favorite wine of the evening. Their 2009 Pinot Noir was smooth, light, and even, from beginning to end. (I’m partial to Pinot Noir because anyone can grow a Cab; they grow themselves). The port had smoky and sweet corn notes. The white Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend was a little thin, with a pale finish.
Har Beracha presented their 2009 Highlander Merlot Gold. It has a floral bouquet, but the finish was so dry, I think they bottled it too young. Their Petit Syrah however, was delicious, a very bright palette with a not-unpleasant dry finish.
Gush Etzion Winery, with their home-court advantage, brought the only Gewurtztraminer at the event, which was a good representation of the varietal. Their Cabernet Franc had a “playful” licorice nose (Twizzler, not anise), but their Syrah was not a strong contender against the other
Oh, and there was a 10% discount on purchases made that evening, so if you already feel bad about missing it, you should feel worse now. However, if you’re in the market for good wine glasses for the Seder (or year round), talk him into selling you a case (dozen) of the stemware he had. He’s got extra.
So sorry you missed it, but I’ll see you there next year. I’m already talking about doing the food concession next year. Now I just have to talk to Eli about it. And the marketing. Definitely the marketing.
Full disclosure: The event organizer is still a personal friend, and if he screwed this up I’d tell him in a second. Eli, band’s still too loud, but they’re funny when they’re drunk.