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2,000 Years Later: Israeli Wine "Gladdens The Heart of Man"

on 29/11/10 at 3:11 pm


A decade ago I’d never have written this sentence: “On a recent trip to Israel I was very enthusiastic to order Israeli wines with my meals.”

The biblical claim, made in Psalms 104:15, was that wine was a gift of God “to gladden the heart of man.” Still, two millennia went by before truly good wine came out of Israel. When the 4th edition of The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia appeared in 2005, Israeli wines got only one skimpy paragraph.

In September, I dined on “Jacob & Esau’s biblical red lentil stew” and a wild mallow herb called hubeiza “eaten during the ‘48 siege on Jerusalem” as part of the kosher menu for “King David’s Feast” at one of Jerusalem’s finest restaurants, the Eucalyptus. I drank a delicious 2009 merlot from the Samson Hills made by the Efrat Winery, which started making wines in a Jerusalem alleyway in 1870 and is now a leading company making more than 100 wines and grape juices.

At the modern non-kosher restaurant Segev in Tel Aviv’s business district, I ate grilled duck breast with sunflower seeds and ground sesame and tried a wonderful Yarden 2007 Katzrin Chardonnay that I’d swear was right out of Napa Valley. It’s actually from the volcanic soil of the Golan Heights.

{Full story via Bloomerg}

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