It pays to have relatives living on the opposite side of the earth when your interests include tasting and writing about wines made in esoteric styles, or in off-the-beaten-track wine countries, or from unusual grapes.
Here we have a sample from Israel’s Tulip Winery located in the hillside town of Kiryat Tiv’on – just southeast of the coast city of Haifa and west of Nazareth.
Now, Israel is not exactly a newbie at making wine or growing grapes. I mean, they’ve been doing that there since biblical times. In the Old Testament’s book of Deuteronomy, grapes were listed as one of the seven ‘blessed species’ of fruit found in Israel (Deut. 8:8).
That said, Israeli wines have seen a quality revolution since the 1980s when great investments were made in winery equipment and vinification methods. Many products, including this one, meet kosher standards (although that appears to have been a very difficult designation for Tulip to have attained; they had to approach more than 20 Rabbis before being able to make the requirements work with their workforce).
The Tulip Winery certainly is unique. Established in 2003 by the Itzhaki family, they employ members of the local community, many of whom live with developmental challenges. Their goal is to help these employees integrate into the local workforce just as they would in mainstream society. Kiryat Tiv’on means ‘Village of Hope‘ in Hebrew – and it’s home for about 200 locals with special needs, 30 of whom work at Tulip.
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc for perfume and high red fruit notes, Merlot for plush body and some Syrah for dark fruit and spice.
The wine is clear, bright, medium ruby and has full legs and has a nose of medium plus, youthful aromas of fresh red fruit (raspberry and cranberry) with some blackberry, cassis and Damson plum, vanilla and baking spice. There is a minerality as well that holds over to the palate which is dry with medium plus alcohol. The tannins are medium ripe with some grip and the acidity is average. Add a little cherry to the palate along with some light leather and a medium plus finish and you have a WSET Good+ wine with structure and reasonable balance. Drink now or hold for 1-3 more years.
Not only is Tulip Winery admirably altruistic, they make good wines too.
Well played, Elinor and Aryeh – well played.