Golan Heights Winery Yarden Gewürztraminer, Galilee 2017

Medium gold color; lychee, white peach, honey, grapefruit, spice on the vivid nose; white peach, grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, citrus, honey on the palate.

Golan Heights Winery Yarden Gewürztraminer, Galilee 2017

Semi-dry; bright with excellent acidity (3.07 pH) that works with the touch of sweetness and honey flavor. Medium body. There is minerality and a pinch of saline on the finish that provides intrigue with a drip of honey on its fairly quick finish. Kosher for Passover, but not mevushal. 14.5% ABV

The Golan Heights Winery was founded in 1983, two years after Israel extended Israeli law and administration in the territory. Golan Heights Winery includes four brands: Yarden, Golan Heights, Gilgal, and Mount Hermon. Golan Heights is the premier bottling. Yarden refers to the Jordan River (Yarden in Hebrew) which celebrates the Golan Heights from Galilee.

Golan Heights Winery

The Golan Heights Winery is Israel’s leading premier winemaker. Wine Enthusiast named it “New World Winery of the Year” in 2012. The “New World” designation is amusing since it is hard to imagine Israel and the Middle East qualifying as “new world”—but in the wine business, New World covers all the wineries not in Europe and adjacent, long-time wine-producing countries. The Golan Heights winery and tasting room get very high marks on TripAdvisor; visitors can have a Jeep ride through the vineyards before enjoying apparently (according to several reviewers) great food.

Yarden vineyard-summer
Yarden vineyard-winter

Golan Heights Winery’s 1,500 acres of vineyards stretch from the Sea of Galilee to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Hermon—a region where wine has been made for more than 6,000 years, but only in the past three decades have modern, quality wine efforts been in place. The Golan Heights Winery’s acres are divided into 28 vineyards (96% in Golan Heights) and 430 blocks. Each block is monitored individually, then harvested individually and the fruit kept separate through the winemaking process until final blending. There are 16 vinegrowers who grow 20 grape varieties, 13 red and seven white.

Mount Hermon

Golan Heights Winemaker Victor Schoenfeld is one of Israel’s most influential winemakers. He graduated from UC Davis in 1988 with a degree in enology. He worked at Robert Mondavi and Preston Vineyards in Sonoma, then Jacquesson & Fils Champagne house before joining Golan Heights. Schoenfeld is strong advocate for new wine-making technology and precise climatic and viticultural analysis. Not surprisingly, the winery embraces sustainable agriculture and environmental responsibility, including solar and wind power, wastewater management, and composting instead of chemical fertilizers.

Golan Heights winemaker Victor Schoenfeld

Golan Heights Winery Yarden Gewürztraminer, Galilee 2017 is a tasty, semi-dry take on gewürztraminer with hints of honey and sweetness intertwined with minerality and saline. Very nice gewürztraminer, especially if you find it in the lower price range. This is one of those wines that friends may never have tasted before, so it can be a party conversation piece. Experienced drinkers will appreciate gewürztraminer’s special character which really is not parallel to any other varietal wine. Works nicely as an aperitif—excellent opportunity to get wows at the beginning of your soiree. Pair with fish; shellfish; chicken and almond stir-fry; Indian curry; thin-crust white pizza. Cheese—gruyère, muenster, roquefort, stilton, gorgonzola, baked-soft gouda. $23-31

Yarden wines website

Golan Heights Winery tasting room