Three Delicious Red Wines from Benhaim Family Winery - Israel


...nature’s quintessential beverage is the fruit of the vine” 
Rabbi Tzvi Rossen, The Art of Kosher Winemaking

I never planned on becoming enamored of wines of Israel. It just happened. 

Many thanks to Benhaim Family Winery for opening my eyes to their tradition of excellence.

Benhaim is a boutique winery dedicated to the family’s tradition of making high-quality hand-crafted wines going back six generations to 1932. All estate vineyards are situated in the Upper Galilee. Production is at 35,000 bottles.
Founders: Ruth and Elie Benhaim

In 1970 Ruth and Elie Benhaim founded their eponymous family winery, making and selling wine at their house in Ramat Gan, and after 27 harvests opened a boutique winery in Kfar Azar. A decade later the winery moved to a large, new building in Ramat Hasharon – where it continues to operate today.
Chief Winemaker: Itay Benhaim

Itay Ben-Haim is Benhaim’s chief winemaker and a sixth generation vintner who draws inspiration from his family history, where wine culture and the traditional art of coopering has been carefully handed down from generation to generation for over 135 years. He was an active participant in wine production from his early childhood, all the while acquiring practical knowledge and experience, following the family tradition. I've also read that he plays piano quite well. And he built his own motorcycle.

BenHaim Family Winery
6 Hasaraf st., Ramat Hasharon
TEL: 972-3-5346748

Benhaim Faimly Winery website.
Instagram - I'm following and enjoying all the fun photos.

Winery Hours
Sunday – Thursday: From 10am Till 5pm
Friday & Holiday Eevenings: From 10am until one hour before Shabat/Holiday
The winery is closed on Saturday/Holiday!

Tasting Notes

1. Benhaim Family Winery Grande Reserve 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Looking for a delicious, food friendly Cabernet Sauvignon? Look no further.
Strongly Recommended.

Color: Medium ruby.
Nose: Medium minus intensity. Minerality, light soil, sour cherry.
Palate: Fine tannin, medium body, dry, juicy, fluid cherry, earthy, coffee grounds, graphite, medium finish. Like.

At 30 minutes: Soft and savory nose, medium minus intensity, minerality, white pepper, earthy cherry, orange pith. Tasty dried cherry, dark cola, soil, light tar, smooth, polished, dried herbs, pleasantly dry, juicy, focused to middle, tingle in back, medium-minus body, medium finish. Enjoyable sipper, not heavy, ready for food.

At one hour: Chocolaty, spicy, cherry, aromatic, focused nose. Dry, medium body, soft, juicy, cherry, blueberry, fine tannin roof of mouth, juicy berries on medium finish. Quite nice.

Decanted One hour: Dried herbs on nose, lovers body, pleasantly perfumed, bramble, very cool. Brambly fruit on the palate, intensity up a notch, focused, deep blackberry more than cherry, cola, tar, fine tannin on gums and tongue, nice dark, dried fruit leather, leaning into savory tar on medium plus finish. Big like!

At two hours: Even better.

At four hours: Rich and savory, plum, spice, black cherry, blackberry, bitter herbs, baked bell pepper and chocolate, juicy finish. Brambly character, with bitter notes made for an interesting and tasty wine. Perfect for savory meats and cheese. Or just drink.

Day two: Rich and savory. Meaty, bright mid-palate, cherry cordial, sarsaparilla, dried blueberry, bitter chocolate with touch of orange into the medium finish. Perfect for savory dishes and heavier foods.

Day three: No rough edges. Smooth, focused and shiny, wine had earthy, dried cherries with dry herbs and tarragon, made a good match with cheese, olives, pickles and sun dried tomatoes. My speed. 

Exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon out of the decanter.

Thoughts: Oh my, you have to add this wine to your must drink list. An approachable food wine at open, it only got better the longer it was open. If you drink today, please decant an hour. If you are looking for a wine to enjoy one glass a night, over several evenings, this is the wine you want. Also suitable for cellar for the next ten years. Though I'd drink within five. Thoroughly enjoyed this bottle. Enjoy with food, family, and friends. I'm in!
Strongly Recommended.

Country: Israel
Region: Upper Galilee, Mount Meron
Blend: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Sirah
Aged 23 months in oak
Bottled July 2014
Closure: Agglomerated Cork
ABV: 14.4%
Sample provided by winery


2. Benhaim Family Winery Reserve 2012 Merlot

At the seven hour window, from the bottle, it was balanced and had such a lovely floral nose. Recommended.

Color: Medium ruby.
Nose: Delicate, smoky cherry, cardamom.
Palate: Medium minus body, dry, grippy tannin roof of mouth, bright cherry, with cola on the crisp, dry, medium finish. Acid and tannin stoodout.

At 30 minutes: Bright, tart cherry, cranberry, cola, light spice, hint of earthiness, hint of chocolate, tingle tip of tongue, medium finish. Enjoyable, acid driven wine at this point, suitable for food or toasting.

At one hour: Soft and round, floral quality on the nose. Bitter, earthy, savory, cherry, cola, oak, textured mouth-feel, medium finish. Did not show well at this point. Better when decanted.

Decanted one hour: Round, modest sour cherry, cola, pleasant felty tannin across the full tongue, glimpse of orange peel, dry, fresh quality, some minerality pulled the wine together. Showed well.

At 7 hours: Pretty nose, floral with rose petals and orange blossoms. Balanced, dried cherries with rose and orange, dirty earth on bright finish. Well done. Lovely. 

Day two: Chalky, cherry, orange peel, cola, fresh and dry, medium intensity with a tasty finish. Appealing for drinking or food. Like.

Day 4: Very smooth and fluid. Wish I'd had more left to savor.

Lovely Merlot, especially after seven hours.

Thoughts: Decant before drinking and enjoy over the next few days. At open this wine is suitable for acid driven foods, something I'm grooving on these days. Showed well decanted one hour, showed best at the seven hour window from the bottle - it was balanced and had such a lovely floral nose. I would drink this wine now and over next five years.

Country: Israel
Region: Upper Galilee, Mount Meron
Blend: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
Aged 20 months in oak
Closure: Aglomerated Cork
ABV: 13.5%
Sample provided by winery


3. Benhaim Family Winery Reserve 2012 Cabernet Franc

Enjoyed this bottle over 7 days! Now I want to go visit this winery.
Strongly Recommended.

Color: Medium ruby.
Nose: Cherry, tobacco, rose petal, pencil shavings.
Palate: Medium body, medium plus acid, dry, tart cherry, chocolate, tobacco, orange rind, medium minus finish. Enjoyable at open, touch of heat.

At 30 minutes: Pretty nose, medium plus intensity, soft, smoky cherry, perfume, nutty note. Dry, fine tannin on gums, heat on tongue, medium body, cherry, orange rind, tobacco, nutty and herbaceous notes into the medium finish.

At one hour: Similar to notes at 30 minutes. A little sour, soft cherry, dry, chalky, orange rind, pine needles, bright mid-palate, savory finish. Wants food.

Decanted one hour: Fluid, savory fruit, focused to middle, integrated, balanced, chocolate, sour cherry, hint of orange, medium finish. More my speed at this point, wants food.

Day three: Lovely, lovely wine, my speed. Balanced across the palate, mouth filling, deep blackberry cordial, dry earthy quality, touch of tartness, textured, dried tart cherry on a medium finish.

Day 7: Showed well, smooth, fluid, with depth. Lovely with rib-eye steak and salad with sun dried tomatoes. More please.

Benhaim Cabernet Franc with steak, caramelized onions and tomato. Yum!

Thoughts: By anyone's definition, this is a stellar Cabernet Franc. Strong cellar candidate. Showed better over time. If you drink now, decant or open and drink over the week. Drink now through 2027. Would enjoy sampling some older vintages. Now I want to go visit this winery.
Strongly Recommended.

Country: Israel
Region: Upper Galilee, Mount Meron
Blend: 85% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 1% Petite Sirah
Aged 20 months in oak
Closure: Aglomerated Cork
ABV: 13.5%
Sample provided by winery

Can you find the 13.5% listed on the back label?

Note: Looking at the back label of the Cabernet Franc, there appears to be a great deal of information. Which I cannot read. It was my son who pointed out the ABV was clearly listed at 13.5%. I could not find it.

Kosher Certification

Since 2001, Benhaim wines have been certified kosher by the Upper Galilee Regional Chief Rabbinate, the Ramat Hasharon Rabbinate, the international kashruth supervising organization “OK”, Rabbi Dov Landau and Badatz Beit Yosef. The wines are not mevushal (pasteurized).

Learn about Kosher winemaking, "The Art of Kosher Winemaking" by Rabbi Tzvi Rosen.


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