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May 30, 2016 / 22 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Get to Grips with Fruit Flavors in Wine on Tu B’Shvat

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Market stalls along the cobbled alleys in the Machne Yehuda shuk (market) in Jerusalem are overflowing with dried fruit. As the sudden abundance of donuts reminds Israelis that Chanukah is coming, so the mounds of dried fruit are synonymous with the arrival of Tu B’shvat.

Not well known outside of Israel, the minor Jewish holiday of Tu B’shvat celebrates the ‘New Year of the trees’ from which the correct tithes were calculated in the times of the Temple. Today, many Israelis take Tu B’shvat as an opportunity to eat exotic dried fruits. Some even go as far as to hold Tu B’Shvat seder, a Chassidic custom that traditionally included fruits and wine from the seven Biblical species.

Alongside the piles of dried fruit in the market are bottles of homegrown Israeli wines also ready to grace the Tu B’Shvat table. The relationship between fruit and wine is clear. Fruit is transformed into wine. But from there things become more complicated. Wine is frequently described in terms of fruit. We hear phrases like, ‘notes of cherry.’

But, what do these terms really mean? If no artificial flavors are added to wine, then how can the simple grape produce a flavor with ‘a hint of orange blossom?’

Fruit flavors as described in wine actually only refer to the scents that are identified as we smell the wine. They could be classified by the chemical names, but would hardly appeal to the average wine drinker.

Instead, a common language of wine tastes that uses common scents as analogies to the flavors present in wine has developed. Referring to such association enables the experience of wine taste to be universal and allows the exchange of knowledge and impressions.

To experience a wine’s true scent, you should smell the wine twice. First, gently swirl the wine in the glass, then sniff deeply; this is called the ‘first nose.’ Then swirl the wine again and smell a second time, the ‘second nose’, which allows you to identify a greater range of flavors in the wine. The best sommeliers are able to identify as many as 60 flavors in one wine.

Once identified, each fruit flavor teaches us something about the wine. Fresh fruit flavors like apple, pear, quince, peach, apricot and strawberry are usually signs of a young wine.

Cooked fruit flavors like compote or jam indicate a very ripe harvest year with hot weather conditions during the fruit ripen period.

Exotic fruits such as papaya, mango, pineapple, passion fruit and litchi are only found when the grapes were very ripe at the time of harvesting.

As you might expect, sour fruit flavors, such as citrus, green apple, kiwi, red currant and raspberry indicate a wine that was produced from grapes with a greater acidity.

Flavors reminiscent of dried fruits or nuts are usually found in sophisticated white wines.

Obviously, every wine contains multiple flavors. For a full tour of fruit flavors this Tu B’Shvat try these suggestions, found in local wine stores throughout the UK, to bring a taste of Israel to your table this Tu B’Shvat.

Grown in the footsteps of Mt Hermon, Gilgal White Riesling is fresh and makes a great aperitif with notes of citrus, melon as well as lemon and honey. Swill the glass to see if you can identify the subtle character of lime peel.

To accompany your dried fruit, try Yarden’s T2, produced from two different varieties of Portuguese grapes – Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao. This rich wine was fortified with brandy to stop its fermentation and increases its alcohol content while preserving the grapes’ natural sweetness. Look out for the aromatic blend of ripe cherries and plums in the scent.

Daniela Berkowitz

Judea and Samaria Wines To Be Included in New Guide

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

By Anna Rudnitsky/TPS

Yediot Books Publishing House will print a new edition of their 1997 wine guide that will include wines produced in Judea and Samaria.

Wines from Judea and Samaria had been included in Daniel Rogov’s widely respected Guide to Israeli Wines first published in 2005 and updated annually until the author’s death in 2011. Israel Hayom wine correspondent Yair Gat and wine consultant Gal Zohar filled the void this year with their publication of the New Israeli Wine Guide, but they had originally decided not to include wines from Judea and Samaria in the guide.

The project’s launch was celebrated with a special event in the Knesset. As an exception to regulations that generally forbid consumption of alcohol in the Israeli parliament, wines from Judea and Samaria were brought to the presentation, and a number of high-ranking guests made the Jewish blessing on wine and gave their blessing to the idea of a new guide.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett reminded those in attendance that Judean and Samarian territories had many wineries during Biblical times, and that while no wines were produced in the Land of Israel during the years of Muslim rule due to the Islamic prohibition on alcohol, “our generation is renewing the tradition that is more than 2000 years old.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein praised the idea of a new guide as yet another step in the fight against the boycott of Israeli products and suggested that consumers and political entities have equal power in this battle. “Whenever I go to a restaurant, I always ask if they have wines from Judea and Samaria. Once it becomes an issue of consumer demand and not simply about ideology, it can lead to changes in attitudes and policies,” Edelstein said.

Science Minister Ofir Akunis added that wines from Judea and Samaria are his personal choice because “they simply are good.”

“The territories of Judea and Samaria are the perfect place to cultivate grapes because they are at the right altitude and have the right weather conditions a number of wineries that produce excellent wines have been founded there in recent years,” Israel Wine Experience CEO Oded Shoham told TPS. He added, however, that these wines have faced difficulties reaching consumers because of the controversy over their place of origin. “Owners of Judea and Samaria wineries used to ask me to help sell their wines in Tel Aviv area stores and restaurants, but it really depends on the owner of the place and the political attitudes of his clients,” Shoham said.

Critics of the original decision not to include Judean and Samarian wines noted that besides the fact that it lent support to the boycott of products from Judea and Samaria, it was also illogical because many wineries inside the Green Line use grapes grown in Judea and Samaria.

“If you look at the number of awards received in international competitions by Israeli wines, including those from Judea and Samaria, it’s almost as disproportionate as with Nobel Prize laureates,” Amichai Luria, a Samaria winemaker attending the event, told Tazpit News Service (TPS).

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel’s Wine Guide Boycotts Judea and Samaria Wineries

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) When Vered Ben Saadon, owner of the Tura winery in Rehelim, Samaria, approached the editors of The New Israeli Wine Guide, the Israeli wine lovers’ bible with reviews of more than 90 wines by 40 different wineries, she was told her wines would not be included, for political reasons, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Tuesday.

According to Channel 2, a Guide co-editor told Ben Saadon, “Look, I hate to tell you this, but our policy has not changed since last year.”

She said, “Which basically means that because we’re, like, from this region [Judea and Samaria], then it won’t work?” The co-editor confirmed. She asked, “By the way, the Golan Heights is inside?” and was told, “The Golan Heights is inside.”

Of course, if the guide were to exclude the Golan wineries it would have been a very thin book, without industry stars like Yarden and Gamla.

“In other words, only Judea and Samaria is out?” Ben Saadon insisted, and the co-editor confirmed.

The wine industry is flourishing in Judea and Samaria, where many wineries have started up. The area is considered ideal for growing grapes and area vineyards have been awarded prestigious prizes in international competitions.

Ben Saadoun established the Tura winery together with her husband 13 years ago. Since then, their wines have won numerous awards in Israel and abroad, but they find it difficult to reach new customers in Israel because of discrimination—their winery is located on the wrong side the 1949 armistice line, a.k.a. the green line.

Tura is not the only winery boycotted by the guide. Another vintner, from Ofra, who spoke to one of the co-editors, received the same response: “Unfortunately we are not tasting in wineries across the green line.”

The co-editors of The New Israeli Wine Guide are sommelier Gal Zohar and Yair Gath, the wine critic of Israel Hayom, which is considered a right-leaning newspaper. They told Channel 2 News they have no doubt about the high quality of Judea and Samaria wines, they just don’t wish to include them.

One co-editor told Vered Ben Saadon, “These wines are excellent and it’s a wonderful area and you do great work and everything, but you know, with everything around, it puts us in a problematic situation.”

Ben Saadon said, “I understand. And there’s no chance of that if we meet it would change anything?”

The co-editor said, “I don’t believe it would.”

Ben Saadon told Channel 2 News, “I’m, like, upset because we’re like beyond the green line it disqualifies us from entering the book.”

One of the editors, Yair Gath, told Channel 2 News, “This is a personal project, not funded by anybody, and it’s our full right to choose who will participate in it and who will not, and we chose not to take in wines from the territories. Why? Because we think it’s wrong.”

JNi.Media

Some Settlement Businesses See Potential Lemonade in EU Commission’s Lemons

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

(JNi.media) Tura, a family owned, boutique winery located in the village of Rehelim, in Samaria, produces 56 thousand bottles a year, 40% of which are shipped for export. According to winery owner Vered Ben Sa’adoun, the boycott movement against Jewish products from Judea and Samaria has achieved the opposite effect of the one intended: “For five months we were stuck without wine on the shelves thanks to [customers] who didn’t like the violence of the boycott movement,” she told Israel’s Channel 2 News Wednesday.

The EU Commission’s new regulations requiring member states to label products from the settlement stops short of actually making them illegal, and it has been argued that the regulations are not mandatory, meaning that individual states can decide to ignore them. But in all the discussion about the labeling requirement, it has been taken for granted that European consumers would shun products they know were made by Jews on the “wrong” side of the 1949 armistice line. Few have suggested that the European consumer’s sense of fair play, their admiration for the underdog and, yes, their general distaste for things pro-Islamic, might spell a boon for settlement-produced exports.

“The EU wants to boycott us, but I want to tell them that this boycott will not lead us [to any concessions],” said David Daniel, who owns beehives in the Jewish enclave in Hebron. “This attempt to harm us will not succeed. Our clients are very satisfied and happy with our products, and we are happy to market them to the world.”

PR firm Marketing Team Houston, actually recommends negative marketing to some of its clients, as a strategy to gain market share. “Be controversial,” they advise. “Nothing gets people buzzing like a little controversy. However, you’ll need to be prepared to manage the conversation – and the emotions that are sure to arise. … Choose a topic related to your brand that people are passionate about. When handled correctly, this negative marketing tactic can generate buzz and traffic.”

On February 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a trade embargo on Cuba to sanction Fidel Castro’s communist government. As a result, until the ban has been lifted recently, in the US, authentic Cuban-made cigars were seen as “forbidden fruit” for Americans to wish to purchase at any cost. The boycott didn’t turn off anyone, it only made the product more desirable. Of course, it had to be a great product to start with—which is also the case with many settlement-grown and produced goods.

“We believe that we must fight back and call on all of Israel’s supporters around the world, Jews and non-Jews, to buy Israeli products,” said Jacob Berg, of the Psagot winery in Benjamin region. “The best way to fight this European boycott is let the numbers prove it, that a year from now we will sell 2 to 3 times more. If we cry and say it’s unfair, it’s racist, that won’t defeat them, because their goal is hurt the nation of Israel.”

Here are a few ideas we delineated from marketing websites and blogs that preach negative campaigns, most notably, hubspot.com:

1. Exclusionary Personas, the Other. The EU is siding with the Islamists you and I fear so much — show them the right way by purchasing settlements goods.

2. Leverage and Exclusivity. We may not be carried in all the stores, you may have to walk the extra mile and spend the extra five minutes to find our products — but it’s worth it, because they’re delicious. Remember the Cuban cigars? Make the settlement goods a Cuban cigar.

3. Come up with Negative Headlines. There’s a reason why you’re seeing more bad news than good — it’s the undeniable correlation between page views and negativity.

“The people who made this gadget are fearless Jews who guard all night and work all day. ”

“The man who baked this cake just shot a terrorist last night.”

“Taste our bananas and you, too, will want to settle here.”

4. Create a Bond Over a Shared Negative Experience. You think you got Muslims? You should see our Muslims. Here, have an apple cider.

5. Cast Villains. There’s no shortage of that — Arabs, faceless EU bureaucrats, far-left politicians. The Marxists in Brussels don’t want you to taste our grapes — they just ordered a container of them for themselves.

6. Self deprecation. If you don’t buy this Camembert, we’ll burn down this poor Palestinian’s olive grove. It acknowledges the anti-settlements myths and cuts across them with a joke.
Yesha Council, the umbrella body for the half-million plus Jews in Judea and Samaria, might consider this direction. They could call it chutzpah marketing.

JNi.Media

Tapping into the Future of Winemaking

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

By Rachel Gross

The New York Times called it ‘not merely good but brilliant.’ For the Daily Telegraph (UK,) it created an ‘experience contemporary and aspirational.’ The last glass is ‘as fresh as the first’ promises the Washington Post.

What is this revolution overtaking the wine drinking world?

Wine on tap.

We’re all used to beer coming out of a tap in bars and restaurants. Most of us still expect to come from a bottle, possibly covered in dust and served to our table by an accented waiter. But just as our telephones are no longer affixed to the wall and our cameras don’t have film, the world of wine making is moving on.

wine on tap 1

Oxygen is a winemaker’s worst enemy. The oxidation of wine changes the subtle balance of flavors, rendering a world-class wine nothing more than expensive vinegar over the course of time. The bottling process is designed to effectively cut the exposure of the wine to oxygen to nearly nil. It’s remarkably effective… until the bottle is opened.

Finishing a bottle of wine in one sitting might not be an unwanted burden for some of us. Wineries have produced small 350ml ‘couples bottles’ that are half the size of a regular bottle for those of us who want to limit our intake. But it presents a problem for restaurants.

Restaurants want to offer their customers the option of buying wine by the glass but this means opening a bottle of wine at the risk the rest won’t be finished before time renders it undrinkable. Bottles of wine ‘by the glass’ are often open in restaurants for a few days before they are finished, which means that some customers will be receiving a reduced quality of wine. Restaurant owners are still forced to discard wine that was unused within a few days. This extra overhead means customers pay a higher price per milliliter for a single glass of wine than for a whole bottle.

Enter a solution to the whole issue – wine on tap. By serving wine on tap, restaurants are able to serve a single glass of high quality wine. With aluminum kegs, gas lines and special refrigeration system (similar to the system used for beer on tap,) wine can now be kept at peak quality for up to a month, which is more time than enough time for a busy restaurant to finish the 10 liter supply.

Not only does wine on tap guarantee a consistent quality of wine, it is much better for the environment. By doing away with glass bottles, their packaging and transportation, kegs of wine come at a much lower cost to the environment. A ten liter keg can be filled and refilled for up to ten years. If you’re not altruistic enough to switch away from bottles just to help the environment, wine on tap comes at a much lower cost to the consumer. With much lower overheads, wine on tap can bring a glass of wine within the same price bracket as a glass of coke.

As Israel is known as the start-up nation, it is little surprise that the latest trend to take over the winemaking world would be also found in Israel. With a well-respected reputation in Israel and internationally as a producer of high quality wine, the Galil Mountain Winery is spearheading a move to bring this new technology into Israel restaurants. The winery is changing the face of wine consumption in Israel with a pilot program that started in five of the most popular restaurants around Israel, which is due to expand to 50 in the next three months.

Guest Author

1,400-Year-Old Wine Press Mysteriously Appears in Jerusalem

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

By Michael Zeff

While jogging in a Jerusalem neighborhood park, a local Jerusalemite stumbled upon an ancient ruin which hadn’t previously been there.

The Jerusalem resident immediately reported the strange discovery to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who confirmed that they had no archaeological excavations going on in that neighborhood or any knowledge of any ruins.

After arriving at the scene, IAA archaeologists were surprised to discover a 1,400 year old wine press fully and meticulously excavated and exposed to the world.

“Our team was shocked,” IAA spokesperson told the Tazpit News Agency, “They saw a carefully exposed ancient wine press where none existed before, where not a single archaeologist has ever even been digging”.

The mystery kept bothering IAA officials, until the IAA team who took over maintenance of the site discovered that the ancient wine press had been discovered and excavated by local children.

The neighborhood kids, it appears, are avid archaeology fans and at first were simply “playing pretend” in the forest surrounding the neighborhood, until their game turned into reality.

The children were commended by the IAA for their care of the ruin, and the gentle work they put into exposing the wine press while carefully preserving it at the same time.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Ancient Grape Seeds in Negev May Help Re-Create 1,500-Year-Old Wine

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Archaeologists have discovered 1,500-year-old grape seeds in the Negev Desert for the first time and which were used to produce “the Wine of the Negev” — one of the finest and most renowned wines in the whole of the Byzantine Empire.

A joint study by University of Haifa and the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Byzantine city of Halutza (found the seeds that were of a variety that did not survive to present days.

“Our next task is to recreate the ancient wine and perhaps we will then be able to reproduce its taste and understand what made the wine of the Negev so fine,” said the excavation director, Prof. Guy Bar-Oz of the University of Haifa.

“The vines growing in the Negev today are European varieties, whereas the Negev vine was lost to the world. Our next job is to recreate the ancient wine, and perhaps in that way we will be able to reproduce its taste and understand what made the Negev wine so fine,” he added,

Archaeologists know of “the Wine of the Negev” or “Gaza Wine” — named for the port it was sent from to all corners of the empire — from historical sources from the Byzantine period. This wine was considered to be of very high quality and was very expensive.

No one knows what made it so fine because the variety did not survive.  In earlier excavations in the Negev, archaeologists found the terraces where the vines were cultivated, the wineries where wine was produced, and the jugs in which the wine was stored and exported, but the grape seeds themselves were not found until the new discovery.

The archaeologists found the ancient grape seeds in one of the Halutza refuse dumps that were preserved almost completely intact and now mark the boundaries of the ancient city.

The researchers found a particularly high concentration of fragments of pottery vessels used for storage, cooking and serving, which included a significant number of Gaza jugs used for storing the ancient Negev wine. The archaeologists also found a wealth of biological remains, including bones of Red Sea fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean that were imported to the site, which indicated the vast wealth of the Byzantine city residents.

The next stage of the study is to join forces with biologists to sequence the DNA of the seeds to discover their origin.

The archaeologists are asking, “European varieties require copious amounts of water. Today it is less of a problem thanks to technology, but it is unlikely that was the case 1,500 years ago. It is more interesting to think of local grape varieties that were better suited to the Negev. Maybe the secret to the Negev wine’s international prestige lay in the method by which the vines were cultivated in the Negev’s arid conditions.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ancient-grape-seed-in-negev-may-help-re-create-1500-year-old-wine/2015/02/12/

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