A lovely set of kosher white, rose, and sweet wines
With the polls going into action next week, I thought I would take a very unofficial poll of favorite wine types among my friends and wine posts in general. The outcome, ignoring a few people, myself in that smaller group, most kosher wine drinkers do not care for white wines! Why? Simple enough, they want to be beaten over the head, AKA overripe wines are easier to appreciate. Yes yes, I know I just posted about this in my Dear John letter post, but really – give it a try! Ask your friends what they prefer and then ask them why???
What you will find is a sad fact that even in warm climates, red wine rules. This post is not meant to take the place of my previous white, rose, and bubble posts of the past, but it is meant to augment the list with a few more current ones.
I truly feel that people have yet to appreciate whites, for the most part, because they do not see the genius and layers in white wines, like they do in red wines. To me this dichotomy is very much akin to the French versus the Bold in your face DJL wines.
If I had one wish this year it would be – please try some really good white wines! Please! Why? Because they are very good? Kosher white and rose wines are really improving, IMHO, far faster than their red alternatives. In Israel, this revolution is improving by leaps and bounds! California continues to be king for me when it comes to easy to find and unique white and rose wines. Look at the success by Covenant Winery, Hajdu Winery, Shirah Winery, and Four Gates Winery! Where else will you find a kosher white grenache? Covenant continues to hit homeruns with their Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay wines. Shirah’s whites and roses wines continue to impress. Hajdu’s blanc is awesome! Four gates Chardonnay is some of the best out there in the kosher wine world.
With all that aid, Israel is really doing itself proud in the world of white and rose wines! Truly impressive! From Ella Valley’s FANTASTIC 2013 wines to Tabor Winery’s impressive whites.
One of the safest bets out there right now is a white wine from the 2012 or 2013 vintages from Israel. WOW! That statement alone is a shocking fact! A few years ago I would not drink much white wine from Israel, other then a few sparing Chardonnays. Now? Flam, Ella Valley, Yatir, Tabor, Teperberg, Dalton, Netofa, and on and on goes the list! The wineries are just coming out with home run, double, triple, home run after home run! Sure, there are a few bad apples in the bunch, but a safe bet is a safe bet – and that is an awesome thing to know!
To be fair, the best rose and the best white wines (other than Chard), I have had this year come from Shirah Winery and Hajdu Winery. Why? The 2012 Shirah Rose and the 2013 Hajdu Gris Rose are the best of the best. Sure, the Ella Valley, Netofa, Lueria, Flam Roses are nice, but those two are on a separate level. Same goes with the 2012 Grenache Blanc. The 2013 is nice, but not on the same playing field. There are so many home run whites from Israel though, including Tzora, Flam, Ella Valley, Teperberg, Tabor, Yarden, Dalton and others. Still, the 2012 Makom is one of those wines that will stay with me for a long time BRAVO Jon!!!
A shout out must be made to a wonderful sweet Hungarian wine I picked up in NY – 1998 Langer Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos! The wine is sweet but has still balancing acid and wonderful enveloping lush and full mouthfeel and funk – BRAVO!!!
The wine notes follow below:
2012 Shirah Rose – Score: A- (and more) (QPR)
WOW What a rose! This wine is 100% rose of Grenache. This was such a limited supply item that it made Benyo’s stone gate look like a lego set! Thank goodness I got some! The nose is bright and tart with crunchy roasted herb, forest floor, garrigue, red fruit, and spice. The mouth is insane on this medium bodied wine, it starts with an attack of red currant, followed by blue fruit, huge tart blackcurrant, herb, and crazy acid. The finish is long and attacking with mad acidic tart summer fruit, kiwi, candied strawberry, intense slate, mineral, and crazy tart zinberry that lingers forever, long after the wine is gone. The acid is so intense it is awesome and the fruit is ripe and expressive – BRAVO!!!
2010 Recanati White Special Reserve – Score: B+ to A-
This is a nice wine who’s price is a bit beyond it real value, but nice all the same.
This wine is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Viognier that was aged in French oak for 8 months. The nose on this wine starts off with clear oak influence, followed by honey notes from the Viognier, ripe peaches, and citrus fruit. The mouth on this medium to full-bodied flows well, but feels somewhat disjointed for a time, with each of the components fighting for attention. Over time, the Chard takes over, with the viognier adding spice. The mouth is rich and almost oily and creamy at the same time, with butterscotch, fresh baked apple peach cobbler, and nice acidity. The finish is long with spice, straw notes, fresh ripe summer fruit, and earth notes. NICE!
2013 Ella Valley Rose, Everred – Score: A- (QPR)
To me this is one of the better rose, right after Lueria and tied with Netofa, but the Hajdu rose is the best. This wine is a blend of 77% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 8% Syrah. The nose on this wine is filled with cherry, strawberry, green notes, and dirt. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is tart with sour cherry, hints of mango, and litchi, and great acidity that livens up the body. The finish is long with nice mineral, saline notes, and citrus pith that adds to the complexity – BRAVO!!!
2013 Galil Mountain Winery Viognier – Score: B+ to A-
The nose on this pale green colored wine was its high point, with lovely floral notes, orange blossom, ripe summer fruit, melon, rich honeyed notes, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows its alcohol, with heat, light oily texture, and nice ripe peach, apricot, tangerine, and fig. The finish is medium long and spicy with bitter notes, tart fruit, good acidity, and herb notes.
2010 Four Gates Chardonnay – Score: A- (and a bit more)
The nose on this light gold colored wine is filled with bright fruit, mango, melon, green apple, tart pear and spice. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich, creamy, and mouth filling with lovely toast, brioche, fresh baked apple pie and a fantastic attack of summer fruit and bracing acidity. The finish is long with white plums, mineral, along with almost saline notes and slate – BRAVO!
2012 Tabor Viognier, Adama – Score: A- (QPR)
This is another wine that continues to prove to me that Tabor has grabbed the reigns of the QPR capitol of Israel, and is in a fierce battle with Reccanati and Dalton – BRAVO!
The nose on this lovely wine starts with fresh cut violet flowers, along with straw, pineapple, rich honeyed notes, and green notes that mingle with tropical fruit. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich and weighty, with a lovely glycerol almost oily mouthfeel, that is clearly boosted by the wine’s 15.4 ABV, along with peach, apricot, and white plums that are almost singed with a toast and boosted by lovely rose water notes. The finish is long and spicy, with acidity that adds to the wine, along with mineral, saline, caramelized honey notes, nice bitter notes, and more rose water that linger long – BRAVO!!! Drink within the next year.
2013 Carmel Wineries Sauvignon Blanc, Carmel Vineyards – Score: B+
This is a nice enough Sauvignon Blanc that has great acidity and mineral notes, but does not have the entire package to keep up with the Yarden SB, or the Tzora Shoresh, or the Ella Valley SB, or the Flam Blanc. This wine is far more herbal, green, and dirty than cat pee – but there will be many that find this wine more intriguing than I did.
The nose on this wine is rich with mineral, floral notes, and citrus fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied Sauvignon Blanc needs to be really chilled to get out its flavors, with peach, apricot, yellow grapefruit taking center stage with bright citrus, garrigue, and earthy/green notes. The finish is long and herbal, with green foliage notes, bitter almond shells, tart fruit, and slate.
2013 Tulip Winery White Franc – Score: B to B+
What can I say – this wine in the past was one of my favorite for its unique blend, flavors, and color. This vintage still has a lovely color – but the rest is lacking.
The wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. The color on this wine is peach in tint, like a Provence rose colored wine. The nose on this wine is flat almost with sweet lingering sugar, grapefruit, and guava. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is where things fall apart with essentially nothing to share, it has herbaceous qualities – akin to a Franc, but the rest of the rose/white wine flavors are missing, showing with bitter notes, and floral qualities. The finish is medium with more of the same and hints of candied grapefruit in the mix at the end.
2013 Tabor Roussanne, Adama – Score: A- (and a bit more) (QPR)
This is another wine that continues to prove to me that Tabor has grabbed the reigns of the QPR capitol of Israel, and is in a fierce battle with Reccanati and Dalton – BRAVO! This wine continues to excel after its inaugural release in 2012. This vintage is more grassy and herbal and straw/mineral driven, with rich notes and crazy redolent nose.
The nose on this straw colored wine is redolent with fresh cut grass, well dried straw, mineral, peach, and litichi. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered and rich with a complex blend of lemon pith, dried herb, tropical fruit, guava, melon, and more dried vegetation. The finish is long and herbal with lovely good acidity, bitter/salty/tart action all coming at you at once, with sweet fruit, mineral, and straw lingering long. Enjoy this with BBQ chicken, summer salads, and soft cheeses. BRAVO!!!
2013 Carmel Gewürztraminer – Score: A- (QPR)
This is not a dry Gewurtz, but who cares! This is a lovely gold colored with green reflections wine, that is perfect for spicy fare and creamy sauces.
The nose on this redolent wine is filled with litchi, floral notes, rich honey, and petrol! The mouth on this medium bodied wine is sweet from the residual sugar, but controlled with bracing acidity, along with green apples, peach, pink grapefruit, and lovely spice. The finish is long and lingering with cloves, grapefruit pith, and candied fruit lingering. This is not as good at the Lueria Gewurtz, but it is nice still. Drink now.
2013 Lueria Rose – Score: A- (and a bit more) (QPR)
To me this is one of the better kosher Rose out there, and for sure in Israel, along with the Netofa Rose also from 2013.
This wine was not made using the classic Rose method of saignee (AKA bleed) – but rather is a true fruit rose made of Cabernet, Merlot, Barbera, and Pinot Noir, not your classic Rose blend in any way! The nose on this light salmon colored wine is rich with dirt, mineral, floral notes, rose hips, peach, kiwi, and strawberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine attacks with good bitterness, sweet and tart fruit, more earth and grass, and dried quince, candied pineapple, Pamela, litchi, dark cherry, ripe nectarine, and spice. The finish is long and spiced with spiced red apple, good bitterness, bracing and balancing acid, cloves, nutmeg, and citrus pith that lingers long with nice fruit – BRAVO!
2013 Don Ernesto Rose – Score: A- (QPR) Mevushal)
The nose on this rose is rich with strawberry, raspberry, and kiwi. The mouth is rich and medium bodied with crazy saline, lovely sweet fruit, spice, mineral, along with sweet tart cherry, great intense spice and acid. The finish is long and spicy, with great fun, showing bright and sweet pink grapefruit, dragon fruit, currant and dry quince – BRAVO!!
2012 Makom Grenache Blanc – Score: A- (and much more) (QPR)
Sadly, this was my last bottle but WOW it is now showing the wine’s true potential, and insane acidic core, wrapped with sweet fruit, tart and ripe summer delicacies, finishing with a flourish of rich mineral, spice, floral notes, and a hint of bitter notes that rises on finish – OH how I miss it already!
The nose on this wines explodes with rich slate, followed by lovely floral aromas, ripe lime, lemon, grapefruit, jasmine, lovely cut grass, and herbal notes. The mouth is ripe and medium bodied, with nice lemon friache, good strong and balancing acid, and ripe peach. The finish is long and spicy, with hints of banana, ripe fig, and nice mineral. One of the best non chardonnay based wines I have tasted in a long time!!! BRAVO!!!!
2012 Lueria Gewurztraminer – Score: B+ to A-
This is the second version of this wine. I personally, LOVE the dry version that Gidi makes, but he sells that to a restaurant and is not available to the consumer. The nose on this off dry wine starts with deep notes of intense orange, melon, honeydew melon, along with rich floral notes, grapefruit, and nectarine. The mouth on this medium to full bodied off dry wine is sweet, please be aware of this and be ready for the residual sugar, showing in a not quite oily texture (but close enough), honeysuckle, pineapple, kiwi, litchi, and guava, along with peach, good spice, great balancing acid and herb.
2013 Shirah Vintage Whites – Score: B+ to A-
This wine is a blend of two of my favorite white grapes – 70% Viognier and 30% Grenache Blanc. The 2012 vintage was a blend of another two favorite whites – Viognier and Roussanne. I liked the 2012 more for now, but I will let this wine evolve and open.
The nose on this wine is pure heaven with rich honey, white flowers, honeydew melon, distinct notes of petrol, straw, earth, and mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine craves fridge time, as it holds up better when ice cold, it shows more lovely fruit with guava, pineapple, peach, and apple all showcased in a green and fruity box with sweet notes and some level of oily texture. With time, the green notes leave and give way to rich nectarine, orange rind, orange marmalade with tart acid and great tropical fruit. The finish is long, bitter, and spicy with great acidity (once the wine airs out and opens), along with lovely honeyed notes flowing into citrus pith, slate, bakers spice, almond notes and nutmeg.
1998 Langer Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos – Score: A- (and a bit more)
The nose on this bright gold colored wine has strong honey, sweet honeydew, sweet notes, almond notes, marzipan, along with a hint of lemon peel. The mouth on this full bodied wine is glycerol and oily in nature, ripe and rich, is filled with ripe summer fruits, baked lemon pie, and crazy honey covered melon. The mid palate is bright and balanced. The finish is long and honey sweet with more nice acidity and a hint of lemon tea as well. A followup comment – once you pop open this puppy, you have a week at most to finish it, which for most will be of no effort at all! DRINK NOW!!
Posted on October 28, 2014, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine and tagged Four Gates Winery, Grenache Blanc, Hajdu Wines, Makom, Shirah Winery, Vintage Whites. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.