About Israeli Wine

About Israeli Wine
As a wine-producing country, Israel has reinvented itself, moving away from the sweet, grapey concord wines for religious celebrations to an industry that now is known for complex, well structured red and white table wines. Today in regions such as Galilee and the Judean Hills, beautifully crafted versions of several red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are being produced. Quality is very good to excellent, with prices ranging from inexpensive to the high $20 range for American retail shelves. While most wines in Israel are still kosher, there are some that are not; these are small lot production, often made by garage winemakers. The bottom line is that Israel has been accepted as a quality wine producer for several years and things will only get better in this regard.

Top Picks for Israel

Yarden 2010 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Galilee
94 points
Yellow straw color. Aromas of buttered brioche, apricot preserves, pear blossom, key lime, and sweet cheese danish with a satiny, racy, finely carbonated, dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, layered, medium-long Italian lemon, pickled ginger, marble, and toasted walnut finish with moderate oak flavor. Sonorous acidity and intense minerality make this a wine with fantastic cellarability; drink through 2040
94 points $32.99
Yarden 2007 Katzrin Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Galilee
94 points
Golden straw color. Fresh aromas of lemon curd, brioche, dried apricot, lime leaf, and pressed flowers with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, delightful, medium-long graham cracker, beeswax, and mango yogurt finish with light oak flavor. A mouth-filling, full-flavor sparkler from Galilee that offers a sophisticated, poignant Champagne-style wine.
94 points $105.99
Shiloh 2017 Privilege Wine Makers Red Blend Judean Hills
94 points
Best Buy
Brick red color. Complex aromas and flavors of chocolate bar, caramelized bacon, blackberry yogurt, and hint of tarragon and parsley with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a polished, layered, long finish with notes of honeyed olive focaccia toast, lemon muffin, salted nuts, and pencil shavings with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A rich and stimulating red blend with great depth and evolving flavors.
Awards: '2018 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $20 and Under' Best Value Israeli Red Exceptional Value
94 points $19.99 Best Buy
Yarden 2014  Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points
Violet color. Aromas and flavors of roasted nuts and berries, suede and wood, and baking chocolate with a soft, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a complex, long finish that presents notes of berry tart, banana creme brulee, and delicate spiced nuts with fine tannins and moderate oak flavor. An elegant and stylish cabernet that has a lot to offer now and even more with patience.
93 points $32.99
Yarden 2016  Chardonnay
92 points
Light gold color. Creamy aromas and flavors of toasted marshmallow, toasty banana danish with caramel, egg nog with nutmeg, and vanilla extract with a satiny, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, charming, medium-length finish imparting accents of apple and pear compote, cookie edges, and creme brulee with coating tannins and moderate oak flavor. A toasty, creamy Chardonnay that will delight fans of the style.
92 points $22.99
Yarden 2009 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling White Wine Galilee
90 points
Yellow color. Buttery aromas of sliced green apple, salted caramel on whipped cream, butter poached lemon wheels, and flint with a round, lively, effervescent, fruity medium body and a smooth, engaging, medium-length green papaya in vinaigrette and lemon shrub finish with moderate oak flavor. A vivacious and extroverted Blanc de Blanc with sprightly acidity and an attractive, svelte finish; cellar.
90 points $32.99
Yarden 2016 Katzrin Chardonnay
90 points
Golden yellow color. Aromas of grilled peaches, fresh croissant, butter poached pear, and toasted nuts with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and an effortless, medium-length grilled pineapple and butterscotch pudding finish with heavy oak flavor. A Napa Style, oak-focused Chardonnay from Galilee with a pleasing dryness.
90 points $36.99
Galil Mountain 2016  Merlot
89 points
Dark ruby black color. Elegant aromas and flavors of pickled berries and fruits, baking chocolate, butter roasted nuts, and leather-bound wood chair with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, medium-long finish with accents of cedar graphite pencil, baked plums and beets, slate, and pepper. A dry savory merlot with an Old World flair that will shine at the table.
89 points $17.99
Gilgal 2016  Sauvignon Blanc
87 points
Pale straw color. Interesting aromas of exotic woods, basil wrapped cantaloupe, red grapefruit, and starfruit with a supple, dryish light body and a polished, breezy ripe pear and jicama finish. This is a layered and decidedly Mediterranean sauv blanc, with a generous palate and hints of savory herbs and a slightly salty note that makes you want to drink more.
87 points $19.99