Wine writer and critic, Gabriel Geller has been active in the wine industry for the past 13 years. Gabriel works for Royal Wine Corp., the world’s leading importer, producer and distributor of kosher wine and spirits.
Gabriel shared with us his thoughts on the latest wine trends and a few surprising facts about Israeli wines.
What first inspired you to work in the wine industry?
Initial passion for wine since when I first worked in the wine business as a summer job while I was in high school. It led to the start of a consulting gig when I was in college.
What trends have you noticed in the world of wine over the past few years?
It depends where. In Israel, people have finally starting to understand about 5 years ago that such a hot climate was more suited for white wines. We see every year an increase in both diversity and quality with Israeli white wines. A more global trend which everybody has been talking about is rosé wines. Take for example the Ramon Cardova Rioja Rosado from Spain. Refreshing, pleasant to look at and to drink. What’s not to like?
You’ve worked extensively with wines from Israel, what surprising facts can you share about Israeli wines?
Israel is a tiny country, approximately the size of New Jersey. Yet, there are so many micro climates which allow wineries located less than an hour apart one from the other to produce wines in a vastly different style. Take for instance Matar winery in the Golan Heights, they make a terrific Australian style Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend. Not so far away near Jerusalem, Castel produces a Burgundy-style Chardonnay that is awarded 90+ nearly every vintage by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
How would you compare the wine industry in Israel to that of other regions?
It has a very unique history. Wine was produced in Israel 3,000 years ago and was considered the world’s finest in the times of the Roman Empire. After a very long hiatus, Israel’s wine industry was reborn in the 19th century, followed by a quality revolution which took place only a century later, when Carmel Winery released the first quality Israeli wine of the modern era, in 1977. Israel is an old-new wine region.
What wine would you take to a dinner party and why?
It really depends on the party, the participants, as well as my own mood. I would consider the Elvi In Vita as a great, refreshing, complex and yet inexpensive white wine. An aged bottle of Château Giscours would be ideal for the main course. For dessert, it does not get more fun and delicious than the Herzog Late Harvest Chenin Blanc.
What’s your favorite meal and what wine would you pair with it?
The 8-course tasting menu at my favorite restaurant. We went there on my birthday and brought a bottle of Champagne Drappier Carte d’Or which was simply perfect with each and every course.
You can find out more about the Royal Wine Corp. here.
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