A Tasty Quartet From Israel’s Galil Mountain Winery

These distinct Israeli wines offer great value and a sense of place for your Seder table
Impressive Kosher Wines from the Galil Mountain

Galil Mountain Winery

Impressive Kosher Wines from the Galil Mountain

More and more wines from emerging regions are hitting American shelves. This makes for lots of choices and plenty of interesting drinking. Over dinner recently, at Bar Bolonat in NYC, with winemaker Micha Vaadia I tasted a selection of the wines from Galil Mountain. This winery located in the hills of Galilee is producing non-Mevushal kosher wines. The difference between Mevushal and non-Mevushal comes down to production methodology dictated by religious laws. Mevushal wines are flash-pasteurized, which, in my opinion, inextricably alters the flavor. Non-Mevushal have stricter production methods as each step of the process from the point the grapes are brought into the winery need to be handled by a practicing Jew. However, they are not pasteurized and therefore the wine isn’t altered. I firmly believe Non-Mevushal wines are the way to go when it comes to having a genuine wine experience. Of course, peoples differing religious beliefs may dictate which they drink.

Though, for those who aren’t keeping kosher, the certification of these wines is wholly unimportant. What is important is that they’re tasty, well-made wines that are also reasonably priced. I also found each of the wines from Galil Mountain to be loaded with typicity for the varieties in question and they clearly exhibit a sense of place. Galil Mountain farms their vineyards sustainably and holds the sanctity of their land in high regard. In short, these are really interesting and flavorful wines you should reach for.

Galil Mountain Viognier 2014 ($18)

This wine was produced entirely from viognier sourced in a single vineyard. Fermentation took place in a combination of stainless steel (80 percent) and French oak (20 percent). Apricot and lychee fruit aromas are present on the nose. The palate shows off papaya, orange zest, and bits of toasted almond. Limestone, lemon, and a bit of a honey are all present on the above average finish. This is a fairly new variety for Israel and Galil Mountain Winery is doing a terrific job with it. Too many examples of viognier are over the top and way too intense. This offering is loaded with fresh fruit balanced by zippy acid. I really struggled to stop drinking this so I could move on to the next wine.

 

Galil Mountain Rosé 2014 ($12)

This selection is composed of sangiovese (74 percent), pinot poir (23 percent), and grenache (three percent). This rosé was made in a combination of methods. The sangiovese was treated like a white wine from the outset while the pinot noir and grenache were bled off of red wine productions. The moment you pour this rosé into your glass, it grabs your attention with its candied apple hue. Ripe, red cherry notes explode from the nose. The palate is loaded with strawberry and cherry flavors tinged by bits of vanilla and white pepper. Sour red fruits such as cranberry and pomegranate are in play on the finish which is long, lovely, and dry. Hints of savory herbs are present as well. Enjoying a good, dry rosé is one of the great joys of the warm months. Galil Mountain’s example is delicious and remarkably well price at $12. Buy a case and drink it all summer.

Galil Mountain Alon 2011 ($22)

Alon is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (59 percent), syrah (27 percent), petit verdot (seven percent), and cabernet franc (seven percent). After fermentation this wine was aged in French oak for a year.  Dark fruits such as blackberry and raspberry fill the big, somewhat booming nose. Hints of savory herbs, smoked meats, and more play nicely alongside a cornucopia of dark fruit flavors. The palate is fruity, gentle, and ultimately dry. Black tea and bits of Earth are present on the solid finish. This wine is made in a style that is approachable and easy to drink upon release. However, don’t confuse that with simplicity; there’s plenty going on here and it’s a lovely and charming wine for the money.

Galil Mountain Yiron 2012 ($28)

Yiron is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (51 percent), merlot (33 percent), petit verdot (nine percent), and syrah (seven percent). After fermentation, this wine spent 16 months aging in French oak. While this blend varies year to year, cabernet sauvignon and merlot are most often the foundation. Red fruit aromas explode from the nose here with bits of spice present as well. Cinnamon, clove, and black pepper are omnipresent on the palate alongside oodles of red and black fruit characteristics. Bits of Earth and continued dark fruits fill out the velvety finish. Firm tannins and acid provide terrific structure. Yiron is delicious now, but it’ll be even better with a couple of additional years of bottle age.

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