The strains used to create this wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The wine is set to mature in French oak barrels for approximately 12 months, followed by approx. 4 months in concrete tanks, prior to bottling.
The Petit Castel is a full-bodied wine, bearing a hint of tannin and a harmonic fruity-oak balance, with a deep royal purple color. The wine is at its peak about 3-5 years from harvest and decanting is recommended before serving.
The archeological evidence found in nearly every corner of the land leaves no room for doubt – grapes grew on these grounds and wine was made here. Even historical sources reveal that the Judean region was recognized as wine country from the dawn of our known days (“Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise;”, Genesis 49).
From the very beginning, to this day, we continue to plant our vineyards, cultivate our grounds, and study the unique terroir with a vision of quality as our guide. All our vineyards are located in the Judean Hills, by our winery, at an average height of approximately 750 meters above sea level.
In the mid 1990’s we partnered with Tzuba, a kibbutz located near our original winery in Ramat Raziel, to plant approximately 200 acres of quality vineyards, which are tended to by the kibbutz members, in accordance with our specified protocol. In 2010, we came to the realization that we should also be winegrowers ourselves – we partnered with another kibbutz, Ma’ale HaHamisha, and to this day have planted approximately 200 acres with them, where we work the land.
The aerial line between the two plots is approximately 3 km. Our vineyards, planted in the mountains of Jerusalem and facing the Mediterranean Sea, enjoy a combination of hot summers and chilled sea breezes. During the winter, precipitation is well above average (about 700 mm). Some snow may fall during the winter in this area, but there are no actual snowstorms. Professor Amos Hadas, award winning author of ‘The Vine & Wine: Archaeology of The Land of Israel’, placed our vineyards much further north of their actual location, as per the microclimate in the region. Our soil is a combination of terra rossa, clay and limestone: a rocky and airy soil that allows water to seep through it with ease, an important attribute as most of the vineyards are planted on a slope.
This is the soil of a truly ideal “wine country”, very similar to the grounds of some of the best vineyards in the world.
During the summer, the average temperature is much lower than that typical to our geographical latitude, and it is accompanied by a frequent northwest breeze. The nights are damp and chilly, while the days are very dry: these are ideal conditions that prevent mold from forming on the grapes. The temperature fluctuation between day and night is approximately 10 degrees Celsius, and can reach even 16 degrees during the months of ripening. The climate in the region is especially favorable for reaching the right amount of phenolic maturity and acidity in the grapes.
Our 400 acres are divided as follows, according to vine variants: Cabernet Sauvignon – 140 acres; Merlot – 140 acres; Petit Verdot – 45 acres; Cabernet Franc – 15 acres; Malbec – 15 acres; and Chardonnay – 45 acres.
The grapes that are handpicked from the vineyards surrounding the winery are chilled and fermented in the tank room; they go through a meticulous absorption process, which includes manually sorting and gently separating whole grapes, followed by an optical sorting machine. The final step is filling the wine tanks with the grapes, using a gravity-flow technique.
Everything is done to ensure that every grape and grain receive the best possible care. And here too, we “give time, time”.
The soaking and the fermenting of the grapes, gives them the ample time needed to reach their full potential. By the end of the harvest and fermentation season, most wines will sit to age in our exquisite French oak barrels or in custom Italian concrete tanks for at least one year. The wine will mature in our cellar until it reaches the very equilibrium we strive for.