My husband Steve and I have been long-time fans of Israeli wines. One of the biggest treats for us is to introduce our friends and relatives to new wines. Needless to say, we unfortunately haven’t been able to do so as much over the past few months. Many years ago, we had a guest bring a bottle of Segal wine for Shabbat. Since that Shabbat, Segal wines have regularly been gracing our table as far back as me and my husband can remember. They are delicious, rich, and provide good value for money. Segal has a long history, and I decided it was time to share about their lovely wines in writing.
Segal Winery’s story began as far back as 1781. It is almost 230 years old, making it one of the oldest wineries in Israel! Yet their winemaker is Ido Lewinsohn, a young yet extremely knowledgeable and experienced man. He recently graduated from the Institute of Masters of Wine, with the wine world’s most coveted academic degree. There are only 409 Masters of Wine! But let’s get back to the wines Mr. Lewinsohn and his team craft for us winos. What’s amazing is that despite the prestige of his diploma, Ido also makes a number of wines that are quite affordable, with several options priced between $15-25. The most popular Segal wine sold in the stores we shop at is the Segal Fusion Red, a blend of several grapes. There is also a White Fusion. We have been drinking these wines for years, as they are consistently such good value. We were not surprised that the red was recently rated 90 points by the prestigious Wine Enthusiast magazine.
I had the chance to speak with a winery executive to get some more information about the wines we love. She shared with me that their philosophy is to add as little as they can to the wines to showcase a product as natural as it gets. This is certainly an interesting point I never really considered with my wines. We have splurged on the Segal Unfiltered (their flagship wine) for special occasions. The Unfiltered, as its name implies, is completely unfiltered. I learned that they also do a free run wine, which is when they only use the grape juice’s unpressed portion. Segal has also recently come out with a new line called Wild Fermentation. They do not add any cultivated yeasts to the wine and instead only use the yeast naturally found in the vineyard. We have really enjoyed the Wild Fermentation Chardonnay on our porch on Shabbat afternoon this past summer.
Last but not least, their most exciting new wines for me are the new Whole Cluster Pinot Noir and Syrah. Whole cluster wines making is when the stems are left on, and the grapes are not crushed before fermentation. Instead, they ferment the whole clusters! So delicious and unique!
Segal winery is undoubtedly one of the most authentic Israeli wineries, embodying, in my view, the local spirit of innovation. I really appreciate and respect their minimalistic approach. The wines are easy to drink, and the labels are clear from a consumer’s perspective. They are also working on new wines made from indigenous grapes used in ancient Israel; one is a white wine called Marawi. Steve and I are really looking forward to tasting it soon! Segal’s portfolio has many wines for all budgets, and I really recommend you check them out. Cheers!
By Sharon Spielman