In Israel

Uri Hetz, Naama Sorkin and Gaby Sadan

Until yesterday, my experience of Israel’s wines was pretty limited. But yesterday I spent a day in northern Israel’s wine country, visiting producers and learning a lot.

This was followed by a dinner in Akko, at Uri Buri restaurant, with some winemakers. It was a remarkable day.

Today I pay for yesterday’s fun by having to present two talks at a wine conference in Rosh Pinna. TWO! One on sustainability, the second on authentic wine. My poor audience. I’m snatching a few moments sitting outside at a café next to the conference venue to do a quick blog.

I started by visiting Gaby Sadan whose winery is called Shvo: he’s got some great vineyards, farmed sustainably with no herbicides and no fertilizers, with proper soils, and he’s making really great wines.

Then I was off to Dalton, which is a slightly bigger scale project, but which is also turning out very interesting wines, with the highlights being a remarkable Semillon, a brilliant Syrah and a fresh, elegant Cabernet, all first crop from a rather special new vineyard.

Golan Heights is one of Israel’s largest producers, but there were some pretty good wines in their upmarket Yarden range. I had a good tasting there, as well as an overview of wine in northern Israel, where altitude plays a key factor.

Then Chateau Golan, a boutique winery with the talented Uri Hetz at the helm. Uri is making stunning Grenache and Syrah here. The labels are very old-fashioned, but the wines are spot on. Some real elegance and precision here.

Then a number of winemakers joined together for dinner. There were some lovely wines on show. It’s just great to come here and make loads of discoveries. That’s what keeps this job so interesting. I’m always learning, discovering and meeting great people. Now to dig out my powerpoint presentations…

 

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