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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | return to: supplement, Chanukah


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Chanukah Gifts & Food: Deliciously drinkable gifts for the adults in your family

by anna harwood, special to j.

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The children’s presents are sorted, the latkes have been fried, the menorah polished and ready for candles. Yet when it comes to getting presents for the more mature members of the family, it is often a last-minute dash to the local gift shop. This year, prepare in advance with an easy choice: wine. Israeli wine, all kosher.

CHANisraeli_wines_red2_SmallFor mom

A recent poll published in the New York Times found that 52 percent of women (respondents) rated wine as the alcoholic beverage of choice. When choosing the perfect bottle for your wife, mother or woman friend, you can’t go wrong with a fizz-tastic bottle of bubbly to make her night.

The Gilgal Brut (approximately $18) is a crisp, floral, dry sparkling wine, made with the traditional grapes and method used in Champagne wines. This wine makes a delicious aperitif but can also be paired with fruity desserts or a light fish meal. With hints of tropical fruits, wild strawberries and fresh flowers, the delicate taste leaves you wanting another sip. Popping open a bottle of bubbly surrounded by the family is a great way for your mom to toast the start of Chanukah.

For dad

There is an unfounded myth that women prefer white wines and men prefer reds. Time after time, experiments show that when given blind tastings, women have a slightly more sensitive palate, but in general a good wine is a good wine, and there is no difference in preferences between the two genders. Surprising him with a strong white wine will open up a new world of wines he may have never thought existed.

Last year was a good year for the Golan Heights winery Yarden. In addition to winning the award for the world’s top wine producer at Vinitaly 2011, Yarden also took a Grand Gold medal for its Chardonnay Odem ($20). This white wine is produced from the Odem Organic Vineyard, located at the foot of the Nount Hermon in the North. The wine is a potpourri of aromas and flavors: blossom, citrus and tropical fruit notes are complemented with vanilla, woody and mineral flavors.

CHANisraeli_wines_redtif_SmallFor grandpa

As we get older our palates tend to change, often becoming less sensitive to taste. Therefore a good, powerful wine is needed to reinvigorate the taste buds.

Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) is a classic, intense wine that perfectly pairs with a full-flavored meal. As with all wines, different years produce different qualities of vintage, but Yarden Cabernet Sauvignons consistently win awards across the international wine scene. If you want to wow grandpa with a bottle big enough to serve the entire family, the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes available in 1.5 liter magnum bottles.

On the other hand, to satisfy the most refined palate, consider the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon El Rom — a limited edition, exuberant wine with a delicious taste that lingers in the mouth long after the last drop is sipped.

For grandma

A lovely wine packaged in an unusual bottle with an attractive label gives grandma an excuse for extending gratitude and that all important wet kiss — before she’s even uncorked the wine.

The Galil Yiron ($25) comes in an aesthetically pleasing bottle with a delightful image of the Galilee region on its label. The 2008 vintage recently won a gold at the Challenge International du Vin 2012, and the 2009 vintage has been released to the U.S. wine market to rave reviews. The Yiron is a cabernet, merlot and petit verdot blend that has a perfect combination of berry and dark fruit flavors, complemented by a touch of oak. This wine has a long, velvety finish, making it the perfect present for a sophisticated granny.  

For 20-somethings

For novice wine drinkers, it takes time to define what one likes in a glass of wine. Learning how to appreciate wine visually, aromatically and to distinguish flavors in a lighter wine is an important education before moving on to more intensely flavored ones.

The Golan Sion Creek ($11) is a popular, easy-to-drink wine with notes of melon, guava and other tropical fruits. It strikes the perfect balance between a dry and sweet wine and has enough complexity to intrigue the palate.


Anna Harwood is a freelance writer based in Israel.


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