Wine Review: Givon Chardonnay (Israel)
WINE REVIEW: GIVON CHARDONNAY (ISRAEL)
I’ve not been exposed to many wines from Israel. Past special occasions were almost always at the insistence of friends observing Kosher dietary restrictions (for instance, at Kosher restaurants) and thus was an extension of sharing a wine totally unfamiliar to me. Call it an intriguing introduction. I’ve always welcomed these opportunities to share and explore.
In fact, though the wine industry is well-established and surprisingly robust, Israeli-made wines aren’t popular in the United States. Non-Jewish Americans would probably be hard-pressed to name an Israeli wine. Manischewitz doesn’t count.
Israel’s wine industry is a complex interwoven web of agribusiness and politics. It’s also a survivor. Wines have been produced in this part of the world for thousands of years– long before France or Italy. Though most of the 40 or so active wineries in Israel have blossomed since the 1948 creation of the Jewish state, there are at least a hundred more small producers which distribute only within Israel. Credit the domestic industry for also including a few Palestinian wines, which are surprisingly popular in Arab territories. I had to toss that in…since (I believe) wine can be the common blood of the human soul.
Curiosity got the best of me recently when I found GIVON sold here at a local grocer and the bottle was priced on sale. Normally about $10, right in line with light summer wines meant to be enjoyed day or night, especially in warmer climates. If anything, Las Vegas has a hot climate, so there’s some natural suitability to these environs. GIVON is grown and produced in Galilee, so perhaps the similarities stop there.
First reaction: A little more acidy than I was expecting from a Chardonnay. Very backend on flavor and fruit. Nice subtlety. Think pear, not apple. Being a snooty Francophone on wines as the gold standard, the wine compares favorably with whites from Provence, which is known for Mediterranean subtlety. I give this taste a solid 6.
Other regional comparables include wines from Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey (which I have drunk numerous times). I’d rank GIVON as superior to any of the wines at a similar price point from Greece, Lebanon, or Turkey. I suspect the expertise of Israeli growers combined with state-supported production of this agricultural sector contributes to a better-tasting Israeli wine than many outsiders and newbies might expect. Alas, wine can be a wonderful ambassador
Alc. Content: 13.0
Recommended: Yes, as a wanderlust for the palate