Press Coverage for IWPA and Israel Wines

Three wise wines for the holidays

By Kim Pierce/Reporter

Just in time for Hanukkah - but not just for Hanukkah - a collection of fine Israeli wines has arrived in the Dallas market.

These kosher wines are nothing like the Manischevitz-style beverages one usually associates with the holidays. These are fine wines that happen to be kosher.

They come from Carmel Winery, one of the largest and oldest modern wineries in Israel. (Don't forget, people were making wine in this part of the world millennia ago.) Three in particular are available locally and stand out for the holidays.

Last week, the importer brought international business director Arnon M. Geva and winemaker Lior Lacser to Dallas. Lacser told a small group that included press and the local distributor about the wines.


Lacser's path to the winery took him through Bordeaux, Burgundy and Australia, and in the Israeli wines, the Old World won: "We are a little closer to Old World than New World," he says, in style and philosophy.

I really liked the Carmel Mediterranean Blend 2007 (no surprise that Mediterranean grapes do well in Israel). Made from six grapes - carignan, shiraz, petit verdot, petite syrah and a dash of viognier - it smellsof dark, black cherries laced with all kinds of back notes: thyme, mint, licorice, herbs de provence, wet stone. Add great acid and soft tannins for an elegant result. All these wines pick up strong minerality from the soil, not unlike wines made from High Plains Texas grapes. SRP: $60.99.

Lacser says the Carmel Appellation Petite Syrah Old Vines 2007 (the critter wine at the back of the line - I think that's an ibex) is made from a grape variety "brought back from the dead" in Israel and grown in two old vineyards in the Judean Hills. This one is inky purple, with distinct, concentrated blueberries with boysenberry and spice and a strong, pleasant petroleum (or tar) component. SRP: $29.99.

Finally, the Carmel Sha'al Gewurztraminer Late Harvest 2007 tumbles honeyed lychee and dried apricot for a concentrated, well balanced dessert wine with terrific acidity. (That's a hallmark of all the wines: bold acidity.) SRP: $21.99.

So there you have it: a selection of new wines from the holy land. By the way, you probably won't find these in the kosher section, any more than you would find kosher Scotches there. Just ask for the Carmel wines at Sigel's or Pogo's.