Tzora Vineyards Winery latest release – April 2019

My posts on the wines and wineries I visited in Israel for Passover 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. Even before I got to Israel I was texting with Eran Pick, the head winemaker, and General Manager of Tzora Vineyards Winery. Once again, Avi Davidowitz, of KosherWineUnfiltered, joined me on Monday, and I really have to thank Mr. Pick for allowing us to come while work was being done in the cellar.

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 well balanced new-world style wines, while Israeli wineries continue to create fruit-forward crazed wines that lack balance and something to call their own.

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, 2017 red and the 2018 whites, as well. 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

The tasting consisted of the current 2018 whites, the 2017 reds, along with a brand new 2017 Shoresh, red, and a tasting of 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:

 

2018 Tzora Judean Hills, White – Score: 91
This wine is a blend of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose on this wine is vanilla driven, with toast, apple and pear, and nice fresh fruit flavors. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely, slightly round, but with be piercing acidity, with a great backbone of mineral, followed lovely fruit structure, with great Asian pear, lovely slate, grapefruit, and rich salinity and precision. Bravo!! Drink until 2021.

2018 Tzora Shoresh, White – Score: 91 to 92
90 sb, 10 chard. The nose on this wine has no cat pee, with lovely gooseberry, grapefruit, citrus, apple, and pear. The mouth on this wine medium bodied is beautiful, elegant, plush, with the nose fruit, followed by screaming acid, mineral, slate, straw, with loam, showing lemongrass, and lemon Fraiche, with nice spice and slate. The finish is long and green, with passion fruit and tart fruit lingering long with mineral and green notes, with gooseberry and grapefruit lingering long. Drink until 2023.

2017 Tzora Judean Hills, Red – Score: 89
This wine is a blend of 25% Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. The nose on this wine shows ripe blueberry, ripe black and red fruit, with loam and earth, with cherry, and dark chocolate. The mouth on this medium plus wine is ripe, with nice balance, showing nice cherry, dark blackberry, ripe forest berry, with rich fruit structure, with roasted animal, sweet Oak, dill, and loads of black currant giving way to hints of blue fruit with a gripping tannin structure. The finish is long and sweet, with green notes, black fruit, ripe, and tobacco with leather and sweet spices. Drink until 2021.

2017 Tzora Shoresh, Red – Score: 91
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot. The nose on this wine is really nice, well balanced, more mineral and earth than fruit, with black and red fruit, crazy roasted animal, ripe fruit but so well balanced with smoke, roasted herb, and less sweet spices. The mouth on this full bodied wine is lovely, really nice, with great fruit structure, with showing incredible precision, and elegance, with blackberry, cherry, earth, loam, mushroom, graphite galore, green note, screaming acid, and really impressive smoke, that is controlled, layered, and elegant, with fruit structure, and really nice forest floor, and crazy mineral. The finish is long, green, foliage, mineral, slate, graphite, and really impressive control, with smoke and mineral, and fruit lingering long. Drink by 2022.

2017 Tzora Or – Score: 90
The last time we had this wine, it was not showing as well. At this tasting, the Gewurztraminer did not show of pineapple, but instead the notes show more about peach and apricot with a great balance of guava, and melon, yellow flowers, honeyed notes. The mouth on this full bodied wine is well balanced, with a crazy sweetness that is tempered well with white chocolate, passion fruit, and rich acidity that gives way to sweet structure and acidity that lingers. The finish is long, tart and richly sweet, with citrus and sweet spices, honeysuckle, blossom, and more honeyed notes. Drink by 2025.

 

Posted on May 12, 2019, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Dessert Wine, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine Tasting, Winery Visit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. yitzchok gottesman

    Hey, I read your email and was wondering, can you try to speak with Doron Rav Hon and see if you can get him to make Sphera Winery kosher?

    Sincerely, Isaac Gottesman

    >

    • Well you never know, for now, that is not an interest, but he has made them in the past, and if/when he wants scale over the personal ability to play with the wines, then maybe we would have kosher Sphera wines.

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