This past Friday, Ella Valley Vineyards hosted members of their Wine Club to the release of three new wines: Ella Valley Chardonnay 2011, Ella Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Vineyard’s Choice 32/35 2008.
After a cold and stormy week, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the crowds that arrived at this event on the first sunny day this week.
Vineyard’s Choice is the premium label of the Ella Valley Wineries. In addition to varietial wines released in the VC label, Ella Valley Vineyards also releases special wines that are may be one-time releases.
Vineyard’s Choice 32/35 2008 is the last wine by the former winemaker Doron Rav-Hon to be released in the Vineyard’s Choice label. VC 32/35 is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Merlot aged for 20 months in oak barrels. Ella Valley Vineyards usually releases wines later than most other wineries, allowing for additional aging in the bottle in the winery. This allows their aging worthy wines to be enjoyed upon release. This wine was already in bottles when Lin Gold, the current winemaker arrived at Ella Valley Vineyards.
Ella Valley Vineyards is the largest estate winery in Israel with all of its grapes coming from their three vineyards all located close to the winery. Part of their philosophy is to make wines that are true to their terroir. The choice of the name 32/35 reflects this philosophy as these numbers are the geographic coordinates of the vineyards. The VC 32/35 is an elegant wine with the Syrah dominant but softened by the Merlot. Israel’s hot climate is especially suitable to the Southern Rhone varieties Syrah and Petit Sirah (AKA Durif). The wine is a deep garnet and filled with dark fruit-berries and plum as well as spices and pepper.
Ella Valley Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 has no surprises and this is good. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape variety in Israel, close to a quarter of all wine grapes in Israel are Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a full-bodied elegant wine, true to the Ella Valley tradition and true to the variety with ripe dark fruit flavors. With a long finish, this wine will be a great accompaniment to a steak dinner.
Udi Kaplan, CEO of Ella Valley Vineyards is an avid mountain biker who enjoys riding the trails in the rolling Judean Hills. The large attendance at this event and the lines at the cash register kept Udi smiling.
Ilan Bezalel, VP of Ella Valley Vineyards has introduced new marketing cooperation with the importers of Ferrari, Volvo and Landrover. As a triathlete it’s almost natural that this cooperation would include Caspi Bicycle, importer of high-end bicycles.
Road bikes on display at Ella Valley Vineyards.
Best for Last
Ella Valley Vineyard’s Chardonnay 2011 is the third wine that the winemaker Lin Gold is totally responsible for from the harvest through bottling.
Ella Valley Chardonnay 2011 is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. One of the highlights of the New Release Event for me , was my discussion with winemaker Lin Gold on the making of the Chardonnay 2011.
Ella Valley’s white wine grapes are grown in its Nes Harim vineyard at an altitude of 650 meters above Sea Level. While this wine is 100% Chardonnay, Lin used a variety of methods in both fermenting and aging the components of this wine to arrive at a Chardonnay that is elegant and refined without bombastic fruits and just a hint of butter.
Some of the grapes were fermented on wild yeasts, which is a bit of a risk at a winery of this size. Half the wine was aged in oak for 13 months, again half in new barrels. The other half remained in stainless steel. Line kept the temperatures low during fermentation and only half the wine underwent malolactic fermentation.
All of this together produced a wine that is loyal to Ella Valley Vineyard’s tradition of producing quality wines that reflect the terroir.