Annual Pre-Pesach White & Rosé Blind Tasting + other Rosés recently tasted

As pesach rolls around I try to taste through as many Rosés as possible as it is absolutely the beginning of Rosé season and many people ping me with questions about which are the Rosés to get each season. As it happens, over the last few years, my friend David Raccah has been here at some point in the weeks leading up to Pesach and we try to hold a blind tasting with a number of friends of both Rosés and whites that have just been released. This year we tasted through 18 Rosés and 23 whites – and as always the results were mixed.

A couple of caveats – when tasting through this many wines in one sitting you really can’t get a FULL picture of the wine. This is meant only to give a quick impression and to know whether the wine is worth spending money on to really sit down with and explore.

Also, as each of the participant brings a number of wines he has purchased from his own retailer – sometimes storage issues do pop up at these tastings. in fact there are at least 4 wines out tasted that evening that I have tasted MULTIPLE times elsewhere that I loved previously and did not show well that night. In those cases I am simply going with the results that I know to be true from tastings other than the blind tasting – though I will note it. For these reasons, I will also not give notes on the wines that didn’t show well in general that I tasted for the first time (though you can see them in the pic). outside of the wines that I brought, I really can’t vouch for how the others were kept once purchased or how the retailers store their wines.

Lastly I will also include a number of other Rosés that i have tasted over the last few weeks that are worthy of your Rosé money.

All wines below are 2018 (though the Amos Mont Blanc in the white picture is 2017)

The Whites :

Tabor Adama Roussanne – Really nice. Nectarine backed up by acid. Probably a half step back from last year, but still good.

Shiran Semillon – I really liked this at Sommelier – and again at another tasting after an RCC last month. This wine has real potential and would love to retaste again in about 2 months.

Yarden Sauvignon Blanc – Hard for me to find SB that I like – but this year GHW hits it out of the park. Not a hint of the dreaded ammonia notes (what others insist in referring to as Cat Piss) and less New Zealand in style in general – the wine has excellent acidity with nice stone fruit and gooseberry.

Flam Blanc – This wine should not be served too cold as when first tasted it was flat and one dimensional – and certainly not worth the price tag. But when it warmed a bit it came alive and showed as a very nice wine with wonderful lime and slate. It’s usually a go-to wine of mine and this year will be no different.

Vitkin Gewurtztraminer – I visited the winery recently and was SUPER impressed with this year’s offerings. This mostly dry gewurtz is among the best in this style, drier than and better than last year. Full notes to come when I write up the winery visit in the coming week or two.

Vitkin Riesling – Giving Carmel a run for it’s money, this Israeli Riesling is EXCELLENT. Can use a little time to fully come in to it’s own, but if you can find this, pick it up. Again – full notes to come soon.

Psagot Gewurtztraminer: Another great dry Gewurtz. Perhaps a 1/2 step behind the Vitkin mentioned above, but probably a lot easier to find and at a better price. A touch of Pineapple, then melon, lychee and guava. Great salinity and minerality backed up by good acid – with a really nice long finish.

Domaine Netofa White – I have written about this wine at KFWE London and recently did a full taste through with Pierre and DR at the winery. I hold by my London notes – though this is one of the bottles that may very well have had storage problems as it did not taste ANYTHING like it should have. But as I have tasted it this multiple times, I can tell you it’s wonderful and easily one of the top QPR whites available.

Dalton Pinot Gris – For a Pinot Gris, this really impressed me. I described it as a dry tropical fruit punch – with all that comes with – guava, pineapple etc. All held in check and BONE dry. Really impressive.

Additionally, while I liked the 2017 Amos Mont Blanc the one other time I tasted it, the wine tasted blind at this tasting was definitely bad. Still as I have only tasted that one other time, – and it was about a year ago, I can’t say one way or another if it’s good right now or if I would recommend it at this time.

As I get to the Rosés, a word to winemakers. I am not looking for just a mouth full of acid – especially when not balanced out by the fruit. On top of that, to aggressively add artificial acidity so that you can actually taste it is a HUGE mistake. It is simply unpleasant. There were a WHOLE bunch of wines that seemed to suffer this malady at the blind tasting and so this list is shorter than I would have liked…..

The Rosés:

Five Stones, D vs G Rosé – Really well balanced and well made. Almost earthy with nice strawberry and stone fruit.

Gush Eztion Rosé- This one needs to be served ice cold. Nice funk on the nose – Redfruit and watermelon. Easy drinking for me.

Domaine Netofa Rosé – Same note as the white above. I know this wine is great and again is a QPR superstar – but it did not show well at the blind and I blame storage.

Latour Netofa Rossado – As opposed to the Domain, the Latour showed beautifully and perfectly in line with what i had at KFWE and then multiple times afterwards, both at the winery and this past shabbat for lunch. In fact it will be the first Rosé that I do a full write up of in the coming weeks. One of my favorites this season and the winner of the blind IMHO.

Matar Rosé – Really impressive. Slightly sweet but balanced by a nice bitter thread at the end. Red fruit and nice mineral.

Vitkin, Israeli Journey Rosé – One of my favorites and really easy to drink. In fact I will likely end my seder with his guy as the fourth cup. Full notes with the winery write up – but think Red Grapefruit with a hint of sweetness.

Gvaot Rosé – So here is a wine that IS an acid bomb but seems totally balanced. There is no red fruit here at all only citrus – but it does it’s job in balancing the wine out. It helps that the acid here tastes totally natural and not added. Well done indeed.

So I’ll add that in addition to the Rosés above tasted blind, I have also enjoyed so far this season:

Covenant Israel, Blue C Rosé – Very nice and mostly in line with last year. Easy drinking for sure.

Ya’acov Oryah, As Pretty as the Moon Rosé – As I have also tasted through all of Ya’acov’s wines in the last few days, a full write up to come, but if you can find it, this is a great bottle. With nice dark fruit, funk and great acid. I am thinking of starting off off my seder with this one.

Recanati, Gris de Marselan – This wine rarely misses and this year is no different. It has come into it’s own since release and is now showing really well. My only worry here is with longevity as this seemed more delicate than usual – so drink it while you can!

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