Yes, I have been tempted to write about Israeli wines a lot lately given the fabulous press they have been getting with recent articles in Wine Spectator (online version only available to subscribers) & The San Fransisco Chronicle (found online at the SF Gate).
But any post about Israeli wines will be elaborate and hopefully include some specific news/update describing progress concerning my previously discussed Israel Wine Project.
So instead, I want to bring up wines from another not-too-discussed wine region – Washington state.
Washington State, is known to produce some exceptional reds, in particular Merlot, Syrah and yes, of course, Cabernet Sauvignon (and blends including all or some of the aforementioned varietals). These big body reds often are made in a less over the top, big fruit forward style – meaning they are more food friendly (the wine & subsequent alcohol are less prone to overpowering the food they are enjoyed with). They are also often (but certainly not always) more affordable than their southernly neighbors from Napa.
I read two articles written about Washington wines this past week. Laurie Daniel of the Mercury News wrote about Washington wines, in particular those from the Walla Walla Valley. While Lynne Char Bennett of the San Fransisco Chronicle wrote about Washington State Cabernet’s & other red blends.
Daniel mentioned the comparable latitude between the Walla Walla Valley and France’s famous Rhone Valley, contributing as she puts it “roughly the same quantity and quality of sunlight“.
Washington state and its predominance of $20+ bottles (as reviewed in the two articles), its relative obscurity as a wine producing region, and its comparison to the Rhone valley reminded me a lot of…yup, the Israeli wine industry.
People have complained about the expense of Israeli wines. But comparing it to Washington state ( a region that according to Daniel had but 4 wineries just 14 years ago – relatively young like Israel) many wines seem comparably priced.
While Washington’s wine region receives much less attention than California, Israel’s wine region gets almost no recognition when compared to some of its European neighbors.
Finally, I have heard many people compare the Mediterranean climate of Israel to that of the Southern Rhone Valley. While Daniel compares Washington State to the Northern Rhone valley.
I suggest you all experiment with wines from these well regarded, up & coming regions. It will also be interesting to follow the progress of each of the respective regions as they seek to gain more widespread recognition.
Happy lesser known wine region wine tasting!