The 2019 Kosher rose season is open but I am underwhelmed at best

It is not yet summer and here in NorCal, it feels more like winter with these strange May storms with thunder and hail. Sorry, but in NorCal, we do not get thunder, it is very strange indeed! Anyway, enough with my meteorologist fanboy moment, the weather was not conducive for my last tasting here in San Jose with a group of folks, but Rose was on the docket so rose it was.

Rose wine in the non-kosher market is exploding – especially Rose wine from Provence; a wine region of France. Sadly, in the kosher wine market – that is not quite the case. I did not stress my previous statement with a suffix of AT ALL, even though I am not allowed to open a bottle of rose on my Shabbos table with guests – why? Well, that is simple – no one will drink it!!

Even worse, is that wine manufacturers may well have jumped the shark! There will be some 60+ kosher roses available in the USA this year! That may not sound like a lot, but when all you had was Herzog White Zinfandel 10 years ago – it is insane. The first high-end rose was Castel’s 2009 rose and that was only 10 years ago. Back then, there were few to no real Rose wine options, other than a handful of Israeli wines and almost no French Rose made it here. Now we will have tons of Rose, and I really think the real question here is will people drink it all?

Also, I want to bring up a topic I rarely talk about – price! Yeah, I hear you, Avi Davidowitz, of KosherWineUnfiltered, please quiet down, gloating does not suit you – (smiley face inserted here). The prices of Rose wines have gotten out of control. QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) has become nonexistent, essentially here in the USA, for the kosher rose market. Finally, I am sorry, but I really feel that wineries were either horribly hampered in some way with the 2018 rose vintage, or honestly, they just threw in the towel, The 2018 vintage is the worst one in the last 10 years. We have hit Peak Rose, we really have. Peak X is when X becomes so default within the construct of our lives, and the quality and quantity of X peaks. Clearly, calling peak kosher rose is a subjective call, but look around. The roses of 2018 feel commodity at best, they feel rushed, no real care, rhyme, or reason. They feel like we have peaked. They are nowhere near 2017, and 2017 was nowhere near 2016, and so on. I am sure next year may be another peak rose, and to be honest, many have called for Peak Oil and Peak TV, so maybe I am just projecting what I see around me, but this year’s crop of roses feel half-hearted pure cash cows, and really without love behind them.

As always, I will be chastised for my opinions, my pronouncements, and I am fine with that. This is wakeup post, there may be ONE or two roses I would buy, but respectfully, given the prices, I would rather buy, the 2018 Covenant Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 O’dwyers Sauvignon Blanc, the 2018 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and so on. Throw in the 2018 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc and the 2018 Or Haganuz Amuka Blanc Blend, and really who cares about a rose?

I was thinking about going with the title: 2018 kosher roses, thanks, but who cares? Because that is how I feel. This vintage is a massive letdown, prices are too high, quality has hit rock bottom, and overall professionalism, IMHO, has gone along with the quality. Wineries have been getting away with less and less quality for years, raising prices, and this is the worst I have seen in the rose market overall. So, yeah, who cares?

Wine Color

What is rose wine? Well, simply said, a rose is a wine that can best be defined as the wine world’s chameleon. Where white wine is a pretty simple concept – take white grapes, squeeze them, and you get clear to green colored juice. Yes, the white grape juice is clear – well so is red grape juice, but more on that in a bit.

White wine is not about color – almost all color in a white wine comes from some oak influence of some sort. So, an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris can sometimes look almost clear, depending on the region and how the wine was handled. Now oaked Chardonnay, of course, is what most people use as an example of dark white wine. As the Wine Folly linked above states, different wine regions oak their Chardonnay differently and as such, they are sold with different hues from the start. With age, the wine changes color and the light gold moves to darker gold shades.

The only real exception to the stated rule above – that white grape juice without the influence of oak is somewhere in the clear to the green color spectrum, is – orange wines. We have spoken about orange wines – mostly thanks to Yaacov Oryah. Outside of Yaacov’s work there really is no orange wine in the kosher world to speak about. Orange wine is made exactly like red wine, which means that the clear grape juice is left to sit on the yellowish to dark yellow grape skins (depending upon what varietal is used to make the orange wine). Another name for them is skin macerated white wines or extended skin macerated white wines.

Red wine juice – straight from the grape comes out the same color as white grapes. You see the juice from grapes is mostly clear to greenish in color. The red wine color comes from macerating the juice on the grape skins. The longer the juice sits on the grape skins (wine must) the redder in color the wine becomes until it reaches its maximum red color potential.

The only real exception to the rule of a grape’s juice color is the Teinturier varieties. The grapes are called Teinturier, a French language term meaning to dye or stain. The list of grapes whose juice is actually red colored is long – but the list of kosher wine options that is a wine made from these grapes – is the Herzog Alicante Bouschet. The Gamay de Bouze is not a normal Gamay grape, it is one of those grape mutations that are very red in nature.

Rose wines are the in-between story – hence the chameleon term I used above.

Rose Wine

Rose wine is made in one of three ways. I will list the most dominant manners and leave the last one for last.

Limited Maceration:

This is the first step of the first two options and the only difference is what you do with the rest of the juice after you remove it? You see, as we stated above, the color of the juice from red grapes is clear to green and for one to get the lovely red hues we all love from red wine, it requires the juice to lie on the grape skins – AKA maceration.

The rose hue depends on how long the juice macerates. I have heard winemakers say 20 minutes gives them the color they like, and some say almost half a day or longer. The longer the juice macerates the darker the color. While the wine is macerating, the skins are contributing color by leaching phenolics – such as anthocyanins and tannins, and flavor components. The other important characteristic that the skins leach into the rose is – antioxidants that protect the wine from degrading. Sadly, because rose wines macerate for such a short period of time, the color and flavor components are less stable and as such, they lack shelf life – a VERY IMPORTANT fact we will talk about later. Either way, drinking rose wine early – like within the year – is a great approach for enjoying rose wine at its best!

Now once you remove the liquid, after letting it macerate for the desired length of time, the skins that are left are thrown out or placed in the field to feed organic material into the vines. This is a very expensive approach indeed because the grapes are being thrown away, instead of doing the Saignée process which is described in option #2. This approach is mostly used in regions where rose wine is as important as red wines, like Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. Mind you, the grapes used in this method are most often picked early, as they are being solely used for making the rose.

Many producers, especially those in Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon, take a more traditional approach when making rosé wine. Grapes are grown and selected exclusively for rosé production, as stated above, and then often crushed as whole clusters, and then gently pressed until the juice reaches a desirable pale color.

Most think that Saignee wines would have a higher alcohol level, as the fruit used to make that wine is picked later, but actually, that is not always correct, as winemakers can water back the rose juice and get what they want, at least here in the USA. When you taste the wine, look for the acid, is the acid natural or out of place?


The second approach for how Rose wine is made, is essentially the same as maceration – the only difference is that they do not remove all the juice. In the second method for making Rose wine, the Rose is the afterthought – in DRASTIC contrast to the first approach, where the rose is primary.

Now, many winemakers may take affront to this statement, and one did actually, but that is my opinion. When the juice is removed to fortify the red wine, the rose wine, again IMHO, is an afterthought. That DOES NOT mean, that the winemaker does not take the rose wine seriously. Any decent winemaker that makes wine, should be doing it with 100% focus. My point is that if the rose was important to you, you would pull the fruit earlier, but hey that is my opinion, and yeah, I am not a winemaker.

So in places like California and Rhone in France, winemakers will pick the grapes when they reach their appropriate phenolics. Then to concentrate the wine, the winemaker will bleed some of the juice – hence the term Saignée in French which means bleed. By removing this juice, after the juice has macerated long enough, the resulting wine is further intensified, because there is less juice lying on the same amount of grape skin surface.

The interesting thing here is that the grapes used to make this kind of rose are normally one with higher Brix, as the grapes are destined for red wine. So, when you bleed the juice out of the must, what is being pulled out is juice at a higher alcohol level than Rose wines made using the first method (as explained above). So what do you do when you have a wine that is too high in alcohol so early in the game – well that is simple you water it down! Now remember this wine is already low on phenolics and color, so if you know that your rose will be high in alcohol when all is said and done, you have lots of options here. You can leave the juice to macerate for longer, yes the juice you finally pull out may well be darker than you desire. However, you will be watering it down, so it is all a question of numbers and winemakers who make these kinds of wines, are used to it and know how to handle it.

Now you ask what is wrong with high alcohol rose? Well, a rose is normally meant to be light and fruity wine, and well watered back roses are less so, but I have also enjoyed a few Saignee wines, like the 2018 Shirah Rose.

Blending Method:

Finally, what do you get when you mix some white wine with some red wine – a rose by George a rose! This last method is the least common method for creating still rose wines. That said, it is very common in the world of Champagne and sparkling wines. Next time you enjoy sparkling rose wine, you can almost be sure that it is a blend of Chardonnay (white wine) and either Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier (red wine).

As stated before, in the pure rose still wine market, there really is very little of this kind of rose wine being made.

State of kosher rose wines

Types of Rose made:

  1. Red Rose wines: There are truly few examples of this, but they have been made and they are not a rose wine. They are billed as a rose at times, but to me, they are essentially a light red wine, much like a Gamay
  2. Sweet/Ripe Rose wines: Sweet wines are created because either the winemaker could not get the wine to completely finish primary fermentation or because they stopped it. Sweet rose wines sometimes lack balance because they lack the screaming acid needed to make it all work. This year, the vast majority of the kosher roses were ripe, sweet, or unbalanced messes. Yes, Chateau Roubine this year was ripe, it was not tart, nor was the Matar. There were a few truly dry roses, but they were the vast minority.
    That said, sweeter rose wines are the gateway wines to get people to try drier wines. The best of the sweet/ripe rose this year if that is even a statement that makes sense, would be the 2018 Twin Suns Rose.
  3. Dry rose wines: Dry is not a subjective concept it is measurable in a lab and can be tasted as well. That said, what we as humans can perceive does seem to be subjective. Some of us will think a Sauvignon Blanc is sweet unless it is a Sancerre – you know who you are JR! Dr. Vinny was asked this question here, and essentially we can start perceiving sweetness at 0.5% residual sugar, but as the Doc says, sometimes a bone-dry wine can be perceived as sweet because of its ripeness and/or lack of acidity to balance it. To me, that was where the Chateau Roubine was this year. The Roubine La Vie Rose was dry and nice.
  4. Dark rose wines: Color in any rose or red wine is defined by the amount of maceration the wine goes through, as described above. Some people like that salmon color and some like that darker rose color. The 2018 Recanati Rose (not the Gris de Marselan which is lovely and light colored) is a dark rose, along with the Camuna Rose. There are so many colors in the rose spectrum, and no, the darker roses are not based on what grape is used in the making of the wine, unless it is based on a Teinturier grape – which I have yet to see.

So where does that leave us? To recap IMHO, rose wine is meant to be light, refreshing, tart, and low in alcohol. It can have a varying rose hue, from Gris (gray in French – light color) to Salmon, to rose, and all the way up to dark red. Yes, there have been wineries who tried making heavier rose wines, that were essentially red wines, whom I will not mention and they have all been epic disasters. If you want a red wine – make a Gamay and leave me alone! Rose is about summer, tart and refreshing wine.

White and Rose wine education

Royal Wines has done a great job of bringing in white and roses wines, but I must stress – we need more education! Any wine distributor today can sell a Cabernet Sauvignon in its sleep! Why? Because the kosher wine drinking public is programmed to drink big bold red wines! Nothing light and lithe, only sledgehammers! Now, who am I to disagree with what someone likes – if you like a particular wine great! What I would like to see is people finding a way to expand their palate – by doing so they will learn more about wines and maybe they will actually see why they like and dislike a wine more – education is the answer! Now to those who say – why bother, if they like it let them enjoy it? To that answer I say – sure, when u were three years old you liked mud, and you really liked spreading it all over your sister’s new white dress! Should we have let you enjoy it forever?? Of course not!

Now your reply will be, come on we are talking about wine – not about personal growth and their humanity! Of course, but like everything in this world – we should want to strive and learn more about what makes us happy and why! Are you still eating mac&cheese for dinner? What about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch? Nothing against, P&J – I actually like them, but I have grown out of them which is the point here!

If you like a Monet painting – you owe it to yourself to learn why? What grabs you when you see 100+-year-old paint on a canvas? So what he painted a haystack – good for him? What makes you want to stare at it for hours? The answer is inside of you – and you need to learn the answer. I hope we can all find the answers to what makes us tick, why we all love some things and why we hate other things. That is called human evolution – it makes us what we are – human! Anyway, I am off my soapbox now, but I hope we can agree that growth is good – no matter the subject.

I beg distributors and wineries to get out and teach! Get out and go to wine stores and pour wines – pour wine to anyone that wants to taste or even to those that do not! Education is the foundation of this industry – and without it, we are doomed to stasis – something that terrifies me!

The temperature to enjoy Rose

Please do yourself a favor and enjoy rose wine at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning if you leave a bottle of wine in your refrigerator and pull it out after half a day of fridge time or more, it will probably be at the refrigerator’s frigid temperature of 37 or so degrees Farenight – which is HORRIBLE for a rose. Rose at room temperature of 70 or so degrees is also not fun. It needs to be a bit cold, but not over the top. Please do not think that it needs to be iced down in an ice bucket either, that is for sparkling wines.

Drink the rose at the beginning of the meal

Rose is NOT a long-term drinking animal. It is not meant to be enjoyed for more than a meal. Why? Because as we explained above once it is fully oxygenated, it will go bad – really bad fast. The tart fruit notes and the acid will dissipate faster than air leaves a punctured tire. It is simply the life of Rose, drink it very young and fast. Never stock up on Rose, there is no purpose in that! Go to the store and buy a rose and drink it, if they have none, then no worries drink something else.

White and Rose wine drinking in the kosher wine world

The good news is that white wine is selling better than it ever has. There is a large number of very good, solid, white wines from Israel, California, and Europe that are reasonably priced and very enjoyable. Of course, there are also higher end white wines that are even more fascinating, but overall the good news is that white wine consumption and availability has been on the rise in the kosher wine market, just not where I live, LOL! I still cannot pour white wine on my table, though in the end, who cares, I will enjoy it and the guests can drink more red wine, win-win.

The very sad state of affairs with the 2018 roses

So where are we in 2019 with kosher Rose wines? Well, last year I thought kosher roses jumped the shark, this year, I think it is peak rose. Why? Because there are MANY wine shops, even on the hallowed grounds of NYC, that still have Rose wines on their shelves, from the 2016 and 2017 vintages. Why is that a problem? As stated above, Rose wines are NOT meant for aging. Rose wines should NEVER be sold after their drink by date, which is the summer after the wine’s vintage. So, 2018 wines should be sold out by the summer of 2019 – simple! Sadly, I still see 2017 wines being sold all around! There is simply too much older rose lying around and too much new 2018 Rose wines coming in. The outcome is that someone is going to eat a lot of rose wines, or they will push them on to the unsuspecting public, who really do not understand roses at all.

I BEG the manufacturers to work with the stores and merchants to eat the older wines, one way or the other, and get them OFF the shelves. Please DO NOT attempt to put them on sale, they are not wines that should be pushed to consumers, as it only ends up hurting the wineries and the companies selling them. Please remove them and figure out how to handle the loss. No one will be drinking Rose wines for Rosh Hashanah.

One part that is better than last year is that many of the rose wines are here. I wish they would have all been here in March, but it is MUCH better than last year. Please dump the old roses and move on!

Best rose so far in 2019

Well, let’s hold up here for a second. I have not tasted all the roses out there yet. I have tasted LOTS of them, like 50 or so of them so far and the Israeli 2018 roses are all “sweet” or ripe. Now be careful here, when I say sweet – I mean I perceive sweetness. These roses are ripe, big in the mouth, and leave a perception of sweetness. There are a few roses from Israel that are lithe in nature, with a core focus of acid while being complex, and those are my preferred options so far, from what I have had the chance to enjoy.

So with that said, here are the “winners” for me so far, with a couple of Elvi roses to taste and a couple of Israel roses to taste. The best roses – in order of preference:

  1. 2018 Chateau Sainte Marguerite – winner of 2018 roses
  2. 2018 Yaacov Oryah Rose, Pretty as the Moon
  3. 2018 Netofa Latour Rosado
  4. 2018 Recanati Gris de Marselan 
  5. 2018 Gvaot Rose
  6. 2018 Chateau Roubine La Vie en Rose
  7. 2018 Vitkin Rose, Israeli Journey
  8. 2018 Domaine Netofa Rose

The best European Rose and the best rose overall is the 2018 Chateau Sainte Marguerite. Though the 2018 Chateau Roubine, La Vie en Rose a good step behind, is nice, at half the price. The best California Rose is a tossup between the 2018 Twin Suns Rose, the 2018 Shirah Rose, and the 2018 Hajdu Rose. Finally, the best Israeli rose is Yaacov Oryah’s Pretty as the moon, which should have been called Pretty in Pink, but sadly that name is trademarked.

To me, QPR does not exist in the rose section this year. Sorry. These wines are too boring and too expensive. All the wines are 19.99 or higher! For a rose! Move on. At the end of the day, rose is meant to be fun to enjoy, and 20 dollars for a fun wine, I would either grab a 6 pack, or a bunch of FAR better white options at that price. Elvi’s Vina Encina white, 2016 Koening Riesling, 2018 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc (NOT the 2017 vintage), 2017 O’Dwyer Creek Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Or Haganuz Amuka White Blend (2017 is a dead vintage already), 2018 Tabor Sauvignon Blanc (2017 is flat), 2017 Chateau Lacaussade, Koenig Brut, 2016 Jacques Capsouto Cuvee Eva Blanc (drink up), 2017 Herzog Lineage Chardonnay (best vintage so far), Gilgal Brut, 2018 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Ramon Cardova Albarino. All of those can be found below 20 dollars and I would enjoy those any day before the roses below 20 dollars. Sorry, but this year, there can be no QPR. Maybe in Israel, if you must, the 2018 Vitkin Rose, Israeli Journey and the 2018 Domaine Netofa rose could be considered QPR, if you can get them low enough. But, still, why? I would enjoy the 2018 Domaine Netofa white more and other Israeli whites more. In the end, roses are not that great this year and the prices are too high, end of the story.

Blind Tasting in Jerusalem and large tasting in San Jose

A bit more than a week before Passover, I was in Israel, and I had the chance to hang with my French/American crazy wine friends, the notes for the roses and whites are already posted here. Last week Thursday night a bunch of folks from San Jose hung out and we tasted another 20 or so roses from all over and all of those along with others I tasted at home and around all come together into this posting.

My feelings are clear and to the point above, so, I will leave you to them. The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2018 Teperberg Rose, Essence – Score: 88
50% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, and Barbera. Nice balance on the nose, with great bright fruit, strawberry, stone fruit, peach, and cherry. Nice overall wine, weighty, and overall well balanced, with fruit, and not much more.

2018 Covenant Rose, Israeli Blue C – Score: 89
The nose on this wine is fun with funk, quince, red fruit, with sweet fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice with sweet and juicy strawberry, quince, with good acidity, balance, and a bit too much sweet notes, with cotton candy and watermelon. The finish is long, sweet, strawberry, melon, and acidity.

2018 Dalton Rose – Score: 88
The nose on this wine is cotton candy, with sweet notes, cherry, juicy strawberry. The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is sweet, with nice acidity, but it is sweeter than last year, with juicy fruit, and sweetness. The finish is long and tart yet sweet with more cotton candy and sweet pear and apple.

2018 Borgo Reale Rose – Score: 89
Nice rose again. The nose is controlled, well made with good tart and bright fruit, with raspberry, apple, and green note, and nice citrus, with orange blossom and hints of rose hip. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fun, tart, and sweet with good balance, acidity, and fun citrus, orange, nectarines, and strawberry. The finish is long, sweet, tart, and balanced, nice,

2018 Flam Rose – Score: 87
The nose on this wine is rich with bright fruit, lovely grapefruit, and sweet notes of gooseberry and guava. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is sweet and yet tart, with nice control, but it is sweet, with good acidity,  and the crazy grapefruit and bitter lemon and pith that helps to temper the sweetness.

2018 Nadiv Rose – Score: 88
The nose on this wine is straight up cotton candy, sweet, strawberry with rose hip and blossom. The mouth is ok, it needs more acid, shows good fruit and structure.

2018 Gush Eztion Rose – Score: 88 to 89
This is good, the nose is funky, with strawberry, cotton candy, watermelon, and citrus. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has flavors that are austere, with a rounding/flat mouthfeel in the middle, with good balance, that comes together with time, opening to sweet notes, but nice saline, acidity, strawberry, lemongrass, tart quince, and herb. Nice.

2018 Timbre Rose – Score: 89 to 90
Another wine I was not expecting based upon the previous history. The nose is a bit closed to start, with time it opens to sweet notes, balanced well with hay, and floral notes. The mouth on this wine is balanced, nice, with great acid, gooseberry, hints of passion fruit, with cherry, strawberry, and lovely red fruit balanced by tart fruit, great acidity, with spice and slate galore. Nice!

2018 Ella Valley Ever Rose – Score: NA
Closed, with cherry, strawberry, and fruit. RS pass.

2018 Five Stones Rose, D vs G – Score: 89
The nose is clean, good bright fruit, with lemongrass, nice red fruit, citrus, and tart fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is solid, well balanced, with great acidity that is well balanced with sweet cherry and strawberry but balanced well with slate, peach, and apricot, nice. The finish is long, tart, and green, but fruity and has clear RS.

2018 Amos Rose, La Rose – Score: 60
Sweet, Sweet, and sweeter. Bubblegum and cotton candy. Big pass.

2018 Tanya Rose – Score: NA
Tropical notes, bubble gum, too sweet. This wine has fake acid and crazy sweet notes, hot and boring.

2018 Teperberg Rose, Impression – Score: 80
Classic strawberry creme, with raspberry, and candied fruit. The mouth on this wine is over the top, too much, like 2017 BS, there is little to no fruit, with saline, acid, and not much else. 80

2018 Domaine Netofa Rose, GSM – Score: 90
Lovely nose of strawberry, raspberry, and rich citrus. The mouth on this wine is nice with good acidity, though I would love to have more, with lovely fresh fruit, tart with hints of bitter notes, loads of mineral, saline, and great bite on the finish, with slate, rock and more raspberry and strawberry with grapefruit and citrus. Drink now.

2018 Domaine Netofa Rose, Latour Rosado – Score: 91
The nose on this wine is tart and really fun with juicy and tart raspberry with citrus galore, showing bright gooseberry and slate. The mouth on this wine is elegant, balanced and lovely, with great saline and lovely limoncello, ripe and juicy strawberry, with dried quince, lovely lime, and citrus that lingers long with slate, rock, orange blossom. Lovely!

2018 Dalton Kna’an Rose – Score: 70
The nose is nice, with good red fruit, apple, yellow notes, and slate. The mouth is residual sugar and fruit city, ripe fruit, no balance, boring.

2018 Peraj Petita Rose – Score: 82
The color of this wine is fluorescent and psychedelic, with glistening raspberry color, and fruit galore. The mouth is all over the place, with acidity, saline, and fruit, not much going on.

2018 Galil Mountain Rose – Score: 89
Nice nose of raspberry and strawberry jam. The mouth on this is nice, all around, with solid acid, good saline, balance, and a little of RS, with peach, and cranberry. Nice, the acid, pith, and slate are nice. 88

2018 Bat Shlomo Rose – Score: 80
Peach, apricot, and red fruit nose. The mouth on this wine is hollow, short finish and fake acid galore, with red fruit, strawberry, and not much else.

2018 Matar Rose – Score: 90
The nose on this is funky, with earth, mineral, and red fruit galore. The mouth on this wine is nice, it has RS in the front, with sweet orange, nectarines, but well balanced, with raspberry, strawberry, with good balance, with good acidity, bitter notes, and slate galore. Nice!

2018 Vitkin Rose – Score: 90
To me, this is the best rose that Vitkin has released since it has gone kosher. The nose on this lovely Gris style wine shows lovely dark cherry, tart, and juicy strawberry, raspberry, with rich saline and grapefruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fun, tart and rich, with crazy saline and acid, showing rich lemon and lime, with notes of mineral and earth, with slate. The finish is fun, showing lemongrass and rich tart fruit. Bravo!

2018 Kishor Rose – Score: 80
Floral rose water, floral madness, with barely and fruit. Rosewater, with jasmine, barely any fruit, with acid. Boring.

2018 Gvaot Rose – Score: 91
The nose is closed with peach and lemon. The mouth on this wine is old-school, with no RS, with lovely funk, earth, mineral galore, acidity that is not fake, with lemon, grapefruit, and quince, showing well all around. The finish is long, tart, well balanced, impressive, and slate/saline/pith – solid!

2018 Ramat Negev Rose – Score: NA
Winner of the worst rose of the tasting award!

2018 Yaacov Oryah Pretty as the Moon Rose – Score: 91+
The wine was meant to be another Blanc de Noir, but God had other plans, and so Rose it is! Once it was a rose that was meant to be a white, well we have pretty AS white, get it? White moon. It also plays off the name of one of my favorite John Hugh movies, but that is TMI.
The wine is a blend of 53% Petit Sirah, 29% Mourvedre, and 18% Syrah, another rose or white from Rhone. The wine opens slowly, but with time it opens to cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, and pomegranate. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is awesome, it has a great core acidity, with loads of funk, mad quince, green apple, and lovely pomegranate, with rich salinity, with tart green fruit, with dry apple, and loads of hay and straw. The finish is long, green, apple, quince, and acid core, with salinity madness, and funk, that carries the dry fruit into the long saline driven and slate finish. Drink now.

2018 Recanati Rose, Gris de Marselan – Score: 91
Lovely nose of gooseberry, sweet honeysuckle, pineapple, sweet apple, and creamy strawberry. The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is sweet but it is well balanced, with great acidity, lovely salinity, all wrapped in a nice mouthfeel, showing strawberry, quince, sweet apple, tart gooseberry, pink grapefruit, and acid galore. The finish is long, green, tart, with slate, and nice tart grapefruit and pith lingering long. Nice! Drink Now!

2018 Tabor Rose, Barbera – Score: 90
The nose on this wine is nice, with sweet notes, showing ripe strawberry, quince, apple and loads of melon and guava. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe but well balanced with red berry, tart gooseberry, citrus, and grapefruit, with nice acidity, mineral, and good mouthfeel, with tart fruit, cotton candy, sweet notes, and lovely mineral and acidity and citrus notes lingering long. Drink Now.

2018 Castel Rose du Castel – Score: 90
I have had this wine a few times now, and while I like it, the main issue I have with it is that it lacks the weight and focus to cut through most foods. This wine is fun but it is really hard to pair with much other than simple fish dishes.
The nose on this rose is lithe and lovely, it is how rose should be, with mineral, slate, and nice gooseberry, white fruit, and melon. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has ripeness to it, but it is well balanced, with great minerality, salinity, and light red fruit notes, with tart strawberry hiding the riper strawberry notes, with lovely grapefruit, lime, and lemon Fraiche, with lovely citrus pith, slate, rock, and mineral, straw, lingering long with core acidity, and lovely pith. Nice! Drink Now.

2018 Les Lauriers de Rothschild Rose – Score: 88
I was so hoping for another great rose from Les Lauriers de Rothschild, but it is not meant to be. The nose on this wine is nice enough showing red and stone fruit, with mineral and herb. The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine has a nice start, with raspberry and strawberry, but after that, it all falls apart, with ok acidity, fruit, and really not much else. The finish is short, with lingering acidity and a bit of mineral. Bummer. Drink now.

2018 Chateau Sainte Marguerite – Score: 91+
This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah. The nose on this wine is lovely, floral, with fresh fruit notes, of citrus, with strawberry, tart raspberry, tart stone fruit, and mineral galore. The mouth on this wine is beautiful, layered, and really rich, with great mineral, slate, orange, and yeasty notes, great acidity that balances the wine, with graphite, rich citrus pith, with lovely nectarines, orange notes, and crazy fruity but rich saline and mineral balance this out well. The finish is long, yeasty, green, earth, mineral, and lovely with spice, garrigue, and tart fruit galore. Bravo! Drink now!

2018 Ramon Cardova Rosado – Score: 85
This wine is 80% Grenache and 20% Viura (white wine). The nose on this wine is funk, with loads of fruit, with loads of nectarines, orange, and floral notes. This wine is unbalanced, and all over the place, nothing really interesting. Drink Now.

2018 Domaine Fontlaure – Score: NA
This wine is a blend of 45% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, and 25% Syrah. The nose on this wine is lavender, soap, and floral notes galore, with fruit, and hops. This wine is soap, beer, and all the wrong things you want in a rose. Drink Now.

2018 Chateau Roubine, Cru Classe – Score: 88 to 89
The nose on this wine is nice but it is hotter and fruitier than the Marguerite, with notes of floral notes, sweet orange marmalade, and flint. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is riper and sweeter than the Marguerite, with pith, sweet notes of papaya, guava, with more orange, citrus, and pith. The wine is not fresh enough, it is not pop-and-go, it is too heavy, sweet, but it is nice enough, with pith, and mineral, and citrus lingering long. Good acidity helps. Drink Now.

2018 Chateau Roubine La Vie en Rose – Score: 89 to 90
This is nicer than the Roubine, but not as good as the Marguerite, with good floral notes, strawberry, citrus, with mineral, raspberry, and nice stone fruit. The mouth on this is nice enough, but it is still too sweet, the fruit is riper, with good acidity, showing nice pith, but lacks salinity, lacks the crazy fruit focus that Marguerite has, with lovely sweet grapefruit, showing nice nectarines, and orange like notes, that are balanced, but still too heavy. The finish is long, sweet, ripe, and tart, with pith, slate, and loads of sour notes and pomelo on the finish. Drink Now.

2018 Sainte Beatrice – Score: 88
The nose is boring, flat, with floral notes, grapefruit, and really not much more. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is boring, sweet/ripe, with some balance, with ripe strawberry, tart raspberry, with nice pith, saline, good earth, and slate. Nice enough.

2018 Psagot Rose – Score: 87 (tasted in Israel)
The nose on this wine is funky, with cranberry, quince, tart fruit, and rich herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rhubarb driven, with saline and acid, with sweet and tart fruit, all over the place. Nice enough. Drink now.


2018 Psagot Rose, Non-Mevushal – Score: NA
NO! Clearly, there is an issue here, as I thought the rose in Israel was OK, not great, but OK. This is horrible.

2018 Carmel Appellation Rose – Score: 86
This wine is a blend of 65% Marselan and 35% Grenache. This is too sweet for a rose, with ripe strawberry, floral notes, ripe raspberry, with kiwi, and tropical notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe, round, but ok, with orange notes, guava, and sweet marmalade kind of wine. The finish is long, sweet, sour, and sweet mandarin/tangerines. Nice, but too sweet, but good acidity. Drink Now.

2018 Jezreel Rose – Score: 70
40% Carignan, 40% Syrah, 15% Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is all over the place, with metallic notes, sweet, tart, sour, no focus, and really a mess. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is pomegranate, strawberry, and raspberry, sweet, ripe, and really not fun. Not a wine I could buy.

2018 Adir Rose, Keren Ben Zimra – Score: 80 (mevushal)
The nose on this wine is nice enough, with tart strawberry, mineral, and fruit notes. The mouth on this medium bodied is all over the place, with loads of acid, too much added-acid, with tannin, sweet notes of raspberry, pomegranate, with grapefruit, nectarines, and citrus galore. Drink Now.

2018 Recanati Rose – Score: 83
This wine is a blend of 70% Barbera and 30% Merlot. The nose is really ripe with pomegranate, strawberry, with sweet lemon, and sour notes. The mouth on this wine is also another over acidified wine, ripe fruit, with crazy added acid, followed by tart lemon, and sweet notes. Not a really fun wine, good enough if you must. Drink Now.

2018 Covenant Rose, USA – Score: 87
The nose on this wine is funk, with sweet strawberry, sweet notes, and ripe fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is super sour, with sour grapefruit, sour candied red fruit, and sweet notes galore. The finish is long, sweet, sour, very tart, with funk, floral notes, and slate galore, with spice, cloves, and acid galore. Drink Now.

2018 Camuna Rose, Barbera – Score: 88 to 89
The nose on this wine is ripe, sweet, with really ripe strawberry, raspberry, not pomegranate, but close, with cherry lifesaver notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is tart, really tart, with acid galore, super sour, like cherry sour candy, with sweet fruit, nice funk, and spice, with straw, hay, and nice slate galore. The finish is long, green, sour, and ripe with red fruit, and lovely citrus, and stone fruit as well. Nice! Drink Now.

2018 Twin Suns Rose – Score: 89
This wine was a shocker! I was not expecting this from the twin sun label. The nose on this wine is classical in nature, showing lovely raspberry, strawberry, with lemon, funk, straw, and mineral. The mouth on this weighty but lithe rose is fun, with tart fruit, fresh and bright, with more sweetness than I was expecting, showing tart and juicy red fruit, with saline, nice spice, good balance, passion fruit, with good mineral, and slate. Nice! Drink Now.

2018 Herzog Rose, Lineage – Score: 72 (mevushal)
The nose on this wine is super sweet, like overripe mango and guava. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is overripe, balanced, but really sweet, ripe, and not really interesting, this is not rose, this is more a sweet white wine with red notes.

2018 Hajdu Rose – Score: 90
The wine is sweet, well balanced, and while the wine starts off with a short finish, after 30 minutes it opens nicely to show a well-balanced wine, with loads of sweet fruit. The nose on this wine shows lovely strawberry, ripe and juicy fruit, with crazy cotton candy, watermelon, and sweet fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine shows nice weight from the clear residual sugar, but it is well balanced with nice acidity, mineral, grapefruit, and mango, with guava, and tropical fruits galore. The finish is long, tangy, and juicy, and really refreshing and it makes you reach for me, with saline, mineral, and sweet fruit, that is backed by pomegranate, sweet and tangy quince jelly, and sweet pineapple. Nice! Drink before 2020.

2018 Shirah Rose – Score: 89 to 90
This is a nice wine, it is sweet/ripe, with little RS, but loads of tart and ripe fruit, including notes of strawberry, juicy passion fruit, hints of citrus, and watermelon. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe, with sweet notes of candied cherry lifesaver, sweet grapefruit, with raspberry, orange, and hints of nectarines, with a weighty mouthfeel, and an almost oily texture. The finish is long, tart, balanced with good acid, sweet with good pith, more fruit, and acidity. Nice. Drink Now.


Posted on May 22, 2019, in Israel, Israeli Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.


    Good article on the proliferation of low quality Kosher Rose. If I am drinking Sauvignon Blanc I would take Hagafen before Covenant any day!

    Subject: [New post] The 2019 Kosher rose season is open but I am underwhelmed at best

    winemusings posted: “It is not yet summer and here in NorCal, it feels more like winter with these strange May storms with thunder and hail. Sorry, but in NorCal, we do not get thunder, it is very strange indeed! Anyway, enough with my meteorologist fanboy moment, the weather”

    • Hello,

      Sadly the 2018 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc is not as good as previous vintages. This one is flat and has a short ending. In other words, it is not as refreshing as previous vintages. Hence the reason for my other choices this year.

  2. Any comments about the Terra di Seta Meshi Rose?

  3. Eric nachimovsky

    What about Tura Rose which is my favorite

    • It is an off-dry rose, and not really a rose that gives me a refreshed feeling as much as a wine for food feeling.

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