Kosher Wine Recommendations #60

January 11, 2008   |   By (see 's Profile)   |   Filed Under Food & Wine 

With permission, from the newsletter of oenophile, Yossie Horwitz

Ella Valley Kosher Wine CollectionAnother great (little) winery is Ella Valley Winery (not to be confused with the far inferior Ella Valley Series from Kinneret which is a private label made entirely for export by Teperberg). Ella’s first vintage was in 2002 and for a vintage year considered relatively poor, the wines were very good. Starting with the 2003 vintage the winery created its reserve series called “Vineyard’s Choice” and is currently producing excellent wines in three series: Vineyard’s Choice, Ella Valley and Ever Red which are entry level wines meant to be consumed very young but nonetheless of a high quality and well worth seeking out.  unfortunately the Vineyard’s Choice wines are only available in Israel but to those of us in the United Sates, I highly recommend getting your hands on a bottle or two and these are deep, layered and rich wines which I have previously reviewed on these pages.

The wineries vineyards are located in the Ella Valley and the top tier Merlot and Shiraz wines show, like a number of other wines from this area, good structure, elegance and even power at a relatively young age despite the relatively young age and despite growing in warmer and lower level hills.  The winery also produces a private label entirely for export call “Hai”.  At the end of this email are a number of upcoming wine related events which look interesting.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah, 2005: The first blend of this sort from this winery and a highly successful one.  The Syrah serving to soften the strong and bold tannins and blending together in a warm, velvety supple mouth feel.  Royal purple in color and very full bodied, this wine shows loads of forward fruit including juicy plums, vibrant cherry flavors along with other berry and pleasant jammy notes to go with the sweet wood flavors and the hints of oriental spices.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, Vineyard’s Choice, 2003: A very dark ruby colored full-bodied wine and very concentrated ‘dark’ wine. Lots of black cherry, plum and berry fruits aromas and flavors with spices and some wood flavors to balance out the fruit with a hint of sharp, bittersweet chocolate and a moderately long fruity finish. Still needs some time to soften out but promises to develop very nicely for another 3-4 years.Ella Valley Kosher Wine 1

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, 2003: This “middle tier” wine showing extremely well and a great (and much cheaper and available) alternative to its big brother from the “Vineyards Choice” line.  This blood ruby colored wine is full bodied and by now its strong tannins have integrated nicely providing for a mouth filling and well rounded supple feel.  On the somewhat ripe nose and palate the firm and “in your face” structure combines with hints of white pepper and a touch of slightly bitter greenness running through as well as strong hints of blackberries, currants, ripe and juicy plums with hints of wood on the relatively long and slightly spicy finish.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Ever Red, 2004: Another great so-called “entry level” wine which deserves consideration as a more serious wine.  Garnet colored and medium bodied, this wine is very fruity on the nose with hints of raspberries, red cherries and eucalyptus with spicy-minty (hard to explain) hints with a nicely rounded and smoothing out on the palate to go with the raspberries, blackberries and more spiciness. A little less lively than the Cab Franc but a nice wine with a somewhat short finish.

Ella Valley Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2004: The 2003 was great and the 2004 vintage exceeded my expectations.  A deep royal purple color and medium to full bodied on the palate this wine had fresh and ripe fruit on the nose with sweet hints, raspberries, oriental spices and floral notes following through on the palate with the strong yet somewhat sweet tannins integrating nicely with the hints of spiciness, vanilla, espresso and bittersweet chocolate on the palate – a complex, layered and highly enjoyable wine which will be fun to follow as it continues to develop over the next couple years as it might be a tad to early to fully appreciate all this wine has to offer right now.

The winery also produced an excellent dessert wine I have previously discussed which is an excellent and affordable alternative to the Yarden Botrytis and Heightswine dessert wines.

Shabbat Shalom,

Upcoming Interesting Wine Events

  • There are still a few spots left in the special wine tasting for the readers of this email I mentioned last week so let me know as soon as possible if you are interested.  I am still working through some of the specifics but wanted to gauge your interest and would appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions you may have.  I am currently thinking about a tasting for about 30 folks at a venue to be decided with appetizers and/or cheeses with a small cover charge to cover the appetizers.  The more important part would be that every participant would bring a special bottle of wine.  Please let me know sooner than later (i) if you would be interested in such a tasting; (ii) any thoughts or suggestions on this that you might have so that I can start making more concrete plans; and (iii) most importantly, which wine you would consider bringing to this event.  I think that it would be a fantastic opportunity not only to taste some special wines but also for the many readers of this email newsletter to get together and get to know more fellow oenophiles.
  • The Royal Wine Company (producers of Herzog and other wines as well as one of the US’s major kosher wine importers) will be holding its 2008 Kosher Food and Wine Experience on 20 February 2008. The event will take place at the Puck Building, 293 Lafayette Street in Manhattan from 5 p.m. – 11.p.m.  I attended last year’s inaugural event last year and will be returning this year – hope to see some of you there.  A fantastic opportunity to taste a broad selection of top wines as well as a pretty good buffet spread from, I believe, Abigail’s. Advance reservations are required and those can be made online at
  • Galil Mountain, together with the Kosher Wine Society (run by Aron Ritter) is holding what looks to be a very interesting tasting of Galil Mountain wines (including the new “Avivim” wine) with Micha Vaadia, the (relatively) new winemaker at Galil Mountain.
  • There is an upcoming biking wine tour in Israel to benefit Shalva that sounds interesting.  Shalva’s 2008 Wines of Israel Bike A Thon will take you on a tour of a number of Israel’ wineries and includes meeting some of Israel’s wine makers and wine critics.  The program is raising money for Shalva – an Israeli organization for mentally and physically challenged children.


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