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How To Choose A Wine For Rosh HaShana and Sukkot

Let’s stop and think about what’s happening these days. It’s still sunny out, but summer’s heat is slowly being replaced by refreshing breezes bringing autumn as well as the beloved Tishrei holidays: Rosh HaShana and Sukkot. With the Tishrei holidays comes wine, for how can you lay out a proper table without a good bottle? Wine is deeply embedded in the festive traditions of almost every country, and of course Israel is no exception. It is natural for us as Israelis to love wine, especially when you consider that we have excellent wineries and some of the most exotic vineyards in the Middle East.

One of the most active wineries in recent years is the veteran house of “Jerusalem Wineries”. Following the launch of the wine bar in the Prima Park Hotel, Jerusalem Wineries have wasted no time ahead of the Tishrei high holiday season and have launched a new line of wines for the occasion. This is a line based partly on ingredients imported from Italy, and others collected from around the country under the meticulous stewardship of vintner Sam Soroka.

After the runaway success of the Passover orange-tinted wine, Soroka now presents three new vintages, each designed to appeal to different sort of aficionado, and with such a high-quality selection there’s something for everyone. The main feature of the new line of wines is fruitiness and a refreshing palate suited to the Israeli climate. As Soroka puts it: “When they tell me my wine is too fruity, I take it as a compliment.”

CHARDONNAY 2016

A semi-dry white wine, non-pasteurized, 13% alcohol by volume. The Chardonnay is made from grapes grown in two secret vineyards in the Shiloh Valley. These grapes were hand-picked in the cool nighttime hours, and they provide the extra-refreshing, light sensation of this wine, which boasts a bouquet of fresh apples, pears, melon and hints of cider and cinnamon.

Recommended serving temperature: 12C
Pairs well with: Mozzarella cheese, chicken, turkey, delicate sauces, pesto.

CABARNET SAUVIGNON / MERLOT / PETIT VERDOT 2016

Semi-dry, white wine, non-pasteurized, 13.5% alcohol by volume. Don’t let the deep purple hue of this wine fool you. This is a surprising, even mischievous combination boasting pomegranate, cedar and star anise flavors, as well as Soroka’s signature touch: Wood-stick flavoring that gives the wine a unique finish.

Recommended serving temperature: 16-18C
Pairs well with: Aged cheeses, Camembert, beef, lamb, rich stews, tomato sauce dishes.

MERLOT 2013

The strongest of the three wines comes from a non-pasteurized reserve collection with 13.5% alcohol by volume. The wine consists of 85% Merlot grapes, 10% Cabarnet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. The Merlot grapes were hand-picked at an altitude of over 3,000 feet at a vineyard on Mt. Bracha. The wine was aged in French and American oak casks for three years. The wine boasts a cherry, espresso, and slight mint bouquet, accounting for its rich, full-bodied flavor. To retain the full taste, the wine is unfiltered.

Recommended serving temperature: 16-18C
Pairs well with: Cheddar, Parmesan, aged cheeses, beef, grilled meats, steak, hamburger, pasta Bolognese.

So, have you decided which wine to pick for your holiday table? Want more advice on the right wine for any occasion? Feel free to call Jerusalem Wineries at 072-3281991.

Photography: Alex Yampolsky

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