It's been a year or two since I've tasted through the Tzora Vineyards portfolio. In the time since I actually last visited the winery or attended a launch, I've gotten to know winemaker Eran Pick very well, enough to call him a friend, which I guess would present a problem were I a professional writer. So I reckon being an amateur can be a boon (even if it means actually buying the stuff myself).
I've said it before - in fact, many have - Tzora and Eran make excellent wines. Tasty, interesting wines that I'm proud to serve to friends visiting from abroad, to showcase a team immaculately attentive in both the vineyard and the winery.
An artificial ice wine Gewürztraminer that comes across as a good Sauternes lookalike, with a similar mustard vein. A low-acid, toffee treat, but very tasty with surprising acidity. (Jun. 3, 2014)
Shoresh, Sauvignon Blanc, 2013
As I've noted in the past, this finds a middle ground between new Zealand tropical fruitness and Loire minerality. This year the fruit is more obvious than I recall (guayavas, I'd say, which is a dominant fruit aroma in the first place), even though the minerals definitely are there, playing a complex bass line. There's a certain flashiness, a flair, but one that comes of self assurance, so it's all good. (Jun. 11, 2014)
Judean Hills, 2012
Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, with some Merlot and Petit Verdot. Gunpowder, bitter tannins, juicy acidity, black fruit - elements that are not in sync here the way they are in the upper echelon wines. Although I like its raw kick. As I recall, Tzora had mineral character even in the old days, with a pleasant, rustic bite. Eran over the years upped the finesse factor, especially in the Shoresh and Misty Hills. (Jun. 12, 2014)
About 100 NIS.
Judean Hills, Blanc, 2013
This Chardonnay prominent blend, with some Suavignon Blanc, replaces the old Neve Ilan Chardonnay, which I think was slightly more alcoholic. It's similar in style and character to the Shoresh SB, perhaps a little more floral, but just as convincingly mineral-laden, and despite the price difference, of similar level of quality. The Sauvignon is more dominant at first, then the Chardonnay and at any rate the oak seems to need more time to tame than in the case of the Shoresh. (Jun. 15, 2014)
About 100 NIS.
You're probably expecting a write up on the 2012 Shoresh and 2011 Misty Hills, both of which were released along with the above. But since I missed the launch at the winery, I figured they're too young to open at home. So, instead, I offer...
This Cabernet-Syrah-Merlot blend is drinking nicely now, with its earthy black fruit and a hint of leather, and an ever expanding aromatic complexity that nurtures a smile or two. The tannins are still firm, and the package is still monolithic, but there's potential with more maturity. An excellent Mediterranean claret that I used to think resembled Saint Estephe, but now I'm thinking "modern Madiran". Or something along those lines. (Jul. 9, 2014)