When we think of winemaking, Israel doesn’t pop up immediately, but we recently learn about Yarden, Inc., importer of quality Israeli wines from Golan Heights Winery and Galil Mountain Winery. Premium brands imported to the U.S. include Yarden, the internationally recognized flagship brand Golan and Galil Mountain.
Yarden is based in New York and is a subsidiary of Golan Heights Winery, bringing its wines to this country since 2001. The winery is located in Northeast Israel in Katzrin and today, has 20 percent of the local market and 40 percent of Israeli wine exports. It has been a consistent award winner, taking home a Gold Medal at Vinitaly 2014 for its 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The full-bodied Yarden Katzrin is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, a rich combination, and is produced only in years of exceptional vintages. It comes from vineyards in central Golan and the Upper Galilee. The grapes are age by varieties in new French oak barrels for 18 months and a final blend is then put back into the barrels for an additional six months.
The result offers layers of fruit – ripe cherry, plum, blackberry and cassis, along with notes of oak, vanilla, spice and chocolate. Serve it with full-flavored items such as sirloin in a red wine sauce. This special release is worth the wait. In 2013 it received a Mundus Vini Silver Medal. It is a Kosher wine with an average price of $174.
Head Winemaker Victor Schoenfeld views the 2012 release as “a vote of confidence” noting that it is the first time he’s used four varieties in the Katzrin. It is a special wine for a special occasion, robust and worth the wait.