The Gottliebs requested a tour that would begin in Tel-Aviv and end in Jerusalem as they wanted to spend time in the holy city.
We left Tel-Aviv in the morning and drove through a road less frequently traveled which overlooks the vineyards of the central plains (Shimshon Region) and climbs through the vineyards of the Jerusalem Mountains. Our first stop was at the Clos de Gat Vineyards, a beautiful spot with a lot of history that many romantic couples have good memories from. After a short photo opportunity and explanation about the vineyards, we went to pay a visit to one of Israel’s most promising winery, “Tzora Vineyards”. With a knack for recognizing great wine, the couple did not miss any tasting glass they were offered.
Starting with the Shoresh Blan 2009 (85% Gewurztraminer & 15% Chardonnay), moving to the Judean hills 2008 (91% KS, 9% Syrah) and ending the visit with the amazing Shoresh 2007 (85% KS, 15% Syrah.) Since the Dessert wine “Or” 2008 is not being offered for tastings and only 1200 bottles were made (the sold-out 2006 got 92 points from Robert Parker) the couple insisted on buying some to take home with them. Vary satisfied from their first boutique winery experience we drove to meet winemaker and owner Shuki Yeshuv at Agur Winery. Shuki who calls himself a master blender is a very interesting and colorful person who makes excellent wines. Knowing that his visitor’s time is limited, Shuki never wastes a moment. Upon entering the visitor center he hands us each a glass of white wine (“Blanca”) and takes us outside to sit at his beautiful porch.
While talking about every possible subject in the world, he pours his excellent Rose (Rosa) “Kesem” and the “Special Reserve 2007” which is one of the best value-for-the -money wines in the market today. With this wine in our glasses, the Gottliebs and their new wacky friend are making their way to the cellar for a barrel tasting treat. As Marcel was asking about the Kashrut supervision in the winery Eli the Mashgiah (kashruth supervisor) fills their glass from one of next year’s reserve wine barrels.
Getting closer to Jerusalem, our final destination of the day was an ancient winery that has been “out of service” for over 1600 years. Good walking shoes are needed for the five minute walk that puts you in front of this ancient phenomena; In between young olive trees rests an ancient wine press dated to times when the Second Temple was standing. The press is impressive due to its simplicity and the way it was preserved.
The Gottliebs had a lot of fun, as did I. I look forward to showing them and their friends around Israel Wine Country!