CARMEL ? A REVOLUTION IN PROGRESS

08/10/2008
The Carmel Winery of today is barely recognizable from what existed ten years ago. The winery has slimmed down, reduced production, rationalized its product range and changed the focus from volume to quality. more »

CARMEL ? A REVOLUTION IN PROGRESS

The Carmel Winery of today is barely recognizable from what existed ten years ago. The winery has slimmed down, reduced production, rationalized its product range and changed the focus from volume to quality.

A program of renewal was initiated. This entailed the planting of vineyards in cooler climate areas like the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights, the building of state of the art boutique wineries close to key vineyards and the hiring of a new young, highly qualified winemaking team. This has had an effect and the Carmel brand has been rejuvenated.

The chief winemaker is Lior Laxer, who graduated in Burgundy, worked in Burgundy, Bordeaux and Australia, before joining Carmel in 2003. He became chief winemaker in 2005. He has overseen a total review of the winemaking and viticulture procedures, re-graded all the vineyards, as well as successfully integrating a talented team of winemakers with a wide range of experience.

Under the leadership of Israel Ivzan, the chairman, there is a new management team. The winery has become sharper, leaner and the new slogan is the pursuit of quality.

The results of the changes at Carmel have been illustrated in tasting scores, awards and recommendations by wine critics. For instance, in the recent Robert Parker/ Wine Advocate tasting of Israeli wines, Carmel had more 90+ wines than any other Israeli winery. It is clear something has changed.

The new Export Director of Carmel Winery is Arnon Geva. This is the same Arnon Geva, who was a part owner of Domaine du Castel and who succeeded so well particularly in the American market. His mission is to bring new Carmel to the attention of wine lovers and connoisseurs, retailers and sommeliers, who may still be more familiar with grape juice and kiddush wines from Israel?s historic winery.

As a result Carmel has already implemented a new strategy in export by deciding to market only the better quality wines, each of which are examples of new Carmel and the new drive for quality. Carmel Limited Edition, Single Vineyard, Appellation, the new Private Collection and Carmel Ridge is where the focus will be.

The export of grape juice has been totally discontinued. Kiddush & sacramental wine distribution has been drastically reduced to a minimum and apart from high quality spirits like brandy and Sabra, all other spirits & liqueurs have been discontinued.
Therefore the main labels to be marketed abroad are as follows:

The Wines

CARMEL LIMITED EDITION ? Carmel?s flagship wine, with a drawing of Rishon Le Zion Wine Cellars on the label. This is a Bordeaux style blend made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This wine shows Carmel?s all round strength in being able to cherry pick from vineyards all over the country. The first vintage of the wine was the 2003.
It is considered one of the leading prestige wines in Israel and is made in a very elegant, old world style. It has received scores of 90 points from Robert Parker and 93 from Daniel Rogov.

SINGLE VINEYARD ? This is Carmel?s premier label. Carmel were the first Israeli winery to produce a series of single vineyard wines. Each wine represents the character of the chosen grape variety and the terroir of the specific vineyard. Single vineyard wines include: Kayoumi Cabernet Sauvignon and Kayoumi Shiraz, from the foothills of Mount Meron in the Upper Galilee and Sha?al Gewurztraminer Late Harvest from the northern Golan Heights.
The Kayoumi Cabernet Sauvignon won the gold medal as Israel?s best Cabernet Sauvignon two years in a row in Israel?s main wine tasting competition. The Shiraz won the gold one year and the silver the next in the same competition. The Sha?al Gewurztraminer received 90 points from Robert Parker, was awarded a gold medal at the IWSC in London and received 95 points from Howard Goldberg ? the highest score ever awarded to an Israeli wine by a major international wine critic.

APPELLATION ? These are regional wines which offer an expression of varietal flavors from the particular sub-regions. The wines include classic varietals such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a blend, Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz ? all from the Upper Galilee. They also include more unusual, exotic varietals such as: Carignan Old Vines from Zichron Ya?acov and Petite Sirah Old Vines from the Judean Hills.
The wines are distinguished by their attractive labels, featuring Israeli fauna in a hand drawn cartoon style. The Cabernet Sauvignon has won a gold medal at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, whilst the Merlot and Cabernet Shiraz have been double gold medal winners in Israeli competitions. The Wine Advocate has praised the Carignan, which has won silver medals at the IWSC in London. Al Hashulchan magazine (Israel?s equivalent to Bon Appettit) has rated Appellation wines as the best value, quality label in Israel.

PRIVATE COLLECTION ? The new Private Collection has just been released. It has a new logo, a new, striking black and white label and for the first time the quality reflects the changes made by new Carmel. The red wines are fruit forward with aging in oak, whilst the whites are fragrant, fresh with excellent balancing acidity. All represent excellent value for money.
The Private Collection wines include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, a Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. There is also a new Private Collection Brut Sparkling Wine, with a stylish black label.
Daniel Rogov has particularly praised the new Private Collection wines as a continuation of Carmel revolution in the higher volume wines. The wines have won silver medals in Israeli competitions and in a pre Passover tasting by Al Hashulchan, the wines were the best Israeli wines in their price bracket. Private Collection represents quality, reliability and value.
Finally, it is important to note that the new Private Collection wines are not mevushal or flash pasteurized, as some were in the past.

CARMEL RIDGE ? These are light, easy drinking Mediterranean blends, sourced from the Zichron Ya?acov region. The wines are light, fruity and easy drinking and unoaked.
The name refers to the Mount Carmel range, which is where the vineyards are situated. Carmel Ridge wines are in a sense the house wines of the Appellation label, but due to their success and popularity have taken on an identity of their own.
The wines have won silver medals in the major categories of Israeli competitions judging wines at lower price points. In the United Kingdom., Mitchells & Butler has selected Carmel Ridge as one of their nominated house wines. This is the largest chain of pubs in the UK.

Spirits

CARMEL 100 BRANDY. This is a VSOP style of brandy, mainly double distilled in pot stills and matured in casks, previously used for aging wine. The minimum age statement is 8 years, but there is also 25 year old brandy in the final blend. The name commemorates the 100th anniversary of the winery.
Carmel brandies have over the years been regular award winners, but the Carmel 100 has won the ultimate award: the Trophy at the IWSC in London for ?Best Brandy Worldwide.? Recently re-released, this brandy is arguably Israel?s finest.

SABRA LIQUEURS. Israel?s finest range of liqueurs. There is the unique Sabra Chocolate Orange and Sabra Coffee. Newest addition and top of the range is Grand Sabra, an orange brandy liqueur, on a base of Carmel 777 Brandy. The unique bottles are copies of Phoenician wine flasks. The liqueurs are made with natural ingredients.
These are still the largest selling Israeli products in Duty Free. Known as ?the liqueurs of Israel?, these are truly world class liqueurs having won gold and siver medals in the IWSC in London.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.