Lueria Winery and the latest releases
Well, I have finished all the KFWE posts, and my past personal wine tastings posts, and now it is time to get back to posting about wineries I visited on my last trip. To remind you, I came to Israel for Sommelier 2017, then flew to Paris and back the next morning for the Bokobsa tasting. Upon my return to Israel, I drove north for a day, before coming back to the Jerusalem area, and then flying home. I have already posted all the wineries I visited in Israel’s North, excepting for my visit with Gidi Sayada at the lovely new visitor tasting room of Lueria Winery. We tasted all the new releases and as always, it is a joy to sit down and taste wines with Gidi.
The wines that Gidi makes use the grapes that were planted by his father, Yosef Sayada some 22 years ago. The vines were planted on the hills surrounding Moshav Safsufa. Interestingly, Safsufa is an Aramaic word meaning – late ripening fruit. The burial place of the revered kabbalist Rav Yitzchak Luria, who was one of the foremost Kabbalist experts in his time, overlooks the vineyards. It is in his honor that the winery is called Lueria Winery.
Lueria Winery has been growing slowly but surely, going from a few thousand bottles in 2006 to more than 100K bottles in 2016. Most people would not think that Lueria Winery is pumping out that much wine, but since Gidi started making wine, after learning winemaking in Israel, and cutting his teeth with Tal Pelter of Pelter Winery (not kosher) and Matar Winery, it is clear to see that he has found his own way now. With the abundance of his father’s grapes to choose from, some 45 acres, comprising many classic varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, along with some more Mediterranean varietals, like Syrah, Sangiovese, Barbera, and Roussanne.
This winery, like many throughout Israel, is not afraid to make half of their wines – white wines. Why? Because contrary to the USA palate, Israelis have finally found the love for all things white and rose! Sadly, this year, Gidi did not make a rose. In its place, he started a new label, the 2016 Roussanne! Also, gone is the pure dry Gewurztraminer that we had a few years here and there. Now, he is making some dry Gewurztraminer and placing it into the lovely, Lueria White wine. The white varietals used in the winery are Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Roussanne. There are very few wineries in Israel making Pinot Grigio, the ones I know of are Dalton (a five-minute drive from Lueria Winery), Lueria Winery, and Yarden Winery. Each wine is stylistically different from each other. The Dalton PG is all about acid and fruit and is light on the mineral. Shockingly, the Yarden PG is less about fruit and more a balance between the fruit and mineral. Finally, the Lueria Winery PG is smoky and mineral rich, with nice fruit as well. Get them all and then taste them in a blind tasting!
The red wine labels have been cleaned up, in both appearance and names. Now it is just two blends Rosso and Terrace at the first level, followed by two single varietal dominated wines, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. With the Grand Vital being the flagship wine of the winery, which is a blend of the best barrels from each vintage. Its parts change each year but it’s mostly dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, along with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Sometimes Syrah is added as well, but in the past many years that has not been the case. I think the streamlining and simplification of the labels, along with cleaning them up a bit as well, really makes for a lovely lineup of wines.
Also, I think Lueria Winery deserves a huge applause for jumping head first into the breach and actually making an equal number of white wine labels to red! They have 5 red labels; Rosso, Terrace, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and the Grand Vital. They have 6 white labels now; Chardonnay (both the unoaked and the oaked that is still in barrel), Roussanne, Gewurztraminer (semi-sweet), Pinot Grigio, and the White. It is a brave and commendable action for a Northern Galilee winery! Bravo!
My thanks to Gidi for hosting me and tasting through the new wines with me at the winery’s tasting room. My wine notes follow in the order that we tasted them:
2016 Lueria Roussanne – Score: B+
This is the first vintage of Roussanne from Lueria Winery. The nose on this wine is lovely, with really nice ripe fruit, great mineral, straw, and hay, with nice guava, melon, with lemon in the background, and lots of floral notes, jasmine, and spice. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine has nice acid, and a lovely mouthfeel, with nice spice, along with sweet tropical fruit, baking spices, finishing with great pith and good tart notes of nectarines, orange, followed by heady spice, nutmeg, pith, and slate. Drink before the end of 2017.
2016 Lueria Pinot Grigio – Score: B+ to A-
Lueria Winery continues to perfect this lovely wine. The nose on this wine continues Gidi good work and style with Pinot Grigio, showing smoke and earth, with nice mineral, gooseberry, grapefruit, and lemon. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows nice acid with great focus, really good dry fruit and lovely earth, with citrus, guava, and spice followed by pith and a central theme of citrus joy with straw and flint. Drink before the end of 2017.
2016 Lueria Chardonnay, unoaked – Score: A- (QPR)
This is another new wine for Lueria Winery, an unoaked Chardonnay. The nose on this lovely new wine shows green notes, with green apple notes, rich lemon, citrus, floral notes, gooseberry, and guava. The mouth is searing with rich acid, showing great focus and finesse, shows more like a sauvignon blanc than a chardonnay, with good passion fruit and Asian pear, along with a nice core of mineral and acid. The finish is long and acidic with rich nectarine, pith, and lemon peel. Drink before the end of 2017.
2016 Lueria White – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a new blend of 60% Gewurztraminer, 30% Pinot Grigio, and 10% Roussanne, with the addition of the new Roussanne. The nose on this very impressive wine is currently dominated by the Gewurztraminer (which is the large majority), with a rich perfume of melon and tropical fruit, followed by rich floral notes and spice, jasmine, crazy orange blossom, and rose hip. The mouth on this wine is lovely, with a rich acid core, followed by lovely spice, passion fruit that gives way to rich heady spice, earth, blossoms, and great pink grapefruit, with good fruit focus, pith, and lemon peels. The finish is long, tart, and spicy, with a wonderful juicy fruit style, with a tropical finish, pineapple, and lychee. Drink before the end of 2017.
2012 Lueria Rosso – Score: B+
This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Barbera. The nose on this nice wine is spicy and tart, with blackberry, and red fruit. The mouth on this nice medium-bodied wine shows richness with good spice and extraction, with graphite, mineral, white pepper, all wrapped in nice tannin that is coming together nicely, showing more ribbons of graphite and a sharp tannin bite that will calm down in a year or so. The finish is long and spicy, with leather, and more acid that really perks this wine up. This wine would be great with meatballs and pasta. Drink Now.
2013 Lueria Terrace – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Shiraz, and 15% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this lovely wine is ripe, with great mineral, dirt, spice, and blueberry. The mouth on this lovely medium-bodied wine shows nice tannin, with rich acid, nice raspberry, black plum, dirt, mounds of dark cherry, with tart and juicy blackcurrant and boysenberry in the background. The finish is richly tannic, showing great acid, lovely crushed herb, cloves, black pepper, with green notes, and foliage. Drink by 2019.
2014 Lueria Syrah, Single Vineyard – Score: B+
This wine shows a heady and ripe nose of blackberry and spice, with ripe blueberry, and nutmeg. Sadly, this full-bodied wine felt pushed to me, which is uncommon for Gidi, balanced but pushed, with nice sweet dill, blue and black fruit, showing searing tannin, and lovely acid. The finish is long and spicy, with herb and intense juicy and jammy blue and back fruit, showing with rich tobacco, and sweet herb. Drink NOW!
2014 Lueria Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard – Score: B+ to A-
The nose on this nice wine shows sweet dill, vanilla, green notes, roasted herb, with red and black fruit. Sadly, this full-bodied wine is a bit too pushed for me, showing ripe and rich fruit, with impressive acid, lovely tannin, lovely saline, and olives, that are balanced with blackberry, cassis, blueberry, sage, with mint, and lavender that helps to balance the attack and focus. The finish is still astringent now, with nonstop tannin, along with rich spice, tobacco, leather, and licorice. Drink by 2019.
2014 Lueria Grand Vital – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. This wine is a classic Bordeaux blend with a touch of Israel. The nose on this lovely wine is rich with bright fruit, followed by dark fruit notes, tart red cherry, lovely French oak, with hints of forest floor. Wow, this full-bodied wine is elegant, lovely, and richly extracted, showing good complexity, with intense acid, lovely heady spice, with searing tannin, lovely tart juicy fruit, with green notes, and black forest fruit. The finish is long and tannic, showing good spice, earth, tart juicy fruit jam, with dirt, tobacco, sweet dill, menthol, nice tar, mineral, and toasty roasted notes. Drink by 2021.
2016 Lueria Gewurztraminer – Score: B+
This wine is semi-sweet and rich, almost desert-like wine. The nose has those wonderful qualities I love in Gewurztraminer, like nice soapy notes, with great tropical fruit, guava, blossom galore, nectarines, and banana. The mouth is medium bodied and nice but could use more acid, showing melon, honeydew, lychee, with honey notes commanding attention, and nice orange marmalade. Finish is long and spicy, with nice acid, and nice sweet notes. Drink by 2018.
Posted on March 6, 2017, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Grand Vital, Lueria Winery, Pinot Grigio, Rosso, Roussanne, Single Vineyard, Syrah, Terrace, UnOaked Chardonnay, White. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I read your blog a lot, but this is my first comment. I’m curious why you have the whites as “drink by the end of 2017” when you say they have strong acid? Shouldn’t the acid give them a little ageability, certainly the Chard?
Please read my Bordeaux post and you will better understand my drinking windows. The wine may well live longer than that, but this wine is a storing wine, as I call it and not a cellaring wine. Please keep track of your wines, some wines are meant to be drunk young and some are better later on. The whites from Lueria (the unoaked ones) are meant for storing and drinking within the eyar. Can they survive longer? Maybe but why do it? The wine is meant to be enjoyed young.