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Raising a Thanksgiving Toast This Hanukkah

November 26, 2013 12:03 pm 1 comment

Menorah made of Gaza rockets fired at Sderot, lit this Hanukkah at the Sderot Hesder Yeshivah. Photo: Anav Silverman.

This Hanukkah will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a Thanksgiving toast during the Festival of Lights. With the table decked with rich and decadent fair, these wines will make the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey (and Hanukkah latkes!)

Gilgal Pinot Noir 2011 $$

The elegant and complex flavors in a Pinot Noir make it a great pairing for the Thanksgiving turkey. Pinot Noir is an example of a niche varietal, which suits those looking for a subtle yet sophisticated wine and for those who do not want an overwhelming fruity flavor.

Newcomers to this varietal should try the Gilgal Pinot Noir, which is eminently drinkable and an ideal introduction to the distinctive Pinot flavors. The 2011 Gilgal Pinot Noir displays aromatic strawberry, sour cherry, and mulberry fruit characters, which are perfectly balanced by its floral and spicy notes.

Galil Mountain Meron 2009 $$

The Galil Mountain Meron is a lusciously rich blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The Syrah is the predominate grape in the Meron blend and has, in recent years, become Israel’s star varietal. Otherwise known as Shiraz, the Syrah’s distinctively rich flavors shine through and the Meron showcases a beautiful blend of wild berries, blueberries, and red cherries, complemented by a hint of oak. This strong and well-balanced wine exhibits a silky texture and a long velvety finish, which fills the palate with its rich flavors.

The Galil Mountain Winery is situated in the ever-changing Northern Galilee region. Each season brings new views, which are reflected in the winery’s unique labels. The Meron, likewise, evolves during the meal with new flavors expressed with every sip.

Yarden Merlot Odem 2007 $$$

This limited edition Merlot comes from the Odem organic vineyard located in the Upper Golan Heights. Single vineyard wines are produced from the very best grapes grown in a single, and special, vineyard. The Odem vineyard uses unique methods to maintain its organic character and winemakers have commented that since going organic, they have seen a significant improvement in the quality and color of the fruit.

The Yarden Merlot Odem is aged in French oak barrels for 18 months, giving it a long finish and wonderful aging potential. Floral, spice, and earthy notes enhance the distinctive Merlot characters of cherry and blackberry, which are especially identifiable in this single vineyard wine. While this is definitely a wine to wow your guests, it will also make a truly special Hanukkah gift for someone who appreciates a fine wine.

Anna Harwood moved to Jerusalem from London, England, and currently divides her time between studying Clinical Psychology and writing about Israeli wine.

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