A Few Wines From Vitkin

I'm not a professional wine writer but I portray one on my blog.

Unlike professionals - or even semi-professionals with affinities to commercial sites or papers - I don't receive any samples and rarely get invited to free tastings. If I want to write about an importer or a winery beyond the tastings I attend as a consumer, I have to pull the wines together from my own resources and examine them at home. So, if I tend to write a lot about Vitkin, it's not just because I enjoy this boutique winery but also because I don't have the time or resources to actively pursue other local wineries. Thus, you readers are kind of stuck with reading about the one winery that fate threw in my path.

My wife's uncles brought me a few samples from a visit they made a few weeks ago while I was abroad and I've been going through them recently.

Petite Sirah (sic?), 2007

This is certainly sweet on the palate, but seems to be decently balanced by the savory tannins and mineral finish, even if there isn't quite enough acidity for me. A very good nose, anyway: ripe, yet reined in, meaty and spicy, inspiring a craving for roast beef - which in the event it pairs with very well. Surprisingly elegant for such sweetness, this lives up to my expectations of the winery, that is, a wine I'd return to once a year but not much more than that. (Apr. 2, 2010).

115 NIS.

Carignan, 2007

Democracy at work. Wine geeks like it, laymen like it, and I find it equally tasty in any kind of stemware, with its light notes of black pepper and earth over black fruit with a hint of red. Sweet fruit, not jammy fruit - there's a distinction and I think that distinction is the key. This wine is very consistent from vintage to vintage, displaying enough personality not to bore me. (Apr. 4, 2010).

95 NIS (a word to the wise: at the Hinawi meat stores - not Wine & More - you can find it for 80 NIS).

Riesling, 2008

If winemaker Assaf Paz can serve as a barometer, then the local craft has improved while I was busy drinking European wines. The nose has chalk and citrus fruit that recall Chablis as much as the Pfalz and the palate pretty much follows the same path, with vibrant acidity that should be tempered by a bit more fruit but isn't. Can't win 'em all. It's still an improvement over previous vintages and good value. (Apr. 16, 2010)

85 NIS.