With spring’s arrival near, and the gleam of summer just around the corner, wineries all across Israel are beginning to prepare for the changes these lush, warm days bring. Spring is the beginning of the new growing season in the vineyards, where breathtaking scenic views reign.
The dark, cold winter days begin the cycle when the vines are pruned. Bud break occurs in the warmer spring days. Each bud contains all of the ingredients in the tiniest forms—shoots, leaves, tendrils, and berries, yet to be grapes. Ideal conditions include above-freezing temperatures, minimal rain, and light wind. Grapes are very delicate and they need an adequate amount of sunshine to be able to grow properly and to ripen the crop. Grape varieties vary in the amount of warmth needed to ripen adequately.
In the spring, new growth that first appears on the vines and the vineyards has a lush, green look that intensifies as the year goes on. Wild flowers bloom in the awe-inspiring vineyards. While the temperatures are fairly warm, they don’t reach the oppressive summer humidity and heat. New shoots start emerging from the dormant buds and active growth commences; spring is an extremely vital time for the vineyards.
There are many facets that influence the process of wine making. The most significant aspects of growing wine grapes are the annual life cycle of the vine, climate, vineyard management, terroir, and planting grapes. Activities such as fertilizing, shoot thinning, and preventative sprays against fungal diseases all take place during the spring season. Of all these factors, climate is one of the most critical components of wine growing. The climate plays a significant role on the wine grapes and their finished product. For example, the Golan Heights region has a particularly unique and distinctive terroir—the combination of soil type, local topography and climate— suited for a large number of varietals. These characteristics have a direct and distinctive influence on producing high-end quality wines.
In the beautiful climate of the Mediterranean region, the Golan Heights Winery has placed Israel on the international wine map, competing with the world’s best wineries. There is a total of 28 individual vineyards associated with the Golan Heights Winery, using both traditional and the most cutting-edge winemaking techniques. Therefore, the Golan Heights Winery has many outstanding wines from which to choose.
The 2009 Yarden Merlot is the ultimate wine that reflects and embodies the influence of its terroir environment. This wine exhibits ripe cherry and berry fruit layered with hints of citrus blossoms, baking spices, and fresh herbs. It is a full-bodied Merlot that displays a pleasing complexity and a full-flavor concentration. This wine will remain in excellent drinking condition for up to a decade after harvest. It is the quintessential wine for breezy spring days.
Sunny days increase with spring’s celebrated arrival, and sun exposure is a lot more essential than it was conventionally thought to be. Both red and white grapes enjoy a lot of sun exposure, which yields fuller-bodied wines. Wine grapes need more than 1,400 hours of annual sunlight during the growing season to ripen properly. The ideal amount of sun exposure and the mild climate causes the grapes to mature properly, which then directly elevates the quality of the wine.
Enjoy the delightful spring nights with the 2010 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a full-flavored aromatic wine with complexity and elegance, exhibiting ripe red and black fruit characters layered with hints of earth, spices, and French oak. This wine will improve significantly with a few more years of in-bottle aging, and will remain in excellent drinking condition for at least 10–15 years. This bottle of wine pairs wonderfully with full-flavored dishes, such as an herb-crusted leg of lamb, pan-seared rib eye steaks, or duck braised in Merlot with shiitake mushrooms.
Spring embodies new beginnings, and a sense of aliveness and freshness. Awaken your senses with the 2009 Yarden 2T and experience its exotic flavors tickle your palate. This wine exhibits wild berry and plum characters layered with floral, spice, and chocolate notes, all on a background of attractive French oak. It is an intriguing blend of two traditional Portuguese varieties. This wine displays concentrated flavor with a long finish. The 2009 Yarden 2T improves in the bottle and remains in excellent drinking condition for many years to come. Yarden 2T enhances the taste of any beef and lamb dishes, such as a good grilled rib eye steak, or tender “falling off the bone” braised lamb shanks. It’s a must-try on the ever-so-pleasant spring days and nights.
So go ahead, have a sip or a few glasses, and start celebrating the enchanting spring with new beginnings. L’Chaim!
By Talia Zimmerman