Israeli Wine; The Dalton Winery

Monday, July 5, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging

When someone mentions “Israel,” wine is rarely the first thing that comes to mind.

That wasn’t the case for Londoner Alex Haruni, who in 1995 established the Dalton Winery in the Upper Galilee, the area’s first large-scale producer of world-class kosher wine.

When Haruni first visited the area, the Australian-and-Californian trained winemaker immediately acknowledged the Galilee’s unique conditions for growing grapes. With soil over 800 meters above sea level, hot day time temperatures and chilly nights, the vicinity offers a one-of-a-kind area for kosher wine production.

The Winery is now located in the mountainous country overlooking the Hermon Mountains, just five kilometers from the Israeli-Lebanese border. Approximately 800,000 bottles of Israeli wine are produced annually… all of which are sold out past 2011!

But don’t confuse them for some mass-producer of junk wine. Their commitment to quality was on display in 2008, when they opted not to release a recent vintage of their popular Moscato solely because it didn’t meet their standards.

Some people said we should just sell it (anyway),” said CEO Moshe Haviv, and there is little argument with that. Up to snuff or not, refusing to sell a popular product is typically never a wise business decision.

But Haviv disagrees. “It will cost us a lot of money,” the CEO said at the time. “(But) we couldn’t allow it to be sold.” This is a company that holds its reputation as a leader in the rapidly growing Israeli wine industry in higher regard than its financial bottom line, and they should be commended for it.

The Dalton Winery is open for visitors as well, as tours are offered everyday (except for Shabbat and other holidays) from 10 AM to 4 PM. Each tour ends with a tasting, and takes a little less than an hour.

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The History of Wine

Monday, June 28, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging
Thucydides wrote more than 2500 years ago "The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine." Wine making is a process that is about 8,000 years old. It was not until Rome, however, that wine became inextricably linked to society. There were wine bars on every street, and grape cultivation occurred throughout the Empire. In the Cahors region of France, it began to rival Italian production.

During medieval times wine making was relegated to monasteries, which developed it for the sacrament. Fuller bodied varietals came into being, and the water mixed wines of antiquity all but disappeared. By the 18th century, wine was in full bloom, and the Bordeaux region of France became the top producer of quality wines.

Today wine remains popular worldwide. It is made in many countries, from Israel to Chile, and these “New World” wines like Bartenura Moscato and Herzog wine are often just as good as the “Old World” wines from Bourdeaux. Wine is a very cultural example of how people eat and drink.

Enjoy wine like Bartenura Moscato from www.KosherWineRack.com. There you can get a better idea of how civil wine really is.

The Benefits of Kosher Wine

Monday, June 21, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging
Kosher wine is good for you. It has antioxidants that help to eliminate cellular waste, and prevent disease, all while lowering blood pressure and keeping you healthy. Studies also show that moderate wine drinkers have less of a chance of developing heart disease, having heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cataracts, colon cancer and brain decline. Drinking wine also helps lengthen life.

Plus wine helps you to relax, and fosters a good mood. The tannins found in wine also prevent plaque from forming in your arteries and on your teeth.

Drinking kosher wine is usually done around other people. In general, drinking has a social and community based dynamic. The toast for example, is a long cherished way of blessing the future.
Toasting with water just isn’t the same as lifting your glass filled with Kosher wine. Kids can toast with water, but adults toast with Israeli wine.

Kosher wine also tastes really good. The layers of flavor that are concealed in a good bottle of wine can be detected only by a seasoned palate. Thus, a level of connoisseurship is important to enjoying a quality bottle of kosher wine.

It’s hard to find any negatives that come from drinking kosher wine! Buy a bottle today.

Merlots and More

Monday, June 14, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging
Merlot is one of the most popular wines in the world, as well as among kosher wine. It is a medium body grape, with hints of plum and berry, and it has low tannins. Because it ripens early, it is hardy and durable. Often it is blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, to achieve a wine with more moderate tannins.

This varietal does better in cooler soil and can ripen early, meaning it is susceptible to frost and rot. Some oenologists prefer to let the fruit hang for a few extra days in favor of the more fruity flavors that this method produces. Those who prefer early picking enjoy more acidity and greater potential for aging.

White merlot also exists and is made without the skins of the grape. Although the color of the wine is pink, it is not a rose and usually contains raspberry flavors.

Merlots can be paired with almost any kind of food. More cabernet leaning merlots are good to pair with any red meat, while lighter, more pinot noir leaning merlots can be paired with salmon and other seafood. An excellent medium in the red wine world, merlot can be enjoyed anywhere.

Israeli merlots are excellent examples of kosher wine.

The Montepulciano Dispute

Monday, June 7, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging
Montepulciano d’abruzzo is a favorite kosher wine of mine. It has medium full body, light tannins, and is fruity, and dry. Produced in the central region of Italy, Abruzzo, this varietal is different from Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is produced in and around the Renaissance town of Montepulciano in the province of Siena. Because the Abruzzo varietal ripens so early, it is not planted any further north than Central Italy. It is not usually aged for more than 2 years, and if it is, it becomes a riserva. Up to 10% Sangiovese grape is allowed to be blended.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, is of the Sangiovese grape varietal. Coming from the Latin, sanguis Jovis, or “the blood of Jove,” it is usually aged in oak barrels for 2 years, or 3 if iti is a riserva. Similarly fruity, with blush tones of cherry, and stronger tannins, this wine has a long, pleasant aftertaste. This varietal is most famous for the Chianti blend in kosher wines, and it has flavors of red berry, although it can easily assume oaky, deeper flavors when aged.

Well now that we have that Montepulciano dispute all cleared up, let’s go drink a bottle of kosher wine!

May We Refresh Your Israeli Wine History (And Your Glass)?

Monday, May 24, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging
Israel has a climate like the Mediterranean and Northern California, perfect for growing the grapes to make fine kosher wines.

In fact, in Roman times, Israel exported a huge amount of wine to Rome, with greatly sought after vintages—until the 7th century A.D. Islamic conquest of the Middle East all but wiped out the region's wine industry.

For much of modern history, Israeli wines were varieties of somewhat sweet kosher reds, mainly exported to Jewish communities around the world. But little by little… In the late 1960s, Carmel Winery made the first dry Israeli table wine. In the late 1989, Margalit Winery, Israel’s first boutique winery was founded. By the 1990s, Israeli wines were winning awards at international wine competitions.

Some critics argue that the future of Israeli wines is in small, boutique wineries. There are so many cropping up, making it easier and easier to find interesting, complex, high quality Israeli wines.

We make it our business to find them. Happily for us, our business is also a pleasure, like going to a dinner party—choosing the kosher Israeli wines we love best and bringing them to you.
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Changing Times and Kosher Wines

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 by Ajax Union Blogging

I’m not sure Hollywood has directed its cameras on kosher wines specifically, but remember back in 2004 when that depressed guy in the movie(think vineyards, sunshine, spitting) looked down his nose at merlot and we all quickly hid the offending bottles still in our wine racks so no one would know we drank it? (Of course we didn’t pour them down the sink or anything stupid like that.)

Well, the good news is, we’re over it. A 2010 study declared merlot proud winner of the largest consumer base of any varietal in the U.S. And so we might as well ‘fess up that of all our kosher wines, our Israeli wines, lately we’re really crazy about Segal’s Merlot Special Reserve 2002. In vino veritas, as they say.

Funny thing is, in the final scene of Sideways, when Miles breaks open the wine of his dreams (chugs it in a plastic cup with a burger, remember?), it’s a Cheval Blanc, a merlot-inspired Bordeaux. And the lesson here is? Take Hollywood with a grain of salt. Like what you like. If you haven’t already dusted off the merlots of your own kosher wine collection, we’ve got just the thing to bring you back around.