Ella Valley in Judean Hills
Ella Valley is a winery we heard of a few years ago when we saw their wine in a restaurant in Berkeley, CA. It was an amazing wine, so we called the distributor and convinced our local store to stock their wines. Since then the store has gone through the wine a few times and has a few of the new releases.
The winery is located in an industrial park of Kibbutz Nativ HaLamed-Heh. The winery was established in 1998 – when they planted their world renowned vineyard that lies a few feet from the beautiful winery building. It took a few years before the first vintage was harvested and bottled – 2002. The winery now produces 200 thousand bottles a year. When they started the process of preparing the land for planting their vineyard they found an ancient winepress – it is this very same symbol that graces almost every bottle of Ella Valley wine.
We met Udi – the winery manager at the visitor center. It was hard to hear him at times over the squall of the parrots that grace the front of the building. It turns out that the GM, Danny Valero, has a strong love for parrots and they have a commanded presence along the path that leads to the visitors center. Udi went on to explain that the winery has an exacting scientific approach to wine making – down to the numbering of each bottle that they produce. Being that the winery is so close to the perfectly tended and managed vines – they are estate bottled (a not so common feat in Israel), and they can control the fermentation process to their exacting standards. The vineyard is in a long and beautiful valley, which shelters the grapes from winter frost and the extreme heat during the long summer months.
We would like to thank Udi and the people at Ella Valley winery for allowing us to taste a wide range of wines – so that we could share the experience with our readers.
2005 Cabernet Franc – Score: B+
This is the follow-on to the smash hit of 2004 – but not quite up to its older brother’s standard. The has a nose of green grass and flowers – classic franc aromas. The balanced medium bodied wine has light tannins that give way to red fruit and more green grass. The finish is long and lingers on the palate long after the wine is gone.
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah – Score: B+
The wine has a lively Bordeaux color that shimmers in the light. The nose is filled with earth and hints of green beans. The medium bodied wine is accessible with light tannins and a medium sized finish. The body has a sense of earth, a bit of tar, and complexity that helps to prop this wine up and give it more of a presence than it might have otherwise had.
2004 Merlot – Score: A-
This wine has a nice light Burgundy color. The nose is herbal and has hints of pepper and cherry. This medium bodied wine has a complexity to it that hints at what is brooding underneath the oak coat. It is a balanced wine with integrated tannins and a good amount of acid that allows the wine to stand tall in a crowd and culminates with a satisfying finish.
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard Choice – Score: A
The color of the wine is an electric black – if that were possible. The nose is strong and attacking. First comes licorice, followed by oak, and then cassis and more black fruit. This exciting full bodied wine is complex and brooding. The balanced attack starts with cassis and dark plums and then is followed by a long and very satisfying finish.
2003 Muscat (reinforced) – Score: A
The straw color of this wine shimmers with excitement, and begs you to come closer and inspect. It is at that moment that the nose of the wine jumps up out of the glass and hits you with honey and lychees. This medium-full bodied wine is reinforced with alcohol that greet you with more honey and lychees, and finishes with a long flourish of acid and peaches.
Posted on January 18, 2008, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine, Winery Visit and tagged Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ella Valley Winery, Judean Hills, Merlot, Syrah, Vineyard Choice. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.