Israeli Wine: Pelter Winery Tasting

When most people in the US think of wine from Israel, they think of sweet, kosher wines, like Manischewitz.  While wine production by Jewish folks and in Israel has bowed to this trend for much of their long history, a recent revolution has swept across the nation.  Through French, American, and Australian influence, the wines are gaining international acclaim and success.  When the Windy City Wine Guy was invited to taste wine from Israel made by Pelter Winery, I could not pass it up!

The tasting was set up at a beautiful condo overlooking the Chicago river and sponsored by Richard Shaffer, founder of Israeli Wine Direct.  Members of the Pelter Family, Sam and Nir, were onhand to pour and inform.  Now let us get to the wines:

  • 2007 Sauvignon Blanc: this light straw colored wine smells of bright citrus fruits and the palate brings crisp acidity and ripe grapefruit reminiscent of New Zealand style.

  • 2007 Unoaked Chardonnay: surprisingly light Chardonnay with meyer lemon flavor, but a slight oily texture.

  • 2006 Trio: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc.  A light oak spice and blackberry smell and flavor.  Definitely an easy drinker with lighter tannins and smooth texture but slight lack of length.

  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz: 50/50 blend of both varietals.  Another smooth drink, but with more dark fruit.  I like it, but again,looking for more depth out of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • 2006 T-Selection Cabernet Franc: the big hit of the night!  The T-Selection is their high quality, exclusive series.  This wine brings the oak, spice, fruit, and length.  Brilliant red and black berries, nutmeg, and structured tannins highlight this Pelter gem.

They also carry a T-Selection Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon which I hope to taste another time.  For being a newer winery, the Pelter boutique product line has definite quality. 

I am looking forward to tasting future vintages and more Israeli wines.  Though Israel's soil is one of the oldest used to grow grapes for wine (Georgia is the oldest- since about 8000 BC), I would classify Israeli wine as being from the "Old World", but "New World"  in style.  Slight earthiness, but mostly ripe fruit coming through on both nose and palate.

It is an exciting time in the world for wine as we are getting a chance to sample from every nation and their people.  Wine is a passport to different lands and cultures- get out there a take a travel with your next bottle!