2005 Ella Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyard’s Choice and Lamb and Dates Meatballs

I have had the distinct joy of visiting the Ella Valley Winery a few times in the past few years and each time I enjoy a bottle of Ella Valley wine I remember the first time I tasted a bottle of the stuff – at a restaurant!

Yes indeed, the first time I heard of Ella Valley Winery was at a restaurant where they were serving the 2002 Ella Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyard’s Choice! The wine was being sold at the restaurant – the new defunct Rafael’s that existed in Berkeley, CA for many years, until its unfortunate closing in July 2007. Whenever I went there with friends I always ordered the same wine, as it was rich, layered and awesome! I finally convinced some wine stores to stock it as well and it was then available to others and me in 2005.

Since then Ella Valley has done a better job marketing the wine to the kosher wine world and blessedly I do not need to convince wine stores to stock the wine – they do it on their own, based solely on the wine’s merits.

For dinner we made some lovely lamb meatballs – which was a slight modification to the pan fried meatballs I described here. Check there for the simple technique to how to do the pan frying of the meatballs. The real change I made was to use 50/50 lamb and beef and to add in 8 chopped dates into the two pounds of meat – which added lovely flavor and contrast to the lamb flavor.

Date infused Beef and Lamb Meatballs Recipe:

  • 1 cup of cooked but slightly watery oatmeal (cooled down) – this is the panade
  • 1 pound of 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 pound of ground lamb meat
  • Two cups of squeezed shredded onions and zucchini – WELL SQUEEZED out
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Again check out the blog post on the how pan fry the meatballs.

Since my last article on Ella Valley Winery, the head winemaker, at that time, Israeli-born and Burgundy trained Doron Rav Hon left the winery to pursue the start-up dream of many a wine maker in Israel. To build and produce wine is a small and boutique-like winery setting. However, before he left to dream big, he brought in Lynn Gold, a Russian-born immigrant and Australian trained winemaker to run Ella Valley.

From what I have read, she is a very capable winemaker, having worked three years in Australia, and then she worked at Tabor Winery in the Galilee, and then her final stop before Ella Valley was the highly respected boutique winery; Chateau Golan in the Golan Heights.

I hope to visit Ella Valley the next time I in Israel, until then I hope you enjoy the Ella Valley wines that you have or find – to me they are one of the most dependable and enjoyable wineries in Israel, and by far the winner of the Rodney Dangerfield award for the least respected winery in Israel (outside of Israel). I hope Doron’s start-up dreams are as successful as are his abilities and maybe I will get a chance to enjoy a glass or two of wine at the Ella Valley winery with Ms. Gold the next time I am there.

The wine note follows below:

2005 Ella Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyard’s Choice – Score: A- (QPR when on sale)
The wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot aged for 17 months in French oak barrels. The nose explodes with ripe blackberry, cassis, dark plum, herb, charcoal, and licorice. The wine at first taste is rich with butter (though that fades quickly) and is full-bodied, layered, mouth coating with soft tannin, black cherry, bell pepper, sweet tannin that livens the palate, and nice cedar that brings it all together. The finish is long and ripe, with chocolate, tobacco, vanilla, and hints of dirt. This is a lovely and luscious wine that grabs you attention and does not let go. The wine is throwing sediment, and tastes lovely now, but drink before 2014.

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Posted on November 7, 2012, in Food and drink, Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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