Israel may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking about wines, but Israeli wines can be found easily in the United States. The wines offer great value and high quality. Yarden Wines is leading the path to creating a fine wine culture in Israel and abroad. The wines can be found under three labels, Golan Heights Winery, Galil Mountain Winery, and Yarden Wines.
Last year I had the opportunity to meet with the Head Winemaker for Yarden Wines, Victor Schoenfeld. He says, “Special wines come from special places. We strive to make distinctive wines that reflect our unique region. No other spot on the planet combines our high altitude, specific latitude, advantageous topography, and beautiful volcanic soils. Our wines also reflect the women and men that grow and make our wines, and their desire to make great wines that express this exceptional place where we live and work.”
Today we are exploring two wines from off the beaten path, Galilee. Galilee is the northernmost appellation of Israel, and considered to the best area for wine growing. The highest quality area within the Galilee appellation is the Golan Heights (or simply the Golan), the coldest region in Israel. The vineyards on this volcanic plateau range from 1,300 feet to 3,900 feet. Being far north they receive snowfall during the winter months.
Golan Heights Winery is located in the town of Katzrin in central Golan while the Upper Galilee mountain range is the home of Galil Mountain Winery. Winemaking dates back to biblical times in this region. Over 2,000 years ago, Galilee was a prime location for the cultivation of grapevines.
Galil Mountain Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is the perfect pairing with a Greek Salad. The wine had a bright golden hue with notes of passion fruit, lychee, citrus, and herbs. It was bright, fresh, and crisp and paired so well with a light salad but would be perfect on its own as an aperitif.
Next up I had the Golan Heights Winery Hermon Galilee Red Blend 2019. A Bordeaux style wine, the Hermon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The aromatics stood out on the wine, with notes of red fruit, herbs, and spice. This is a great everyday wine, so I paired it with a juicy hamburger. On the palate the smooth tannins coat the mouth with notes of blackberries and violet. The wine is a great representation of Golan Heights Winery’s goal to offer terroir-driven, Mediterranean wines at a phenomenal price.
My Favorite Greek Salad Recipe
- 4 medium Roma tomatoes, diced (10 oz)
- 1 medium English cucumber, optionally peeled and sliced into half-moons
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced or diced, rinsed and drained
- 1 small green or yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
- 3/4 cup kalamata or black olives, drained and sliced
- 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)
Greek Salad Dressing
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 large clove)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp finely minced fresh parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp honey
- Salt, to taste
Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk well to blend, season with salt to taste, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Add tomatoes, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, olives, avocado, and feta to a salad bowl.
Drizzle dressing over top and gently toss to evenly coat. Add dressing within a few minutes of serving for the best results.
Wine Pairing Weekend with Yarden Wines
Our wine pairing weekend wine writers have some great Yarden Wines to try. Join our Twitter conversation on Saturday, May 23rd 2020 at 11:00 am EST at #WinePW!
- Terri at Our Good Life shares “Grilled Mahi Mahi and Gilgal Sauvignon Blanc. Our Good Life”
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “The Eternal Light Shines in Galilee: Yarden Merlot, Pinot Gris”
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Lamb Stuffed Eggplant and a perfect Wine from Galilee”
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen shares “Yarden Wines Paired with Japanese Surf ‘n Turf”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen shares “Off The Beaten Path – Two Wines From Isreal’s Galilee Appellation”
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Of Israeli wines, long-ago memories, and Harvey’s takeout”
- David at Cooking Chat shares “Pairings for Gilgal Sauvignon Blanc from Israel”
- Payal at Keep the Peas shares “Israeli Wine with the Diverse Cuisine of the Diaspora”
- Nicole at Somms Table shares “Memories of Yarden Wines with a side of Meatball Shakshuka”
- Jennifer at Vino Travels shares “Pairings with Wines from Israel”
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Peppered Brisket, Honeyed Onions, and the 2106 Galil Mountain ‘Ela’”
- Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings shares “Enjoying Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot and Yarden Pinot Gris with Grilled Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye Salmon and Poke Ahi Tuna Bowl”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Two Fisted Wine Pairing with Yarden Wines”