Reclaiming Galilee

by | Jul 24, 2017

I recently attended an Israeli wine tasting and it’s the first time I’ve tasted wines from Israel. I went in with an open mind and wasn’t sure what to expect. In my mind I was thinking Israel = Kosher = Manischewitz = Mevushal Wine (Wine that has been flash pasteurized to allow non-Jews to handle it)

Well, what an eye opener. There are an increasingly large number of kosher wines that are non-mevushal. No flash pasteurization. How is the process different and is it still Kosher? Yes. All the workers involved in producing non-mevushal wines need to be orthodox Jews. They do process a little different, like use Sturgeon proteins to fine the wine and no use of flour products that can sometimes be used in the making of the barrels.

At the tasting I had the privilege to interview Micha Vaadia, the winemaker of Galil Mountain Winery located in the Northwest corner of Israel on the border of Lebannon in the Upper Galilee mountain range. History has it that over 2,000 years ago, the mountain range was a prime location for grape growing. Today Micha and his team are trying to reclaim it to the region it once was. Established in 2000 they have replanted 70% of the vineyards with vinifera. He wants to bring the terroir into the glass and reclaim the Galilee region as the winemaking region it once was.

Galil is a 87,000 case production where 40% of the grapes come from vineyards that are managed by them. The remaining 60% come from vineyards they have long term contracts with. In these contracts they pay based on the quality of the grapes. It makes the vineyard owner take pride in what they are doing and producing.

Here are some of the wines that stood out from Galil Mountain Winery. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a bottle for the upcoming holidays.

2015 Galil Sauvignon Blanc Very nice flavors of fresh citrus, white grapefruit and pineapple.

2014 Galil Ela A blend of Syrah, Barbera and Petit Verdot. Dark and inky. You can smell a bit of the spice aroma coming from the glass. Lots of black fruit and a soft spice finish.

2014 Galil Yiron A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Lots of black fruit, nice finish with the Petit Verdot being dominant. 

Grab a glass, sit back and listen to my interview with Micha Vaadia the head winemaker at Galil Mountain Winery.