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Ze'ev Dunie, the prophet of chenin in Israel

"Grape make wine itself and I let it live. I listen and I do what it wants". In the vineyards and in the winery, Ze'ev Dunie intervenes as little as possible. "It's not a matter of religion but a simple decision that comes from a very complex philosophical question : do we really control our lives and our environment I? No, I do not think so." So, why would you like to control everything for the wine?

In a previous life, Ze'ev was a cinema teacher in Jerusalem. After shooting a documentary about wine, he converted to wine. At the heart of the Judean Mountains there is this very dry biblical landscape where he planted his first vines in 2002. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre ... Ze'ev does not hide his love for the Côtes-du-Rhône. "I plant the vines I like to drink." It's that simple. And the wines are first names or artist names : Antoine (Saint-Exupéry), Gaudi, Lennon, Camus, Fellini... "This is a way to thank the extraordinary people who gave me hours and hours of fun. " As for having named his domain "SeaHorse", "there is no logical explanation. I was fascinated by this little creature that seems to be an alien in our world. "

In 2007 shock occurs. While traveling in South Africa, he tastes chenin for the first time and falls in love. Producing chenin in Israel was an obsession. Yet at that time, this variety was unknown: no winemaker has planted it, no wine shop has imported it. Closer to the coast stands Gedera, near Ashdod. He finds a small plot of 40 years-old chenin vines. Ze'ev convinces the owner to not tear. Lower yields, crop maturity, aging in new wood barrel... And he repeats his recipe: listening to the grapes, be gentle, do not shake the vine. In a glass the white James (named after Ronnie James, one of the pioneers of Israeli wine) is a chenin from south countries without any heaviness. "It seems to me that the chenin likes warm climates" modestly adds Zeev. Success was immediate; it produces 10 times more bottles today than during the first vintage.

In total, each year he produces 25,000 bottles. For now, Ze'ev sells very little abroad. It is confined to Israel where curious people can visit and restaurants buy his wines. Israelis start to appreciate unusual wines but they still prefer wooded whites.

The small village of Bar-Giyora is 20 kilometers from Jerusalem and 70 in Gaza. Ze'ev lives with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Wars are not conducive to trade in weapons. And detrimental to everything else, including the gastronomy and tourism. "

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