A Wine Lover’s Monthly Review Of Upscale Wine – An Israeli Shiraz-Merlot Blend

When I started this column $50 was my minimum for upscale wines. But when I went looking recently I just couldn’t find any Kosher ones in that range so I compromised my principles and purchased this one for $38. In the interest of full disclosure it is sold on the Internet for as little as $25. The Shiloh Winery was established in 2005 in northern Israel overlooking the Shiloh River and the Judean Hills. The desert here offers warm days and cold nights at about 800 meters (half a mile) above sea level. Check out their lovely web site. Today’s companion wine is a South African Merlot at less than half the price. It too is Kosher.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Shiloh Shor Shiraz Merlot Kosher For Passover 2007 15.3 % alcohol $38.

There were no marketing materials so we quote the back label “Shiloh wines are produced in an ancient region, located in the heart of the land of Israel, where vineyards stood thousands of years ago as they do today. This unique blend was produced with 65% Shiraz and 35% Merlot grapes, harvested by hand from our most selected vineyards. Before fermentation, the wine was macerated with the grape skins at cold temperature. Then it was aged in American oak barrels for a 15-month period. It has shiny dark purple color with tremendous clarity. This wine is characterized by black fruit, plums and raspberry aromas, with notes of cloves and cumin, and a moderate strength. The palate echoes red and black fruit scents, as well as raspberry and cassis. Its acidity is balanced and delectable, while maintaining a wealth of tannins. The wine finishes in a roasted wood, caramel and mocha tapestry. Excellent for accompanying meats and well seasoned dishes. Aging for a few years will further enhance its quality.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was powerful, round, and balanced. Japanese Wasabi rice crackers brought out the taste of dark plums and excellent acidity. The initial meal centered on cheeseless beef lasagna that was made with salsa and some spinach noodles that rendered the contents of my glass very long with dark cherries. The side dish of kale with mushrooms sharpened the libation’s acidity and gave it lots of fruit. Fresh strawberries made our Israeli friend taste burnt.

My next meal started with a homemade vegetable soup. In response Red offered round tannins. It was long and balanced with nice fruit and oak. The main dish of sauteed homemade chicken beast nuggets somewhat muted this blend. I got chocolate and too much sweetness. The side dish of zucchinis and mushrooms augmented this drink’s acidity as the chocolate remained. Fresh blueberries made the libation taste rather stale.

The third meal kicked off with potato knishes that rendered our Merlot-Shiraz long, powerful, and multilayered with some tobacco. The main dish was a beef chili made with spicy salsa. Now the liquid’s chocolate came to the fore accompanied by fine acidity and tannins. When paired with zesty guacamole the wine was still long but it was cut off. Fresh raspberries rendered the acidity in my glass too harsh and the fruit was gone.

Final verdict. At the price that I have to pay I definitely have not intention of buying this wine again. If you want Kosher and moderately upscale wine and can get it for $25 this is a good option. But you must watch your pairings.

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