Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
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Daniel Rogov


Resident Curmudgeon




Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:10 am


Tel Aviv, Israel

Four New Wineries: Or HaGanuz (K), Dadah,Eyal and Nevo

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:31 pm

Some may think I am half-joking when I mention hearing about new wineries opening on a near weekly basis. Ain't no joke, and with wineries in Israel now multiplying as rapidly as rabbits, the list continues to build up.

To complicate things even further, some of the new wineries are using labels, some for use within the country, others for distribution in the USA and UK that seem almost intended to confuse - names, blends and even whether the wines are dry or sweet varying from year to year. One friend likes to tease me by saying: "So Rogov....that's why you make millions every year". The millions have yet to come but the wines keep on arriving at an ever increasing pace. I'm quite sure that one of my assistants is about ready to either kill me or commit hara-kiri. We shall try to avoid either or both fates.

Following are my review of the wines of three of these new wineries, each of the wines tasted blind today in my own tasting room.

Or HaGanuz Winery

Founded in 2005 in the Upper Galilee village of Or HaGanuz, the winery lies about six kilometers north west of Sefad and at the foothills of Mt. Meron. An interesting story behind the founding of the winery as the community is one of highly orthodox Jews, the name of the winery and village taken from the kabbalah – Or HaGanuz meaning Hidden Light and refers to what many considers the first act of creation.

The winery is currently producing 140,000 bottles annually (not a typo!), many of which are intended to bring the American Orthodox crowd into the world of wine. Best for finding where the wines are sold and for further information will be to telephone 04 6990836 or to send an email to . The winery welcomes visitors but I do suggest a phone call in advance and not merely "showing up".

Or HaGanuz, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Shiraz, Safsufa, 2007: A light garnet, medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz (48%, 32% and 20% respectively). Oak-aged for 18 months but surprisingly showing super-soft tannins that go barely noticed, opens to show forward berry, black cherry and cassis fruits. Perhaps a good entry level wine but somewhat one dimensional and fails to excite. Drink now. Score 84. K

Or HaGanuz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meron, 2009: A medium- to full-bodied blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. Labeled as semi-dry but with far too generous sweetness, that overshadowing the red fruits, prunes and raisins that are here. Said to be "in the style of Port" but I could not help but smile in thinking that this might be the modernists answer to Manischewitz. Drink now Score 74. K

Or HaGanuz, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007: Blended with 15% of Merlot, an oak-aged wine showing full-bodied, with soft tannins and opening to reveal wild berry, black cherry and cassis, those supported by notes of white pepper and licorice. Drink now. Score 84. K

Or HaGanuz, Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Har Sinai, 2009: Said on the label to be "in the style of Cahors" but I cannot help but wonder who thought that up as the wines of Cahors are made largely from Malbec and Tannat grapes and can be very tannic and nearly black in color on release. Made from different grapes, medium- perhaps medium- to full-bodied with soft tannins and lacking concentration or intensity the personality of this release reminds more of a young cru Beaujolais wine. On the nose and palate black cherries, wild berries and a hint of Mediterranean herbs. Simple but pleasant. Drink now. Score 84. K

Or HaGanuz, Merlot-Carignan-Petit Verdot, Amuka, 2009: Based on 60% Merlot, 30% Carignan and 10% Petite Verdot, a young, fruity red with soft tannins and an appealing array of blackberry, blueberry and citrus peel, those complemented nicely by notes of milk chocolate and white pepper. Drink now-2013. Score 86. K

Dadah Winery

Founded by Jackie Hazan and Nechemia Katabi after the harvest of 2007, this boutique winery is located on the Makura Ranch on the western slopes of Mount Carmel. The winery currently produces about 12,000 bottles annually, those primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec and Barbera grapes. For further information or to order wines telephone 04 6262112 or send an email to

Dadah, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz, 2007: Garnet towards royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, those oak-aged in French barriques for 14 months. Round and gentle, with red currants and wild berries on the nose and palate, the tannins rising on a spicy finish. Drink now-2012. NIS 130. Score 88.

Dadah, Malbec-Barbera, 2007: Medium-dark garnet in color, a gently tannic bend of 50% each of Malbec and Barbera. Oak-aged for 14 months, showing red and black cherries and wild berries on the nose and palate, those complemented nicely by earthy minerals and spices. Appealing. Drink now-2012. NIS 95. Score 88.

Dadah, Merlot-Shiraz, 2007: Dark garnet, medium-bodied, reflecting its 14 months in French oak with gently caressing tannins and notes of vanilla and showing primarily red fruits with an appealing herbal overlay. Not a complex wine but a very pleasant one. Drink now or in the next year or so. NIS 95. Score 87.

Eyal Winery

Located on Moshav Givat Nili, not far from Zichron Ya'akov and Wadi Ara, this family owned winery was established by Eyal Ochayaon and first releases are from the 2008 vintage. Grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Carignan are from family owned vineyards. Current releases are about 4,000 bottles annually. The wines will be kosher from the 2009 vintage. Best bets for further information or purchases will be by telephone to 057 7744135 or email to

Eyal, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008: Oak-aged in French barriques for 14 months and blended with 15% Merlot. Showing light garnet in color, medium-bodied and with silky soft, almost unfelt tannins. Aromas and flavors of black cherries, wild berries and spices. A pleasant quaffer. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 86.

Eyal, Merlot, 2008: Merlot blended with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and oak-aged for 14 months. Ruby towards garnet, medium-bodied, with soft tannins and generous cherry, berry and cassis fruits that sit comfortably on the palate. Not complex but a good quaffer. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 85.

Nevo Winery

Located on Moshav Mata, not far from Jerusalem, the winery produced 2000 bottles from the 2007 vintage and about twice that from the 2008 vintage.

Nevo, Choshen, 2007: A medium-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (60% and 40% respectively). Aged in 2nd and 3rd year barriques, with chunky, country-style tannins and a good deal of Brett that adds a stinky note, that hiding the black fruits that fail to make themselves felt. Score 70.

Nevo, Merlot, Sapir 2007: Garnet colored, medium-bodied, with soft tannins and notes of spicy wood that run throughout, opens to show a basic berry-black cherry personality. A light medicinal aroma from first attack to the finish. Nothing complex here. Score 74.

Nevo, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007: A pleasant enough country-style wine, medium-bodied, with chunky tannins and notes of cinnamon from the wood. Opens to reveal blackberry and blueberry fruits. An easy to drink entry-level quaffer. Drink now. Score 81.

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