1 De Haas, Milano Sq.
Sun-Thurs 19-1; Fri-Sat 12-1
A venue created by wine lovers for wine lovers.
If you pay close attention as you enter Juno, a neighborhood wine bar in Milano Square, you will notice a painting in the corner. At first glance you might not notice anything special about it, however as you take a closer look, you will recognize an image of Bacchus lying on a collage made from pages taken out of Wine Spectator Magazine. That simple picture immdediatly emphasizes the juxtaposition in wine culture thatJuno finely balances: one of frivolity and the other of refinement.
Bacchus was the ancient Roman god of wine, known as the liberator, freeing oneself from ones normal self, by madness ecstasy, or wine. On the other hand, Wine Spectator, a lifestyle magazine which focuses on wine and wine culture through discussions and reviews,is known for a more thoughtful and sophisticated approach to drinking wine.
This simple image perfectly illustrates the essence of Juno, a place created by wine lovers, for wine lovers. A venue where you can enjoy exquisite wine and even discuss it knowledgeably yet are able to leave aside the elitist arrogance and technical professionalism. Here, the owners are the sommeliers and they guide you until you find a wine to your liking, highlighting the importance of discovering the grape to which your palate best connects. Eyal, one of the four owners of Juno explains that he has been in the wine business since 1997. Throughout the years he has come to realize that good quality wine should not necessarily cost a fortune. Since then, his passion for the “royal water” guides him to find the best and most affordable wines while concurrently managing this cozy bar, aiming to be “professional but not snobbish”. Juno proposes wine drinking as a relaxing and enjoyable hobby. While on the topic of what they hope to accomplish, Eyal talks about the funny relationship between Israelis and wine.
Apparently, wine is a new hobby in this country, although viniculture has existed in Israel since biblical times. Israeli wine in the modern era has been based predominately on the production of kosher wines. It wasn’t until the 1980s when the industry saw a revival and in 1989 Margalit Winery, the first boutique winery, was founded. By the 1990’s, Golan Heights and Domaine du Castel were already winning international wine awards. Along came Gato Negro, a Chilean wine that although cheap, opened the gates for wine importation and inspired the “boom” of Israeli boutique vineyards. Today, there are more than 150 wineries all over the country. “Red wine has just started to be appreciated. Until ten years ago, Israelis drank mostly Emerald Riesling of Carmel Selected, a cheap wine, comparable to grape juice,” explains Eyal.
Juno’s interior design stays true to it’s essence. Being there makes you feel like you are in a small cellar house in an Italian village. The walls are decorated with a tapestry of wines stored from floor to ceiling. The design is comprised of wine barrels and other details that will catch your eye. Candlelight illumination and soft music heighten the natural desire to hold a glass in your hand and savor the full flavor of the grape. The outside seating is perfect for truly enjoying the blissful setting.
In the wine menu you’ll fine that Israeli and Italian wine occupy most of the space. French, Spanish and Australian grapes will follow. And last but not least you’ll find a decent selection of wines from United States, Chile and Argentina. For a standard wine drinker, the house suggests: Regolo Rosso from Italy, Campo Viejo or Marques De Casares form Spain, and Guigal Cotes du Rhone from France. It is up to you to choose a bottle (80 to 100 shekels will be enough to experience a respectable wine).
To accompany the wine, Juno’s food menu should not be neglected. There is an interesting offer of appetizers inspired by Italian cuisine, that creates the ideal compliment for your glass of wine. A fine choice of bruschettas and focaccia bread, among which you will find the Champignon Bruschetta: mushrooms atop oven baked foccacia served with delectable Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese. Other distinctive dishes include the “house special” Artichoke Pecorino, a combination of sliced artichokes and Pecorino cheese with onion, olives and yogurt that are perfectly seasoned with Italian herbs. For pastry lovers I would recommend the Phyllo dough, stuffed with Camembert cheese and tasty garlic marmalade. The house serves a varied plate of cheeses which include slices of Manchego, Bavarian Blue, Saint Maure, Blue Cheese and Goat Cheese. And of course, my personal favorite: Prosciutto and pear slices with Camembert cheese, basil and olive oil. A hectic but mouth-watering combination that is truly unforgettable. Olives and other ingredients are bought fresh daily at Levinsky spices market. As for the cheeses, most of them are directly imported from Italy and although the menu includes a fine choice of sausages as well, your experience in Juno will confirm once again that cheeses are unequivocally wines best friend.
As the “wine world” continues to become more exclusive and intimidating in most places, thank goodness that Juno reminds us that Bacchus had it right all along: wine is best drunk with a light heart, rich food, and a warm and welcoming attitude.
* Price Range:
Food: 14-39 NIS
Bottle of wine: 67 – 490 NIS
Glass of wine: 29 – 43 NIS
Bottles of wine to take away have attractive discounts!
Written By Nataly Safir