Yarden Gewurztraminer? Yes. There's something spellbinding about Krakow and it's old Jewish quarter. It was here on a warm summer's evening that I got my first taste of Kosher Gewurztraminer and of gefilte fish.
I look spellbound there dont I? Gazing off into the distance romanticising about my very own wine bar in Krakow? Well, the camera tells dirty lies, cos I'm actually watching a stray cat eating the fish I threw at it not moments before. Ahhhh memories. Gefilte fish is, hands down, the most vile, strangely textured food item to ever pass my lips but the wine was a wonderful surprise.
Now, I don't know about you but whenever I take a weekend break or holiday I use it as a chance to feed my wine addiction. It's not just me, all serious winos do this. We will talk to our partners and romantically suggest "The Dordogne" so we can slope off to Bordeaux, or "Tuscany" to visit Chianti, I even managed to convince one partner that Frankfurt was lovely at this time of year only to find ourselves boating down the Rhine and into the Assmanhausen 100 year wine festival! Look how that turned out, I had no idea. However, I hadn't realised that Krakow would provide the same opportunity.
The Polish interest in wine, and especially Italian wine is growing fast and while I was there the central square of Krakow (Rynek Glowny) had been turned into a fairground for a Hungarian Wine event and of course, in the Jewish quarter every restaurant and bar was offering Kosher wines. I don't see the Poles giving up their flavoured vodkas anytime soon but the tide is turning and they're even knocking out some decent wine themselves. If I could set up a wine bar anywhere, I'd choose Krakow. Dreams....
There's been a revolution in Israeli wines and in no small part thanks to Golan Heights (the crew behind Yarden). Israel now produces fantastic QPR wines but not simply Gewurztraminer but also the usual suspects, international reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot and, more surprisingly, Sangiovese and Gamay! Whites include Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and even sweet whites and blanc de blancs sparklers. Israel can bring such a variety of grapes to fine expression due to its range of climatic conditions and Israel itself is getting into wine in a big way. There is a national committee for the promotion of Israeli wines within Israel and a movement to push the country's indigenous grapes. I'm afraid I can't list them, because I don't know them, I have quite enough to contend with in the world of Italian indigenous grapes but if you know them, feel free to post a comment!
Does this wine taste like the Gewurztraminers we all know and love? Actually, Yes. Like most of you, my experience of Gewurztraminer is limited to Alsace and Germany with the odd US, Italian, New Zealand and Aussie bottle thrown in here and there making it terribly difficult to say what an Israeli, Galilee Region Gewurztraminer should taste like. However, if this is what it should taste like, I'm in.
Yarden Gewurztraminer 2007 - BUY - £12.79
Golden yellow in colour. The wine is aromatically gorgeous and offers up many typical Gewurztraminer notes including lychee, almonds and flowers but also a an unexpected showing of peach blossom. The wine has a detectable sweetness on the palate, is rich but with firm acidity, rounded, mid to full bodied. This is a real find and only let down by a slightly clipped finish. However, if you keep drinking then you don't notice ;) 89 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Winectar - €13
Americans - Gordons - $16.99
Brits - Yayin V'Simcha - £12.79
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Favourite Kosher wine? Favourite Israeli Wine? Best place you managed to convince your girlfriend or boyfriend to go pretending it was for them... when secretly it was for the vino?