Saturday, May 23, 2020

Enjoying Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot and Yarden Pinot Gris with Grilled Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye Salmon and Poke Ahi Tuna Bowl #WinePW


It’s another exciting week of wines in May 2020 when the #WinePW bloggers received samples from Yarden Wines, a major importer of Israeli wines in the US. A big thank you to Jeff at Food Wine Click for his sample coordination with the Winery. I’m not a newbie to Yarden Wines. I paired their Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Galil Alon 2014 with a thick cut of grilled Wagyu beef steak in the winter. It was a no-turning-back moment which I surrender to these wines whenever I indulge in expensive steaks. The Yarden Pinot Gris 2018 and Golan Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2017 however are different – they are causal, modern, and your food-buddies that you can trust to deliver at any time with any meal plans!

Photo Credit: winebytheglass.com

Wines of Israel

Israel is located in the western Middle East at the very eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The wine-producing land is about 13,600 acres, which is small by size in comparison to other New World wine-producing countries. Israel however produces 40–45 million bottles of wine per year. Most Israeli wine is consumed within the country, as only around 20% is exported each year. There are approximately 300 wineries in Israel, ranging from small operations that produce a few hundred bottles of wine per year, to large wineries making more than five million bottles  of every variety and in every region.

Causal, modern, and your food-buddies!

The US has underpinned the development of the Israeli wine industry over the past few decades through its tremendous consumption demand. This driving force brings some very New World styles and techniques in wines to this old country. Israeli wines, kosher or not, still create some confusion nowadays especially if you overlay the religious and dietary restrictions. To be considered as truly kosher, various products including wines need to be prepared only by Jews as some modern Orthodox Jews believe. Mevushal wines, which are wines that have been flash pasteurized, are consumed by certain highly observant Orthodox Jews. For a wine to be termed as kosher wine, strict Judaism laws have to be followed and applied throughout the winemaking process. As a general rule of thumb, the laws governing the production of kosher wine are not all that different from those required for organic wine production anywhere in the world. For regular wine drinkers like myself, I simply see wines from Israel like these Yarden wine samples are great wines that have made big impact in the wine world and should be widely enjoyed.  

Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot paired with a thin-cut Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye salmon filet and a side of asparagus grilled on a cask iron pan done indoor!

Yarden Wines

Yarden Wines is composed of Golan Heights Winery and Galil Mountain Winery, which exports Israeli wines to the US. Golan Heights Winery carries three distinct labels: Yarden, Gilgal (Gamla in Israel) and Mount Hermon. Golan Heights Winery is considered as Israel’s leader in quality, technological innovation, new variety development, and sustainability. The vineyards of Golan Heights are the only few wine-producing areas in Israel that enjoy the ideal conditions as in Bordeaux or Tuscany, for producing internationally renowned wines. They are blessed with the ideal grape growing conditions and terroirs, including diverse soils (limestone, basalt, alluvial, clay loam), and cool high-altitude elevation. After planting their first vineyards in the Golan in 1976, the Winery was established in 1983 by four kibbutzim (collective communities) and four moshavim (cooperative communities). In 1984, the Winery released its first wine - the 1983 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc - creating great excitement in Israel and abroad. Since then, Golan Heights Winery has played a significant role in developing and nurturing Israel’s current wine culture. The Winery also has altered the way Israeli wines are perceived worldwide and has firmly placed Israel on the world wine map. In 2012, Golan Heights Winery was named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

The Galilee is a perfect accompaniment with the poke rice bowl which has fresh Ahi tuna cubes and home-made guacamole that lie atop a plate of warm and nutty brown rice

Yarden Pinot Gris 2018 (SRP: $22.99)

The Galilee features notes of Asian pear, crab apple, lime, grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit, coupling with floral characters and ending with mineral notes. This charming medium-bodied Pinot Gris showcases freshness and drinkability - perfectly on its own but even better when pairing it with a poke bowl of warm brown rice with fresh ahi tuna cubes tossed in soya sauce, lime juice and sesame oil and freshly made guacamole. The acidity of the wine echoes the limey taste of the tuna and guac. The weight of the wine is spot-on with the nutty rice and buttery mouthfeel of the guac.

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Yarden Galilee Pinot Gris 2018 features notes of Asian pear, crab apple, lime, grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit, coupling with floral characters and ending with mineral notes. This charming medium-bodied Pinot Gris showcases freshness and drinkability - perfectly on its own but even better when pairing it with a poke bowl of warm brown rice with fresh ahi tuna cubes tossed in soya sauce, lime juice and sesame oil and freshly made guacamole. The acidity of the wine echos the limey taste of the tuna and guac. The weight of the wine is spot-on with the nutty rice and buttery mouthfeel of the guac. What a great pair to welcome the summer🍲🌞 • • #chinesefoodandwinepairings • • • #yardenwines #galileewine #isarelwine #pinotgris #golanheightwinery #pokebowl #ahitunapoke #winelover #winelovers #winelovers🍷 #winelover🍷 #summerwhites #summerwhitewine #attheyardentable

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Golan Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2017 (SRP$17.99)

The Golan is a dynamite on the nose with pronounced chocolate, expresso coffee and soft oak. As you taste it, the wine is not overpowering, with unripen cherry, plum, chocolate, roasted coffee, and lighter notes of herbs in the background. It’s flavorful, medium-bodied and by no means heavy-lifting - perfect for a surf and turf dinner that I indulged with a thinly cut Wagyu steak, Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillet and a side of asparagus on a weeknight. 

The grassiness and gaminess of the American Wagyu beef (learn more about Wagyu here) brings me back to this steak over and over again. The wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillet is the healthiest version of the US salmons you could get. If you can find Scottish salmons, go for it as its milder taste but buttery texture will definitely go well with this Cab Sauv – Merlot as well.

For other resources, please visit:

https://winesisrael.com/en/

https://www.winesofisrael.com/

Disclaimer: The wines are sample. All opinions in this post are my own.

Check out other #WinePW bloggers' Yarden wines and food:

5 comments:

  1. I always love your food pairings and this one is no different. I wouldn't have thought of a sockeye salmon with cab-merlot blend, but I am going to have to try that sometime. All your food looks so mouthwatering and yummy!

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    1. Thanks. In fact sockeye salmon is a good enough match for the cab merlot. The Wagyu steak is the perfect match. But overall it as still a very satisfying meal.

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  2. The tuna and Pinot Gris pairing really caught my eye. Guac has me every time. Both pairings look fresh and delish!

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    1. Guac and the raw Ahi Tuna cubes in the poke bowl are ideal with Pinot Gris.

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  3. You picked out some really nice pairings for those wines!

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