Domaine Netofa Winery’s latest releases and the 1988 Chateau Piada Sauterne

To me, Netofa Winery (or is it Domaine Netofa), is one of the quintessential wineries of Israel! They along with Tzora Winery prove that you can make old world style wines in the new world climate of Israel.

As always, it is a joy and honor to hang with Pierre Miodownick, the winemaker of Netofa’s wines and many wines currently being made in France, under other labels. I have written often about Domaine Netofa Winery, it is a winery I try to visit two times a year, once at the beginning of the year, and then again later in the year.

So what has changed since I was there earlier this year? Well, we have already spoken about the fact that they did not make wines in 2015, the last Shmita year in Israel. So, that meant there were no new wines on the market from them last year, which was probably a blessing given how poorly most of them came out.

However, since then, Domaine Netofa Winery has been very busy. First of all, they added two new varietals (Grenache and Roussanne) and like almost every single winery in Israel, they have changed their labels for the better, IMHO, and they have added an entirely new wine line as well with these new varietals. The Grenache really helped the rose, it allowed the rose to last the entire summer this year, and the rose was really nice! The Roussanne is a fun wine and it allows the winery to add another white wine to its list of winners. The only con is that the prices have been set a bit high for this new wine line, called Tel Qasser, after the name of the hill upon which Domaine Netofa Winery’s vineyards are planted.


We arrived at Pierre’s house and he was very gracious to open all the wines that are for sale now from Domaine Netofa Winery along with a real treat, a bottle of the 1988 Chateau Piada Sauterne!

So – Domaine Netofa Winery now has these labels and wine lines:

  1. Domain Netofa – this is where the original Domaine Netofa Winery wines live, the original Domaine Netofa White from Chenin Blanc grapes. Along with the Domaine Netofa Red, from Syrah, Mourvedre, and the new Grenache – a real GSM! It also has the rose wine that is now made from those same three grapes, the Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre.
  2. Latour Netofa – this is where the red and white original Latour wines live. The Red is still made from Syrah and Mourvedre (but the 2016 vintage may well also be a GSM), oak aged, as is the white which is 100% Chenin Blanc, which is also oak aged. The new change is that the Tinto has been moved into this level as well. The Tinto is a blend of two Spanish grapes – Touriga Nacional and Tempranillo.
  3. Tel Qasser – this is a new wine line altogether and it contains two new wines – the 2016 Tel Qasser red and white. The white is made of 100% oak aged Roussanne (but not barrel fermented – just aged), while the red is made of a blend of Grenache and Syrah, also oak aged.
  4. Dor – Currently it holds the Syrah wine from 2013 but there is talk of more wines coming under this label, in the coming years.

Altogether, there are now 9 dry wines in the Domaine Netofa Winery family. There is the 2013 and now recently released 2016 Dor, which is a 100% Syrah wine, that is on its own line, and you can find notes for the 2013 Dor here. There is also the fantastic Ruby Port and the 2010 LBV. The Ruby will move to non-vintage going forward, the 2012 vintage will be the last ruby to have a vintage. You can find my notes on those port wines here.

On a total aside, but an important one – we have lost a year without Netofa wines in the USA. I do not know the official reason why, there are many speculations, but I asked Pierre the reason, and he said, the wines will be available in the USA in 2018. So, though this kind of business really bugs me, especially for such a QPR and solid winery, the wines will again be in the USA next year, and that is all we can ask for in the end.

Pierre Miodownick

I have written before about what Pierre Miodownick has done for kosher wine and about Netofa Winery. The interesting fact beyond his epic work in creating kosher French wines, for over 30 years now, that we all crave today, is his love for Rhone and Spanish varietals. If you look at the varietals he has in the vineyards, there is no Cab, no Merlot, no Chardonnay. Nope, all he has is, Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache (a new varietal for Netofa), Tempranillo, and Touriga Nacional, along with two whites, Chenin Blanc and the newly added Roussanne.

Both of the newly added varietals (the Roussanne and Grenache) are both Rhone varietals as well. It is yet further proof for me, that the real future of Israel is not Cab, Cab Franc, or merlot, but well managed and early picked Mediterranian varietals. Netofa winery picks their grapes long before most do and the wine shines for it!

1988 Chateau Piada

When the tasting was over Pierre poured this golden elixir out of a beautiful decanter and it was pure heaven, it was the 1988 Chateau Piada. This was Pierre Miodownick’s second Sauterne from the QRP kosher Sauterne superstar – Chateau Piada. I was really excited to taste this wine for a few reasons. First of all, I never had tasted this wine. Second, I never tasted a Sauterne this old, I really wanted to know if a kosher Sauterne can hold out this long. Lastly, come on this is a 29-year-old wine!

Sadly, the wine was slightly corked, and the cork itself almost disintegrated, but in the end, the wine was very impressive indeed, and the main thing I got out of this is that kosher wine can last 29 years if it is a Sauterne!

Bravo to you Pierre Miodownick! The wine was lovely and I am always in awe of the groundbreaking work you and your team did to bring kosher French wine to the masses before they even knew they wanted it!

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

2016 Domaine Netofa Rose – Score: A- (Great QPR)
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre. Yes, this is the new Grenache that came online this year, and I really hope it helps the Rose last longer. This rose has held up and was one of the best roses this year!
The nose on this lovely Gris wine, s redolent with strawberry, crazy raspberry, peach, apricot, showing crazy bright notes, lovely floral notes, spice, with lavender, smoke, rose and flint. Wow, what a joy of a mouth, the medium-bodied wine is popping with acid, with rich dried aromas, lovely currants, tart summer fruits, showing dried lychee, gooseberry that goes on and on, with pink grapefruit, and lovely tart juicy fruit. The finish is long and crazy tart, with rich flint and chalk. Lovely fruit pith. Bravo!!! (Available only in Israel)

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 homerun, 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! Drink by 2020. (Available only in Israel, for now anyway) 

2016 Domaine Netofa Latour, White – Score: A-
Like always, this wine is fermented in steel and then aged 10 months in French oak. As always, this wine is a real joy and it is a wine that is not brought into the USA because the kosher market cannot appreciate this kind of wine! Drives me nuts!
The nose on this lovely wine shows great control with great minerality and pear with lovely smoke and sweet oak with straw and melon. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is lovely,  almost extracted, with rich spice, cinnamon, with baking spices, nutmeg, with rich lemon and lovely earth that gives way to green apple dried citrus, and lovely spices. The finish is dry and crazy mineral with spices and lively acidity. Straw, slate, floral notes all come together with dry grass and smoke. Bravo! Drink by 2022.

2016 Domain Netofa Tel Qasser, White – Score: A-
This wine is 100% Roussanne that was fermented in steel and then aged 10 months in French oak. The wine has changed since we tasted it from the barrel. The nose on this wine is lovely with impressive funk,
Lovely funky nose with smoke, walnuts, pine nuts, with mad straw, dry mineral, and lovely with dried pear, and dried yellow apple. The mouth is lovely, rich and layered and crazy fun with layers of yellow plum, lovely white peach, rich acidity, with dried and roasted herbs, showing lemongrass, with dried and Smokey notes, earth, and lovely spice, with dry preserved lemon, orange zest, and lovely sweet baking spices. Drink by 2022.

2016 Domaine Netofa Red – Score: A-
This wine is a new blend with the added Grenache, is made up of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre, a real GSM! This wine is riper than previous vintages, but still well controlled, with lovely blue and black fruit, showing plum, earth, and herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fuller and richer than previous vintages, showing with plum, blackberry, raspberry, and dried blueberry, with mineral, lovely graphite, with hints of chocolate and sweet fruit that gives way to slate and dried fruit. The finish is long and earthy with dry blackberry and black tea. Nice! Drink by 2021.

2014 Domaine Netofa Latour red – Score: A- to A
This wine is lovely and truly another proof that old world wines can be produced in Israel! The nose on this wine is truly impressive, showing crazy mineral, with great spice and herb, rich tar, boysenberry, blackberry, currant, with great herb and roasted animal. What a mouth of layers of concentrated but controlled, with classic currant and blue fruit, but great control and balance, with sweet spices, showing mouth coating and draping tannin that gives way to blueberry and raspberry, but mineral galore with strawberry in the background. The finish is long and juicy tart with great control, smoke, coffee, and spice. Drink by 2023.

2016 Domain Netofa Tel Qasser, Red – Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. This is second new wine for the new Tel Qasser line. The nose is lovely and intoxicating, with great spice, intense minerality, smoke and spice that gives way to graphite and garrigue that is green and red at the same time, along with lavender, and violet. The mouth on this lovely medium bodied wine is rich and layered with nice balancing acidity and mineral, scraping graphite, rich blueberry that is wrapped in rich plum and blackberry and lovely sweet spices. The finish is long with lovely rich leather, heather, and spices that are sweet but dry and black tea lingers long. Bravo!! Drink by 2022.

2014 Domaine Netofa Tinto – Score: A-
The wine is a Portugal dry blend, made of Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional. The nose on this lovely wine is really intense with a perfect blend of dark black and blue fruit, along with loamy dirt, smoke, and candied fig, and blueberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a bit more like the 2012 vintage than the epic 2013. The mouth starts with a hint of that ribbon of bitter graphite, followed by blackberry, blackcurrant, more blue notes, sweet dill, garrigue, root beer, lovely stone fruit, and mouth coating tannin. The finish is long and dirty, with nice tar, charcoal, coffee, saline, and mineral. Lovely! Drink by 2020.

2016 Domaine Netofa Tinto – Score: A-
The wine is a Portugal dry blend, made of Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional. The nose on this lovely wine is really intense with a perfect blend of dark black and blue fruit, along with loamy dirt, smoke, great coffee and roasted animal. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a far less astringent than previous vintages, something that should make some of you happy (though I love that bitterness IMHO), with lovely ribbons of bitter graphite, followed by blackberry, boysenberry, sweet dill, garrigue, root beer, and mouth coating tannin. The finish is long and dirty, with nice tar, charcoal, coffee, and mineral. Lovely! Drink by 2021.

1988 Chateau Piada – Score: A-
This was the second ever Piada that was made kosher, the first one was in 1987. The wine was slightly corked and the nose was affected by it, the color was unaffected, deep honey colored gold, with green circles, beautiful. The nose had clear cork taint with rich guava, ripe candied peach, honeysuckle, and not much more because of the taint. The mouth on this full bodied orange joy was sheer happiness in a glass, showing rich orange marmalade, sweetly candied nectarines, wrapped in sugared almond paste, hints of white truffles, and amazing botrytized honeyed toasted brioche, honeyed stone fruit, and crazy searing acidity that brings the whole package together, with the botrytis funk taking center stage and the honeyed notes, honeysuckle and spice closing the deal. The finish is super long and sweet, not cloying in any way, viscous, rich, layered and truly a joy! Bravo!! Mind blowing that we can have kosher 29-year-old Sauterne!


Posted on October 21, 2017, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher French Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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