Summer Wine

20 Aug

Recently, an old uni friend who was visiting Israel came to stay with us in Pardes Chana for a couple of days, finally giving me the opportunity to get out and explore our ‘new’ area during the daytime a little bit, and not just on a busy Friday when my patience levels run now. We enjoyed a lovely morning stroll around Zichron Ya’akov, the first yishuv in Israel which was named for Baron Edmund de Rothschild’s father. We indulged in brunch at a lovely cafe where pictures of ‘Zichron in the 1950’s’ peppered the walls, we popped into a paper mill and a tiny shop selling beautiful Israeli pottery, tasted a variety of olive oils & jams at ‘Auntie Berta’s and visited the Nili museum (Bet Aaronsohn) i.e. the house where the infamous Aaronsohn siblings lived.

(Zichron pedestrian mall)

To escape the midday heat, our stroll around Zichron was followed by a trip to the gorgeous Tishbi Winery, based at the foot of the Carmel mountain ridge.

Tishbi was also once owned by Baron de Rothschild, who awarded the land to a Jewish family, the Chamiletzkis, who had settled in the region. The poet Chaim Nachman Bialik visited the developing winery and blessed the family with a new name (as poets often do?!) – ‘Tishbi’, an abbreviation for ‘Toshav b’Shefaya b’Yisrael’ meaning ‘A Resident of Shefaya in Israel’, inextricably tying them to their new profession and their homeland.  Jonathan Tishbi, a grandson of Michael Chamiletzki, now runs the winery and oversees the production of a million bottles a year.

After a tour of the winery where we learned all about Tishbi’s vineyards and wine-making, we were rewarded with a tasting session (best!), sampling wines from the Tishbi Special Reserve and Tishbi Estate. Exotic chocolate squares, flavoured to match the Tishbi wine tannins, completed my ‘heavenly’ quota for the day. Despite almost falling off our stools after one too many gulps of a particularly heavy Cabernet Sauvignon, it was a fantastic way to spend a glorious summer afternoon and a day off work.

I arrived home with two glistening bottles of French Riesling 2009 in hand, and a woozy mid-afternoon hangover brought on by the happy combination of flowing wine, a baking Israeli sun, good food, and plentiful fun with an old, good friend. If you’re ever in the region, be sure to visit this lovely, historic winery where you can fill your empty bottles full of wine or olive oil (at a third of the retail price!) at their Filling Stations, and if you can, find a staffer there named Hilla. My friend, in his semi-woozy state, totally failed to get her number…

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Please leave a reply! Thanks - Dannii x

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