By Jay Buchsbaum
5775 is almost here. And so is a bevy of new wines and wineries from Israel.
New wines from Italy, France, New Zealand and California have arrived as well.
As peoples taste in wine varies, so have the new arrivals. This New Year brings a new array of wines, giving the wine lover an opportunity to taste heretofore undiscovered greats and the latest version of their favorites. But it’s the new wines that are among the most exciting for any wine lover
First a little about each region offering new wines for the New Year
California Wines have always been known for their fruit forward big rich flavors. California gets this reputation because of its unique Terroir. Terroir means all the aspects that go into how the grape comes out. Including soil sunshine humidity etc. California Terroir lends itself to grapes at harvest that are generally higher in sugar and richer in flavor. Perhaps it’s not as complex and layered as other wine growing regions but the full, rich fruit comes through in the final wine.
France is the oldest growing region for fine table wines for nearly five plus centuries. (Did you know that actually the Middle East, especially Israel is where grape growing for wine originated? More about that later). It’s said that Rashi grew grapes in Bordeaux for wine. And vinyards that existed even as long as five hundred years ago are still producing wines today. This allowed France, over the years, to discover the best places to grow the best grapes. Today cabernet merlot and cab franc (amongst others) is grown in around the Bordeaux area. Burgundy and southern France grow primarily Pinot noir and Chardonnay and the Rhone Valley grows Varieties such as Mouvedre, Grenache and other grapes appropriate to its region.
Israel, Because of its generally warmer climate Israel produces grapes that are more ripe at harvest but its varied Terroir, Cooler weather and volcanic soil in the north and generally warmer weather and Terra Rosa, clay and loam soil in the central and south part of the country, Israel can and does make a wide variety of flavors and tastes in wine. Couple this varied Israeli Terroir with the most up to date winemaking techniques in the world and you have some of the finest wine coming from Israel kosher or non.
Italy’s Tradition of winemaking dates back centuries as well, and the influence of Bi Coastal bodies of water to both its east and west allow for the grapes harvested in Italy to produce some of the most delicious wines. The primary grape is Sangiovese in red and, today, Moscato and Pinot Grigio in white. When done right (see my side bar) these can produce wines with class distinction as well as lively and memorable flavors.
New Zealand is in the southern Hemisphere. So when we have winter they have summer while most of the world harvests in late summer and fall they harvest in fall and winter when they experience their summer. This leads the grapes to produce, flavors and resulting wine, that are at once lively and crisp but filled with flavor and aroma.
Jay Buchsbaum is VP and the director of wine education for Royal Wine. He has traveled the world drinking in wine knowledge and the wines themselves and has lectured on wine from Congress to the heart of China. You can contact Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org