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March 22, 1996 - Image 57

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-22

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One of Cannel's main-
stay wines is, oddly
enough, banned for sale in
Israel. The thick, sweet
wine known here as
"sacramental" is produced
from the American native
grape variety, Concord —
the same grape that Man-
ischewitz, Mogen David
and Kedem use. The Con-
cord, palatable only with
lots of sugar added, is con-
sidered an inferior grape
variety in Israel as in most of the rest of
the world. Its existence in Israel is suf-
fered only because there still is some de-
mand for it in the United States.
During the great migrations of Jews
to the eastern United States in the
1800s and early 1900s, the native Amer-
ican Concords were the only grapes
readily available. American Jews be-
came so accustomed to the unctuously
sweet wines, they are now thought of as
"traditional." The dry wines from the
"noble" European grape varieties, which
their forefathers drank throughout the
ages, have only recently been gaining
While Carmel strives for quality and
a return to vinous and marketplace
heights, the Golan Heights Winery
basks in recognition as a world-class
Its three major labels, Yarden, Golan
and Gamla, are considered wonderful
wines that just happen to be kosher. Al-
though the best barrels of young wine
are always chosen for the Yarden brand,
the finished Gamla and Golan wines of-
ten come out of the bottle as Yarden's

Carmel is a
co-op, the
most modern,
equipment can
be purchased
and amortized
among the
Here, few
people are
needed to
operate the
Braud grape

equal. World demand for their Caber-
net, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
is always greater than the supply.
American Peter M. Stern, who has
served as winemaker or consultant for
the Golan Heights Winery in virtually
every vintage, says the vineyard loca-
tions are key to these great wines. We
can only conjecture what will happen
when Israel and Syria come to terms, as

the region is at the center of their
It is possible that the Syrians, loathe
to lose the economic benefits of estab-
lished vineyards, will study viticulture
in France, Italy or the United States and
will work the vineyards themselves and
sell the grapes in Israel. Or, they could
lease the land to the Golan Heights Win-
ery, Carmel or both.

Time and the accumulation of vin-
tages may show the Golan as one of the
world's finest grape growing terroirs, to
use the French term. "The Golan
Heights appellation of Israel and parts
of the Galil (Galilee) are, by far, the high-
est quality growing areas of Israel," Mr. ,
Stern says. "The Golan Heights Winery
owns or controls 94 percent of the grapes
grown in the Golan and, essentially, 100
percent of those in the Galilee, where
there is only one very high-quality vine-
So confident is the winery that, dis-
regarding the possibility of losing the
vineyards under a peace treaty, some
325 dunams, or about 100 acres, are be-
ing planted anew this year. Plans for the
next couple of years include putting an-
other 300 dunams under vines. Espe-
cially exciting is a new clone of Pinot
Noir and, for the small but growing band
of muscat freaks, Muscat Canelli.
There also will be new, small plant-
ings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
in the Galilee. Under development and
scheduled for the future are plantings
of the Italian varieties Nebbiolo, the
great grape of Barolo and Sangiovese,
from which Chianti is produced.
Is it evolution or revolution among
kosher wine lovers that is rapidly chang-
ing the market? Wine trade insiders pre-
viously have estimated the kosher
segment of the market as some two
years behind the times, yet now it seems
to be playing catch-up in a hurry.
Mr. Stern says the heretofore usual
Golan Heights Winery sales split of 70


A guide to the language of wine.

Appellation: French term for a
delineated viticultural area — Bur-
gundy, Bordeaux, Napa Valley,
Finger LakeS.

Beaujolais: French wine district
situated between the Macon district
and Lyon in southern Burgundy.
Both Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nou-
veau wines are made through the
carbonic maceration process (see be-
low). One step higher than Beaujolais
is Beaujolais Village. At the top are
the Beaujolais "cru," or named village
wines, such as Brouilly and Morgon
— none of which are represented in
the kosher sector.

Carbonic maceration: Wine-
making process in which grapes are
put into a sealed barrel. An enzyme
exchange through the skins of the
grape is responsible for the character-
istic taste of the wine. Regular fer-
mentation usually follows, depending
on the winemaker.

Cava: Spanish term for sparkling
wine made through the Champagne

Chablis: Both a town in the north-
eastern part of France and the wine
made in and around it. Chardonnay
is the only permitted variety of grape:

Chinon: Red wine district of
France in the Loire Valley. Wine is
from the Cabernet Franc grape.

Commune: French for township
or parish.

Concord: Eastern American
grape variety of the Vitis Labrusca

Cotes du Rhone: A wine blended
of up to 13 allowed varieties grown
within a large area in the southern
Rhone region of France.

Fermentation: the process by
which yeast converts sugar (grape)
into alcohol (wine) and CO2.

Gavi: A town in the Piemonte re-

gion of Italy and the wine named af-
ter it, made from the Cortese grape.

Medoc: A wine region around Bor-
deaux. Most of the great Bordeaux
wines come from its several com-

Meshuval: Wine that retains its
kosher quality even if touched by a

Muscadet: Dry French white wine
produced from a grape of the same
name, also known as Melon de Bour-
gogne, near Nantes in the lower Loire
Valley. Excellent with fish.

Terroir: A specific parcel of land
on which grapes are grown, including
the characteristics of the soil and the

Vitis Vinifera: The species of
European grapes from which many
varieties' most fine wine is produced
— Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir.

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