?The tenth year of Eshkol Hazahav! This is Israel?s main wine tasting competition which is held annually. Eshkol Hazahav, which translates as ?The Golden Cluster?, has become a fixture in the Israeli wine calendar. It is regarded locally as the Oscars of Israeli wine.
After four days of tastings by carefully chosen wine professionals, the cream of Israel?s wine industry gathered at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv for the Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony.
Radio personality and wine lover Amnon Peer comp?red the event. First, wines were raffled to raise funds for the Schneider Children?s Hospital in Petach Tikvah. Wineries donated special cuv?es for the purpose of raising money. Amongst the wines donated were Yarden El Rom Double Magnum, Yatir Forest Magnum, Carmel Limited Edition Magnum and Recanati Special Reserve. The most unknown wine was one of only four magnums produced by the Trade & Industry Minister Shalom Simhon, in his new fledgling winery initiative. All were put forward for an excellent cause.
The Gala Dinner was prepared by guest chefs led by Meir Adoni. They worked with the Dan Panorama executive Chef and kitchen team to produce a banquet. A selection of wines donated by wineries was put on every table.
The organizer of Eshkol Hazahav is Studio Ben Ami, personified by Avi Ben Ami. Avi Ben Ami was Israel?s first celebrity sommelier working at restaurants like Mul Yam and Roshfeld. He was winner of Pras Yarden, the country?s premier award for wine service, back in 1997. He is now well known for organizing the Sommelier Exhibition, the Israel?s main exhibition for the wine trade. He has also organizes other periodic exhibitions for Beer, alcoholic beverages and winemaking equipment. He manages his www.sommelier.co.il website. However his main contribution may well be the Eshkol Hazahav competition, which for ten years has taken place, usually in late spring/ early summer. To this he has added a Best Value competition which takes place early spring.
The Awards ceremony was conducted, as every year, by Adv. Nachman Cohen Tzedek and Haim Spiegal from the Dan Hotels Group. The main prizewinners of the 2012 Eshkol Hazahav were Carmel with four golds, Golan with three and Adir & Shiloh each with two. The winning gold medal wines in each category were as follows:
Yarden Sauvignon Blanc, Golan Heights Winery 2009
Chardonnay, oak aged
Appellation Chardonnay, Upper Galilee, Carmel Winery 2011
Yarden Odem Vineyard Chardonnay, Golan Heights Winery 2010
?Other? White Wine Varieties
Carmel Kayoumi Vineyard Riesaling, Carmel Winery 2010
Israeli Journey (Masa), Vitkin Winery 2011
Cabernet Sauvignon (NIS 60-110)
Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon Upper Galilee, Carmel Winery 2009
Cabernet Sauvignon (More than NIS 110)
Assaf Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Assaf Winery 2008
Merlot (NIS 60-110)
Shor Merlot, Shiloh Winery 2008
Merlot (More than NIS 120)
Tura Merlot, Tura Winery 2009
Red Blends (NIS 50-90)
Alma Blend, Dalton Winery 2009
Red Blends (NIS 90-130)
Legend Blend, Shiloh Winery 2009
Red Blends (More than NIS 130)
Recanati Special Reserve, Recanati Winery 2009
Ben Zimra Shiraz, Adir Winery 2010
Corem Cabernet Franc, Nahal Amud Winery 2010
Petite Sirah / Carignan
Appellation Carignan Old Vines, Carmel Winery 2010
?Other? Red Varieties
Terra Malbec, Teperberg 1870 Winery 2009
Yarden HeightsWine, Golan Heights Winery 2010
Red Dessert Wines
Kerem Ben Zimra, Adir Winery NV
The main winners out of the?Boutique category, for those wineries producing less than 12,000 bottles a year, were as follows:
Aligote Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; Gizo Merlot 2010, and Vortman Shambour 2010.