Friday, January 29, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: Revisiting Israel with Mediterranean Soul Red Blend

A few weeks ago I reviewed an Israeli wine in honor of our recent trip to Israel. That was a white wine. (Winey Tasting Notes: Revisiting an amazing trip with Israel's Mediterranean Soul wine.) Today, we're going to go red as I reminisce about that wonderful, wonderful trip.

The red in question, Mediterranean Soul's Red Blend, comes from the Golan Heights sub-region in the Galilee region of Israel. (You can read more about the regions in the first post.) I thought that Galilee was such a pretty part of Israel and thoroughly loved our time there. But we were on the move, and after a few days in Galilee, we headed out to Jerusalem.

The Winey Travelers in Jerusalem
Talk about an amazing city. If you stand on one of the scenic overlooks to gaze at Jerusalem, it's like looking back in time...and yet not. You look at old Jerusalem and the walls and the domes and its all-white stone. And then you see the newer buildings, which are required to be built in the same stone as the old ones, which makes the city so seamless and sort of anciently ageless. The city embraces its past and the huge cultural and religious significance of the city, but it doesn't block any forward progress.

We saw the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, The Garden Tomb, Mt. Zion and The Upper Room, The Western (Wailing) Wall, The Holocaust Museum, The Davidson Archaeological Center (which digs at the Temple wall), The Church of All Nations, The Shrine of the Book, The Knesset....and we could have seen oh so much more.......

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate and the
walls of Old Jerusalem
My favorite part of Jerusalem? Old Jerusalem. You actually have to walk through stone gates to enter into the old city. On our first foray, we went through the Jaffa Gate, which borders on the Armenian and Jewish sectors of old Jerusalem. You walk through and boom! Narrow cobblestone streets that wind in and out and around. Merchants teeming on each side of each street. The smells of different cuisines, herbs, coffee and leather. The chatter of shoppers as they go their way. Sure, the goods being offered now are a lot different from the things they sold hundreds and thousands of years ago, but you totally feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Old Jerusalem
Old Jerusalem

We walked and shopped and eventually wound up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where hundreds of pilgrims head daily to visit one of the spots claimed to be Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified and buried nearby.

Outside the church, you're walking the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus took to his crucifixion. You can't help but walk it, because two thousand years later, it's still part of the city, just as it was back then. The sheer history of Jerusalem astounded us time and time again.

After our wonderful time there, I was very excited to find the Mediterranean Soul line of Israeli wines when we returned to the USA. Every time I sip them, I'm reminded of that amazing trip.

Mediterranean Soul is a boutique winery in the Golan Heights. As I said, I had tried a white blend first, but this was a red blend: Life Red Blend (2013, 13.9%, Golan Hts, Israel). It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. You'll get raspberry and fresh herbs on the nose. You'll taste fresh, green herbs and end with a tiny hint of coffee. The tannins on this wine are very present and they end up with a hint of cherry in your mouth.

This is a smooth wine, but not velvety smooth. It's smoothness doesn't come from the fruit flavors that you usually find a velvet feel with...this time it's more of an herbal smooth.  You'll love this wine if you like a full on red wine without any hints of fruit to speak of and more of a green, garden-y taste.

These wines are very affordable (about $10 a bottle) and I found them locally here in Ohio, so I hope that you can find them as well, wherever you are. I am really enjoying them...almost as much as I am enjoying reminiscing about our trip.


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