Terravino 2015, The Mediterranean International Wine & Spirit Challenge, Israel

Terravino- A Wine Journey in Israel

Following an invitation to judge at the 10th anniversary of Terravino 2015 in Israel, to be held in Netanya near Tel Aviv at the beautiful Ramada Hotel & Spa, I embraced the idea of dwelling in the Israeli wine scene for almost a week. In addition to taking place at the beautiful seaside resort, Netanya, not far from Tel Aviv, I was also looking forward to getting familiar with the Israeli wines so rare to find around the world.
About the competition
Terravino, The Mediterranean International Wine & Spirit Challenge celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The idea of this international wine competition is without doubt to promote wines mostly from the Mediterranean wine scene as well as putting them against the Israeli ones for comparison on behalf of the hosts, for better learning, for better understanding of the upcoming Israeli wine scene.
The competition is a very rigorous one conducted under the patronage of the OIV where 46 international wine judges were scoring for three days. We tasted almost 400 samples from 20 countries around the world, according to the OIV rules. In total, 14 wines were given double gold medals of them six to Israeli wines, two went to Argentina, and one was awarded to Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Bolivia and Slovakia. Israel was awarded 69 medals in total, followed by Argentina and the Czech Republic (22 each), Spain (6), Slovakia (6), Australia, Portugal, Germany, Turkey, Serbia, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Greece. The medals were given in the following categories:
Grand Champion Trophy for the best wine in the Competition, which had the highest score awarded to Michlovsky Ryzlink Vlassky Vyber Z Bobuli 2009 by Vinselekt Michlovsky A.S. Winery from The Czech Republic
Israel’s Grand Champion Trophy for the best Israeli wine in the Competition awarded to Segal Rehasim Dishon Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 by Barkan Wine Cellars Marketing & Distribution Ltd.
Country champion, only for the countries with more than 25 wines participating in the contest
Best Category Price, the best wine in each category
The Best Kosher Israeli Wine awarded to Segal Rehasim Dishon Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 by Barkan Wine Cellars Marketing & Distribution Ltd.
The Best Israeli Small Boutique Wine awarded to 1848 Malbec – Fourth Generation 2013 by 1848 Winery
The Best Israeli Winemaker/s awarded to Barkan Wine Cellars Marketing & Distribution Ltd.
For a full list of the winners, please follow the link http://www.mediterraneaniwc.com/index_en.htm
Israel’s Wine Scene
Much to say regarding the wine scene in Israel though one thing struck me at first- their winemakers, especially the boutique wineries’ owners are eager to learn, apply the newest techniques in their wine cellars. without much waiting or hesitating regardless of their rather long/new wine tradition and history. Wine making in a country known for lots of sunshine and arid climate, is by itself a challenge. Black is by all means the colour trait of the country’s reds, some very fine elegant samples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were noted, as well as lots of Bordeaux blends. Some of the most prominent wine producers, at least from what I’ve tasted, were Binyamina Winery, Barkan Wine Cellars, Teperberg Winery, Carmel Winery, Benhaim Winery, Galileo Winery, and of course, one of the biggest, Yarden Winery located in the Golan Heights.

During my wine trip to Israel, I’ve tasted quite a lot of Israeli wines but had a chance to visit only one winery, Vitkin, where I enjoyed some very refined red wines and quite elegant samples of Carignan, Cabernet Franc and Petite Syrah, in addition to a very spicy Rose’. This more or less gave me a picture on what to expect.

Macedonian Vranec Wine Tasting in Porta Ceasaria 
Upon an invitation of the organiser of the wine competition, Mr. Moshe Spak, I was honoured to be given the chance to do a tasting of Macedonian wines for the international wine judges. Without a doubt, I opted for the Vranec and chose the following ones- Vranec Barrique 2011 by Brusani Winery, Vranec 2011 Reserve by Popova Kula Winery, Vranec 2013 by Chateau Sopot Winery, Barovo Red 2012 by Tikves Winery and Terroir Vranec 2011 by Chateau Kamnik Winery. As much as to my surprise, the wine judges were even more eager to learn about Macedonia as a wine country, enjoyed their time spent with the Vranec and gave their true opinion on the quality of the Vranec samples. An increasing interest in visiting Macedonian wineries in near future followed suit…

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