1. 1848 Winery, 2nd Generation Chardonnay 2019I love this Chardonnay. Elegant, steely and refreshing. A great food wine. The Shor family have been making wine since 1848. The eighth generation is now making quality wines of excellent value. NIS 60
4. White Tulip 2019Tulip Winery is one of Israel’s finest and most innovative small wineries. They specialize in unusual blends. This is made from Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer. It has plenty of tropical fruit, with underlying citrus and grapefruit notes. It is always a favorite of mine. NIS 755. Argyros Atlantis 2018 (NK)I think I was one of the first here to talk up Greek wines, long ago. Now the importers are up to speed and I am delighted to have the opportunity to recommend Greek wines available in Israel. Argyros is arguably the leading winery from the volcanic island of Santorini. This wine is mainly made from the Assyrtiko variety. It is light, fresh, fragrant, crisp and minerally. The perfect accompaniment for a whole grilled fish, simply drizzled with olive oil with lemon juice and a few fresh herbs. NIS 90 6. Recanati French Blend 2019A semi-dry wine made mainly from Colombard, balanced with a little Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat. The wine has a grapey and flowery aroma, and a gentle sweetness. Colombard is an unsung variety, but it grows well in Israel and has good natural acidity. Here, it is known as French Colombard, hence the name of this wine. It is one of the better semi-dry wines out there. NIS 757. Tura Rosé 2019Tura Winery produces wine in the central mountains region of Israel. Their wines rarely disappoint. This is a super rosé. Very lively with a tutti-fruity aroma, a touch of fresh strawberry and a oh-so-delicate sweetness. Recommended. A great drinking wine. NIS 84
10. Domaine Netofa Red 2018Netofa is a winery that specializes in Mediterranean blends. This is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. It has restrained fruit, not in your face, an attractive chewy flavor and a fresh finish. NIS 60 11. Segal Free Run Cabernet Sauvignon 2018This is an elegant, fruity Cabernet made from free-run juice, by Segal, part of the Barkan group. It has a lively freshness about it and the good fruit continues through to the finish. NIS 6512. Kishor GSM 2017Kishor Winery is a heartwarming estate winery producing underrated, elegant wines of fine quality. The winery is part of a community for adults with special needs. GSM refers to the grape varieties Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. The wine has good fruit, a touch of spice, a hint of a smoky flavor and a satisfying lengthy finish. A refreshing, flavorful wine. NIS 95
15. Chateau Golan Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (NK)One of our finest boutique wineries. The Cab is quite textbook. Deep cassis, ripe fruit, full-flavored with a good structure and a long well-balanced finish. For its quality, it actually represents good value. NIS 129 16. Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mataro 2018 (NK)Penfolds is one of the most famous wineries in the world. They make great wines at every price point. This wine is a blend of Shiraz, as you would expect from Australia, and Mataro, which we know as Mourvedre. The wine has great fruit, with earthy, savoury notes but also a chewy texture. A truly fine wine. NIS 135
17. Alpha Estate SMX 2016 (NK)This is from the northwest of Greece. It is a deep-flavored wine from Syrah, Merlot and Xinomavro grapes, showing good fruit, concentration and complexity. I am so pleased Greek wines are in Israel, and Alpha Estate is one of their finest wineries. Heartily recommended. NIS 139 18. Shiloh Secret Reserve Merlot 2016 Shiloh is a regular award-winner from the central mountain wine region. It is here where some of the best Merlots in Israel are made. This expression has aromas of deep, ripe black fruit aromas, a plush round mouth feel. It is full-bodied, oaky and opulent, but very well made. NIS 140 19. Gvaot Gofna Reserve Pinot Noir 2016Gvaot is the pioneer of the new interest in local varieties. Look out for their Hamdani Jandali and newish Bittuni. I have, though, selected their Pinot Noir, which I believe is the finest I have tasted in Israel. It has that classic Pinot nose of raspberry, strawberry, with a floral character and a hint of mushroom and forest floor. NIS 15520. Odem Mountain Nebbiolo Syrah 2017This is an unusual blend from our northernmost winery. Nebbiolo is the great variety of Barolo, but an exotic, rarity here. The wine has mainly red fruit, cherries and strawberry. It is a nicely weighted wine with a certain elegance and has good length. I really wanted to taste this and was not disappointed. NIS 170Finally, for those who believe this situation is the end of life as we know it, please be aware that nature continues unaffected. The vines have budded, the vineyards look beautiful, and everything seems optimistic after an unusually rainy winter. To paraphrase from Desiderata, “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. With all the problems, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” If you are in any doubt, look at the vineyards beginning their journey for the 2020 harvest.
The writer is a wine industry veteran who has advanced Israeli wine for over 30 years. He is referred to as the English voice of Israeli wine. www.adammontefiore.com