Top kosher White and Sparkling wines that I have tasted in 2017

Over the past three months, I have been trying as many rose, white, and sparkling wines as I could find and it is time to post what I think of them. In the grand scheme of things, 2016 is not much better of a year than 2015 was. The white and rose wines from the 2015 vintage in Israel were a complete disaster. I have stated that many times and that is why I did not post this list last year at all. I was almost not going to post this list this year, but what the heck – it will not be very good information – as many of the wines were boring to painful with a few good exceptions.

To recap, red wines overall from Israel are a total letdown and nothing has changed in that department. However, the 2015 and 2016 vintages for whites and roses have overall been a huge disappointment, in regards to either lack of focus in the wines or lack of acid.

I have covered Rose – many times now, but the latest and last was here and a few French roses that were not worth much as well. The whites and sparkling wines were what I needed to post – so I guess it is time to post them already.

The State of Israeli wines from the 2016 vintage

Israel really got me excited about the rose and white wine potential, but the last two years have totally squashed those aspirations. I really hope 2017 brings it back. Sure, we can always count on Domaine Netofa and Tzora Winery for great wines. Netofa has released some brand new wines and I look forward to being able to taste those wines very soon. The new 2016 Tzora white wines are now in the USA and they are lovely wines that have a good few years in their tanks. The new 2016 Psagot are also quite nice.

Of course, Yarden winery continues to be the best kosher Sparkling winery in the world. Sure, there are great sparkling wines from France and even some nice one from Spain and the USA, but for the price, quality, and enjoyment – you cannot beat the Yarden Sparkling wines. Their white wines are very professional, they may not blow you away, but they are always clean, well balanced, and fun to drink, which is what matters. Their lower level labels (Gilgal here in the USA), have had some issues in the white wines, and Galil Mountain Winery has also been slipping a bit, which is sad.

In regards to Israeli red wines, nothing new here. A great red Israeli wine has gone the way of the dodo bird. Other than Tzora, Netofa, Mia Luce, and some others here and there,  I cannot safely recommend reds from Israel to my friends.

Two years ago when I last compiled a cross varietal white wine list, I was praising Israel for its wonderful whites and rose – sadly that was the wonderful 2014 vintage! It was and is still crazy good for some wines like Matar and Tzora. Then we had 2015 and 2016! While the 2016 vintage is better than the 2015 vintage, well anything would have been better than 2015, it is still severely lacking.

My cellar has gone primarily to the USA, then France, then Spain, and then stuff here and there. The USA, mostly because I love all things Four Gates Winery, and a bunch of others as you will see below. That is a sad state of affairs, but it is one that has been created by the Israeli wineries themselves. They always have the chance to change back, till then I will enjoy the wines made in California, Spain, France, and wait for bell curve to shift like it has in France and California. I hope Israel is only slightly behind them, but from what I had over the past couple of years now, things are still going the wrong way in the world of kosher Israeli wines.

Finally, this list is a list of wines that I have personally tasted. There may well be many more wines that I have yet to taste, like the afore mentioned new 2016 Netofa wines. That said, the notes are all below – choose which you like.

Wine Styles

As I have stated on my posts of rose wine, white and rose wines are as polarizing as red wines, they are just less interesting to many – which is a sore subject to me.

I like white wines in the same style that I like rose wines. I want acid, balance, and good flavors. I will not tolerate a wine that is overly sweet without balance. I want to see wines that are refreshing and make me want to sip them again. That is what makes a good white or rose wine.

Sparkling wines need a bit more IMHO. They need a good focus and a nice mousse as well. The cava and Prosecco wines are nice, but many are either too sweet for me or too bitter/off for me.

Varietals

The wines listed here are mostly 2016, and I did that on purpose. Except for the Chardonnay wines, bubbly, and maybe the Semillon wines, age is not a quality of the other white wines. The older they get, the more they lose the crisp and bright notes that make them unique. Sure, the Mia Luce is an exception, but for the vast majority of whites and rose, PLEASE keep them to a year of age and that is it.  

So, for whites – here is the list of varietals and where you can get them:

  1. Sparkling wines – right now stick with Hagafen (late disgorged), Yarden/Gamla/Gilgal, and the French options
  2. Miscellaneous Varietals and Blends: Grenache Blanc and others varietals – stick with California for the most part
  3. Chardonnay – right now I would stick with California Chardonnay and a few Israeli options
  4. Sauvignon Blanc – France (yeah I know not pure SB), California, New Zealand, and some Israel
  5. Semillon – essentially not much out there anymore, Matar Semillon/SB blend and the Oryah Semillon. The older daltons are beautiful but sold out here in the USA
  6. Viognier – really only exists in Israel – and 2016 is the year of Viognier in Israel – the one REAL bright spot this year
  7. Roussanne – The only real winner is the just released 2016 Netofa Roussanne! The rest are blends with Roussanne in it and none work for me other than Hagafen.
  8. White Riesling – I covered this in my post here. The 2014 and 2016 Hagafen, 2014 Carmel (and older ones as well), and hopefully the new 2016 Tabor. Of course, the Nik Weiss wines are great too.
  9. Gewürztraminer – None have done it for me, but I was not looking for them. They are mostly sweet or off dry and I am not a huge fan.
  10. Chenin Blanc – Israel rules here, with Netofa and Matar
  11. Pinot Grigio/Gris – In the past, this was a graveyard, now Dalton and Yarden are the way to go!
  12. White Dessert wines – Israel and Hagafen are very solid, but the best remains the French Sauternes, even though they are much more expensive

The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

Sparkling Wines:

Some of these sparkling wines do not have dates on them, they are undocumented in ways. It is an annoying thing about sparkling wines. But if you look closely on the bottle itself, there is an etching that will tell you the year it was bottled. Try to buy ONLY the new bottlings. There is a new bottling for the Drappier wines, the Rose and white from Laurent Perrier, and soon for Bonnet-Ponson!

Champagne Bonnet Ponson Brut Premier Cru – Score: A-
Lovely dry nose of dry fruit, toast, smoke, green apple, yeast, lovely quince, and peach with dry Asian pear. This is a lovely old world wine, showing lovely baked apple pie, brioche, grapefruit, with dry quince and nice apple that gives way to dried grass, straw and herb. The wine is mouth filling with great small mousse bubbles, focused and never ending, with buttery and creamy notes. The finish is long and bubbly, showing impressive freshness, with great herb and mineral. Bravo!! Drink by 2020

2010 Yarden Rose, Brut – Score: A- to A
I have just stated above that rose wine should never be aged, but this is different, this is sparkling wine and it ages beautifully. This wine is still very young with an impressively aggressive mouth and mousse, it needs time to calm down and integrate, maybe best in a year or two. The nose on this lovely dark salmon colored wine is lovely and restrained with flint, dirt, smoke, and ripe quince. The mouth is intoxicating and demands your attention, the mousse attack is crazy, the small bubbles are lovely and well balanced with intense searing acid, that flows into cherry, raspberry, lovely gooseberry, pink grapefruit, and lovely spice. The finish is long with brioche, yeast, with more mousse attack, mineral, and sweet spices lingering long. BRAVO! Drink by 2020.

2011 Yarden Rose, Brut: Score: A-
A lovely nose, with toast, yeast, and really nice raspberry, and grapefruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely, with great focus, small mousse bubbles, with great raspberry, dried strawberry, grapefruit, saline, a mineral madness that lingers long with lime and lovely toasty notes. The finish is long and mineral focused, with great acid, and joy, green olives, and a true joy that is infectious. The wine is a joy and lingers long with real focus. Bravo!! Drink by 2021.

NV Drappier Carte d’Or, Brut – Score: A- (Mevushal)
This is the second of two Drappier wines that Royal is releasing. We tasted the other one – Carte Blanche and liked that one very much. The wine is a blend of the traditional Champagne grapes: 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. The nose on this wine starts off with yeast, nice mineral, bright lemon, apple, brioche, cherry, and toast. The mouth on the medium bodied wine starts off with a crazy attack of insane small mousse bubbles, with layer after layer of white peach, strawberry, brioche, raspberry, mineral, and spice. The finish is long with tart fruit, crazy acid, dried quince, and more toast lingering. Drink by 2019.

NV Drappier Carte Blanche, Brut – Score: A- (mevushal)
The wine is a blend of the traditional Champagne grapes: 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. The nose light gold colored wine is explosive with rich toast, fluffy white chocolate, herb, grapefruit, quince jam, strawberry, malting yeast, and minerality. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is super rich with an energizer bunny small bubble mousse, more toast and brioche, nice yeast, rich herb, super bright and tart green apple that mellows down to a creamy apple sauce, along with mad acid, herb, grapefruit, and mineral. The finish is long and rich with more small bubble mousse, herb, more yeast, and mineral. This is a lovely and balanced wine that does like more time in the glass. Even better leave a few glasses of wine in the bottle, cap it with a normal cork and try it the next day – quite lovely! Drink by 2019.

NV Laurent Perrier Rose, Brut – Score: A-
Make sure TO CHECK FOR the new bottling date etched on the bottle, it should say 2016 or so. The nose on this wine is alive and wonderful, with ripe raspberry, quince, with crazy white chocolate, nutty notes, with grapefruit and earth. The mouth on this medium body wine is tart and rich, showing candied raspberry, with ripe cherry and tart fresh notes, showing fresh red fruit, with a lovely small bubble mousse, along with dried orange, peach, and hints of apricot. Long and refreshing finish with fruit pith, intense acid, lovely brioche, and rich spice lingering long. Drink by 2025.

NV Laurent Perrier, Brut – Score: A-
Make sure TO CHECK FOR the new bottling date etched on the bottle, it should say 2016 or so. This new wine is lovely, showing fresh fruit and tart notes. The nose is lovely and starts off with a bright nose of rich yeast, toast, with quince and green apple, intense mineral and herb. The mouth is tart and refreshing, with more toast, pear, grapefruit, all balanced well with an attack of small mousse bubbles, with tart pear pie, brioche, with mineral and slate, all backed by sweet spices and crazy acid. Bravo! Drink by 2026.

2012 Hagafen Brut Cuvee, late disgorged – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 78% Pinot Noir and 22% Chardonnay. The nose on this wine is wonderful, with ripe peach and cherry, ripe apple curd, showing fun and lovely mineral and brioche. The mouth on this medium body shows fun toffee and chocolate, all balanced impressively with crazy acid and lovely small mousse bubbles, with nice apricot and rich baked goods. Long and bubbly fresh finish, with great acid, herb, crazy slate and mineral with tangerine and orange hints. Bravo! Drink by 2022.

——— Cheap sparkling wines ————-

We tried a bunch of cheap sparkling wines, the ones you see in supermarkets all around the country and they were all painful – with no real joy whatsoever. I was not expecting so much, but something would have been better than what we got, which was 100% all dead. The only real option is the new bottling of the Freixenet Cava – which was OK, tasted more like a bitter and bubbly Corona light – what can I say.

Tabor 562 Brut – Score: B
Boring nose with peach and apple. The mouth is sweet, with clear residual sugar, like an alcoholic sprite. No real joy. Pass

Herzog Blanc de Blanc – Score: NA (mevushal)
The nose on this is drier, with some life, showing apple, yeast, and a bit of toast. Oxidized, dead, move on

Notte Italiana Prosecco – Score: NA (mevushal)
Interesting nose, with good apple, and pear. The mouth is really sweet, like a bad alcoholic sprite. Move on…

Bartenura Prosecco – Score: NA (mevushal)
Nice clean and well-focused notes, of lovely floral notes as well on the nose. Sadly, the mouth is all over the place and far too sweet – no fun.

2016 Contessa Annalisa Prosecco – Score: B to B+
The nose is lovely, with green apple pie, good toasty notes, almost yeasty, with balance. The mouth is sweet, and alcoholic, without much joy and balance. Drinkable in a pinch

Herzog Selection Rose Brut – Score: NA (mevushal)
This one was oxidized on the nose and mouth – nothing but dead.

Freixenet Cava – Score: B+ (new bottling)
Finally a nose! This nose is nice, with toasty notes, good yeast, good clean apple pie, Asian pear, and brioche. The mouth on this mouth is nice small bubble mousse, with good focus, but simple and uniform, with lemon, grapefruit, and good green notes. The finish is OK, with mousse and the fruit. Bitter and no real fun.

Chardonnay:

2014 Covenant Chardonnay, Lavan – Score: A-
This wine sources its grapes from the Sonoma mountain, Scopus vineyard. The nose shows lovely candied and slightly sweet notes, with crazy aromatics, nectarines, sweet citrus, grapefruit and lovely spices. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is dripping with acid and shows a lovely viscous mouth feel, backed with apricot and peach, mineral notes, and hints of saline. Lovely long and sweet finish with spicy notes and crushed herb.

2013 Four Gates Chardonnay – Score: A-
The nose on this lovely gold colored wine screams of sweet oak, with honey notes, peach, apricot, guava, mad butterscotch, and creamy sweet notes. The mouth of this full bodied beast is rich, opulent, and viscous with layers of brioche, followed by rich summer fruit, quince, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon/citrus notes, creamy notes, vanilla, and lovely crème fraîche. The finish is long and creamy with lingering oak, great spice, nutmeg, cloves, mad intense acid, and overall balance from the oak and fruit. This is clearly Benyo’s first heavy oaked Chard, but give this wine time to settle out and round out. With time it will show the trademark creamy, buttery notes that make his wines so appealing. Drink by 2023.

2016 Tzora Judean Hills – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose on this wine is lovely, with peach and green apple with great yeasty notes and a bit of grapefruit. Nice medium weight with good acid and attack showing good citrus, pear, with baked apple and brioche, balanced and controlled with good structure and spice, this is less about the oak and its influences and more about the fruit. The finish is long and citrusy, with great creme brulee, mineral, with citrus pith, and lovely green notes lingering long. Nice!

2016 Psagot Chardonnay – Score: A-
This wine is a curious and unique cat piss and Tahiti paradise, with guava and passion fruit, melon galore, with ripe fruit, showing a green core. Impressive, tart and fresh wine. Lovely acid core on the medium body, with some oak, but super balanced and focused, with Asian spices, with great slate, tart and sweet Braeburn apple, a lovely complexity that comes from the nexus of the fruit and acid, lovely. The finish is long with a core of tart fruit, great finesse, spice, and focus. Bravo! Give this wine time, it is now in a slight sleep and will return in 5 months or so.

2016 Ella Valley Chardonnay – Score: A-
This wine is a classic conundrum of a nose, tart, ripe, and well balanced at the same time, with great apple and quince, cat piss, with lovely Asian pear and spice, showing far more like a Sauvignon Blanc than Chardonnay. Lovely balance of oak and steel tart fruit, with great acid, and summer stone fruit. Lovely ripe balanced rich acid finish, with great slate, spice, saline and lovely tart summer fruit. Lovely!

2014 Castel C Chardonnay – Score: A-
What a beautiful wine! The nose on this wine shows lovely butter and brioche but still balanced with green fruit, apple, white pepper, and candied pear. Lovely wow what a wine with great acid and fruit structure, nice butterscotch, and peach with a nice viscous mouth draping and elegant, with yeast notes and rich ripe guava and hints of pineapple. Lovely round and rich finish, with elegance and hints of quinine and yellow plum with nectarine at the end with citrus and spice cloves. A lovely Chardonnay that should hold well till 2024.

2014 Matar Chardonnay – Score: A-
Nice and sweet notes with ripe fruit, citrus notes, followed by sweet nectarines and guava. Nice viscous mouth with ripping acid but balanced well with nice brioche, grapefruit, and lemon Fraiche, that flows into sweet tart yellow candied apple and pineapple. Long and spicy finish with tart notes, yeast and rich sweet spices, balanced well with great acid, almond pith, and Orangina notes.

2014 Yarden Chardonnay, Katzrin – Score: A-
This wine showed older than it really is and was quite surprising to me. The color lies of its age, it is far darker than I would have expected, with lovely stone fruit, mounds of butter and butterscotch, but actually less obvious oak than in previous vintages, but still very nutty, and herbal in nature. The mouth on this full bodied wine is crazy rich and oily with layers upon layers of peaches, apples, quince, rich buttered brioche, creamy and complex, but a bit hot and needs time to come together. Good acid and fruit overall.

2015 Herzog Chardonnay, Reserve, Russian River – Score: A-
This wine is ripe, no denying that but by far the most balanced of many years with a far better control on the “Oak Monster”. The nose on this wine is under control, with great buttery notes, sweet apple, pear, hints of guava, and nice quince, but balanced well with herb and spice. The mouth on this wine is nice and full bodied, but it needs time, with nice saline, mineral notes that are unique for this wine, well balanced with screaming acid, nice butter, showing a creamy and almost oily texture, nectarines and orange, with sweet quinine and white chocolate. Nice and elegant with grapefruit and citrus and oak.

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 Dalton Chardonnay, unoaked: Score: B to B+
The nose is sweet with sweet spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, with peach and creme. The mouth is ripe and round, and really in your face, showing pear, apple, and not much life. Just apple creme and round on the palate, with no catch at all. The finish is hot and boring with spice.

2015 Hagafen Chardonnay, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley – Score: A-
This is one of the better Chardonnays that have come out of Hagafen in a while. The nose is lovely with guava, passion fruit, sweet oak, sweet dill, spiced apple, and herb. Nice medium to full body worry hints of oak tannin, with rich spice and oak and great balancing acid that comes together with nectarines, orange, brioche and more yellow apple. Long and acidic finish with rich spice, cloves, nutmeg, wrapped in good acid, mineral, and oak lingering long.

2015 Chablis Les Domes – Score: B+ to A-
The nose is very restrained, showing nice green apple, tart fruit, good mineral, green notes, herb, and hints of citrus. The mouth on this medium bodied wine, shows nice fruit, good focus, lovely acid, and a nice expression of Chablis. The mouth is round, plush, with good fruit expression, nice quince, green fruit, lovely grapefruit, dried kiwi, and nice lemon curd, all wrapped in green notes, and good tart fruit. The finish is long and acid cored, with fresh and tart fruit, mineral, lovely dirt, slate, and green tea. Nice!

2015 Matar Special Edition – Score: B+ to A- (mevushal)
This is a special wine made for the Derech Hayain wine stores. It is mostly Chardonnay with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc added in. The nose on this wine is lovely with rich sweet and tart fruit, with peach, sweet oak, rich creme Brulee, green notes, Asian pear, and green apple. The wine improves with air, but still, it will never be anything like the epic 2014 wine. Still, it is a solid wine. The mouth is richly acidic, and with time the body does come around, but it is still lethargic. It is there for sure, but the body is far more acid and oak than fruit, showing a bit of lemon, grapefruit, and lovely stone fruit. The finish is long and insanely acidic, with rich mineral, slate, more lovely citrus, and great tart citric acid.

Bordeaux and other white blends

2016 Chateau Bellerive Dubois – Score: B+
Nice gooseberry nose with grapefruit, lemon and passion fruit, more tropical than French for me. The mouth is round to start with ripe fruit, straw, that opens up with time showing nice green apple, but lacking the acid kick I love, with green tea and nice mineral, saline, and spice. Nice enough, but nothing like its 2014 younger brother!

2014 Chateau Bellerive Dubois, White – Score: A- (QPR)
Awesome nose, cut grass, gooseberry, lime, lemon, and lovely fruit, and herb. The mouth on this wine is classic cool climate fruit, with great acid, lovely mouth structure, showing lovely lime drops, starfruit, and crazy citrus, with dry orange, mineral, saline, rich not fully ripe pink grapefruit, and bracing acidity. The finish is long and tart, with green apple, rich fruit pith, and fun tart fruit notes throughout. Bravo!

2014 Matar Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – Score: A-  (NOTES from February 2016)
While I really liked this wine, it does not come close to the epic 2013 blend. The nose on this lovely wine starts off with classic SB notes of gooseberry, with rich peach and grapefruit, followed by lovely tart and crisp fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and viscous with ripe and tart lemon curd, citrus pith, with scrapping acid, yellow apple, lovely fresh cut grass, with straw in the background. The mouth is well structured with sick ripping acid, rich and deep mineral, with green apple, melon, intense spice, Asian pear, and herb bringing the mouth together. The finish is crazy long and herbal with intense slate, rich cloves, peach, cat pee, lemon Fraiche, citrus pith, intense and insane saline, and lovely mineral madness.

2014 Chateau Fombrauge Blanc, Bernard-Magrez, Saint Emilion, Grand Cru classé – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 40% Sémillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Gris. This wine is epic and truly lovely, with a rich nose of gooseberry, cat piss madness, with intense lychee, guava, ripe peach, backed by intensely tart and bright fruit. The mouth on this wine is truly French, intensely bright and tart fruit, backed by impressive acid, with tart green apple, balanced well with honey notes in the back (from the Semillon), with crazy pith and great acid. Perfect, I cannot imagine another way to do it. The finish is long and tart, with some creme starting to show, backed by intense lemon, grapefruit, balanced with scrapping mineral, slate, rock, with dirt, nectarines, and cloves. Bravo!

2015 Elvi Wines Invita – Score: A- (QPR)
The wine is a blend of something like 65% Pansa Blanca and 35% Sauvignon Blanc. Pansa Blanca is a grape that is rarely used in still wine and makes for a very unique flavor and wine experience.

The nose on this wine is still very young, with lovely Sauvignon blanc notes taking center stage, showing cat pee, gooseberry, with nice spice and lychee, fresh-cut grass, straw, and grapefruit. The mouth is weighty and nice, with saline, great spice, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, tropical in nature, with slate, and lovely olives, spice and cloves. The finish is long and lingering with crazy acid and lemon drop, more tropical fruit juice, grapefruit, and tart fruit galore. With pith, floral notes, bright fruit, and slate finishing in the mouth. Bravo!!! Drink by 2021.

2015 Vina Encina Blanco – Score: B+ (mevushal)
This wine is a blend of 80% Macabeo, 20% Moscatel. This is a new mevushal wine and while it is simpler than the Invita, it is quite nice for the price.

Nice nose of spice, gooseberry, grapefruit and Asian pear. The mouth on this wine is lovely, with good acid, intense honey, honey suckle, nice floral notes of Jasmine and rose, with good acid, nice fruit pith, not searing but good fruit with nice dirt and spice. The pith finish is long and floral. Nice! Drink Now.

2015 Hagafen Collage, Don Ernesto – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of Roussanne and Marsanne. The nose is nice with oak, followed by good sweet notes of guava, papaya, and nectarines with tangerine and good pineapple. Nice acidic mouth with good baked green apple, peach and apricot, with brioche and butterscotch and nice oak, that are balanced with sweet summer fruits. The finish is long and acidic with buttered popcorn and pith.

2016 Lueria White – Score: A- (QPR) (Israel only)
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.

2016 Shirah Vintage Whites – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Viognier. The nose on this wine is screaming Viognier and far less Grenache Blanc, with epic peaches and creme, showing rich notes of honeysuckle, honeyed notes of fruit, a truly perfumed nose that is a joy to smell. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered and rich, with great acid, lovely fruit pith, that is both unctuous and yet lithe at the same time, with nice summer fruit focus, showing apricot and hints of the Grenache Blanc with green apple, and lovely mineral. The finish is rich and lovely with joyous fruit pith, lovely spices, and lingering green tea. Bravo!!!

2016 Galil Blanc du Noir – Score: B+
This wine is a blend of 65% Pinot Noir, 22% Sangiovese, and 13% Grenache. There is great confusion about this wine. Officially this is a white wine, the juice/must do not lie on the skins so it does not get overly rose in color. That said, there is clearly an effect on the color of the wine, which is far from a white wine. I will leave it up to you. Personally, it is not a rose and it is not a white wine from the color alone. As I state here, a normal rose is simply the matter of leaving the juice (which runs clear) on skins to get color. If this was pressed and fermented, it would have been far clearer than the color it is today.
The nose starts off very boring to start, it needs a fair amount of air to become more interesting. With time, the nose starts to show good honey, honeysuckle, summer fruit, lovely floral notes, and creme. The mouth is nice, better, with good acid, nice fruit pith, saline, and focus, but lacking a real pull, though showing nice grapefruit, Orangina, and nectarines. The finish is long and spicy, and herbal, with good fruit pith, and cloves. Drink up!

2016 Kerem Kishor White – Score: B+ to A-
This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The nose on this wine shows lovely gooseberry, with great garrigue, grapefruit, hay, and peach, lovely. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice, showing great acid, with a nice weight, great summer fruit, with lemon curd, and great spice. The finish is long, green, and tart, with good citrus fruit, pith, and nice spice. Drink now!

2014 Tabor Zohar, Adama II: Score: B+
Nice peach focus, with pear, and lovely apple, floral notes, with nice good balance. The mouth on this wine is well balanced but straight forward, oaky, with nice fruit notes, not so great balance. The finish is long with good fruit, fruit pith, and green notes, but lacking the acid it used to have. This wine is slipping – drink UP!!

Sauvignon Blanc

In the end, I really liked the 2016 Tzora Shoresh, the 2015 Covenant Sauvignon Blanc, the 2016 O’dwyers Sauvignon Blanc, and the Dalton Reserve for the least oaked/fume Sauvignon Blancs. In case you like the fume/oaked versions more – I would go with the 2014 Goose Bay Fume!

2016 Tzora Shoresh – Score: A-
The best Sauvignon blanc nose in 2016, hands down. What a joy, pure gooseberry a true joy, with cats pee, straw, hay, followed by passion fruit, and green notes galore. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely, showing little to no oak, with epic control, not anything like his previous oak driven Shoresh whites. This is still 100% Sauvignon Blanc, but it is a dead ringer for New Zealand from Israel, with pure fruit, green notes, with hints of guava, lovely green apple, tarragon, lemongrass, all wrapped in a great mouthfeel. The finish is long and well balanced with lovely peach and hints of nectarines! Bravo!

Bat Shlomo Sauvignon Blanc – Score: B
Lovely nose of straw, sweet fruit, sweet quince, apple, pear, and candied grapefruit. The mouth is nice enough, no real punch, OK, with some focus, but mostly round and ripe. The finish is long and nice fruit pith, with slate, and hints of saline.

2016 Ella Valley Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A-
Lovely nose of gooseberry and pure grapefruit, cat piss, with earth and slate. Lovely mouthfeel, with peach and apricot, showing crazy mouth drying acid, a lovely shot of grapefruit that fills out the round mouth, with peach, and tart green apple. The finish is long and crazy acidic, with intensely tart fruit, lovely tart citrus, lemonella, with mad slate, lemongrass, and another large dollop of gooseberry on the long citrus/acid driven fruit finish. Bravo!!!

2015 Covenant Sauvignon Blanc, Red C – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is very slow to open, it starts closed and shows sour apple, grapefruit, and spice, with time it opens to show gooseberry, cat piss, and guava. Nice round mouth, with great saline, flint, mineral, showing tart fruit, refreshing with good acid, sour peach, almost candied citrus, good mouthfeel and lovely focus. The finish is long, extra tart, ripe citrus, lemon Fraiche, with nice menthol notes, and good cloves on the finish. Overall, a very lean and mineral driven Sauvignon Blanc, that while it may have some of New Zealand’s characteristic notes, it is not tropical in that sense at all.

2016 Covenant Red C Sauvignon Blanc – Score: B+
This is more ripe than the 2015 vintage, with ripe guava, pineapple, very tropical, with floral notes, honeysuckle, honeyed notes, with a mild oak perfume. What a let down from after the incredible 2015 vintage, though it does show nice acid, rich orange marmalade, with an ok focus, nowhere near the complexity of 2015, with a nice round mouth showing less complexity and more fruit. The finish is long with good salinity and spice.

2016 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (mevushal)
The nose on this wine shows lovely Sauvignon Blanc style aromas of lovely grass, lemongrass, with mad gooseberry, cat piss, showing controlled tropical notes of guava, with green notes, and crazy bright fruit. The mouth on this wine is far better than its 2015 vintage, showing classic notes, with ripping acid, great tart fruit, showing lovely grapefruit, nectarines, and citrus galore. The finish is long and green, with tart fruit, and backed by mineral and good fruit pith. Bravo!

2016 O’dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (mevushal) (QPR)
In my humble opinion, this is the best Sauvignon Blanc of 2016 so far, though the 2016 SB from Ella Valley is a close second. Wow! What a fun, bright, not crazy tropical redolent nose, with lime, Meyer lemon, lovely grass, straw, cat pee, with lemongrass, and herb. The mouth is a crazy, mouth puckering joy, showing insane acid, with a good fruit focus, nice floral notes, lemon blossom, with great gooseberry, hints of honeysuckle, ripe grapefruit, lovely citrus, and nice mineral. The finish is long and tart, good acid, epic fruit pith, with crazy lime, saline, and tart tropical in the background. Nice!! Drink by the end of 2017.

2016 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc – A- (tasted a week earlier)
To be fair this time, tasted a new bottle it was quite nice! the nose is pure gooseberry, with lovely lemon, grapefruit, with cat’s pee in the background, nice straw, and good summer fruit. The mouth is lovely, but while it has great acid, I wish it had a drop more, still, the lemon drop fruit core is lovely, with pineapple, nectarine, and Orangina, all wrapped in nice fruit pith, saline, and good lingering citrus. Bravo!

2016 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc, Adama – Score: B+ to A-
Sadly, the 2016 Tabor is nicer than the 2015 vintage, but not by much. This wine is nice, but too sweet and tropical for my needs, with good fruit, cat pee, nice citrus, gooseberry, but not as green as the Odwyer’s either. Fun mouth, nice, but lacking the complexity of O’dwyers, or it green notes, with lots of ripe fruit, but the grapefruit, guava, and passion fruit are nice, pineapple, and tropical notes. The finish is nice, with lovely acid, citrus pith, and rind that linger.

2016 Binyamina Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve (mevushal) – Score: B
The nose is far from varietally correct, with a nose more akin to a sweet Gewurztraminer, with sweet notes of guava, pineapple, cherry blossom, and sweet peach notes. The mouth is flat, sweet, and unbalanced. So, sad, I had hopes for another decent mevushal SB, this is not it!

2014 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Fume, Reserve – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
This wine is another smash hit from Goose Bay Winery (really Spencer Hill Wine) and Phil Jones. This wine was aged for 8 months in French oak. The nose is really fun on this lovely wine, showing a clear presence of the French oak, with lovely caramel, sweet oak, lovely smoke, but not overpowering the lovely Sauvignon Blanc that lies beneath it, with green notes, herb, lemongrass, with great grass and lovely gooseberry and guava. The mouth is medium-bodied with great spice, backed with great acid as well, with nectarines, honeysuckle, Clementine fruit, along with intense lemon, and lovely slate. The finish is long and tart, with saline, mineral, spice, and more tart fruit. Bravo!

2015 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
While this is not the classic dry notes of a sauvignon blanc, it is a very nice, slightly sweeter nose, with sweet and tart fruit nose of peach, gooseberry, honey, cucumber, onion, and cat pee. The mouth is super rich and tart, with great acid, crazy honeysuckle, honeyed notes of guava and lemongrass, nice yellow grapefruit, lovely lemon, with a rich layer of concentration and spice, with fun tart summer fruit. The finish is long and lingering with sweet and tart fruit, lemon creme, and lovely tart fruit lingering. Bravo!

2016 Dalton Fume Blanc – Score: B+ to A-
The nose is nice, not as elegant as the Goose Bay, but very nice with sweet oak, smoke, caramel, with green notes, good gooseberry, grapefruit, and herb. The mouth is medium-bodied and well structured with good mouthfeel, ok fruit focus, with nice acid, great oak influence showing with serious guava, sweet fruit, and green notes. The finish is lovely, showing great saline, orange notes, with mineral, slate, and great pith that lingers forever, with more tart summer fruit. Bravo!

2016 Dalton Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve – Score: A-
This nose is nice, with a bit more elegance than the Fume Blanc from Dalton, but also showing sweeter notes, with gooseberry for sure, but backed by more ripe peach than guava, with lemongrass, and herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice, with crazy acid, intense fruit focus, with great mouth filling acid, nice summer fruit of peach, pear, and a bit of guava, with good green notes. The finish is long and richly citrus based, with nice fruit pith, impressive saline, slate, rock, and passion fruit lingering long. Bravo!

2016 Galil Sauvignon Blanc: – Score: B+
Nice peach, apricot, with pineapple. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a huge letdown after the first one, but balanced with lots of fruit, ok overall wine, without complexity or control, nice saline, and mineral, showing nectarines, orange, and grapefruit, with mounds of pith and tart fruit lingering long.

Miscellaneous Varietals:

2016 Kaye Muscat Canelli – Score: B+ to A-
This is fun, a really lovely nose, with white pepper, hints of funk, with good sweet notes, mounds of crazy honeysuckle, honey, showing pineapple, mango, and nice grapefruit, and lemon sorbet. The mouth on this medium bodied is where things go slightly off course, this wine is not as dry as I had hoped, with good acidity, but too much sweet notes, with good balance, showing more of crazy floral jasmine notes, with blossom as well, giving way to sweet citrus, and tropical fruit. The finish is long and tart, crazy acid, with slate, rich sweet notes, and tart fruit. This is more of a very good dessert wine to me than a “dry wine”, but a fun one either way.

2015 Shirah Furmint – Score: A- (QPR)
This too needs a good two hours of air. This wine is more intoxicating than the MR/SR, with intense straw, dry grass, with dry apple/pear compote, peach, honeyed notes, honeysuckle, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied is ripping acid, with great honeysuckle, peach, almost apricot in nature, with great spices, cinnamon, crazy rich mineral, tart fruit, dry grass, and impressive straw. The finish is long and layered with hints of oak, almonds, and nice tea. This is very akin to the Dalton Semillon in some ways and in many ways much drier. BRAVO!!

Viognier:

2016 Dalton Viognier, Reserve – Score: A- (QPR)
The nose is classic Viognier, with peach, oak, showing good apricot, sweet rose hips, and a perfume of honeysuckle, and orange blossom. The mouth is medium bodied, with a nice almost oily mouthfeel, showing nice weight, with good notes of summer fruit, with just enough acid, wish there was more, with lovely pear and nectarines. The finish is long and balanced with good enough acid, lovely mineral, slate, and more floral notes balanced well with honeyed notes and earth. nice!

2014 Galil Viognier – Score: B to B+
Interesting oaky nose, with mounds of vanilla, chamomile, pear, and loads of spice. The mouth is crazy sweet yet balanced with ripe peach and crazy mounds of oak, really interesting, but the real winner is the mouthfeel and crazy oily structure, that is really fun. The finish is long and yet it is now showing its clear oxidation, drink up.

2016 Yaffo Viognier – Score: B+
Lovely nose with crazy acid and rich peach and apricot, with good orange blossom and rose hip. Nice acid core with good focus, but lacking complexity, still very nice with good citrus and grapefruit, followed by slate and lemon peel.

2016 Psagot Viognier – Score: A- (QPR)
What a beautiful nose, redolent and perfumed with ripe peach, honeysuckle, honeycomb, rooibos tea, and nice restraint, with velvety notes. Wow, bravo, what a joy, with a complex mouthfeel of light oil, impressive acid, almost mouth puckering, with epic control, showing lovely finesse, backed by great spices, lovely straw, almost heady with cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, slate, saline, with lovely fruit pith and attack. The finish is long and spicy, with crazy lingering Mediterranean spices – BRAVO!!!

2016 Covenant Israel Viognier, Blue C – Score: A-
This wine is made from fruit sourced from Manara. There are some 250 cases made. The nose on this wine is lovely and perfumed, with classic peach and apricot, rich honey notes, with blossom and orange, lovely. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fun, a complex fruity but well-balanced wine, it shows great focus, ripping acid, tart fruit, grapefruit galore, with cloves and straw. The finish is long and tart, with juicy lemon curd and melon. Bravo!

2016 Kishor Viognier – Score: A- (QPR)
Lovely peach perfume with sweet oak, orange blossom, with great spice, and herb. Wow, what a mouth, ripping acid, with great apricot, peach, and lovely fruit, but perfectly balanced with a crazy acid core, great herb, the lovely fruit pith of orange and nectarines, with spice, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bravo!

2014 Yatir Viognier – Score: A-
Lovely nose with lots of minerals, herb, along with mounds of floral notes, intense honeysuckle, orange blossom, with dirt, and good citrus. The mouth is impressive, with good focus, nice acid, mounds of peaches, with apricot, showing really nice mineral, saline, slate, with some dried quince, apple pie, all balanced with acid, lovely citrus, herb, and mineral. The finish is really long and well balanced, with good acid, butterscotch, vanilla, and spice showing up on the long finish. Nice!

Roussanne:

Sadly, I am missing the obvious 2016 Tabor Roussanne. I have notes for the 2015 vintage, but that is out of stock and losing steam.

2016 Covenant Mensch – Score: B to B+ (mevushal)
This lovely Roussanne is solid, with straw, floral notes of rose, with green apple, and lovely earth. The mouth on this wine is nice, round, with a bit too much fruit, showing lovely sweet fruit, and nice solid spice. The wine is not very complex, it is a simple tasting wine, that is round and pleasing with food.

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 Netofa Tel Qasser, Roussanne – Score: NA (yet!)
I cannot score this wine as I tasted it from the barrel – but this is a great wine that I want to re-taste from bottle and one that many people that I trust have said it is a very lovely wine still. My notes from barrel follow:
Lovely nose of smoke, flint, with crazy straw and hay, followed by sweet spices, cinnamon, and dried peach, pecan, and walnut. The mouth is young still, with crazy dried peach, grapefruit, with intense brioche and pecan pie with crazy violets and earth and intense spice. The finish is long and lingers incredibly long, with rich honeyed notes of sweet oak, with peach cobbler and sweet white fruit, wrapped in blossoms and herbs. BRAVO!

Riesling:

Based on our epic Riesling tasting – I strongly believe that a very nice option right now is the 2014 Hagafen dry Riesling. The 2014 Nik Weiss, Gefen Hashalom (not available anymore) is right behind it, but the current winner hands down, is the 2014 Carmel Riesling – it is crazy! Maybe the best 2014 white out of Israel – and that is saying a LOT!

Alsace Wines

2014 Koenig Riesling – Score: B+
This wine goes for 5 Euro in Europe and goes for 3x that here in the USA! Another example of price escalation for reasons that I do not understand. This wine nose has opened up more since the last two times I had it, with nice honeyed notes followed by floral aromas, slate, and sweet notes. The mouth on this wine is refreshing and that is what matters, Sadly the acid is almost gone, with good weight from the residual sugar, gooseberry, mad citrus, candied grapefruit, with some sugar making an appearance. DRINK UP!!!

2012 Abarbanel Riesling, Estate Bottled – Score: B+ at best
A lovely wine, it was originally very surprising with great acid and elegance. The nose is classic with petrol and good spice. The mouth is weighty, with honeysuckle, peach, honey notes, followed by good fruit focus, elegance, and fruit pith. Sadly, this has slipped hard recently. Drink UP!

2015 Abarbanel Riesling, Lemminade, old vines – Score: B+
The nose is lovely and funky, with good petrol, peach, apricot, with lovely green tea, and honeysuckle, that is backed by funk and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice, but it lacks the ripping acid I crave in Riesling, yes it has barely enough acid, is almost balanced with good smoke, great mineral, earth, slate, and garrigue, followed by Asian pear, and more floral notes. The finish is long and green, with jasmine, and earth, followed by graphite is nice.

Israeli Wines

2014 Tabor Riesling, Shahar, Adama II – Score: A- (QPR) Sold only in Israel
The nose on this wine shows lovely petrol, with bone dry tart fruit, straw, honeysuckle, guava, pink grapefruit, and pineapple. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and textured with great gooseberry, yellow grapefruit, intense citrus, lovely melon, honeydew, and nice warm spices. The finish is long with crazy acid, herb, bitter notes, intense tart fruit, floral notes, slate, almond pith, and acid linger long. BRAVO! This wine is only getting better with age!

2015 Tabor Riesling, Shahar, Adama II – Score: A- (QPR) (Shmita) Sold only in Israel
This wine is more fun, in some ways than the 2014 vintage. It is more steely, leaner, with far drier and less tropical fruit, which was really fun to taste side-by-side the 2014 vintage. This is a lovely wine showing a very earthy side, with flint, rich fruit, petrol, crazy dry peach, with a soap/lavender aroma. The mouth is rich, layered, funky, richer than the 14, rich and yet really bright and showing great fruit pith with great lovely acid, followed by bright summer fruits, no tropical fruit, with lovely Meyer lemon, orange and tangerine pith, and citrus galore. Really nice, floral and funky. Bravo!

2012 Carmel Riesling, Kayoumi Vineyards – Score: A- (QPR)
Nice nose on this lovely wine, super floral, with great bright fruit, showing petrol, less honey than in the past, with violet, rich herb, citrus, and earth. The mouth is lovely and mineral driven, with crazy acid, really nice saline, great funk, with lovely peach, rich apricot, great chemical notes, quince, and grapefruit. The finish is rich and fruit structure driven, showing beautifully, with acid, fruit pith, great citrus, nice slate/rock, and rich summer fruits. This wine is a more lean Riesling than the 2013 or the 2014 vintages.

2013 Carmel Riesling, Single Vineyard, Kayoumi – Score: A- (QPR) (NOT part of tasting)
The nose on this lovely wine is crazy, with petrol, rich notes of honeysuckle, dried green tea, and fresh cut straw. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is ripping with intense acid, lovely yellow grapefruit, lemon, tart green apple, sweet melon, pear, that flows into crazy mineral, pineapple, spice, and garrigue. The finish is long and spicy with tart fruit, slate, and hints of bitter almonds. (This wine is posted here as a reference only).

2014 Carmel Riesling, Kayoumi – Score: A-
This wine screams Alsace – CRAZY!! The nose is crazy, pure funk, petrol, flint, mineral, WOW! Cannot find much fruit on the nose to start but with time peach shows, but who cares! Sadly, this bottle was tainted with some sort of reduction or Sulfur, it is not clear what the issue was, to be honest, it smelled like actual “trash can”. The mouth on this full bodied wine is insane! Layered and complex with rich acidity, dried fruit, dried apple, lychee, floral notes abound, with rich elegance, followed by nectarines, orange, orange zest, bravo! The finish goes on forever, and I mean not stopping with crazy petrol and floral notes lasting all along – WOW!!! This wine was clearly off to start, but with time it came around and was very close to its old self, sadly the reduction lingered in ways.

California Wines

2014 Hagafen White Riesling Dry, Rancho Wieruszowski – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
This wine is crazy good, many thought it was better than the Nik Weis, and many days later, I enjoyed them side by side, and I would agree, this wine is going to be fun to keep around to taste with the Nik for years to come.
It is another hit for this lovely bone-dry Riesling. Ernie has been making them every two years now, starting with the inaugural 2012 vintage.
The nose on this lovely wine has stopped being all about tropical notes and much more about the insane petrol, mineral, and intense saline, with lovely floral notes, that gives way to ripe melon, guava, peach, and apricot. The mouth on this medium plus body wine has a nice almost viscous, but clearly mouth filling mouthfeel, that is now showing surprisingly oily in nature, it is not as viscous as in the past, with intense acidity, honeyed notes, grapefruit, citrus, along with great tart fruit. The finish is long and refreshing, crisp and intense, with nice mineral, slate, and spice that lingers long, with the honey/petrol/citrus/honeysuckle lingering for almost ever! BRAVO!

2016 Hagafen White Riesling Dry, Rancho Wieruszowski – Score: A- (QPR) (mevushal)
In so many ways this wine reminds me of 2014 in its infancy, though it lacks the intense mineral that was already present in the 2014’s adolescence. Still, the wine does have a lot going for it.

The nose on this wine is richly tropical, showing a nose of intense guava, passion fruit, with hints of petrol starting to emerge, with peach and apricot and ripe pineapple. The mouth is beautiful with sweet fruit, intense funk, and insane honeysuckle, floral notes abound, with great acid, intense honeyed notes of sweet fruit, ripe citrus, nectarines, and ripe fruit, earth and hay/straw, lovely. The finish is long with more funk, mineral, with sweet and crazy tart fruit and rich acid, crisp, refreshing, and downright enjoyable/fun wine. Look for more petrol to emerge with time, and for the tropical notes to subside as well. Bravo! Once more Mr. Weir has done an impeccable job.

German Wine

2014 Nik Weis Riesling, Selection Gefen Hashalom – Score: A- (QPR)
What a wine! This is the first kosher “dry” German Riesling from Mosel that I know about and it is a major hit. This is old world, with a great sweet body. The nose on this wine is insane, showing intense orange blossom, intense flint and smoke, followed by peach, honeysuckle, lovely green apple, and honeyed notes, with a bit of time the incredible petrol comes through beautifully. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is in your face from the get-go, with impressive floral notes, wrapped in an incredibly oily texture, followed by orange, nectarines, impressive mineral, saline galore, sweet notes, with guava, kumquat, mad ripe and racy grapefruit, and pineapple. The finish is long and really well balanced with ripping acid, great flint and sweet spices on the long and lingering finish. BRAVO!!! Drink now till 2023. I really want to watch this age.

2015 Nik Weis Riesling, Wiltinger, Gefen Hashalom – Score: A-
WARNING! This wine needs time, LOTS of it, please do NOT jump to any conclusion about this wine before you have had it open for at least 6 hours and not overly chilled either., the cold mutes the already non-redolent nose.
At the opening, this wine is a complete letdown, but as stated let this puppy open! Still, to a dry wine freak like me, it is a letdown from the 2014 vintage. So, where is it actually? It is sweet, no way around that, but it is very balanced and well integrated. The 2015 Hagafen 2% Riesling is also sweet, but the acid is more in your face and balanced, but it is also far more tropical, while this wine is not tropical in any way.
What is shocking is that this wine has a 9.5% ABV! While the wine has lots of RS, its fruit and profile are very dry and lean, which makes for an interesting wine, just not sure how interesting it will really be long term. Right now, I would prefer the Hagafen, but this wine has lots of potential, and its lean markings can make a fun wine a few years from now.

The nose on this wine is dry, it is in NO way tropical like the Hagafen and other sweet Rieslings, which is very different than its mouth, the aromas are not redolent, like the 2014 vintage, it shows yellow apple, stone fruit, with flint, honeysuckle flowers, and other floral notes. The mouth takes time to open, but with time it does come around, it shows like a wine with 2% RS or more, showing nice integrated acidity, with crazy honeyed fruit, impressive citrus blossom, with sweet-tart lemon, almost like a limoncello, with peach, apricot, nice mineral, slate, with a viscous mouthfeel from the abundant residual sugar, but a wine that is clean, and really focused.
Now, will this wine appeal to many? I think so. The wine freaks who crave the dry 2014 vintage, will like that better. The people who like sweeter wines will find this wine well balanced and all-around a very enjoyable wine to taste and drink, with a plethora of food combinations, from fish, cheese, Asian and spicy dishes, and roasted fowl or fish. Nice!

Chenin Blanc:

2015 Matar Chenin Blanc – Score: B+ to A- (Shmita)
This wine is far more ripe and less bright than previous vintages. The wine tastes sweet, from the very ripe fruit, but it is indeed dry, and far sweeter than the previous vintages, and even sweeter than a Netofa Chenin Blanc of any vintage.
The nose on this wine is crazy sweet, with honey and honeysuckle, that gives way to intense citrus, with crazy guava, and blossoms. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is sweeter, with less acid than I crave, giving way to honey covered apples, apricot, and hints of sweet quince and pear. Long and sweet finish, with nice acid, saline, good slate, and mineral. Nice!

2016 Domaine Netofa White – Score: A- (Crazy QPR)
Nothing new here, other than the label. The wine continues to impress, throw in the fantastic joy of Chenin Blanc, and the price and we have another winner from Netofa!
Lovely floral nose still closed, but lovely with straw, hay, rich green apple, quince, and lovely bright fruit. What can I say, this medium bodied wine is another acid home run, showing lovely bright and fresh fruit, that gives way to a great acid core, with mineral, mad citrus, grapefruit, with lovely dried white currant, herb, and more floral notes. The finish is a long and fruity acid trip, with rich mineral, followed by lovely lemon curd, more citrus, with bright fruit. Bravo!

2016 Dalton Chenin Blanc – Score: B+ to A-
This wine is strange, it is nice an hour after opening but 4 hours later, the acid runs away, be careful about how long it is open. This is a wine to open, enjoy after an hour and drink up within three hours max. Essentially, not a wine for most people, as most people do not have the time of day to work out the idiosyncrasy of this wine. IMHO, there are better options out there.
A lovely nose of yellow apple, quince, ripe lime, pear, orange blossom, and straw. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows nice weight, with baked apple, honeydew melon, orange, and hints of nectarine pie, with nice sweet notes but good control, with enough acid to make it work, wish it had more. The finish truly opens and lengthens with air, with ripe summer fruit, great spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, followed by more flowers, and mineral. Nice!

Pinot Gris:

2016 Dalton Pinot Gris – Score: A- (QPR)
Nice nose of kiwi, green apple, nice pear, lovely floral notes, not overly tropical at all, and lovely flint, smoke, and rock. The mouth on the medium bodied wine is tart with lovely acid, ripping mineral, saline notes, pineapple, insanely intense grapefruit, lemon Fraiche, and quince fruit. The finish is long and smokey with more lovely saline, nice mineral, floral notes, slight lemon pith, and crushed herb. Bravo!!!

(NV) 2015 Goose Bay Pinot Grigio – Score: B to B+
The label on this wine does not have a vintage, but it is the current 2016 Pinot Gris. Lovely Sauvignon Blanc nose, with ripping mineral, saline, grapefruit, gooseberry, cats pee, with lovely floral blossom as well. The mouth on this wine is nice but a let down after tasting the Dalton Pinot Gris, and there seem to be residual sugar notes on this wine as well. Sad, I had high hopes for the wine, it is more off-dry than dry, and though it has some acid, not nearly enough to contend with the sweet notes. The finish is short. Drink NOW!

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 Yarden Pinot Gris – Score: A- (QPR) (in Israel only I think)
This is the second vintage for Yarden of this new variety, and it keeps getting better. The nose on this lovely wine is clean and precise, showing epic gooseberry, tangerine, and spice. What a wine, Bravo, impressed, with crazy acid, great focus, showing guava, crazy pink grapefruit, lime, cat piss, and impressive spice with slate galore and spice that goes on forever. Bravo!

Advertisements

Posted on August 24, 2017, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Sparkling Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: