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17 September, 200917 September, 2009 0 comments wine wine

There are currently four producers of traditional sparkling wines in Israel. Carmel and Yarden's Gamla label are the largest and longest producers with mid-size Tishbi and boutique Pelter more recently adding to the list.


These four wineries offer sparkling wines reminiscent of a Champagne, Blanc de Blanc or Cava type sparkling wine while they and others also offer up frizzante wines as well.

Carmel offers two sparkling wines made in the Charmat (secondary fermentation) method and are the least expensive way to get a big pop at a party.

Gamla Brut, produced by Yarden, is the only Champenoise method wine (where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle) that uses the traditional Champagne blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes to make their wine.

Pelter makes maybe the best received Blanc de Blanc (white wine from white grapes in contrast to other sparkling wines that might use red grape

15 September, 200915 September, 2009 0 comments wine wine

    One of the more successful mid-size wineries in Israel is the Recanati Winery located in Efeq Heziq. Drawing upon vineyards from the Upper Galilee, the Jerusalem Hills and about Zichron Ya'akov, the Recanati Winery has grown from about 200,000 bottles in in first year to about 1,000,000 bottles expected in 2010. This success can be measured by the growth and production of the winery as well as the recognition of the quality of the wine. Under it 's founding winemaker, Lewis Pasco, the  Recanati Winery gained a reputation for making powerful but pleasing award winning wines. After 8 years together, Lewis Pasco went on to become a consultant for wineries in California.


Lenny Recanati

Lenny Recanati and a bottle of his praise-worthy 2008 Recanati Rose.


   This could have been a crisis for many wineries, but under the leadership of owner Lenny Recanati, this change became an opportunity. Israeli born Lenny had been a fan of winemaker's Gil Shatzberg's efforts at the nearby Amphorae Winery and brought Gil over to take the helm. There have been subtle changes in the wines as Gil and Recanti's other winemaker Ido Lewinsohn

30 August, 200930 August, 2009 6 comments wine wine

    In going from winery to winery, wine event to wine event and talking to winemakers, employees and wine customers in Israel, one of the names that frequently comes up in conversation about wine is food and wine critic Daniel Rogov.  His critiques in Israel pick apart the idiosyncracies of a restaurant's food, service and atmosphere with high praise, mixed feelings or maybe just desserts for the restuarants efforts or offenses. His wine reviews analyze the complexity, balance and expressiveness of a wine (or the lack there of) and describe a profile of flavors one might expect if they bother to take the time to savor and not gulp down their next glass or two. Every Wednesday, readers of the English version of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz (Tuesday in the Hebrew edition) can read his wine reviews. Every Thursday, they can read a resteraunt review. Since Haaretz is the Israeli affiliate of the New York Times (the International Herald Tribune), these articles can have widespread impact.

   As Israeli wines and even it's restaurant scene have improved dramatically it's only natural that his reputation and stature have improved as well. It's almost as if you were selling people on Yugo's and Yugo's all of a sudden (or over 25 years) started to make a product that competed with BMW and Infiniti, they're boun

26 August, 200926 August, 2009 1 comments wine wine

Manfred & David Rhodes

Yours truly, David Rhodes, trying local Israeli micro-brew, Manfred



     The 5th Annual Jerusalem Beer Festival is over at Gan HaAtzmut (Independence Park) in the center of the city.  From 6PM to Midnight, over 100 beers available here in Israel were served throughout the two night brew bash.  Several of the beers are made by local breweries big and small (including my favorite Dancing Camel's Leche del Diablo) yet there are many nations and styles available including lagers, ales and stouts and beers from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan.

dancing camel

israel's aspring 3 year old micro-brewery Dancing Camel caught my attention...

     As I cruised for amiable beer vendors willing to sample their beers to a humble (or not so humble) wine writer, I managed to coax about two dozen beers to taste (there's goes my diet for the week). Most were distinctly different from the next partly do to the variety offered and

24 August, 200924 August, 2009 1 comments wine wine

      So, when you work in the wine industry, everyone thinks you must be some kind of a drunk and though I might get intoxicated time to time I can assure I probably drink less in quanity but maybe more in quality than many of my readers or friends.  One way this happens is many times when I'm near wine I'm talking business or tasting wine (which usually includes spitting) and other times when I'm drinking wine it's with other wine people and we savor what were drinking and I can enjoy smelling a great wine as much as drinking it. I also like enjoying letting a wine open up in the glass a half hour or and hour tasting it as it opens up.

Recently, I had a chance to drink with some of my favorite wine geeks in Israel (and meet a few new ones). This is heavan for me. If there's an afterlife I hope they're serving good wine accompanied by good food, good company and good conversation. Such was this day at Ido Lewinsohn's Lewinsohn Winery as about a dozen of us dined with his family and tried a verticle and horizontal tasting of his ever more popular cult status "Garage du Papa" wines.

    There's some winemakers and wineries that have been extremely generous with their time and wine as I journey through and jour

10 August, 200910 August, 2009 2 comments wine wine

    About 30,000 attendees are expected this year in Jerusalem at what promoters assert is Israel largest beer festival. Over 100 international and Israeli beers will be featured available by the liter and half-liter. There should be about 10 main bars and some smaller bars. The event will go from 6PM until midnight and the promoters suggest that those who come early around 6 or 7PM will most likely get the most pleasurable experience.

Jerusalem Beer Photo

Throngs of Beer Lovers to Gather Again in Jerusalem...

The event is being held at Independance Park in Jerusalem to accomodate the expected throngs of beer drinkers.

Live bands will play throughout night and all food stands will be certified Kosher (El Gaucho will be the focal food provider but look for Asian food and other treats as well).

The admission price is 20-25 NIS with discounts for students.  Beer and food is additional to the modest price of admission (someone's go to pay for the bands... they say some of Israel's best).

Jerusalem Beer Stage

22 July, 200922 July, 2009 1 comments wine wine

Harvesting began yesterday at the Tishbi Winery as they started to bring in their Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the vineyards.  For fans of the winery, that also means it's time for their yearly tradition of Summer Musical Evenings. Located in Binyamina, (along Road 652, on the way to Zichron Ya'acov) the Tishbi family will be hosting a series of four distinctly different Summer Music Evenings. For 140 NIS (about $35) the ticket will include wine, appetizers and featured live music.

Thursday  July 23rd, 2009        Jazz Singer Karen Friedman presents her vocal versions of American and Israeli Jazz standards.

Thursday August 6th, 2009       Esti & Effi Israeli Folk Music

Thursday August 13th,2009      Avivit-Ezzria old school French and Israeli songs

Thursday August 20th, 2009     Brazlian Music Night

19 July, 200919 July, 2009 1 comments wine wine

Buying Wine, Liquor and other Spirits in Israel can be dramatically different than say in the United States or even most other countries.  There are far more outlets, as Israeli businesses typically aren't restrained from seling liquor by coomunity zoning restrictions or prohibitively available or expensive liqour specific liscening.

Kiosks, the closest equivilent to an American convenience store in Israel, usually carry wine but only a sparse selection of a few bottles and at a ridiculous mark-up. For instance a botlle that might sell for 27 NIS might sell for 80 NIS. It's an outlet best suited for unknowing tourists, late night revelers and those in a rush.

Supermarkets in Israel tend to have much larger selections but typically carry only entry level wines. For instance, many larger wineries have 4 to 6 series of wine graduating in quality. The supermarkets typically only sell the first two levels sometimes carrying the third tier but rarely premium wines.

Some wineries intentionally block sales of either all their wines or their higher tier wines being sold in supermarkets because they believe there's a stigma associated with selling wine in the supermarkets and that many finer restaurants do not want to

19 July, 200919 July, 2009 1 comments wine wine

     One of the secrets frequent wine drinkers indulge in is bringing their own wine along when they eat out at a favorite or new restaurant. It's called paying a corkage fee referring to the fact the waiter is merely uncorking the wine for you, decanting if necessary and providing the guests with wine glasses. This is a very common practice in many Western countries but it's a much rarer practice in Israel but growing in popularity as the wine industry and culture matures.

      The advantage for the wine drinker becomes obvious when the numbers are crunched. Let's take a bottle of wine that retails for about 40 NIS. I know one restaurant that sells the wine to diners for 130 NIS. This is a common mark-up for wine in restaurants. The restuarant charges 30 NIS for a corkage fee. So if you brought in a simiiar wine it would cost you  40 plus 30 equling 70 NIS almost half the price of buying it on premises.  The savings even get more dramatic when you consider 100 NIS bottles might go for over 300 NIS when dining out.

      Some restuarant owners, managers and waiting staffs are dumbfounded when you ask about corkage fees but there are some traditional customs about corkage fees that the con

7 July, 20097 July, 2009 2 comments wine wine

I'll be attending tonight (Tuesday) and probably Thursday, if you want to meet the man behind the words... 052-702-9463

Annual Israeli Wine Festival


Art Garden at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

August 4th, 5th and the 6th (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)

19:00-24:00 (7PM-Midnight)

60 NIS for the tasting including the glass

with over 30 wineries participating including kosher Recanati, Yatir, Alexander, Segal, Tishbi,Tzuba,Tepererg,Tabor, Psagot, Tzora, Dalton, Barkan, Binyamina and Galil Mountain

and non kosher Avidan, Pelter, Saslove



Israel Museum: 02-6708811





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Posts: 54
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David Rhodes worked at wineries in California & Israel, hosted over 100 wine parties.as a sommelier & adviser for the SDSU Business of Wine program. He speaks weekly about wine on Rustymikeradio.com & writes for ESRA magazine. Israeliwineguy@gmail.com


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