AG Pick: Galil Mountain Viognier 2008

Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah or are looking for a new and exciting wine, look to the oldest New World winemaking country — Israel.

A great introduction is the 2008 Viognier from Galil Mountain Winery.  It is a flavorful dry white wine that will appeal to a variety of tastes, not just to those who keep Kosher.

Though winemaking there dates back to biblical times, Israel is still considered a New World wine country.  It really wasn’t until the 1990s that their wines got recognition around the world.  Today you’ll find Israeli wines at top restaurants and at your local wine shop.

Founded in 2000, Galil Mountain Winery is located in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel.  At over 3,280 feet above sea level, the vineyards are situated on one of Israel’s highest mountain ranges.

The 2008 Galil Mountain Viognier is a rich, medium-bodied white wine with added complexity from time in oak.  Forty percent of the wine was fermented in new French oak barrels and aged on yeast lees for six months.  The remaining 60% that underwent cold fermentation in stainless steel preserves the wine’s bright fruit characteristics.

Pale gold in color, the Viognier is very aromatic with notes of tart citrus and tropical fruit.  On the palate are flavors of pineapple, lemon, apricot and white peach, with a touch of vanilla from the oak.  The wine is silky in the mouth with a lingering finish that has a hint of lemon peel.  It is high in alcohol for a white wine; you may notice some warmth at the end of your first few sips.

The Galil Mountain Viognier pairs well with flavorful chicken and seafood dishes or spicy Asian cuisine.  And just in time for Hanukkah, it’s a great match for potato latkes!

A bottle of the Galil Mountain Winery Viognier 2008 costs $15.

15% alcohol by volume