Israel has been represented at two very important events, which help to advance the awareness of Israel wines at the very highest level.
First, there was the New York Wine Experience in Manhattan, organized by the Wine Spectator. This is the most prestigious gathering of wineries, wines, and winery notables for a tasting.
All the major players were there. Recanati Winery and The Golan Heights Winery were Israel's representatives, and they were pouring the Recanati Special Reserve 2014 and Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 respectively. On behalf of Recanati Winery, owner Lenny Recanati, CEO Noam Yaacobi and head winemaker Gil Shatzberg were present, along with Yair Shapira, CEO, and Victor Schoenfeld, head winemaker, of the Golan Heights Winery. Tom Matthews, editor of the Wine Spectator, selected Recanati Winery as one of the 'Top Ten' winery stands to visit – a tremendous compliment because he had to make the selection from the 269 wineries present.
Israel was first represented at this event back in 1999 by the Golan Heights Winery and they have been the most frequent representative of Israel at this prestigious event with their Yarden wines. Israel usually has a winery invited, however it is praiseworthy that this is the third time in a row that Recanati Winery have been invited. Tabor Winery were also invited three times in a row up to last year. This year it was particularly gratifying that two Israeli wineries were again selected to be there.
One of the leading tasting events in the United Kingdom, is the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in London. This time there were two entries here from Israel. One was 'The Judean Hills Quartet' and the other was Clos de Gat. The Judean Hills Quartet is a consortium formed to advance and educate about the Judean Hills wine region. The four wineries which are part of the Quartet are Domaine du Castel, Flam Winery, Sphera and Tzora Vineyards. They gave a wine workshop to explain the wine region and its wines, which attracted a great deal of positive attention. Their participants were Eli & Ilana Ben Zaken from Castel, Gilad Flam of Flam Winery, Doron & Sima Rav Hon from Sphera and Eran Pick MW from Tzora. The wines they showed were:
Tzora Vineyards, Shoresh Blanc 2017
Sphera White Signature 2017
Sphera Riesling 2017
C Blanc du Castel 2017
Flam Classico 2016
Flam Merlot 2016
Tzora Vineyards Misty Hills 2016
Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2016
Clos de Gat is the perennial Israeli representative at this event. This time they were represented by owner-winemaker Eyal Rotem and marketing manager Gidi White. As a non-kosher winery, their wines are only exported to non-kosher markets, so they are a particularly important winery flying the flag for Israeli wines overseas. The wines they showed were:
Clos de Gat Chardonnay 2016
Harel Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Harel Merlot 2015
Harel Syrah 2014
Clos de Gat Ayalon 2012
Sycra Syrah 2014
The Wine Spectator and Decanter are arguably the two most famous wine magazines in the world. The New York Wine Experience and Decanter Fine Wine Encounter are events eagerly awaited by connoisseurs and wine lovers alike. It was very special that Israel was prominent at both events and that the wineries each represented different wine regions. The Golan Heights, Galilee and Judean Hills were all represented. Bravo to the Israeli wineries advancing Israel as a quality wine producing country under the gaze of experts and wine professionals from around the world!