Tzora Vineyards 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. I also visited wineries in the Jerusalem area, including one of my absolute favorite kosher wineries in the world – Tzora Vineyards Winery. Why? Because Tzora (and Domaine Netofa Winery as well) are wineries that prove you can make GREAT old-world style wines in the new world of Israel! All that you really need to make great balanced and beautifully made wines is to care, and Tzora winery cares!
If there is a winery that gets terroir in Israel it would be Tzora. I wrote about the late founder, Ronnie James, who sadly passed away in 2008. He saw the power of terroir in Israel. He understood what vines to plant where and why! It was his passion and belief that great wines could be made in Israel, that continues to fuel Eran Pick MW (Master Of Wine), the head winemaker and General Manager of Tzora Vineyards and the rest of the winery, forward. I have had the honor to meet with Mr. Pick many times at the winery now, and each time it is always a joy to see how the winery continues to grow leaps and bounds above the rest of Israel’s date juice producing masses. For the few that can understand the quality and beauty of Tzora’s wines, there is a treasure to be reaped for sure! Here is a winery that cares, and does not sell out to the million bottle siren and the date juice wines that it demands.
It had not been long since I was last at Tzora Winery, but there were new wines to taste, the new Misty Hills and the new red Shoresh, as well. Mr. Pick was very kind to do the tasting with us, and he even had the winery put out these incredibly fragile and lovely wine glasses, from Zalto – just to make sure we were on our toes and very careful! The glasses were the first surprise, but the second one was the insane wine we tasted at the end of the tasting. It was a wine that is yet to be bottled but one that has already been pulled from the barrel, the 2015 Misty Hills. I swear that if I was tasting blind, I could have guessed it was a 2012 Saint Emilion. It was bone dry, old-world in the absolute real sense, and did not taste ripe or Israeli in any manner. We also got a blind taste test and sadly this time, I did not get it. The blind tasted wine was a glass of pure Petit Verdot, it was very ripe and somewhat unidimensional, but its color, depth, and tannin were really impressive. Eran allowed us to taste components of the Judean Hills Blanc 2016 and some of the 2016 Shoresh blanc as well, they both showed beautifully, but till those wines are complete and put in a bottle, I will hold my notes.
The best news (for me anyway) is that Skurnik Wines, who has been importing Tzora wines for many years now, has all of these wines in NYC! However, the even better news is that they will also be on the west coast very soon! Yes, can you believe it, someone finally listened to me, and Skurnik will have a West coast distribution setup, and ready to go by May 2017! Finally!
Also, as I described in the Sommelier post, Tzora Winery, along with Domaine du Castel, Flam Winery, and Sephora Winery (not kosher) created a joint marketing association, called the Judean Hills Quartet. I think it is exactly what Israel needs to be doing. They need to create marketing associations, if the country, or the wine industry in Israel, is uninterested in promoting itself, even to its own detriment. As stated in that post, Napa, Virginia, Finger lakes, Bordeaux, they have all created wine marketing associations that promote the wines in an equal and level manner. Sadly, Israel cannot see past itself to do what is correct for the industry! Bravo to the leaders of the pack!
As always, Tzora Winery has three labels. The first is Judean Hills with two wines under it, a red blend and a white blend. Next is the Shoresh label, it also has a red blend and a white wine as well, that is pure Sauvignon Blanc. The Shoresh brand also has the dessert wine called Or. Finally, there is the flagship wine – Misty Hills.
My thanks to Eran Pick MW and the rest of the Tzora Winery family for hosting us so beautifully and allowing us to join them for another incredible tasting. My wine notes follow below:
2015 Tzora Judean Hills Blanc – Score: B+ to A- (shmita wine)
This wine is 86% Chardonnay and 14% Sauvignon Blanc. Lovely nose of peach and green apple with great yeasty notes, nice sweet oak, and a bit of grapefruit. Nice medium weight with great acid and attack showing good citrus, pear, mango, and kiwi but balanced and controlled with good structure and spice. Pure citrus focus on the finish, with nice pith and elegance. Spices and lemon linger long. Drink from 2017 to 2018.
2014 Tzora Judean Hills Red – Score: A- (from a previous tasting in 2016)
This wine is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 20% Petit Verdot, and 15% Merlot. The nose on this wine shows dark and red fruit, with earth and elegance. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is round and balanced with good blackcurrant, cherry, and red fruit with mineral, hints of blue fruit, dirt, along with searing acid, graphite and lovely spice, with a plush body, great fruit structure, and tannin that comes together nicely with great acid and spice. The finish is concentrated but controlled, with chocolate, crushed herb, basil, and tarragon. Nice!! Drink from 2017 to 2019.
2015 Tzora Shoresh Blanc – Score: A- (shmita wine)
This wine is 100% pure sauvignon blanc and it shows in every way possible! In many ways this is one of the more old-world Shoresh Blanc that they have released, it is very controlled and elegant. Wow! What a nose, classic Sauvignon Blanc nose with cat piss, grapefruit, gooseberry, citrus, grass, straw, wow!! The wine has a lovely medium-bodied mouth that comes at you in layers, intense but refined and controlled with great saline, green apple, citrus, nectarines, with a lovely fruit structure, great pith, mineral, slate and kiwi lingering long. Bravo! Drink from 2017 to 2019.
2015 Tzora Shoresh Red – Score: A- (shmita wine)
This wine is a blend of 47% Syrah, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 14% Petit Verdot.
The nose on this wine shows lovely blue and red fruit, impressive mineral, earth, graphite, with spice and roasted herb. Lovely medium body wine, with great acid, lovely balance, with draping tannin, showing lovely earth and roasted meat, with good cloves and pepper, showing nice blackberry, along with a nice viscous mouthfeel, and more herb. The finish is long and spicy, with chocolate, coffee, and showing pith and lovely lingering mineral. Drink from 2017 to 2020.
2014 Tzora Misty Hills – Score: A- to A
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Syrah. The wine’s name is a tribute to the morning mists that often lie upon our vineyards. These mists form as warm air from the Mediterranean collides with cool air descending from the mountains. This wine is aged 24 months in French barrels and it is not the oak that impresses you, it is the elegance and makeup of the wine that makes you take notice. The wine showed very accessible from opening.
The nose on this wine is lovely, with crazy good mushroom aromas already, along with black and blue notes, with an old-world kind of style, wrapped in mineral and herb. The mouth on this full bodied wine is beautiful, rich and layered, with lovely extraction and rich draping tannin, along with lovely tar and roasted meat, showing blackberry, plum, blueberry, and a velvety mouthfeel and structure. The finish is long and elegant, with lovely fruit and graphite, showing with mineral and leather, followed by lavender and spice. Drink from 2017 to 2023.
2015 Tzora Misty Hills – Score: A- to A (pending official release) (shmita wine)
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. The wine’s name is a tribute to the morning mists that often lie upon our vineyards. These mists form as warm air from the Mediterranean collides with cool air descending from the mountains. This wine is aged 24 months in French barrels and it is not the oak that impresses you, it is the elegance and makeup of the wine that makes you take notice.
If the wine tastes at release like it did that afternoon, this wine will be a clear A- to A wine. However, till then it will stay with a pending score. This wine is VERY different than any Misty I have ever tasted, even than the 2011 Misty. The grapes for this wine were pulled a bit earlier than Mr. Pick dreamed, but given the choice of rain and dust or cleaner grapes, he chose to pull them when he did. The wine is leaner and drier than anything he has ever made and will be a fascinating experiment for the oenophiles out there that crave his wines. Will they like this style of wine more than the rich, draping, and yet fully controlled 2014 Misty? Only time will tell! This wine tastes like a 2012 Saint Emilion, tasted blind that is what I would have pulled.
The nose on this wine is incredibly old-world, with impressive notes of cherry and earth, with red fruit, lavender and lovely roasted animal, licorice, and lovely herb. This medium bodied wine really shows like a merlot, and nothing like a 75% Cabernet wine, showing with crazy earth, elegant and yet rich, not ripe in any way, actually the fruit is tart and expressive with currant, dry raspberry, all wrapped in an impressive and lovely mouth draping tannin, true elegance, with an expression that says Bordeaux with class, followed by forest floor, rich saline, mineral, and mushroom. The finish is long and green finish, with foliage, truffles, tobacco, menthol, mint, and dirt. BRAVO!!! I have no idea about a drinking window until this wine is officially released.
2015 Tzora Or – Score: A- (shmita wine)
This wine is an “ice wine”, it is made of 100% late harvested Gewurtztraminer, and then brought to the “lab” to be frozen by hand and then pressed weeks later. This wine is lighter than previous vintages, it is a bit more tropical, but otherwise, akin enough to previous vintages, just with a lighter body.
What an enjoyable nose this wine has, with lovely funk, honeysuckle, and honeyed notes, showing lovely floral notes, rich jasmine and orange blossoms, and ripe pineapple. The mouth on this less viscous and medium bodied wine shows rich sweet guava and spice, lighter than previous vintages, but still showing great balancing acid, hints of mineral, white peach, and apricot with controlled sweet notes, lychee, and orange tea. Nice! Drink from 2017 to 2021.
Posted on March 7, 2017, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged Blanc, Judean Hills, Misty Hills, Or, Red, Shoresh, Tzora Winery, White. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.