Agur, Kessem, 2008 is a dry red blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (20%), Petit Verdot (10%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) all from vineyards in the Judean Hills. Starting to show age but still very enjoyable, medium bodied, the wine opens with notes of purple flowers, green pepper and herbs alongside red berry fruits and plums leading to a medium-long finish. Not a ‘big wine’ but rather an easy drinking and very pleasant wine that pairs well with food (I served it alongside pasta topped with meat ragu and kebabs on the grill), probably also a factor of the low alcohol content, which is set at 13.5%, a figure seen in few Israeli red’s.
By Yonatan Sternberg
The Judean Hills and particularly the area of the Ella Valley is scattered with small Moshavim and Kibbutzim, many of which are home to wineries, cozy restaurants, cafes and even zimers that can be used as convenient ‘base camps’ for daily winery excursions . On your next visit to Israel, I would highly recommend renting a car and heading out for a winery tour. It is important to keep in mind, that most of the kosher wineries are closed on the Sabbath and as some of the smaller wineries do not have regular visiting hours, it is advised to call or send an email in advance to pre arrange a visit.
The Agur winery (kosher since 2007) is situated on a Moshav baring the same name and was established in 2000 by Shuki Yeshuv. Drawing grapes from several vineyards in the Judean Hills, over the years production levels have increased, and what started off as a tiny garage winery with 1,800 bottles annually, is today a stable boutique winery with current production levels set at some 30,000 per annum. The wines are released in four labels: Blanca – white wine, Rosa –rose, Kessem (Hebrew for Magic) – red blend and Agur’s flagship vino: Special Reserve (aka shmira meyuchedet), – red blend