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Winner Details

Israel

Israel was one of the big stories from last year’s Sommelier Wine Awards, going from pretty much nowhere to 17 medals, so we weren’t too surprised that it couldn’t sustain that level of performance in 2020. And overall this was still a pretty good effort.

Stylistically, most of these wines were in the bigger, oakier spectrum. The sun-filled climate probably plays a role in that, but Israeli winemakers are not, for the most part, playing down the ripeness. These seem to be designed to taste expensive – presumably for an audience that likes that Parker-inflected style.

So if you are looking for a range of sleek, kosher wines for your list, there’s a good selection on offer here.

From The Tasting Teams

‘I liked a lot of the Israeli whites but it comes down to the price point. If some of these were £2 cheaper, I’d go for them because they are great wines.’ Carolina W Seibel, Comptoir Cafe and Wine

‘Surprisingly good wines here, with consistent winemaking. The fruit [in some of the reds] was overripe, so there was some sweetness, but it was balanced with freshness and oak. Not cheap but the quality was stunning – rich, with great tannins.’ Andre Luis Martins, team leader

‘We saw several different styles in the whites, from oaky to clean, dry and crisp. There is real quality here, but you need to know where to put them on a list.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche

‘If you’re focused on unusual wines, Israel and Turkey are great places to try. The good ones are from higher altitudes, and are quite comparable to many French wines. Israel has a more international style compared to Turkey, but it’s interesting to see how things are developing.’ Markus Dilger, Dilger Sommelier Selection

‘Wines from Israel, Lebanon and Turkey are still a hand-sell. It’s a niche market.’ Andre Luis Martins, team leader

 

Award winners

Found 16 wines

Israel

Barkan , Altitude 720 2016, Upper Galilee , Israel

Gold medal winner

'This is showing some good complexity, with a perfumed nose and red cherry and black fruit on a juicy palate.' Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group. 'Well-made and nicely balanced, with some ripe blackberries, a hint of spices and some juicy tannins.' Lionel Periner, team leader. 'Jammy and lush, with cassis and some intense ginger and spice, well balanced with coffee and leather notes.' Andre Luís Martins, team leader.

£22.67 Kedem Europe

Barkan , Superieur, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Upper Galilee , Israel

Silver medal winner

'Deep, full and intense, with good structure. Very persistent, with a hint of chocolate on the finish.' Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche. 'Raspberry and cherry notes with some lovely sweetness on the mid-palate, lovely fruit, and acidity well-balanced with firm tannins.' Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group.

£30.83 Kedem Europe

Barkan , Classic, Chardonnay 2019, Judean Hills, Israel

Silver medal winner

'Fresh, tropical juice box and herbaceous, with a grassy note.' James Fryer, team leader. 'Notes of lemon, lime, yellow apple and pear. Quaffable.' Adam Michocki, The Man Behind The Curtain. 'A good aperitif with some residual sugar, so could be perfect with Asian or Indian curry dishes.' Tanya Mann, consultant.

£6.50 Kedem Europe

Barkan , Classic, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Judean Hills, Israel

Silver medal winner

'A herbal nose with some bell pepper notes, and a palate that's fresh and smooth, with a leafy finish.' Filippo Pastorini, consultant. 'Fresh red plum notes with some gentle oak and some smoked aromas. A very elegant wine offering great value.' Andre Luís Martins, team leader.

£6.50 Kedem Europe

Covenant Israel, Blue C, Viognier 2019, Galilee, Israel

Silver medal winner

'Fresh, complex and opulent with some aromatic notes, stone fruits, vanilla and honeysuckle, with a hint of nectarine.' Elisa Soggia, Trivet. 'Fresh, clean and zingy, this is really charming, with a great palate and a clean finish.' Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche. 'Very ripe, juicy and substantial, with some citrus peel notes.' Martin Lam, team leader.

£20.00 Kedem Europe

Barkan , The Beta Series, Argaman 2017, Judean Hills, Israel

Bronze medal winner

'With redcurrant, blackcurrant and a touch of dry tobacco on the nose, this is full and fruity on the palate, with much richer raspberry and cherry notes, and a hint of leather towards the end.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'Sweet cherry, plum and raspberry, with liquorice, pepper and bitter chocolate.' Markus Dilger, Dilger Sommelier Selection.

£15.50 Kedem Europe

1848, 5th Generation, White Blend 2017, Galilee, Israel

Bronze medal winner

'Edgy, with citrus and jasmine notes, leading to fresh acidity, with some sweet mint on the complex palate.' Carolina W Seibel, Comptoir Cafe and Wine. 'An aromatic white wine with very delicate acidity, and a stone fruit character with a touch of pineapple and other tropical fruits.' Tanya Mann, consultant.

£12.00 Kedem Europe

Covenant Israel, Syrah 2016, Golan Heights, Israel

Bronze medal winner

'Fresh black cherries with lush cassis and sweet spice aromas, and a refreshing palate with more fresh cassis and some black tobacco aromas.' Andre Luís Martins, team leader. 'Deep black fruit, with additional olives, oregano and some fresh herbs. Big structure.' Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group.

£40.00 Kedem Europe

Dalton, Majestic Old Vine Carignan 2018, Galilee, Israel

Bronze medal winner

'Blackcurrant, strawberry and rich cherry notes on the nose, with the palate mirroring this well, with rich, plummy fruit that's never jammy, and with hints of mocha on the finish.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'Well-made, with some red and dark berries on the nose, and a dry palate with some new oak in evidence.' Lionel Periner, team leader.

£15.33 Kedem Europe

Barkan , Altitude 624 2016, Upper Galilee , Israel

Commended medal winner

£22.67 Kedem Europe

Barkan , The Beta Series, Riesling 2018, Judean Hills , Israel

Commended medal winner

£15.50 Kedem Europe

Barkan , The Beta Series, Marawi 2018, Judean Hills , Israel

Commended medal winner

£15.50 Kedem Europe

1848, 5th Generation, Cabernet Franc 2017, Galilee, Israel

Commended medal winner

£16.66 Kedem Europe

Carmel Winery, Carmel Single Vineyard, Kayoumi, White Riesling 2017, Upper Galilee , Israel

Commended medal winner

£17.66 Kedem Europe

Yatir, Mt. Amasa White 2017, Upper Galilee , Israel

Commended medal winner

£16.66 Kedem Europe

Yatir, Mt. Amasa Red 2016, Judean Hills, Israel

Commended medal winner

£11.66 Kedem Europe

 

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