Cremisan Wine Estate is named after the hill that it was built on in 1885 in a place with a very long history of viticulture and winemaking. But it isn't somewhere you would think of as "wine country". Cremisan is in Palestine's West Bank and just northwest of Bethlehem. The Salesians of Don Bosco, a Roman Catholic congregation, has managed the winery since 1891. So what we have here is a Catholic wine from a Muslim state in a Jewish country, being reviewed by an atheist. Isn't that beautiful?
Cremisan's winemaker is Italian oenologist Riccardo Cotarella. The winery is part of the VIS (International Voluntary Group of Development), whose goal is to provide educational programs for troubled and homeless youth to help them obtain a craft and profession. VIS is mostly in Italy and "the southern hemisphere" but they've been involved with Palestine for over 20 years. They invest in Cremisan, and the profits for the wine go to supporting a school run by the Salesians.
All of the wine is organic and from the native grapes of the region. The winemaking is done in the convent under careful watch and direction of the Salesian Brothers. I'm be reviewing three of them: Hamdani Jandali 2012, Dabouki 2012 and Baladi 2011. The wine was provided by Terra Sancta Trading Company of Florida. They import beer, wine and spirits from the Holy Land "and beyond".
This is a white wine made entirely from the Dabouki grape, which is native to Armenia. It's fermented in stainless steel and sees no oak aging. The color of the wine is yellow with a slight greenish tint.
The nose has a tropical theme going for it. I get pineapple, banana and acacia flowers. But there was this one smell that I just couldn't pin down and it took me awhile to figure out what it was. Don't you hate that? When you know that you know what that smell is but you can't put your finger on it? Well, this was honey glazed ham. And not in a bad way, if you can believe that.
|PICTURED: STONER HEAVEN|
In the mouth it's medium bodied and so very silky and smooth. There's flavors of yellow apple, pears and fresh oregano. So it's got that mellow fruit profile on the palate rather than the ones that pack a punch.
Honestly, I think the Hamdai Jandali is better (I gave it a 4.5/5 so that's tough to beat) but this is still a highly enjoyable white from Cremisan.
The problem I have with it is that it will cost you about $20 and I don't know if that's really where it should be. Even so, if I ended up dropping $20 on it I wouldn't necessarily feel like I wasted my money. So I gave it a 3 out of 5 for Satisfying as a price vs quality rating.