judea wine 88.
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When vintner Ronny James founded the Tzora winery in 1993, he had a vision of crafting wines that reflected the finest terroirs of the Judean Hills.
James grew attached to the land early in life while studying at various agricultural schools. Three decades ago, he was asked to take over responsibility for Tzora's almond and avocado groves, and the long-established vineyard.
James's love affair with wine began when he first tasted a wine made by a winery that purchased Tzora's crop. The memory of that tasting remains with him to this day. Throughout the years, he developed new agricultural methods for optimizing the grapes for wine production, along with training the best of the country's wine makers.
James refers to terroir (a French term for the influence of the natural environment on the growing of grapes and the production of wine) as a philosophy which implies a connection between the soil and nature as a comment on the terrain of the vine.
As the Israeli pioneer of terroir, James was awarded the Eshkol Zahav for his remarkable contribution to the local wine culture.
With three vineyards in the Judean Hills - Shoresh, Neve Ilan and Givat Hachalukim - the Tzora winery is now launching a variety of wines, most of which are single vineyards.
One especially worthy wine is Tzora, Single Vineyard, Givat Hachalukim 2005: It is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Givat Hachalukim vineyard, which is located on the northern bank of the Sorek Valley. The soil is rich in riverbed stones, which gives the wine some mineral and earthy flavors. It is rather deep and dense, with perfumed aromas of blackberry and cherry. The wine is aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, which contributes a smooth layer of vanilla. This elegant red wine is what Judean Hills Cabernet is all about. NIS 80 (kosher).
GVAOT is a new boutique winery based in Samaria; it was established in 2005 by Shivi Drori and Amnon Weiss in the settlement of Shiloh. The vineyards of this new kosher winery are planted 700 to 900 meters above sea level on the slopes of Nahal Shiloh on terra-rossa and Randzina soil - which has a brown color similar to the Mediterranean Sea soil, but thicker.
The vintage of 2005 produced 4,500 bottles, and 7,500 bottles were produced in the vintage of 2006. The winery is now releasing its Herodion series made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, and will soon release two more series: Gofna, and the top series Masada.
Gvaot, Herodion, Red 2005: A blend of 60% Cabernet and 40% Merlot, this medium-bodied wine is ripe and juicy with blackberry, jam and cherry flavors and smooth tannins. It lacks a bit of depth and concentration, and finishes thin. NIS 75.
Gvaot, Herodion, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: Made from 90% Cabernet and 10% Merlot grapes, this wine has a deep red color with fruity aromas of plums and blackberries. The wine was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels, which added some spicy notes toward the end. NIS 85.n