Paul Dubb, the son of a South African Kiddush wine maker from Cape Town has been a kibbutz member for 18 years now. He is of course the Head Wine Maker of Tzuba, nowadays a 50K bottle a year boutique winery in the Jerusalem Hills.
Kibbutz Tzuba has been blessed with great wine growing conditions. It is located 730 meters above sea level and possesses Terra Rossa and Limestone soil. A mere 10 minute drive outside Israel’s capital, The kibbutz has ample agriculture land growing apples , nectarines , pears and yes, a considerable amount of wine grapes.

The story of how this came to be is as following: Domaine Du Castel, one of Israel’s most prestigious wineries in the nearby village of Ramat Raziel needed more grapes to expand production. The owners reached out to the kibbutz 13 years ago asking for them to grow on behalf of Castel. The kibbutz realized that growing wine grapes was significantly more economical than growing any other fruit; they simply require one tenth the amount of water than other fruits grown in the area. These days, the grapes that comes out of the Tzuba vineyards is very much sought after. Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes from Tzuba are sold to various wineries throughout Israel and since we have visited many of those wineries we can attest to the fact that they take great pride in the fact that they are buying their grapes from the grape grower crew of Kibbutz Tzuba.

The winery produces a well-known Cabernet based blend named Metzuda as well as varietals such as a Merlot, 100% Syrah , Cabernet Sauvignon and what we feel may be one of the best Chardonnay produced in Israel. It is a unique, dry, guava aroma Chardonnay which always takes our guests by surprise. Paul is always humble and leaves us to explain that this is a wine that has won medals and awards some as recently as Terra Vino 2012 Gold Metal. I personally participated in the competition as a sommelier and I can attest that the competition in this category was a heavy one.

One more varietal that Tzuba produces and one does not see often in Israel is the Pinot Noir. This is a thin skinned grape that is very difficult to grow in the Israeli sun. Tzuba goes through the trouble of producing it. Very little stays here in Israel and Royal/ Kedem buys pretty much the whole batch. There are North American Jews who are happy to buy a good Kosher Pinot.

 

 

November
25

Amphora Winery
It started as a regular day tour to the Southern Carmel region. A friend and I drove to the Old Bat-Shlomo village where a short walk took us to different shops and art galleries. The first house on the left hosts a very interesting art gallery combined with a small coffee shop. We stopped again at the third house where we taste different homemade cheeses and different kind of olives. Another ten minuet stroll in the village and we are back in the car on the way to the Druze village Dalyat el Carmel.  Claiming the mountain on the curved road we stopped again at one of the many family owned food stand on the side of the road for an original Druze pita with Labane (soft goat cheese) and herb tea.  Dalyat-El Carmel is always colorful and interesting. The Druze people are great hosts, especially on Saturdays, when many Israelis and tourists chose to make their shopping and dining at the village.  After walking for some time around the bountiful shops we had back to the car and drive out of Dalyat- El Carmel  towered Haifa.
At this time I know where I want to go! I have not been to Amphora winery yet  but heard great things about it . I turned left to rout 721 (“BEIT OREN”) which is considered one of the most beautiful routes in Israel. This is a curvy down hill road from Carmel Mountain toward the coastline. When reached the bottom (rt. 4) we made left towered CAREM-MAHARAL where Amphora winery is located.  The winery is located at this current location since 2005. The building was designed by Diego Grasso, Italian architect who has also designed several wineries in northern Italy. Grasso used the local stone and created a unique building with a European look.  Entering through the double wooden door we found ourselves in a big tasting room with a long bar.  A lovely woman with a Russian accent (the only bartender at the winery at that time) greeted us and offered a wine tasting for 30 Shekels. As an Israeli I replied and asked “How many wines we get to taste for this price?” When we heard that we taste 5 different wines we could not resist the offer.
We started with a chilled Viognier that left such a good impression on me that I bought some to take home! Fruity and Silky like a Viognier should be! Next we tested the Organic Rosé and the regular Rosé which was better than the organic.  A bottle of the Rosé was also accompanied me  home . Amphora has 3 lines of red wine: the basic Med-Red, Rhyton and Amphora which is the premium line of wines. We tasted the basic line which contains the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah all were ready to drink but after tasting 70 other wines that particular week I decided to wait and report after tasting the higher quality wines Amphora has to offer (I hope this opportunity will present itself soon!)

It started as a regular day tour to the Southern Carmel region. A friend and I drove to the Old Bat-Shlomo village where a short walk took us to different shops and art galleries. The first house on the left hosts a very interesting art gallery combined with a small coffee shop. We stopped again at the third house where we taste different homemade cheeses and different kind of olives. Another ten minuet stroll in the village and we are back in the car on the way to the Druze village Dalyat el Carmel.  Claiming the mountain on the curved road we stopped again at one of the many family owned food stand on the side of the road for an original Druze pita with Labane (soft goat cheese) and herb tea.  Dalyat-El Carmel is always colorful and interesting. The Druze people are great hosts, especially on Saturdays, when many Israelis and tourists chose to make their shopping and dining at the village.  After walking for some time around the bountiful shops we had back to the car and drive out of Dalyat- El Carmel  towered Haifa.

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