An Israeli Merlot Blend

Can we get a fine Israeli Merlot at this price? ...

Ben Ami Israeli Merlot

Ben Ami Israeli Merlot

This Israeli Merlot actually has a fair amount of Cabernet Sauvignon in it. More about that later. It’s Kosher and Mevushal, which means it was flash pasteurized, a procedure that doesn’t seem to affect the taste as per the original intentions. The head of the winery died in 2012 at the age of 88. He came from a family that had been distillers in Eastern Europe going back to the mid-Eighteenth Century. The company possesses Israel’s largest vineyard and their holdings are over a square kilometer. Our companion wine is a mass-market Australian Merlot that doesn’t claim any Cabernet Sauvignon and runs for a few dollars less on the Internet.

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Wine Reviewed
Ben Ami Merlot Kosher 2011, 13 % alcohol about $12.

In the absence of marketing materials let’s start by quoting the back label. “The grapes for this wine were grown in the Galilee region. The wine is a blend of 85% Merlot grapes that feature a fresh fruit floral character and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which give the wine firmness and structure. The wine will improve over the next two to three years.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine presented good acidity, not much fruit, and a tinge of oak. A potato knish (potatoes and onions in puff pastry) stepped up the liquid’s acidity and I sensed some tobacco. The initial meal centered on a no cheese lasagna made with spinach noodles, spicy salsa, ground beef, peas, and sliced green olives. In response the libation was too sweet; it was somewhat thin with a touch of chocolate. fairly long, presenting light acidity, plums, and black cherries. Fresh strawberries for dessert made the fermented grape juice taste burnt. It was unidimensional.

The next meal kicked off with pea soup containing barley and beans. Now our Israeli friend was thin and acidic, but it was long. The main dish consisted of homemade sautéed chicken breast nuggets. In response Red offered some oak and steel; it was fairly refreshing. The side dish of green beans cooked in coconut oil sharpened the drink’s acidity and balanced its tannins. Today’s dessert was fresh blueberries that had the effect of rendering my glass’s contents harsh. Actually the wine tasted spoiled.

My final meal began with Japanese rice crackers that made the Merlot long with some eucalyptus and refreshing acidity. Then came the rigatoni noodles (some spinach and some not) in a tomato and meat sauce. Now the drink sweetened a bit but it was not unpleasant. For dessert I enjoyed fresh blackberries that made the wine taste spoiled once more but there were dark cherries lurking somewhere.

Final verdict. I won’t be buying this wine again. But I bought its Chardonnay cousin that I will be tasting next.

Access the companion wine A Wine Lover's Weekly Review Of $10 Wines - A Popular Australian Merlot

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include    and

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel

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