Each year as Pesach and spring approach, people start talking about Rosé. This makes sense especially in Israel where we have already seen the mercury hit above 34 °C (93 °F) a couple of times. I am not really going to go on about the various ways that Rosé is made – I think it is not really interesting to most people who just want something that is fun, refreshing and tastes great. I don’t think the average drinker cares how much contact the wine has had with the skin etc. – so we’ll just skip all of that – though if you are interested please see either Yossie Horwitz or David Raccah‘s articles – though they deal with last year’s wines, the background on how wine is produced has not changed.
While I will likely do an in depth review of many of these Rosés over the next few months, I wanted to put out my recommendations so far and perhaps a quick line about each.
Luckily, I have been able to taste through about 25 Israeli Rosés so far including a blind megatasting of 20 at once with a number of friends last week. There are quite a few that have either not been released or I simply have not tasted yet – just because you don’t see a wine here does NOT mean i don’t like it – it could very well mean I haven’t tasted it at all. In any event, until the wines listed here have a full review on the site, it means I tasted them and got enough of an impression to make it worth my while to either taste or buy again. I note the price if I know it. The wines below are in no particular order.
- 2017 Recanati Gris de Marselan – This was the absolute winner at the blind tasting mentioned above. It was universally well liked and in everyone’s top one or two of the night. It is perhaps the best Israeli Rosé on the market this year so far. The biggest downside here is price. It is usually among the most expensive Roses in Israel. If it was a more normal price it would likely get a 4 from me.
- 2017 Latour Netofa Rosado – I’ve written about this a number of times here and here. Really nice wine and one of my favorites so far of the season. Very much worth the NIS 80 it costs.
- 2017 Domaine Netofa Rosé – A step behind last year, but still very good and with excellent QPR at about NIS 50 a bottle. See links above with Latour for more on this one too.
- 2017 Jezreel Valley Rosé – One of my top 5 so far this season – full note is here.
- 2017 Covenant Israel Blue C Rosé – Really very enjoyable. Some strawberry, watermelon and citrus pith. One of my top 5 from that blind tasting. I have no idea what they are charging for it this year.
- 2017 Dalton Kana’an Rosé – Very good and by far the best QPR of all of the Rosés tasted so far at a crazy NIS 30-35 a bottle!!!! This one is off-dry though – so if that’s not your thing, skip it (though it really just has a touch of sweetness and IMHO it is not overbearing at all).
- 2017 Tabor Adama Barbera Rosé – In line with previous releases. A slight perceived sweetness but balanced and a nice wine. About NIS 50-55
- 2017 Flam Rosé- In line with the 2014 and 15 – and better than the 16 (though I liked the ’16, many did not – and I would agree, it was a couple of steps behind) – on the more expensive side at NIS 80-90, while I like this, if it were not my wife’s favorite annual Rosé, I would likely skip as there are better options at this price point or even a lot less…
- 2017 Psagot Rosé – A touch sweeter than last year but actually more balanced. Very nice. NIS 60
- 2017 Amos Winery Rosé – I’m not sure if this is released here in israel yet or not, but I had the opportunity to taste it in NY. If I remember correctly, it’s made of Muscat Hamburg by Yaacov Oryah who consulted for them this season. That paid off nicely as this was a fun bottle. Looking forward to tasting it here.
- Hagafen Don Ernesto Rosé – The only non-Israeli Rosé that I have tasted. Nice and refreshing and unfortunately not available here in Israel. In the US it’s about $20 I think.
- *2017 Herzberg Rosé – There is a star next to this one because at the winery I liked it a lot but at the blind tasting, it tasted HORRIBLE to the point where I thought it was an off bottle. I spoke to the winemaker, Max Herzberg, and the problem seems to have been that the bottles that I took back with me had only recently been bottled and the cork was reacting with the wine negatively at this stage. Max assured me that in 2-3 weeks, the bottle will taste like it did at the winery. I actually have notes on this that I am holding until I retaste. I can say that it is made up of 66% Malbec and 34% Merlot – and the Malbec comes through in ways that I enjoy very much with a little funk, and spice – and at NIS 50 is a winner assuming this was a temporary cork issue.
So out of 25 tasted, I would go back to 12 – which I think is very promising for the season! Again, this list is incomplete – but should be a nice start for those who wanna pick something up before Pesach.
Chag Kasher V’Sameach!