I recently had the opportunity to re-taste the Segal, Rechasim, Dishon, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Dishon Vineyard, 18 months in a mix of French, American and Central European (I asked but Feldstein would not disclose the exact origin) oak barrels, still rather dark and concentrated in color but starting to show some age. On the nose and palate, black fruit, cherries, cedar wood and dark chocolate followed by notes of leather and black pepper all leading to a long finish. Enjoyable on its own but also good with food; try pairing with a grilled sirloin steak or a rich red meat holiday casserole. Drinking windows are always tricky but if you still have a case in your cellar, I would drink sooner (over the next couple of years) rather than later.
By Yonatan Sternberg
The Segal Winery started off as a family distillery, founded in White Russia by Yaakov Hirsch-Segal in 1787. In 1925 the family established another distillery in the holy land and over time began producing wine as well. The first vinos from the Segal family were coined ‘Ashkelon Wines’ after the place of the vineyards. Since, the winery has relocated to Kibbutz Hulda and draws grapes from vineyards situated in the Ayalon Valley, the country’s central plane and the Upper Galilee.
It is hard to call Segal a boutique winery, considering that production levels place Segal within the top 10 producers, winemaker Avi Feldstein manages to produce good wines and good value for money wines at all price levels leaving a personal touch on many of them. The Segal Unfiltered Cab, the winery’s flagship vino, is considered among the best Cabernet Sauvignon’s in the country and the winery’s Rechasim and Marom Galil labels include some very enjoyable wines.
Segal's Rechasim label consists of three single vineyard varietal red wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and one of the only varietal Argaman based wines in Israel. For years, Argaman, a hybrid between the Caringan and Souzao grape varieties, has been considered a low-grade grape variety, used for blending, the addition of color to "pale" wines and for the production of sacramental wines.
Winemaker Avi Feldstein has proven everybody wrong producing a very enjoyable and interesting wine. Everybody who has met and spoken with Feldstein knows that he is a non-conformist and one of the more colorful characters in the Israeli wine sector. To get a sense of his unique style, if you have the chance (and can read Hebrew), check out some of the wine labels that Feldstein has written for his vinos.