Tzora Vineyards is located in the Judean Hills of Israel. The winemaker, Eran Pick, is one of the most respected in Israel, and he has the support of consultant Jean-Claude Berrouet, formerly of Chateu Pétrus, in working to create some of Israel’s finest wines. Pick is another of Israel’s young U.C. Davis trained winemakers, and before becoming the winemaker at Tzora he worked at J Vineyard and Winery and Napa Wine Company in California, and at Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux and Torbreck Wines in Barrossa.

2012 Tzora Vineyards “Neve Ilan”

Neve Ilan is a single vineyard Chardonnay, and one of the best Chardonnays tasted while in Israel. The nose opens with apples and pears. On the palate, green apples take the lead from start to finish, with additional complexity from very ripe apple, apple seeds, and white pepper show on the palate, with a very light salinity on the finish. Acids are terrific and natural. Drink with scampi and let the freshness of the wine clean butter from the palate after every bite. Highly Recommended. 90 points.

WHO: Tzora Vineyards
WHAT: Chardonnay
WHERE: Israel, Judean Hills
WHEN: 2012
HOW MUCH: $35

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2012 Tzora Vineyards “Shoresh” Sauvignon Blanc

Cut grass, tropical fruits, and citrus blossoms waft up from the glass. On the palate, the first impression is of a round, soft, mouth feel. Cut grass, pineapple, mango, and citrus blossoms lead on the palate. Different flavors show in layers,   from grass to tropical fruits to citrus, all with an underlying minerality. The finish lingers with flavors of fresh-squeezed lime and lime pith. This is a fresh, clean, bright food wine. Drink with fried chicken and biscuits, from as far south as you can find it. Highly Recommended. 92 points.

WHO: Tzora Vineyards
WHAT: Sauvignon Blanc
WHERE: Israel, Judean Hills
WHEN: 2012
HOW MUCH: $38

2008 Tzora Vineyards “Shoresh” Red Blend

2008 was Tzora’s warmest year and it showed in this rich, jammy wine. Black currant, red raspberry, and balsa showed on the nose. Deep black cherry led on the palate, with bittersweet chocolate and mocha added on the mid-palate. Tannic structure was fine, with acids to match. The finish added raspberry. Drink with prime rib. Highly Recommended. 90-91 points.

WHO: Tzora Vineyards
WHAT: Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), Syrah (10%)
WHERE: Israel, Judean Hills
WHEN: 2008
HOW MUCH: $33

2011 Tzora Vineyards “Shoresh” Red Blend

The coolest July in Israel’s short history was in 2011, and it showed in this high-toned red blend. The nose displayed black currant, blackberry, and the crisp, savory, peppery, crisp beef fat end of a fine prime rib. Red fruit leads on the palate, with raspberry in front. Toward the mid-palate it made a move toward blackberry, supported by savory spiced, and soy/tar umami, and pepper. The finish blends the pepper and umami with raspberry, and lingers. Drink with lamb chops in red wine reduction on a cauliflower mash. Highly Recommended. 91 points.

WHO: Tzora Vineyards
WHAT: Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Syrah (17%), Merlot (3%)
WHERE: Israel, Judean Hills
WHEN: 2011
HOW MUCH: $33

2010 Tzora Vineyards “Misty Hills”

Misty Hills is Tzora’s flagship red blend, and it is quite fine. Made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, it comes from a single plot of grapes, and only 300 cases were made. The nose shows very pretty aromas of black currant and plums. On the palate, the Cabernet and Syrah each strut their stuff, with black currant, black raspberry, umami-laden soy, and black pepper. Violets pop on the mid-palate. The finish is crisp, showing an interesting lift of lingering red fruit. Tannins are very fine grained. Drink with rack of lamb. Very Highly Recommended. 93-94 points.

WHO: Tzora Vineyards
WHAT: Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Syrah (45%)
WHERE: Israel, Judean Hills
WHEN: 2010
HOW MUCH: $60

A statement from Cramim Spa and Wine Hotel, our Kosher Wine Week Sponsor

Cramim Spa and Wine Hotel is situated in the heart of the Judean wine region, a 15 minute drive from Jerusalem. The hotel is surrounded by a beautifully scenic, pastoral setting and offers a quality experience of combined leisure, recreation, fine wines and impeccable tastes. Hotel guests will enjoy an exquisite chef restaurant, boutique wine bar, a contemporary spa complex with unique vino-therapy treatments, as well as pampering rooms and suites that boast a modern interior design.

About The Author

David Honig
Publisher

David Honig, the Publisher, looked at what was happening in the world of wine journalism and realized there were a lot of great writers out there at the same time paying publications, from newspapers to websites, were dropping like flies. So he created Palate Press to find the best writers and create a new forum for them to sell their best work. He is a self-educated oenophile, and defers to the tremendous experience and wisdom of the amazing staff at PALATE PRESS: The Online Wine Magazine.