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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli wine’

The Golan Heights Winery Big Wigs (and the 7 wines we served) at our stand at Vinexpo, June 2011

I have been an international lady as of late. Blogging has suffered. The huge events that have dominated my life since my last post have been:

  • Vinexpo – Bordeaux, France – one of the largest (if not the largest) wine exhibition in the world. Kilometers long. Immense.  Exciting.  And the Golan Heights Winery (and its daughter winery, Galil Mountain), the only Israeli winery represented (and has been for over 20 years), invited me to come with them.  A brilliant week!  I spent my days speaking French with lots of wine professionals and led them through “une degustation,” a tasting, and teaching them about our wines.  I got to know the head winemakers and management well, which was so much fun – it honestly started to feel like a school trip….and the eating and drinking through the city like there was no tomorrow was certainly a perk.
  • Paris – I spent almost a week in Paris after the expo – two/three days of which was with my parents who happened to be in town, unplanned.  I spent time with family friends, too, walked all over the city, relaxed, and ate very very very well.
  • New Job! The winery hired me to manage, train, and recruit all of the wine stewards in Israel.  This is a huge honor, and it’s a job I’m loving.  It’s not easy, but it’s mainly logistics and some training.
  • New love – a beautiful, exciting, and ultimately sad story. I met a man that I’m crazy about. It has been one of the most emotionally satisfying, significant and devastating months of my life.  He is leaving to go abroad for a very long time (years) in two weeks (we will have had about 5 weeks together). I’m not sure how I’m dealing with it all.  With the new job I love and a career I’m trying to forge,  I finally accepted the fact that I’m staying here and putting a stake in this place.

ANYHOW: I will be putting together some incredible photos in the subsequent posts.  Stay posted for gorgeous food.  And I mean gorgeous food…

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Come one, come all!  From tonight, Saturday May 21 to Saturday May 28, the Golan Heights Winery is presenting their incredible yearly wine extravaganza at the port of Tel Aviv.   There will be 6 separate themed bars, and each cost only around 30 shekels to sample all four (or more) wines featured there.

All of the information online about the fest is in Hebrew.  However, it’s going to be fantastic.  The winemakers themselves are going to be there.  We’re opening top-end wines that are not yet on the market.  There are free workshops every night.  Blind tastings.  The works.

Day 1 was incredible! I got to open a Yarden Rom. That's right. Rom.

Basically, be there or be square.  You can come for 20 minutes, you can come for 4 hours.  It’s simple.  As it’s free to get in (it’s at the namal, after all), you can pick and choose exactly which of the 6 experiences you’d like to have.  Starts at about 7 pm every night (except Shabbat, when it’s after Shabbat ends, around 8 pm).

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Whether I like it or not, accept it or not, it’s what it is.  I’m working myself to death.  Much of the time I like what I do, but there is a good deal of time I dislike what I do.  The fact that I average 3-4 hours sleep, the fact that my university and creative work is suffering, the fact that I never see my friends – that is depressing.  And why am I writing about my misery (is it misery?) on this blog?  Well, I haven’t written in a while, and I know that when I force myself to write, I feel better, and I achieve a bit more order.  In fact, I only have about ten minutes to write right now.  Perfect.  Spitting it out.

Wine Update

Dixie – This fantastic top-rated Tel Aviv restaurant (near Azrieli – Yigal Alon 120) is hosting its annual Wine Festival in collaboration with the Golan Heights Winery and the Galil Mountain Winery.  You will find me there every lunch hour between today (well, I just finished my shift) and the 21st of May.  They are selling wines by the glass that just never get opened because they are so rare and expensive, as well as very popular wines at incredible discounts.  There is also a wine shop at the front of the store where you can buy these wines for prices lower than you can find at most wine shops.  So – for incredible meat (it’s a fantastic steak house, burgers, gourmet meat everything kind of place), and the best wine deals in town this week, head to Dixie.  To entice you, there is the Yarden Merlot from the organic vineyard Odem, available by the glass.  Brilliant wine.  Also the ever-popular and gorgeous Yarden Gewurtztraminer.

Piedmont MonthAlkalay (Alkalay 1, corner of Hashla, Basel Square), the wine bar/store at which I work is celebrating a month of wines from Piemonte, a region in northwest Italy, perhaps the very best growing region there is.  The three red varietals are Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo.  We’ve got them all, including some fantastic Barolos and Barbarescos (if you’ve got a few hundred to shell out).  BUT there are several bottles of great stuff at great prices, 30-50 shekels per glass.  I especially love the Maria Gioana from Fratelli Giacosa, a spicy deep single vineyard Barbera, as well as a white wine, the first Cortese of Gavi I’ve ever drunk.  It is so flowery and delicious – could pass for a semi-dry wine, although it’s dry dry dry.

Person Wine News – soon to come.  I have big news, but I’m pretty certain I cannot share it yet.  I’m about to burst.

Finally, Personal Hell – I’m writing a short story I adore, and it was due two days ago – and I haven’t had a breath of time to finish a serious edit – it cannot possibly be read in its condition, despite the fact that I have the storyline down solid.  If I don’t get it done tonight, I’m in deep poo poo.  Wish me luck with finishing this story, my beloved main character Fatimah deserves her ending.

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I am bubbling over with pride and for very good reason.  The winery I’ve worked for for two years, the Golan Heights Winery, just won top honors – the best wine producer in the world – at the Vinitaly International Wine Competition in Verona.

This is awesome, such a coup for Israel, for the winery, for a “new world” winery that is so young (founded in 1983), etc.

The award is given to the producer that has the highest points – tallied from those who have won first prize in at least two individual wine categories.  The two wines that swept their category from the Golan Heights were the 2009 Yarden Chardonnay Odem Organic Vineyard and the 2008 Yarden HeightsWine (dessert Gewurtztraminer).

Chardonnay Odem

Golan HeightsWine

The Golan Heights Winery beat over 1,000 other producers from over 30 countries who submitted over 3,000 wines.  This competition is commonly referred to as the “World Cup” of wine, and it means a great deal that Israel has won.  We’re serious players in the wine world, and now the world, all the world, will recognize it.  No more will I wander Europe and have people not know that Israel makes wine at all.

All Vinitaly Award Results

Articles: (I’m sort of shocked there aren’t more in English and French…)

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A day late, but not a dollar short, I’m hoping.  There are a lot of exciting wine happenings going on this weekend.  In short – read on – and whatever you do – if you are drinking wine this weekend (and I hope you are) make sure it’s a good one.

Events:

Friday, April 25 – Yarden Single Vineyard tasting at ALL the Derekh HaYain stores.  I will be at the Hashmoniam Street store at 10 am to 3:30 pm tomorrow opening some ridiculously incredible wines including:

2009 Yarden Chardonnay, Odem Organic Single Vineyard
2007 Yarden Merlot
2005 Yarden Merlot, Tel Phares Single Vineyard
2006 Yarden Syrah
2006 Yarden Syrah, Tel Phares Single Vineyard
2007 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon

Be there or be extremely square.

Saturday, March 26 – 2008 Bourgogne Wine Release Block Party @ Alkalay! From 12 pm to 12 am there will be dozens of the finest Burgundy wines available for half glasses, full glasses, half bottles, and bottles.  That’s right, you too can afford to drink a thousand shekel bottle, or at least a fraction of one.  It’s sickeningly awesome.  Wines included are:

Whites
Château de Puligny – Bourgogne Rosé 2009
Ramonet – Bourgogne Aligoté 2009
Jean Durup – Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2008
Deux Montille – Rully 2008
Héritiers du Comte Lafon – Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine 2009
Christian Moreau – Chablis 1er cru Vaillon 2009
Ramonet – Chassagne-Montrachet 2008
Domaine Leroy – Bourgogne Aligoté 2007
Antoine Jobard – Meursault En la Barre 2008
Château de Puligny – Puligny-Montrachet 2008
Roulot – Meursault 2008
Sauzet – Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru La Garenne 2008

Reds

Marcel Lapierre – Morgon 2009
Château de Puligny – Monthelie 2008
Vougeraie – Côte de Beaune “Pierres Blanches” 2008
Ramonet – Chassagne-Montrachet 2009
Leroy – Bourgogne 2007
Méo-Camuzet – Fixin 2008
Gouges – Nuits-St-Georges 2008
Denis Mortet – Gevrey-Chambertin 2008
Liger-Belair – Vosne-Romanée 2008
Emmanuel Rouget – Vosne-Romanée 2008
De Montille – Volnay 1er cru Taillepieds 2008
Prieuré Roch – Nuits-St-Georges 1er cru Vielles Vignes 2007

Be there or just be really uncool.

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If I can muster the energy and discipline, I’m thinking of doing a weekly wine-oriented post. As I’ve been living and breathing nothing but wine, mostly trying to absorb as much knowledge on Bourgognes as fast as possible, I feel like I’m bursting. So without further ado:

Fun things I’ve learned:

  • Bourgogne wine families are, for lack of a better term, incestuous.  You know, like, this famous vinter’s daughter married this other guy from down the road who was an international playboy until his dad died and he had to take over the business who now makes world-class wine, and his sister-in-law’s cousin is the owner of the finest plot of grand cru in Beaune…. And on and on.  Hearing the stories is like watching an episode of 90210.
  • I would really, really, really like the opportunity to try a DRC.  Enough said.
  • I need to give Italian wines more of a chance.  Chianti be damned!  You give Italy a bad name.  No, no, I’m being too harsh.  Still…

Things you should read ASAP because it’s good and informative and entertaining:

Interesting tidbits either said to me or  overheard during a wine tasting I worked last week:

  • You didn’t succeed… (whispered a little old man to me with an evil wink in his eye as he walked out of the shop, not having purchased anything.  This after he told me he doesn’t drink anything but kiddush wine.  Yeah, I want your business, buster.)
  • You succeeded there… (posh middle-aged woman said to attractive 30-something man referring to his 4 year old son.)
  • People without money don’t like good wines… (said a really arrogant 40-something guy buying crap severely-overpriced Spanish Crianza with a fancy gold label.  You tell ’em.)

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An "art-short-story" I adore, created by Brian Andreas. I keep this above my bed.

‘Twas yesterday.  My birthday.  31 on the 31st.  My golden birthday, gone in a flash.  Shared another birthday with Harry Potter (and his creator JK Rowling), and now an anniversary with Chelsea Clinton, apparently.  Went swimming in the sea, had a lovely Italian breakfast with my mother at Rustico Basel, a leisurely soy ice coffee with my sister at Loveat, and had a little wine and cheese night up on the roof garden with dear friends and family (some of the best Camembert on record!).  Besides the detour of picking up party supplies, cleaning house, and baking my own cake, it was very relaxing.

Harry turned 30 yesterday

I am absolutely thrilled that I had a wonderful birthday – and that it was like almost any other good day. What I mean by that is for the first time in my life, I didn’t put my birthday up on a pedestal.  I didn’t stress out.  I didn’t have high hopes or low hopes.  I didn’t have hopes.  And it was marvelous.  Not too different than other marvelous days, but just a little more special.  I am looking forward to future birthdays just like this.  Fun, but without grandiose expectations.

Birthdays are always a good chance to take stock.  In recent years I feel like I haven’t accomplished much.  When you’re young, in school, working your first jobs, achieving demonstrable things is what’s expected.  School plays, good grades, choir concerts, varsity letters, diplomas, certificates of honor, promotions, etc, etc.  Now, it’s not so noticeable; life seems to grind on. A lot.  And it’s not so clear what you or the world would consider an accomplishment.  So, without further ado, an attempt at listing this years’ (potential) accomplishments, in no particular order:

  • Forging a new career as a freelance virtual assistant , writing/blogging consultant, and editor.
  • A trip to Provence with good friends for good food, good wine, good culture, good Scrabble, and good conversation.
  • Lots of organic veg, lots of cooking and eating, and lots of blogging about it.
  • Wine work – huge expos, weekend wine tastings, a couple trips to wineries, and my first actual (I guess, professional, ee gad!) presentation.
  • Yoga! Lots and lots of Yoga. Every Thursday. Come rain or shine.
  • Sommelier course – or the closest you can get to it in Israel. So much fun, for so many reasons.
  • Got into grad school (MA in Creative Writing). Starting in 2 weeks. We’ll see how that goes…
  • Buddhist meditation – life-changing practice. It’s saved me, for so many reasons.
  • Vipassana retreat – silence and meditation 24/7 for 7
  • Leadership, again – helped form a Sangha (meditation community), 10th college reunion committee recruitment chair (12 new members in less than 2 weeks!), and potentially volunteering to organize an alumni event for the U of C Israel Alumni Club.
  • Reality TV show – my sister and I (and our lovely apartment) starred in a house hunting show.
  • Almost a month in the States – spent quality time with old friends and family by way of an east coast whistle-stop tour, a mid-west road trip blasting Hemingway on the speakers, and an Iowa wedding. The best of times.
  • Read some good books, made a couple good friends, drank some good wine, and at brief moments, felt good and knew it.

Not a bad year if you look at it empirically.  I know that I diminish my accomplishments and experiences because the negative and what I perceive as missing, overshadow the good. Namely, the never-ending battle to achieve work-life balance, and the never-ending battle to get out of dodge (aka single-dom).  Luckily, I’m much less paranoid about both.

My hope is that I (and all of us) will continue to become grounded, perceive the here-and-now as much as possible, be in a position to recognize moments of happiness when they come, explore our world, explore the paradox, create beauty, and take some risks.  Some good big risks.  Onward and upward!

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