Tzora Vineyards Winery latest release – November 2018

My posts on the wines and wineries I visited in Israel continue with my visit to Tzora Vineyards Winery. I have posted many times about Tzora Vineyards and as always I am impressed by the winery, it continues to push back against the tide of date juice. When I got to Israel I made it my business to get to the winery and drove poor Eran Pick nuts. He and the winery were so kind as to make time for us on a short Friday, and I really wanted to thank them for that.

Judean Hills Quartet

I have already posted here about my appreciation for the Judean Hills quartet, I think what they are doing is great and is the correct way to go after the gaping sinkhole in what some would call Israeli wine education. They happen to also be some of the best wineries in Israel, which is a blessing. Who would want Yarden pushing their date juice and declaring this is the future of Israel’s wine revolution?? Instead, you have wineries like Domaine du Castel WineryFlam Winery, and Tzora Vineyards, along with a winery I wish I could enjoy, though sadly it is not kosher – Sphera Winery – run by Doron Rav Hon, who made some of the best Chardonnays and Pinot Noir in Israel when he was in Ella Valley – those were great days!!

Tzora Vineyards Winery

Of course, you all know my great affinity for all things Tzora Vineyards! It is clearly one of the top 3 wineries in Israel and one that continues to focus on old-world style wines in the new world and fruit forward crazed wineries of the Holyland.

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 love that the winery is defined by its vineyards both in name, Tzora Vineyards and in reality! 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 newly bottled Misty Hills and the 2016 reds and the 2017 whites, as well. Sadly, Mr. Pick was busy elsewhere but the winery made time for us, and it was a real treat as always. Once again, the winery put out these incredibly fragile and lovely wine glasses, from Zalto – just to make sure we were on our toes during the tasting and very careful!

The wines continue to be imported by Skurnik Wines, who has been importing Tzora wines for many years now, and they have all of these wines in NYC, even the shmita wines! I continue to buy from NYC, either kosherwine.com or Gary at Taste Co – email him at info@tastewineco.com or call at (212) 461-1708, even though Skurnik has set up a west coast operation.

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 a dessert wine called Or. Finally, there is the flagship wine – Misty Hills.

Tasting

We were a large group that descended upon the winery, AO, JK, OM, AD, and myself. We had the chance to taste through the current wines.

The tasting consisted of the current 2017 whites, the 2016 reds, along with a brand new 2017 Judean Hills, red, and the now bottled 2016 Misty Hills, and the 2017 Or dessert wine.

My thanks to Mr. Eran Pick and the winery for a wonderful tasting. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2017 Tzora Judean Hills, White – Score: 91 to 92
This wine is a blend of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is lovely, definitely one of my top white wines of 2017. The nose on this wine starts with rich vanilla that gives way to sweet green Apple, lovely grapefruit with bright fruit and classic cleanliness. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has great acid with Asian pear, rich lemongrass, and a great tart freshness. The finish is long and bright, with great tart fruit, lovely slate, and mineral. Drink by 2019.

2017 Tzora Shoresh White – Score: 89 to 90
This wine is a blend of 75 % Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Chardonnay. Yes, this is the first year that Eran put Chardonnay into the Shoresh.
The nose on this wine is classic, with lovely floral notes, fresh tart gooseberry. followed by wet grass, and rich mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is more weighty by the added Chardonnay, showing apple and pear that kills off the sauvignon blanc joy, it has nice acid, but lacking a bit of the sauvignon blanc happiness, with rich saline and spice. The finish is long and green, with slate, rock, and straw, and hints of creme brulee. Drink by 2021.

2016 Tzora Judean Hills, red – Score: 87
This wine is a blend of 45% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Petit Verdot. This is a wine I like to smell, showing dark fruit, pomegranate, and dark plum, with green notes, and loads of fruit. Sadly, the mouth is round, really pushed, with fruit focus showing the clear effects of the Syrah and Petit Verdot, with blackberry, cassis, ripe boysenberry, and nice spice with cinnamon and chocolate. The finish is long with green notes with tobacco and mineral with menthol. Drink soon.

2017 Tzora Judean Hills, red – Score: 89
This wine is a blend Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. The nose on this wine is ripe, but less than 2016, with ripe juicy blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry, and green notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe and round with raspberry and plum but balanced with better acid than 2016, showing a nice mouth with draping tannin, with sweet notes of red forest berry, cranberry, pomegranate, with dark brooding fruit and dark chocolate. The finish is long and green, nice acid and spice. Nice! Drink by 2022.

2016 Tzora Shoresh, red – Score: 89
This wine is a blend of 48% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Petit Verdot.
Lovely nose of ripe fruit, with blackberry, blue fruit, and spices galore, with dark fruit and rich mineral. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows ripe fruit, with blackberry, blueberry, and rich herb, and nice ripe fruit with nice mouth coating tannin and rich mineral, with dark fruit and dark chocolate, with blue fruit and tannin lingering. The finish is long and green, and blue, with leather, pipe tobacco, and sweet spices. Drink until 2020.

2016 Tzora Misty Hills – Score: 90
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Syrah. The nose is lovely and elegant, with rich fruit, showing black and red fruit with chocolate and herb. The mouth is ripe and full-bodied and yes very Israeli, with ripe blackberry, blueberry, and searing tannin that gives way to dark brooding fruit, and dark chocolate. The finish is long and dark and ripe, with graphite, leather and rich tobacco. Drink until 2023.

2017 Tzora Or – Score: 89 to 90
The nose on this rich and sweet wine shows lovely tropical fruit, with pineapple, guava, lychee, and rich fruit. The mouth on this wine is ripe and layered with the guava taking the front stage, with some acidity and richness that exudes from all directions, with more tropical notes, like banana, pineapple, and rich sweetness. The finish is long and sweet. Drink until 2024.

Posted on December 11, 2018, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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