Note: Before I start, I just want to disclose that Ya’acov is a friend. While I don’t believe that our friendship impacts my notes, I do want make sure that you kind readers have that information in hand when glancing through my scribbles.
2nd Note: Apologies in advance for the length of this post. I have been writing it for over a month and it encompasses 2 complete portfolio tastings plus a couple of other tastings thrown in there. There is a lot of information and even more wine…..
As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, David Raccah of Kosher Wine Musings spent a couple of weeks here in the Holy Land and we visited a number of wineries together. One visit that was a no brainer was Ya’acov Oryah’s. I have written in these pages MANY times about my love for Ya’acov’s wines. But this year was more special than most. I had tasted a number of these wines at various stages either at RCC’s or at a KFWE Pre-Game. They were either barrel samples or just post bottling – really unfinished – but they all showed tremendous promise.
In any event – I was REALLY looking forward to how these wines were going to come out based on all of the hype and what tasted really spectacular in early pre-release incarnations. On the other hand, I’ve been burned plenty of times by barrel tastings. So Ya’acov made arrangements to walk us through the wines at Red & White Wine Bar – right outside of Mamilla. As I am neither a tourist nor a resident of J-lem, I really don’t get a chance to visit wine-bars in the area that often – but as far as nice cool places to sit and have a glass of wine or 20, this is place works! Really nice cool vibe – and Arnold the owner is a really nice chill guy.
At this tasting we tasted through all of the current public releases – and one of last years red’s just as a comparison.We also tasted through 4 of the Psagot releases (3 white and the Rose). Minus the Psagot, we tasted through 16 wines – 1 bottle was last year’s release and one bottle which will be released next year. That leaves 14. More than half of those wines are Orange wines – that’s not a typo! 8 orange wines released at once from a single producer. This may very well be a record and make the Yaacov the most prolific producer of Orange Wines in the world – I don’t know – from my brief skimming through famous orange (non-kosher) producers, they seem to make at most 2-3 different bottles a year. In terms of kosher, there are only a couple of other orange wines that have been made – and they really don’t even deserve to be mentioned on the same page as the Oryah wines – so I won’t.
Months ago, when I first heard about the lineup that was coming – I really struggled to understand why. Last year, Ya’acov release a 2016 blend (until now know simply as Alpha Omega) and a 2017 Alpha Omega Chenin Blanc. For me, the wines were VERY similar. Not 100% – but similar enough for me to doubt needing multiple releases in the same year – both from a portfolio perspective or from a marketing perspective. This is something new – and relatively uncommon even in the non-kosher world, it’s not something that will be easy to get people to adjust to.
So now I have tasted through the 9 that Ya’acov produced this year – and – I get it. While the 2017 CB was close to (I actually think better than) the 2016 Alpha Omega blend – each of the 2018 wines bring something different to the table. It is truly eye opening. And WOW – year over year, these wines are getting better and better. The 2016 & 17 wines were a VAST improvement over the original 2014 release and these raise the bar even further.
Further, to gain a complete appreciation for what has been accomplished, you really need to taste through as many of these as you can to get the full experience. It is truly eye opening. Or so I thought…. You see just the other night I had the opportunity to taste through the entire portfolio again – but this time rather than taste them through with David in a professional setting, with my friend Simon I helped put together a tasting in honor of the distribution of the first vintage of the SOB project – more on that in a sec.
This tasting was with a crowd of more normal every day drinkers. They were wine lovers no doubt, but there is a big difference between David Raccah and the average wine lover. While I think maximum impact is gained through telling the story through progression, the average palate can be , IMHO overwhelmed by the sheer number of orange wines in a single setting. So when Ya’acov disclosed last night that many of these wines were NOT going to be sold just yet, I realized that he had the situation well under control for the market. And in fact outside of Israel, the 2016/17 Alpha Omega line is being sold – and those wines are far more ready than any of these. But even in Israel, only 2 or 3 of these ’18’s will be on sale right now with remaining wines being held a bit to mature.
In addition to these to mega-tastings, over the last month I have been privileged to share 2 additional meals with Ya’acov and his lovely wife Patricia. The first was over chol hamoed at Crave in Jerusalem where a group of us got together to sample their excellent Pesach menu and taste through a number of older wines of Ya’acov’s that were NOT meant for aging to see how they held up (some surprises there) – as well a number of other wines. While crave for the most part is known for their upscale version of street food during the year, on Pesach they present their spin on a Bistro menu. I have to say – the food was EXCELLENT. Some of my favorites that night were the short ribs, the crispy wings (severed with a honey horseradish basil sauce), and of course their famous lamb bacon. The food was served family style and attacked at each pass, so unfortunately no pics – but take my word, Crave is worth stopping by if you have not done so yet – even on Pesach!
The second meeting out we sampled three sparkling wines that are still in progress having been bottled just a year ago – 1 for Psagot and 2 under his own label. This was at Simon’s house where it we had these wines with a taco bar. Gotta say – bubbly plus tacos are a HUGE win. I know most people think of sparkling wine as an aperitif or to be served only at special occasions. Nonsense! It is SO versatile and will often pair with foods that are near impossible to pair otherwise.
As mentioned above, the final tasting was also at Simon where Bracha Arnold catered the release party of the 2017 SOB with a number of small plates that were served throughout the evening. Perfect for “grazing” while tasting.
And now finally onto the wine. Below I will present notes on on all of the wines that Ya’acov made that I’ve tasted over the last couple of moths, omitting the wines we had over Chol Hamoed from other wineries.
Lets start with Yaacov’s new releases under his own label which is now divided into 2. The white label wines cover whites,reds and roses. The black label is the Alpha Omega line which cover skin macerated whites. What is skin maceration? Well, the short of it is as follows – rather than just using the juice, these wines are prepared using the skins and stems much like traditional red wines. They therefore present with significant tannin and much greater structure and body. In the greater wine world, most of these wines are then barrel aged and therefore with micro-oxidation gain that deeper almost orange color. The only wine which Ya’acov barrel ages in this series though is the premium blend, until now simply called Alpha Omega , but as that is also the name of the series and a bit a confusing, from the 2018 vintage this wine is now called Melchizedek. The other wines don’t touch oak and are just presented as an expression of the Alpha Omega philosophy – beginning to end – or in grape terms – using all parts of the grape. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the whites, rose’s and reds:
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Soulmate or עזר כנגדו in Hebrew – 55% Chardonnay and 45% Chenin Blanc – This is a wine I tasted WAY back in December along with the Alpha Omega Chard and Gewurtz. (Thankfully Ya’acov changed the name from the original, more literal translation.) The wine is basically inline with what I expected. Mostly apple on the nose – in the mouth there is loads of acid balanced out by the medium body. The fruit is intense with lemon and tart pink grapefruit – and excellent lean minerality with a hit of saline. Really excellent. Best QPR on an Oryah white ever as well.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Light from Darkness (אור מאופל) – As the name implies, this is Ya’cov’s Blan D’Noir. It is made of 33% Grenache Noir, 31% Cinsault, 24% Syrah and 12% Mourvedre – which are the same varietals used in the red Eye of Storm. In its current state, there is this great dried grass on the nose and in the mouth it shows super green and is an absolute mineral bomb. I say in it’s current state because I have learned to give this bottle a little time to develop. The 2016’s took a good year to come together and as of a few months ago were drinking beautifully – though have started to decline. But they also started out super green,so give this a guys a half a year or so and enjoy.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Silent Hunter (הצייד השקט) – This is the second vintage of this wine and while I think the 2017 might technically be the better and more ageable white, this one actually presents more ready at this stage than the 2017. Now – when I say more ready, don’t get ahead of yourself. I think this wine has plenty of time to grow. As with last year’s vintage it is a blend of Semillon and Chenin Blanc – 60/40. No malolactic fermentation here as opposed to the 2017 – keeping this wine just a bit leaner. Great acid edge keeping the fruit in check – mostly citrus there with excellent mineral and asuper vibrant with a finish that goes on and in. Really tasty and super refreshing at this point – this wine will likely develop nicely over the next 3-5 years.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Valley of the Hunter (עמק הציידים) – This is a wine that will only be released in another 4-5 years or so. It is 100% Semillon and made in style of Hunters Valley Semillon from Australia – and hence the name. I sampled this as part of the SOB launch last night. Showing a touch less austere than the 2017 did at this point, but pretty much in the same model with acid off the chart. To really appreciate how this wine ages, you need to taste the 2009 version side by side as we did last year. While not side by side, I had tasted the 2009 last week as I brought it to an RCC while I was visiting NY – and I can tel you that 10 years in this wine still rocks. Now – it’s not improving – and who knows how long it’ll hold so drink up – but 10 years. Impressive for an Israeli red – unheard of for an Israeli white. In fact, unheard of for all but the absolute best whites in world. To compare, the 2004 SHL Blanc which is also Semillon based lasted for about 12 years from harvest before starting a serious decline. While the 2009 make it 12 years? I don’t know, but it might. I have no reason to think the 2018 (or 2017) would perform any differently. In any event, this is not for sale – but if it were, it could actually pair really well with a pasta in cream sauce or a fried piece of fish – the acid would cut through the fat in each case. I hope at some point int he future (perhaps next year at the same time) we can experience a bit of a vertical and see how these wines do midway through their development.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah As Pretty as the Moon Rosé (יפה כלבנה) – I have truly fallen in love with this Rosé and it might be my favorite this season. The name is another playful riddle – it was originally supposed to be another white BdN, but perhaps it sat on the skins too long – I don’t know – but it came out with a beautiful Rose color but just as tasty – so as pretty as the intended white. which translates into Hebrew as יפה כלבנה – using the feminine form for white – which also is the same word for moon. – so Translate that back to English and As Pretty as the Moon. This wine is a blend of 53% Petit Syrah, 29% Mourvedre, and 18% Syrah (which my perceptive friend Andy pointed out is the same blend used in the Psagot Peak – though these are not at all the same grapes or vineyards used). On the nose we have mostly red fruit (rhubarb predominantly) with a hint of funk. In the mouth this wine is awesome – with funk and pear and apple and rhubarb with a streak of acid right down the middle of this medium+ bodied gem. We opened the seder with this wine and it was gone in 2 seconds flat.
2017 Ya’acov Oryah Eye of the Storm (עין הסערה) – This year adds Cinsault to the GSM with the exact blend being Syrah 42%, Grenache 36% with Mourvedre and Cinsault each at 11%. Compared to the 2016 at the same time, this wine shows more balance and finesse. This is less of a smoke bomb than the 2016 and far less than the 2014. on the nose there is almost a root beer and grilled meat kind of smell which works nicely. In the mouth there is a little smoke with ripe but controlled dark red fruit, more of that roasted meat and a touch of earthiness. This is my favorite release of this wine. Unfortunately it looks like the vineyards that Ya’acov uses to produce this wine are no longer giving enough of a yield to make this in commercial quantity and next year’s 2018 release might be the last. This wine is not yet released, but should be in about 6 months or so. Keep your eyes open. Until then there’s the…
2016 Ya’acov Oryah Eye of the Storm (עין הסערה) – I tasted this as part of my initial tasting with Raccah. Ya’acov brought it just as a benchmark for comparison. I like this wine on release and I have to say I like it even more now. As opposed to the 2014 which was WAY to smokey, this bottle while obviously still part of the same family, is much more balanced. With age, the wine has really come into it’s own with the cherry and red fruit receding a bit, and the earth and perhaps blue and even green fruit showing more prominently. This wine is also available to El Al business and First Class passengers.
2017 Ya’acov Oryah The Duke Pontiff (הדכוס פונטיף) Each time Ya’acov presents this wine he asks people to guess the reason behind the name. As most of my readers will likely not be meeting Ya’cov any time soon, I don’t mind solving the riddle (I only guessed half of the answer when he first posed the question to me). The wine is made up of 49% Pinot Noir, with the rest being the same varietals as in the ’17 Eye of the Storm in the same relative percentages – Syrah 21%, Grenache 18 % with Mourvedre and Cinsault each at 6%. (Let’s just call that GSMC.) So it is 51% of varietals that are used in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The word Pape in French means Pope – or Pontiff. With Pinot Noir making the remainder – and of course PN is from Burgundy which at different points in its history was a Duchy – and so we have the Duke and the Pontiff. Crazy what the PN does to this wine though – the nose is much more cherry than anything else with a little bit of earth. In the mouth again, Pinot transforms and lifts the wine well past what the Eye of the Storm is. Fruit is till there but the Pinot rounds it out and brings out the chocolate, tobacco & coffee notes. This is wine is an absolute winner. Unfortunately its mostly sold out and what is left will be sold only on an individual basis in Israel with maybe a touch being held back for the US importer (more on international availability at the end of the post).
2017 Ya’acov Oryah Timrot Ashan (תמרות עשן) This wine was tasted over Chol HaMoed Pesach at the meal at Crave. It was made exclusively for Brut which is a non-kosher wine bar and restaurant located in Tel Aviv. This wine again uses the ’17 Eye of the Storm varietals as a base (GSMC) but adds Carignan and comes in at a beautiful 13.5% ABV. Being outside and having food served with this wine made it impossible for me to really take notes on the nose. But the mouth – wow. The Carignan here rids the Eye of the Storm of what some might consider it’s riper notes – but somehow without imparting its usually tannic backbone, but adding a decent amount of acid. In the mouth it is deep dark almost black plum and chocolate. This wine is EXACTLY what restaurants should be serving. It is a drink now wine, not at all meant for aging, nor does it need any. It needs little to no air – pop and pour. It is food friendly and went with nearly everything it was served with. In short – this is a restaurants DREAM wine and exactly what a diner really would be looking for to accompany a meal. Why have only non-kosher restaurants engaged Ya’acov to create wine for them? I have no idea. There are plenty of restaurants, including Crave where we enjoyed this, who could benefit from something like this – and have a co-branded house bottle. I drank this bottle with a number of serious winos and all of us loved it.
2017 Ya’acov Oryah SOB – The “Special Oryah Blend” was concieved by my friend Simon. He likes to share credit with me and another buddy Andy, but really Simon was the impetus here. The idea was simple, lets see if we can get Ya’acov to make us a wine. At first Ya’acov was just going to process the wine for us at the service winery he uses. We would supply the grapes and purchase the materials and he would vinify the wine. But what do we know about picking grapes? Instead we asked that Ya’acov do ALL the work – from start to finish (maybe this should be an Alpha Omega wine) – and we would put together a group of people who were equally interested in rolling the dice on an untested blend and in a future vintage without any guarantee that the wine would be of any quality. In fact, that is a risk EVERY winemaker takes when experimenting. But we aren’t winemakers – so it was a leap of faith. The resulting wine is a blend of 5 varietals not usually put together – 22% Grenache, 21% Petite Sirah, 20% Carignan, 19% Pinot Noir and 18% Syrah. The first time I tasted the finished wine was soon after bottling, a couple of months ago in London during KFWE season. The wine was nice, presented very ripe and fruity with plenty of acid and tannin to balance for now. The predominant flavor at the time was bright red cherry. In the 3 months or so that have passed this wine has changed A LOT. What’s the same? Structure. Plenty of acid and tannin to carry this guy for a long time. But gone is the cherry – or mostly. I guess its there in the back. It has been replaced by darker deeper red fruit and juicy dark plums with an excellent chocolaty finish. The wine is still super young. My guess is that it will start realizing it;s potential in another 2 years or so. But it could be 6 months or 6 years…. This was a first time blend for Ya’acov and the wine has no track record, so it’s something that I will enjoy monitoring in the foreseeable future. We did a second vintage this past year using the same varietals. For 2019, Ya’acov is toying with the idea of adding a sixth varietal – I’ll give you a hint, it’s isn’t french in origin – but for now I’ll keep that information to myself as it may not come to pass. In terms of availability, Ya’acov did make some extra for himself in 2017, though in very limited quantity. I believe there will be more of the 2018 available for purchase – but that is a year off.
And now on to the Oranges – or fine Skin Macerated Whites if that makes you more happy:
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Viognier – Stone Fruit on the nose backed by white pepper. When I had this the second time during the SOB release, many detected Smokiness or meat – and it just shows you how your mind automatically associates certain smells with others. Once the pepper was pinpointed, no one smelled the smoke or meat. Pretty interesting. In the mouth you get nuts and stone fruit with white pepper and nice minerality. To be honest, this is my least favorite of the AO line to date – I am not a fan of walnuts and as I have noted many times, peach is a pass for me overall, though here it was pretty much in check.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Chardonnay – Here it gets interesting. The Chard comes through both on the nose and in the mouth. Clear apple, pear. But that’s just the beginning. The skins and stems here add layers of herbs and minerals that are simply not found in a traditional Chard. This is an experience. Chard on steroids.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Semillon – On the nose, the wine has apple and spice and orange and more spice. It has off the charts acidity – much like the Valley of the Hunter Semillon at this stage – except add tannin to that! This wine is being held for now as it clearly needs time to further develop like it’s non-skin macerated brother.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Roussanne – Here we have the first wine that shows the crazy dissonance that I experienced last year with the ’17 AO CB and ’16 AO Blend. The nose here is just layers of honey and flowers and warm sweet spice and funk!. Your mouth expects something sweet – and you don’t get it. Instead you are treated to smoke and citrus and a little salty saline, followed by some pear and apple. The finish here is a little shorter than I would have liked – but that’s fine. My head was still trying to parse what it was experiencing….
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Chenin Blanc – I found this very different than than the 2017. Here the nose presents much more classically as CB as opposed to last year where you got all of the honeysuckle. In the mouth, you get incredible grassiness and herbs with some nice citrus and smoke. This was excellent.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega First Anthology (האסופה הראשונה) – The first of 3 AO blends Ya’acov made for 2018, and one of 2 released this year. The name here is a play in Hebrew on Ya’acov’s first winery Asif (אסיף) -in – and a call back to the first orange wine he made – using the same varietals Chardonnay, Viognier and Chenin Blanc – here at 40/40/20. Here you start to see the different wines described above really come together to create something special. On the nose, you have excellent smoked honey and funk followed by the white pepper from the Viognier and the herb from the Chard. In the mouth – another wow moment. This wine just unfolds with apples and spices and backed by sweet but tart lemon and herbs. All of this is held together and by an excellent core of acid and tannin. Really special.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Anthology of Spice – The second of the blends made in 2018 (the 3rd will be the oaked Melchizedek likely released in 2 years from now). Why Anthology of Spice? Well the previous blend was called an anthology so he kept it going. As the blend is based on 50% Gewurztraminer which actually translates as the spicy traminer – traminer being another name for SB of which Gewurtz is a mutation of. And so we have the Anthology of Spice. Added to the Gewurtz is 40% Chard and 10% Roussanne. True to it’s name you get all of the spice that Gewurtz has to offer with none of the tropics. The nose is all funky smokey honeyed spice. In the mouth more and more spices predominantly clove and nutmeg. and then finally some melon from the Gewurtz , apple from the Chard again with excellent structure provided by the acid and mounds of tannin. This was my favorite of the AO line.
2018 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Gewurztraminer – This is actually a Single Vineyard Gewurtz that is not used anywhere else in the line but in this bottle. Ya’acov was picking up his lot of grapes (I believe Chard) from the same vineyard when the woman who owns the vineyard mentioned that she planned on discarding the Gewurtz as no one had bought it. Ya’acov decided to pick it up and made this super-unique expression of Gewurtz. Here you have a more typical open on the nose with Lychee and lemon but then followed by roses and then spice. In the mouth – it’s all about the rose. It just keeps on coming and then you get to the the crazy spices with excellent acid and minerality. Even though I had just experienced this progression, this wine STILL surprised me. If you are a Gewurtz fan, this is a must – it is totally unique.
2017 Ya’acov Oryah Alpha Omega Melchizedek (מלכיצדק)- As I mentioned, until know, the flasgship Alpha Omega blend was called simply Alpha Omega. But that was a little confusing as it’s also the name of an ever expanding line of wines under the Oryah label. Why Melchizedek? Well in the Torah King Melchizedek was described as such: “מַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן – Melchizedek King of (Jeru)Salem brought out bread and wine”. Fitting! This win is a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Semillon (40/34/26). On the nose you get this incredible deep nuttiness – pecans and almonds – likely due to the oxidation – followed by dried grass and a a touch of flinty smoke. In the mouth, while I was expecting a very austere wine, it exploded with almost sweet oranges and jasmine with health acid and tannin way in the back. Great mouthfeel here too. According to Ya’acov this wine is a year from release and will likely further develop.
Before I go on, just a note on quantities – without getting into specific amounts, some of the wines listed above are in VERY small quantities – with the Viognier, Semillon and Anthology of Spice being the most limited at 200-300 bottles , followed by the Gewurtz, Roussanne , Chard, First Anthology and Melchizedek with double that or a little more even. The Chenin Blanc is produced in slightly larger quantities for wider distribution. Just a PSA to keep mind when deciding what to buy.
While I have spend the majority of this post on Yaacov’s own wines, his MAIN job is as winemaker for Psagot. As anyone who follows the industry knows, it is not easy making wines at commercial volume that are of excellent quality. Ya’acov continues to improve on what was already a solid basis at Psagot. During the tasting with Raccah, we also tasted 3 whites and the Rose that Yaacov made for Psagot. Are the same league as his own? well one of them is (the Gewurtz), and another may yet develop (the Chard) – and they are about 1/2 the price of one of his own – the others are absolutely reasonable – and of course all of them are far more readily available.
2018 Psagot Chardonnay – This is a classic Chardonnay – with pear and apple for the most part with a little bit of spice and citrus acid. It spent 4 months in oak – 50% new. This wine is VERY young now and aggressive. I would say it shows potential and should be retasted in about 6 months after everything has had time to integrate.
2018 Psagot Viognier – Out of all of the wines that Ya’acov has made in the last year, this wine speaks to me least. It is because it is primarily peach driven and I am just not a peach fan in my wine. I know this is a personal bias – but I can’t get past that. For those who enjoy peach – have at it.
2018 Psagot Gewurztraminer – I really enjoyed this wine. I happen to be a fan of Gewurtz in almost all of its forms. This expression is slightly off dry with a classic tropical Gewurtz nose. In the mouth more tropical fruit with some sweet melon balanced out by saline, mineral and nice spice.
2018 Psagot Rose – The nose here was nice and interesting – tons of funkiness and zippy fruit. in the mouth, it presents far more sweet with none of the funk – but enough acid to hold it together.
Past and Future Wines
Lets start with some futures – besides the things I have already mentioned above, perhaps the most exiting future releases are sparkling wines. Starting in 2016, Psagot bought equipment to start producing it’s own bubbly and Ya’acov produced a white sparkling wine for that vintage. I have yet to taste that one, and eagerly await its release – probably in another 3-4 years. For 2017 Ya’acov produced 3 sparkling wines. For Psagot he produced a traditional Rose of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.Under his own label he produced two whites – one based on the Or Meofel BdN and the second based on the Silent Hunter. Each of these wines is very different – and of course far from ready. I am not going to even bother giving notes here – just letting you know that they are coming, and I’m excited.
In addition to tasting the 2017 Sparklers, I also had the opportunity to taste through a number of older wines that Ya’acov produced that were NOT intended for aging. But Ya’acov thought it might be interesting to see how they survived regardless. We tasted 4 wines 3 whites made at Asif, Ya’acov’s first winery and 1 red made in 2013 for the restaurant Claro. Of the 4, the 2010 Chenin Blanc was SUPER impressive. Not only alive , but having developed this wonderful lush mouthfeel. The 09 Chard was not dead, but flat with pretty much no finish. The 08(!) Viognier was peach city – and for me a no go, but others at the table liked it. The Claro Red 2013 was over the hill, but my guess is was likely holding on even 2 years ago. Why am I mentioning these? Because none of them were built with aging in mind. Yet, to a degree they all did better than what they were designed for with 1 still holding – 9 years later! The man knows how to make wines that last (wehther that was the intent or not) – and I can tell you that its NOT a given here anymore. So I drop this here in order to help people understand the track record and therefore judge drinking windows for themselves (I feel that I am notoriously bad at doing so, and therefore never include dates in reviews).
Let’s start with Psagot. Around the world, Psagot is distributed by Royal. I have no idea which of the above wines Royal has brought in this year. To my memory, none of them were available at KFWE. In Israel all of these are widely available as they are distributed by Zur.
In terms of Ya’acov’s own wines, some of them they may be available in some select shops, usually in very limited quantities. For instance in Jerusalem I know you can get them from Evyatar Cohen at Kos Shel Bracha in Katamon. Of the wines listed above I’m pretty sure he has the Soulmate, Or MeOfel, and the 2 AO Anthology blends. I am sure there are many others around the country, I just have no specific info. Some very exciting news though is that for the first time Ya’acov’s wines are being exported. To start you can find some of them in the US through Liquid Kosher and in Canada through Simcha Wines (sorry, no contact info – but those in Canada probably know how to get to them). The US lineup currently includes the 2017 Alpha Omega Chenin Blanc, 2016 Alpha Omega Blend, 2017 Silent Hunter (all reviewed here) plus the 2016 Eye of the Storm and 2018 Or MeOfel reviewed above. In Canada the lineup is the 2016 Eye of the Storm, 2017 Duke Pontiff, 2017 Silent Hunter, 2018 Alpha Omega Chardonnay, 2018 Pretty as the Moon Rose. Hopefully some sort of lineup will eventually make its way to England as well.
As I have often mentioned, mine is only one opinion of many. 2 friends of mine have already published there notes and each write up has information not included above or in the other post – each writer choosing to spend ink where he sees fit. David Raccah who did the initial tasting with me has complete notes on the current lineup and thoughts on orange wines here. Yossie Horwitz of Yossie’s Corkbaord did this tasting earlier than me and David, when he was here visiting for Sommelier. His write up is here and includes notes on many of Ya’acov’s previously released wines as well as a roadmap of the future releases already in the works.
My many many thanks to Ya’acov Oryah for sitting with me (many times) and answering my endless questions. And my very special thanks to Simon Jacob who hosted 3 out of 4 of these tastings.