Lahat 2020

Itay Lahat belongs to a secret corps in the history of the Israeli wine industry.

Michel Rolland and Mondevino gave consultants a bad rep. But, they can play an important role, especially in a wine county like Israel, where the industry is relatively young and small. 

Itay Lahat, who's been around for over 20 years, ever since his days at Barkan, has been making a solid living consulting for more wineries than I can recall. I'd give him a gold medal just for whatever he did at, and for, Kishor. The benefits of such a gig cannot be understated. For one thing, you're exposed to just about every vineyard and grower. And you learn to handle every contingency. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

To get the real sense of his skills and touch, you need to drink the wines from his own label. In this case, the latest batch from the 2020 vintage.


Clean, fresh summer fruit flavors, a touch of minerals. Very focused, very elegant, with a thin, sharp thread of flint that is delightfully old world. I don’t know how long it will age, but even if you err on the side of caution and drink up in the next two years, you’ll enjoy a lovely, savory, understated wine that will make you think hard. I know it’s Rousanne, but it makes me think of Sancerre, albeit with a fruit pit bitterness.


This is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Rousanne and Marsanne. Like the Rousanne, it’s elegant and understated. If the Rousanne wore a vest of chalk and flint, this wears a trench coat.


This is 88% Syrah, the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a very juicy wine, very red. My first thought was Beaujolais. Flowers, pepper. Terrific acidity. 14.5% that is totally unnoticeable.


GSM, Grenache-Mourvèdre-Syrah, the classic Châteauneuf formula that became so popular in Australia in the 90’s, a bombastic style in so many hands. It’s becoming more and more trendy here. The idea is that these varieties are better suited for Israel’s climate than the Bordeaux grapes. I hope we won't wind up be trading a jammy Cabernet or Merlot for a local version of an overwrought, over extracted CdP.

This isn’t such a wine. It's a light, lithe wine, that pairs well with food, with the senses and with the heart. He nailed it with the 2018, which was one of the most Bourgogne-like wines ever made here. The 2020 is just as good, meaty-funky (as opposed to bretty-funky), showing tasty strawberries and white pepper. It’s one of the highlights of the lineup. I'll say two words and duck: Comando G.