Golan Heights Yarden
Israel has a rich history of winemaking dating back thousands of years. Thousands of old wine presses, some estimated to be over 6,500 years old, have been discovered, making Israel one of the world's oldest wine countries. However, a more recent resurgence in wine production began in the late 19th century, thanks to investments made by Baron Edmond de Rothschild (Lafite). This historical perspective positions Israel as both an ancient and a "New Wineland."
More information about The Golan Heights
Terroir, the unique combination of soil and climate, plays a crucial role in Israeli winemaking. The Golan Heights, a prominent wine region in the northeastern part of Israel, exemplifies this focus on terroir. While Israel's overall climate is warm, the Golan Heights benefits from an elevated position that classifies it as a "cool climate" region. This, along with the region's volcanic subsoil, contributes to the production of world-class wines.
Golan Heights Winery, a leading player in the Israeli wine scene, has earned acclaim from wine experts and critics, including the most famous Israeli wine guide, Rogov. They have awarded the winery 5 stars and acknowledged its pivotal role in placing Israel on the global wine map. Chief winemaker Victor Schoenfeld, with training spanning California, France, and Australia, skillfully combines old and new world winemaking styles.
The flagship Yarden wines, named after the Jordan River (Yarden in Hebrew), represent the finest grapes from the best vineyards. Additionally, the Gamla wines, named after the ancient city on the Golan Heights, offer accessible and pure expressions of the region's terroir.
The Golan Heights, known for its challenging terroir, has firmly established itself as a wine region of high quality and unique character. Its high-altitude vineyards, volcanic soils, and favorable climate have placed Israel, including the Golan Heights, prominently on the global wine stage. Wine tourism in the region has flourished, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore vineyards, tour wineries, and savor tastings amidst breathtaking landscapes.
What grapes are used in The Golan Heights?
The Golan Heights, a wine region in Israel, cultivates a variety of grape varieties to produce its high-quality wines. These grapes are chosen to thrive in the region's specific terroir, which includes high-altitude vineyards and volcanic soils. Here are some of the key grape varieties used in the Golan Heights:
Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most prominent grape varieties grown in the Golan Heights. It is known for its rich, full-bodied red wines with flavors of dark fruit, cassis, and often structured tannins. The Golan Heights' terroir contributes to the development of complex and age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Merlot: Merlot is another widely planted red grape in the region. Grown in the Golan Heights, Merlot wines tend to be soft, round, and fruit-forward. They often feature flavors of red and black berries, plum, and a velvety texture.
Syrah (Shiraz): Syrah is cultivated in the Golan Heights and is used to produce bold and aromatic red wines. These wines are known for their dark fruit flavors, spice, and often a hint of black pepper. The region's terroir adds complexity to the Syrah wines.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a notable white grape variety grown in the Golan Heights. The cool climate and volcanic soils contribute to the production of Chardonnay wines with vibrant acidity and flavors of citrus, green apple, and subtle oak influence.
Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc thrives in the Golan Heights' cool climate. The resulting wines are fresh and crisp, often displaying citrus, herbaceous, and tropical fruit notes.
Riesling: Riesling, while less common than some other varieties, is also cultivated in the region. It tends to produce aromatic white wines with high acidity and flavors of green apple, citrus, and sometimes floral notes.
Marawi: Marawi is an indigenous Israeli grape variety that is gaining attention in the Golan Heights. Wines made from Marawi often have a unique character, with flavors of stone fruit and a distinctive regional expression.
Dabouki: Dabouki is another indigenous grape variety in Israel and is cultivated in the Golan Heights. It is used to produce white wines with flavors of green apple and citrus.
The Golan Heights' terroir, with its high altitudes, cool climate, and volcanic soils, is conducive to the production of high-quality wines. Winemakers in the region utilize a combination of international and indigenous grape varieties to create a diverse range of wine styles, with an emphasis on red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as white wines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
What about The Golans Heights subregions?
While the Golan Heights wine region in Israel is not typically divided into formal subregions in the same way as some other wine regions, it can still be roughly categorized based on elevation and terroir, which influence the characteristics of the wines produced. Here's some information on these two main areas:
Highlands: The higher elevation vineyards in the Golan Heights are known for their cooler climate and greater temperature variations. This "cool climate" environment is well-suited for the cultivation of specific grape varieties that thrive under these conditions. Some of the grapes that do well in this area include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. The volcanic soils found in the highlands contribute to the wines' unique mineral qualities and structural characteristics. Wines from the highlands tend to exhibit complexity, elegance, and a pronounced sense of place.
Lower Slopes: The vineyards located on the lower slopes of the Golan Heights are slightly warmer than those in the highlands. These areas feature different soil compositions and microclimates. While they may not have the same level of cooling influence as the highlands, they are still considered part of the Golan Heights wine region. Vineyards on the lower slopes also contribute to the overall wine production in the area, offering a diversity of grape-growing conditions and characteristics.
These distinctions in elevation and terroir enable winemakers in the Golan Heights to craft a range of wines with varying flavor profiles and characteristics, all reflecting the unique attributes of the region. The wines from the highlands tend to emphasize cool-climate varietals and distinctive volcanic soil influences, while the lower slopes offer their own unique expressions, allowing for a diverse range of wines within the Golan Heights region.