Friday, May 22, 2020

Pairings with Wines from Israel

I must say I was completely ignorant to Israel producing wines prior to today’s feature.  When presented with an opportunity to try something new and educate myself I’m always on board.  Wines have been produced in Israel for over 5,000 years and continue to do so under a new generation of winemakers looking to carry on the traditions while further advancing their presence in the market and demonstrating the quality being produced there that many of us are not aware of.  With a variety of terrains from the coastal land, to the mountains, hills and even desert there are a variety of climates, therefore a variety of styles produced this eastern Mediterranean country. 
Today I’m presenting the Galil Mountain Winery and Golan Heights Winery of Israel.  
The Wineries 
Galil Mountain Winery: Beginning in 2000, the Galil Mountain Winery is a joint venture with Golan Heights also featured today along with Kibbutz Yiron.  It’s located in the upper part of the Galilee mountain range, considered one of Israel’s best area for wine production.  The winery contains 6 different vineyard sites with varying topographies and climates.  Their vineyards range up to 2,800 fee and there are a variety of soils from basalt, terra rossa and limestone and flint. They believe in “green living” allowing minimal intervention.  Their chief winemaker, Micha Vaadia, believes in “harmony in nature” focusing on sustainability featuring solar power, composting and wastewater management.   
Galilee wine region of Israel
Copyright of Wines of Israel
Golan Heights Winery: This winery started in 1983 and includes 4 different brands: Golan Heights, Gilgal, Yarden and Mount Hermon all considered to be some of the leaders in the Israel wine industry.  Located in northeast Israel they are based on a high elevated volcanic plateau covering 1,500 acres.  Due to the elevation up to 3,900 feet their vineyards are some of the coolest sites in Israel.   Golan Heights Winery is known for their advances in the modern wine industry including their technological innovations and especially their replanting initiatives in Israel.  In 2007 they partnered with ENTAV, the leading vine nursey.  Their vineyards are spread across 400 different blocks that are all harvested and kept in stainless steel separately until selected for blending.   
Golan Heights wine region in Israel
Copyright of Wines of Israel
The Wines 
2016 Galil Mountain Winery Ela Galilee – This wine is made of 62% syrah, 33% barbera and 5% petit verdot.  Yes, I said Barbera.  Even Italian grapes in Israel?  Amazing!  Deep ruby in color with aromas of black cherry and ripe raspberries.  A smooth, fruit forward wine with jammy fruits, medium in body.  ABV 14.5% SRP $19.99 
The Pairing: Quarantine life has definitely pushed me to try out some new programs.  In the last week we decided to purchase part of a cow from a local farm in the mountains of New Hampshire.  When I saw the makeup of this wine combined with the warmer temperatures that we are experiencing in New Hampshire, it was the perfect time to grill up some tenderloins.  I used a coffee rub that I brought back from Keuka Lake and added some organic roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash with some added nutmeg and cinnamon.  Definitely lots of flavors going on in the dish, but the juicy, ripe fruits of the wine paired just right with the tenderloin. 
2016 Galil Mountain Winery Ela Galilee pairing
2019 Golan Heights Winery Gilgal Chardonnay – Pale straw colored.  The aromatics of this wine reminded me of sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.  Grassy, floral and hints of stone fruit.  Light in body, again grassy, nice and crisp with lime notes.  Not what I was expecting from a chardonnay, but this was definitely a favorite for me and just my style!  ABV 13% SRP $15.99 
The Pairing: I kept this dish simple and straight forward and with this wine being my fan favorite it was quite the enjoyable evening.  A tomato basil marinated grilled chicken breast with an orzo salad combined with organic vegetables. 
2019 Golan Heights Winery Gilgal Chardonnay pairing
Have any of you ever experienced wines from Israel?  If you’d love to learn more join my fellow food and wine lovers as they too explore a variety of wines from Israel. We’re chatting live on Twitter at #WinePW this Saturday at 11am EST.  See you there!
  • Terri at Our Good Life shares “Grilled Mahi Mahi and Gilgal Sauvignon Blanc
  • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “The Eternal Light Shines in Galilee: Yarden’s Merlot, Pinot Gris with Acorn Squash Couscous, Tangerine Feta Spring Salad"
  • 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”
  • 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
  • Susannah from Avvinare shares "Visiting Israel for Memorial Day Through Yarden Wines"
  • Jeff at Food Wine Click!shares “Two Fisted Wine Pairing with Yarden Wines

*The wines were provided as samples, but opinions are all my own.  Importer: Yarden Wine Imports.


  1. This is the second post I've read about this grassy Chardonnay. Go figure! Purchased part of a cow - that's impressive. Pairings look amazing!

  2. Fun to know they even have some Italian grapes planted in Israel!

  3. Both of your pairings look awesome, and I've also been considering looking into meat csa's and similar programs to the one you joined. Seems like a good way to do things. I've been amazed as well at the amazing number of grapes grown in Israel.