Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik
Israeli world-class wines – it’s now official!
For the first time ever, two Israeli wineries, Domaine du Castel and Yarden (Golan Heights Winery), have been awarded the coveted four star awards
Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2008 has been published and it contains good news for Israel. For the first time ever, two Israeli wineries, Domaine du Castel and Yarden (Golan Heights Winery), have been awarded the coveted four stars. Apart from Chateau Musar from Lebanon, no other Eastern Mediterranean winery has received four stars, which are awarded only to the finest wineries in the world. According to the book, the four stars are awarded for a wine or winery that is “grand, prestigious and expensive.”
Furthermore no less than four wineries merited three stars for their best wines: Yatir, Flam, Margalit, Galil Mountain and Carmel. Three stars are awarded to wines regarded as “well known and highly reputed.” This reflects great credit on the new quality of Israeli wines and the strength in depth. The first three Israeli wineries in the rankings are: Castel (****); Yarden (**>****) and Yatir (***). In total, there are twenty Israeli wineries listed.
The Pocket Wine Book is the main international guide that rates wineries in this way and gives details about wineries, even in small wine-producing countries like Israel. It is the Michelin Guide of wine! However the size and importance of Israel in the wine world is truly felt. Israel merits just over half a page in a book totaling 304 pages! In his short introduction to the section on Israel, Hugh Johnson writes: “International expertise, modern technology and dynamic wineries have ensured continued advances in quality. Best vineyards are in the cooler areas of Upper Galilee, Golan Heights and Judean Hills. Hugh Johnson is the world’s most prolific wine writer. His Pocket Wine Book is the world’s biggest selling wine book. His ‘World Atlas of Wine’ and ‘Wine Companion’ are classics in every wine lover’s library. Furthermore “The Art & Science of Wine” uncovers the mysterious world of the winemaker and “The Story of Wine” is fascinating book covering the history of wine.
The rating of Israeli wineries in the 2008 edition is as follows:
Four Stars (****)
Two to Four Stars (**>****)
Three Stars (***)
Two to Three Stars (**>***)
Flam, Galil Mountain, Margalit
One to Three Stars (*>***)
Two Stars (**)
Clos du Gat, Ella Valley, Saslove
One to Two Stars (*>**)
One Star (*)
Amphorae, Bazelet ha Golan, Binyamina, Chateau Golan, Recanati, Tabor, Teperberg, Tishbi.
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wines for both Israeli and international publications