The International Wine Review has had a long association with Israeli wines. Our first in-depth review of Israeli wines appeared in our report The Wines of Israel published a few years ago. Since then we have done periodic reviews of some of Israel’s finest wineries and reported on tastings we conducted at the annual Kosher Wine Festival held in New York. In this article, we are pleased to present reviews of the wines of two excellent Israel wineries that are crafting first-class wine: Netofa Winery and Vitkin. Netofa is new to us, but we have had the opportunity to taste Vitkin’s wines with the winemaker, Paz, in the start up days of the winery.
Netofa Winery was founded in 2006. Its vineyards are situated among the foothills of Mt. Tabor in the heart of the Lower Galilee with terroir ideally suited for Mediterranean varieties. The winemaker is Pierre Miodownick who has had many years of experience making wine in France, Spain and Portugal. Yitzchak Tor who has been making wine in Israel for many years is a partner and serves as viticulturist. The two wines reviewed here are excellent examples of the fine winemaking at Netofa Winery.
Netofa 2019 Latour White Lower Galilee ($29) 89 The 2019 Latour White is a 100% Chenin Blanc offering a nice, subtle, mineral-like nose with subtle flavors of white citrus, herbs, orchard fruit and toast. It reveals excellent acidity and freshness on the attack with a nice creamy palate. It doesn’t have the typicity of Chenin Blanc and would benefit from more vibrancy and persistence on the finish. Importer: Royal Wine Corporation
Netofa 2018 Tel Qasser Red Lower Galilee ($33) 91 The 2018 Tel Qasser Red is a flavorful blend of Grenache and Syrah. Medium purple in color, it displays a fresh red berry compote-like purity on the nose. It is suave on the attack and reveals concentrated red berry fruit on the palate with delicious light spice and vanilla accents. Aged for 10 months in French oak, it exhibits medium acidity, round tannins and a lovely texture. A lovely easy to drink wine with freshness, elegance and vibrancy. Importer: Royal Wine Corporation
Vitkin is a family boutique winery located in Kfar Vitkin. For the past two decades, the founders, Shorona, Doron and Assaf, have pioneered the development of high quality premium wine focusing on unique Mediterranean varieties. The winery, which was built to modern standards by Doron, sources grapes from vineyards throughout the country. Assaf, who studied enology in France and made wine in California and Israel (Carmel) crafts the wine with Doron. Despite its success over the years, Vitkin remains a boutique winery and is one of Israel’s finest.
Vitkin 2020 White Israeli Journey Zichron Yaakov ($22) 91 The 2020 White Israeli Journey offers a fresh aromatic nose of orchard fruit, flowers and herbs. A blend of old vine French Columbard, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier with a dash of Gewurztraminer, it is barrel fermented and aged in oak and rich with lees. It has a lovely palate and is fresh and elegant with a crisp finish. A delicious wine. Importer: Royal Wine Corporation
Vitkin 2016 Carignan Kfar Vitkin (Village Zone) ($40) 92+ The 2016 Vitkin Carignan is sourced from old vines of the historic Zichron Yaakov Vineyard. Dark ruby in color, it offers aromas of dark red berries and plums with hints of bramble, earth and minerals. Aged 16 months in 30% new oak, it has a silky layered palate and is mouth filling with good acidity and freshness and a rich long finish. Importer: Royal Wine Corporation