It is no industry secret that most of our guests are North American Jews visiting Israel.  Last week, we were touring with a Brazilian Judge and her husband, a Public Prosecutor. When we started emailing, the lady mentioned she is a big fan of white wines and has spent time wine touring in several great regions in France.

We figured since the 15′ wines of Sphera have sold out a while ago and the launch event of the new vintage is scheduled for May at the winery, this would be a terrific opportunity to taste some of the wine ahead of the public.

Sphera’s core market is the Tel Aviv restaurants. In fact, 80% of their wine is sold there. The abundance of top level establishments in Tel Aviv which serve small plates, or dishes with an Asian flair that would benefit from a well-crafted, crisp and minerally Israeli white wine next to them, puts Sphera in the big leagues of Israeli boutique white wine.

Sphera Winery Novemver 16′

Markerting wise Sphera is also hitting it straight on the nail. Sima Rav Hon, Doron’s wife deserves a lot of credit here. The winery is now a part of the Judean Hills Quartet along with Tzora, Domain Du Castel and Flam. Smart decision for all sides involved. The winery itself is pristine white and has rotating art work presented along with recreating their image for a Sphere year after year. Their newest edition will be presented at the May launch event they are holding.

I will be the first to admit [even when the wine maker is listening] that I am not a big fan of Chardonnay.  The varietal 2016 Chardonnay that Doron Rav Hon created for the White Concept Series took me by surprise.  60% fermented in stainless steel and the wine was crisp, fruity and not oaky at all.  I liked the Riesling a lot as well and what stood out the most I think, was how different the First Page [blend] was from previous years.  Doron mentioned that he needed the Riesling for the Varietal batch and in the First Page that meant that the Semilon would have a bit more presence.  The result was a nice complexity and some anise flavors as well.  It is a fantastic winery and a must if one is a fan of white wines.

Tours and tastings at Sphera Winery can be offered as a part of our Judean Hills Wine Tour. Availabilty pending schedule approval of the winery.

 

I have known Doron Rav Hon for a long time, and he is one of the most respected Winemakers in Israel. After studying in Burgundy, Doron was chosen to be the Head Winemaker at Ella Valley Vineyards and he stayed there from 2002 until 2011. Two years ago, He was finally able to follow his dream of opening his own winery, the name which was chosen for it is Sphera Winery White Concepts and the idea was to open a small but highly proficient winery which will revolve around white wines only.

Wine Tasting at Sphera Winery – Judean Hills Wine Tour

After getting to know quite a few winemakers in Israel and spending time with a lot of them, I can tell you that what matters most to them is not necessarily to “go on their own” but actually going back to basics. In large kosher wineries the winemaker is more of a consultant who cannot really touch or handle the wine he or she is making. In a smaller operation such as Sphera, a Winemaker such as Doron has the opportunity to once again, be the wine maker that he is and to handle the wine making task himself.

So why write about Sphera now? That is because of a recent surprise visit we paid to Doron as a part of our Judean Hills wine tour. We were fortunate enough to end up at his winery and taste some of the amazing white wine he has been working on. Sphera is located in kibbutz Gat which is just a few Kilometers south of the Judean Hills. The winery shares the same roof with Laterrapromessa winery, which is known for the great restaurant it houses (yet another wonderful reason to visit). The winery was especially designed for white wine production with special high capacity cooling tanks, Heavy duty large press machine and special barrels for white wine

During the visit, we tasted the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and First Page (a blend of Semillon, Pinot Gris and Riesling) all from the White Concepts series and all from 2012 vintage. The overall perception at the end of the tasting was that Doron produces excellent, balanced and harmonious wines that are tasty and refreshing especially in the hot summer days of Israel.