It started with local buzz.

I'd wanted to try the new Ortal wines that Naama Sorkin has been making since she took over the vinegrowing and winemaking chores. But it took me a while to adapt my purchasing habits, because the wines weren't sold at the stores I usually frequent. My searches led me, belatedly, to a great shop, Wines and Flavors - but that's a story for another time.

Sauvignon Blanc, 2018

This shows all the highlights of the best of the local class - and Sauvignon Blanc is a grape I find to shine in Israel - reserved gooseberry tinged fruit with loads of chalk and smoke, good structure, a long finish. But it's so awkward and rough now, it can't even contain its hints of oak. Which won't be an issue when summer rolls around again, but something to consider for the time being. (Nov. 24, 2019)

Cabernet Franc, 2017

This is where the buzz gets real. This is classically formed and classically characterized. Fresh red fruit, with notes of flowers, earth and lead pencil, quietly flexing its muscle just beneath the surface. I gather from a short interview on the IWSI blog that Naama is proud of this wine - and well she should be. It's a no brainer purchase: tasty now and balanced enough for short term improvements at least. (Nov. 26, 2019)