Which grape varieties are growing in Israel ?

There is a list of the most common Grape Varieties that are found in Israel :

Red Wine Grape 

Cabernet Sauvignon : The most noble variety of Bordeaux, capable of producing superb wines, often blended with smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The best wines from this grape are rich in colour and tannins, and have complex aromas and depth of flavours, those often typified by blackcurrants, spices and cedar-wood. At their best, intriguing and complex wines that profit from cellaring.

Cabernet Franc : Less intense and softer than Cabernet Sauvignon, most often destined to be blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, but even on its own capable of producing dramatically good, leafy, fruity and aromatic reds. A grape with very good potential in Israel.

Merlot : Softer, more supple and often less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon – with which it is often blended – but capable of producing voluptuous, opulent, plummy wines of great interest. A grape that has proven popular on its own as it produces wines that are often easier to drink and approachable earlier than wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon.

Barbera : From Italy’s piedmont region, this grape has the potential for producing wines that, although light and fruity, are capable of great charm. Some fine Rose wines are now appearing from Barbera.

Malbec : Well known in France’s Bordeaux, the Loire and Cahors, and the specialty grape of Argentina, this grape is capable of producing dense, rich, tannic and spicy wines that are remarkably dark in colour.

Pinot noir : A relatively recent transplant to Israel, this grape, which is responsible for the great reds of Burgundy, is making a very good initial showing. At it’s best the grape is capable of producing smooth, rich and intricate wines of exquisite qualities, with flavours of cherries, wild berries and violets, which as they age take on aromas and flavours of chocolate and game meat. Also used in Israel , as in the champagne region of France, to blend with chardonnay to make sparkling wines.

Sangiovese : Italy’s most frequently planted variety, found in the simplest Chianti and most complex Brunello di Montalcino wines, this is another grape recently introduced to Israel, showing fine early results with wines that are lively, fruity and full of charm.

Syrah : Some believe that this grape originated in ancient Persia and was brought to France by the Romans, while others speculate that it is indigenous to France. Syrah found its first glory in France’s northern Rhone Valley, and then in Australia (where it’s known as Shiraz). Capable of producing deep royal-purple, tannic wines that are full-bodied enough to be thought of as dense and powerful, but with excellent balance and complex aromas and flavours of plums, berries, currants, black pepper and chocolate.

Pinotage : A South African cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, capable of being flavourful and powerful, yet soft and full, with a pleasing sweet finish and a lightly spicy overlay. Still to prove it’s full potential locally.

Zinfandel : Zinfandel (The Italian variety known as Primitivo) is not exactly new in Israel, but until recently the vines that had been planted were capable of producing only mediocre semi-dry blush wines. What is new are recently planted high-quality vines from California that offer the potential for producing full-bodied to massive wines, moderately to highly alcoholic, with generous tannins and the kind of warm berry flavours that typify these wines at their best.

Petite Syrah : Related only peripherally to the great Syrah grape,this grape is, at its best capable of producing dark, tannic and well-balanced wines of a great appeal and sophistication. This potential is being realised far more frequently within Israel, especially when the grapes come from older vineyards.

White Wine Grape 

Chardonnay : The grape that produces the great dry white wines of Burgundy and is indispensable to the production of Champagne. The most popular white wine grape in the world today, producing wines that can be oaked or unoaked, and range in flavours from flinty minerals to citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and grapefruit, and in texture from minerally crisp to creamy.

Sauvignon Blanc : At its best in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux for producing dry white wines, this successful transplant to Israel is capable of producing refreshing, sophisticated and distinctively aromatic and grassy wines, often best consumed in their youth.

Chenin Blanc : Originating in France’s central Loire Valley, a grape capable of producing long-lived wines with honeyed notes. Until recently used in Israel to produce ordinary, semi-dry wines but now being shown by several small wineries to produce exciting dry and sweet wines.

Gewurztraminer : This grape originated in Germany, came its glory in Alsace and has now been transplanted to many parts of the world. Capable of producing aromatic dry and sweet wines that are often typified by their softness and spiciness, as well as distinctive aromas and flavours of litchis and rose petals.

Riesling : Sometimes  known as Johannisberg Riesling, sometimes as White Riesling and sometimes as Riesling, this noble German variety has the potential to produce wines, that although light in body and low in alcohol, are highly flavoured and capable of long ageing. Typified by aromas and flavours of flowers, minerals and lime, and when aged, sometimes taking on a tempting petrol-like aroma. Not to be confused with definitely inferior Emerald Riesling grape.

Viognier : The most recent white wine transplant to Israel, this grape produces the fascinating Condrieu wines of France’s Rhone Valley. Capable of producing aromatic but crisply dry whites and full-bodied whites, some of which have long ageing potential.

 

LEARN MORE : To see the full list of the 32 grapes found in Israel : http://www.danielrogov.com/EN_usd.php

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