"Wine conveys a feeling of its source from within. The region in which the grapes are grown is embedded in the taste, aroma and color of the wine. Wine, therefore, has the power to embody the culture, language, scents and people of its region."
- Victor Schoenfeld, Head Winemaker, Golan Heights Winery
Winemaker Victor Schoenfeld brings California swagger to Golan Heights Winery in Israel. A native of the Golden State, Victor earned his degree in Enology from the University of California, Davis and worked at wineries in California and France before being named as the head winemaker of Golan Heights Winery in 1992. Victor's talents and expertise have guided Golan Heights Winery to the upper echelons of Israeli wine producers and they were recently included in the Wine Spectator cover story dedicated to the growing prominence of Israeli wines.
After planting their first vineyards in the Golan in 1976, Golan Heights Winery was founded in 1983 and represents an exciting chapter in Israel's modern winemaking history. Although Israel's winemaking traditions can be traced back thousands of years, a renaissance has been blooming in Israel's vineyards and Golan Heights Winery has been an integral part of this exciting new chapter.
I recently had the opportunity to taste several wines from Golan Heights Winery's premier line of flagship wines - Yarden. Made from the finest grapes from their best vineyards, the Yarden wines reflect Victor's statement that "the key to quality is in the vineyard." Golan Heights' volcanic soil and cool high-altitude climate nurture the growth of high-quality grapes and this is evident in each sip. From crisp whites to bold reds, the Yarden wines express Israel beautifully and showcase world-class wines with universal appeal.
Yarden Gewurztraminer 2015 ($24.99)
Flirty floral flavors are kicked up a notch with exuberant touches of spice and lychee. Tropical with a hint of herbs. A refreshing apéritif and a winning match with spicy food!
Yarden Katzrin Chardonnay 2014 ($30)
Winemaker Victor Schoenfeld describes "oak as a picture frame that focuses the attention" but does not overwhelm - balance is key. This philosophy is beautifully expressed in this wonderful Chardonnay. French oak enhances this full-bodied wine's flavors of ripe pear, lemon, and apple. Energetic acidity and a touch of flint make this a balanced beauty! Pair with salmon or roast chicken.
Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($39.99)
Victor describes this velvety red as an "iconic Israeli wine." Intense and juicy flavors of blackberry and dark cherry are revved up with touches of black tea and herbs. Pair with steak, lamb, veal, and pasta with mushrooms.