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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Wine Review: Julia Samara 2016

This is the first of three wines that I'll be reviewing from western Galilee, Israel, in this quick review run for Terra Sancta. We're starting off with the 2016 Julia Samara blend, then moving on to the 2016 Julia Cabernet Sauvignon, and finishing with the 2014 Askar Shafaya

The Julia winery was founded in 2012 by the Arraf family in a western Galilee village called Mii’lya, which is on the edge of Wadi El Qurain national park and the Montfort Castle. The vineyards are on Terra Rossa soil and are hand harvested by family and friends only. Their goal is to develop and increase the awareness of wine making as a traditional industry in the Galilee region.

Named after the area where the vines for this single-vineyard selection are grown, "Samara" is 63% Syrah, 32% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's from a hilly stone and rock covered slope, surrounded by olive and oak groves, on land that has been growing grape vines for wine since the early days of vinification. The wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for 12 months.

There's something about Israeli wine that gets me excited. Maybe it's the thousands of years of winemaking history? So let's stop wasting time and jump right in!

The color of the wine is a deep purple. On the nose, oh my goodness, the chocolate! THE CHOCOLATE! There's also plums, raisins, rose petals, black table pepper, and pencil shavings. This wine has an fantastic nose. In fact, SPOILER ALERT, it has a fantastic everything! It's medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel, soft tannin, and perfectly balanced acidity. There's flavors of plums, black cherries, root beer, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Then it finishes with plums and chocolate and some heat from the alcohol.

For $24 this is absolutely killer. KILLER. Mark it up! Perfect score!

Price: $24
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge by 
Terra Sancta for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

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  1. Something about Israeli wine gets you excited? How so? Would you have said the same of South African wine during the apartheid era? (Admittedly much of that wasn't very good, but the problem was systemic discrimination and racism, not the quality of the wine. Few people with moral sensibilities would be excited about that. The same story applies to Israel and its wine, as amply documented by several international organizations, including Amnesty International). What's funny about this scenario is that Julia is proudly a Palestinian wine, as George Arraf will tell you directly, that succeeds despite Israeli discrimination. It's good stuff, regardless.

  2. I'm excited about Israeli wine "Anonymous" and it has nothing to do with you trying to foist your political views onto everything. It only has to do with whether the wine is good or not. If the Palestinians or South Africans (and I've tasted some amazing South African wine -- not so much in the past several years) as well as wines from just about everywhere make a good wine, we should applaud them without bringing in politics which the common man can do nothing about anyway! Thanks for the review Winestalker!



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