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Kofte Kebabs and Ben Ami Cabernet Sauvignon: a BBQer’s Bliss #winePW

 This month on #WinePW (wine pairing weekend) we are exploring the wines and flavors of the Middle East.  We are being hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm.  She's sharing a mezzo platter that you don't want to miss.  I decided to feature a wine from Israel.  I hadn't had a wine from there before, and I am all about trying new things.  I did stick with a grape I was familiar with, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Relatively speaking, wines from Israel are considered "up and coming."  Even though they have been making wine for thousands of years, the area really didn't pop up on the wine radar until the late 1940s.  Today there are over 300 wineries, with the vast majority being boutique style.  Most of the grapes grown are the French variety, but some vineyards are experimenting with indigenous grapes. You will find bibical varieties such as Hamdani, Jandali and Dabouki, Baladi, Asmar, and Bittuni.  There is alot of enthusiasm for bringing these grapes into the wine culture.

With a Mediterranean climate, the Sea of Israel brings rain, humidy and wind. The wind provides ventilation and a cooling effect. Israel has all the seasons, even some snow, which provides a wonderful opportunity for grapes and how the grapes sweeten.  Annual rainfall is a constant issue for grape farmers, so that is something that they deal with every day.

I chose a wine from Total Wines (easily accessible) for about $12 a bottle.  Produced in the Judean Hills and coastal plains, it is balanced by the intensity of fruit from the Upper Galilee. It was aged eight months in American oak.  Ruby red/chocolate color, with dark chocolate and cherry flavors with a long finish. To me this wine tastes "young," and needs to age for awhile.

Kosher Supervision: OK
Additional Supervision: Rabbi Ungar, Rabbi Berger
Producer: Ben Ami
Vintage: 2019
Color: Red
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Kosher for Passover: Yes
Bottle Size: 750 ML
13% Alcohol

I paired this wine with a traditional Israeli food called Kofte Kebabs.  Kebabs are simply meat or seafood cooked on a skewer or spit. It is a great technique for cooking proteins quickly.  My title calls this a BBQer's bliss because you can sear off the meat and then let it cook slowly while you grill veggies or other proteins.  But don't let the lack of a grill keep you from making these.  You can panfry these or even use a griddle.  We served these with a cucumber salad, fresh tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.

Kofte Kebab

Kofte Kebab

Yield: 4
Author: Terri Steffes
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 10 Mininactive time: 12 HourTotal time: 12 H & 15 M
Delicious taste of the Middle East!


  • 1/4 c panko crumbs
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • 1/4 c minced mint leaves
  • 1/4 c minced flat leaf parsley


  1. Soak 4 10" wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes-hour.
  2. Place panko in a small bowl, add in milk. Soak for 15 minutes, then squeeze out the extra milk.
  3. In a bowl add ground beef, panko and all the spices.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Divide the meat into 8 portions about 2 oz each.  Mold the meat around the skewers (2 per skewer) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  
  5. Heat grill to high.  Arrange the skewers on the grill, cooking until the meat is marked with grill marks.  Turn and cook until meat is fully cooked.



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See other delicious Middle Eastern country wines here:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your kebabs look wonderful. I love all the MiddleEastern flavors included in the recipes today. Did you buy another bottle of that wine to shelve for later use?

  2. Yum! The kebabs sound delicious. Also very cool that you found a Mevushal wine!

  3. Those kebabs look amazing! And I love the wine you picked. I don't have a Total Wine near me, but I'll keep an eye out elsewhere.

  4. It is so good to know that these wines are easily available. I will have to check my wine shop again to see if I can find one!

  5. My husband would be drooling over this recipe. He would drool just looking at the photo.

  6. Holy wow! I've never heard of kofte kebabs before, but I'm a total carnivore, so I'm all in.

  7. It's been so long since I've had a kebab. I can't wait to make these.

  8. This recipe looks delicious, I love middle eastern food, so flavourful and healthy!

  9. Anonymous9:20 PM

    My son loves kebabs. I can’t wait to make this recipe for him.

  10. Richelle Escat1:09 AM

    Seems like a great recipe to try, thanks for sharing!

  11. I'm a big fan of Total Wine. Definitely with look for this Ben Ami Cab Sauvignon. The kofte kebabs are finger-licking good I bet because the picture makes my mouth watering. What a wonderful pairing you did!

  12. I love the history you gave about Israeli wines and learning about those varieties I hadn't heard about. Cheers to you. Those tomatoes looked incredible too.

  13. I've never heard of these before but they look really good. I will have to try this recipe to see if I like them.

  14. I have all the ingredients needed to make those kebabs. Yes! Can't wait to make them. Looks delish! -LYNNDEE

  15. Those kebabs look so good! And that wine sounds perfect to pair with them. I'd love to visit Israel someday.

  16. With grilling season heating up, I can't wait to try your Kofte Kebabs and check my local Total Wines for a Middle Eastern wine. Cheers!

  17. The Kebab looks tasty. I love eating kebab with a side of veggies. I'm getting hungry now.

  18. I have never made kebabs like this before. Sounds delicious and a perfect way to kick off grilling season!

  19. I've never tried wines from Israel. I'd love to give it a try! Also, those Kebabs look super yum!

  20. Kita Bryant11:44 AM

    I really would love to visit that part of the world. I would have an absolutely blast.

  21. I like your approach of trying a grape you know from a place you didn't -- it's a good way to explore. The kebabs look amazing too!

  22. I really don't know much about wines from Middle East. I so curious to find more about them and why not, to taste them!

  23. natalia flores7:16 AM

    These are my favorite kind of foods kebab with veggies

  24. Msjane901:32 PM

    I could go for a good wine right now. Thank you for the recommendation!


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