July 14, 2024
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Shiloh Is Home to the History-Making Shiloh Winery

It’s the stuff of legend. American-born Amichai Luria, who made aliyah when he was four years old, was a wine hobbyist (a self-taught winemaker) when his private selection of 3,000 bottles led him to meet Mayer Chomer, the owner of Shiloh Winery, who tasted a glass of his Bordeaux-style blend. They teamed up and the rest is history. The winery is now known for its robust, meaty, oaky red wines, its distinct and beautiful bottle labels and is seen as a powerful mover on the Israeli wine scene.

Shiloh, one of the most historically important of Biblical cities, having been the pre-Temple period’s primary prayer site, is in the excellent winemaking region Shomron (Samaria), where there is evidence of winemaking even as far back as Jacob Avinu. Shiloh Winery’s now 200,000 bottles exhibit Shomron’s unique, ancient clay-and-mineral-rich terroir and relatively high altitude.

The wines are also seen as aging well in the bottle and showing well many years after bottling. These are complex, leathery wines; they are not necessarily easy going down due to their richness and complexity. They are best paired with red meats, red sauces and other heavy meals. Enjoy them for their depth and intensity, but don’t expect these wines to be anything like a California cabernet or Italian chianti.

At last month’s Congregation Ahavath Torah Sisterhood/Wine Country’s evening of wine and whiskey, I got a chance to try some of Shiloh’s most famous red wines.

The Shiloh Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($37 and mevushal) is dark and opaque red, with aromas of very ripe blackberry, tart cherry and pepper in the background. There are aromas of tobacco and coffee with intense fruit flavors and a sustaining finish. This is a meaty wine which would go well with steak, prime rib or lamb. The 2012 version of this wine achieved a 91 score from Wine Enthusiast.

The Shiloh Heroes 2014 series ($53) pays homage to the “hero” Jewish farmers who adhere to the halachot of Shmittah, facing tough economic strain during the pre-shmittah vintage (in this case, the 2014 vintage). The wine is sold in the U.S. as a set of three single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines, each labeled with the vineyard’s owner in tribute to their religious heroism (and marked as a “unique” vineyard in Hebrew instead of “single”). These wines share many of the characteristics of richness and boldness as other Shiloh wines, and I will simply recommend trying them rather than attempting to provide notes for them. They are universally excellent.

The Shiloh Legend 2010 ($31) is legendary not just for having achieved a 90 point wine score from Wine Enthusiast. It is a Rhone blend, meaning a blend of 45 percent shiraz, 40 percent Petite syrah, 9 percent petite verdot and 6 percent merlot. Each varietal involved in the wines was first aged for 8 months separately in French oak. Once blended, the blend was then further aged for an additional 8 months in French oak. The wine is a deep, dark red, with black fruit aromas and a complex bouquet of cocoa, leather and mint with soft tones of spices. Its body is full, and its finish balanced and prolonged. According to the Royal Wines website, aging will further enhance its quality.

All of these wines are available at the prices noted at Wine Country Bergenfield at 89 New Bridge Road in Bergenfield, which also has many of the 15 currently available Shiloh wines. For more information call 201-385-0106.

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