Tzora Judean Hills Blanc (OK Kosher) 2018
Judean Hills Blanc 2018 reflects the character and quality of our vineyards, located in the ancient region of Judean Hills. The wine is made from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, grown on old terraces. The soil is shallow Terra-Rosa with subsoil of limestone. The wine went through cool fermentation and Sur-Lie aging for 8 months in French barriques and stainless steel tanks. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation in order to retain the natural acidity and freshness of the wine. It drinks beautifully today and will keep developing in bottle over the next 2-3 years.
Blend: 75% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc
The Judean Hills, where Tzora Vineyards resides, rise sharply from the coastal plain, and exhibit ideal growing conditions for growing wine grapes. Terraces cling to this rugged area in a multitude of directions as they follow the contours of the steep slopes. Cold winters, sharp temperature drops during the short summer nights and early morning summer mists, as well as variations in soils from rocky limestone outcrops to ones rich in minerals, all contribute to the character, the balance and the great longevity of the wines.
The wines of Tzora reflect the Judean Hills’ unique terroir. In order to achieve this goal, they make wine only from their estate’s fruit, grown in Shoresh vineyard. From 2018 vintage the winery achieved a Fair&Green sustainability certificate.
Winemaker Eran Pick studied at UC-Davis and is the first Israeli to complete the Master of Wine. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the winemaking at Tzora. Jean-Claude Berrouet of Chateau Petrus is a consultant with Tzora as well. Berrouet says, “My idea is that together with Tzora Vineyards we wish to develop a wine that tells a sincere, authentic story of the local soil and climate through people who share their passion, ability and experience.”
With a rich history of wine production dating back to biblical times, Israel is a part of the cradle of wine civilization. Here, wine was commonly used for religious ceremonies as well as for general consumption. During Roman times, it was a popular export, but during Islamic rule around 1300, production was virtually extinguished. The modern era of Israeli winemaking began in the late 19th century with help from Bordeaux’s Rothschild family. Accordingly, most grapes grown in Israel today are made from native French varieties. Indigenous varieties are all but extinct, though oenologists have made recent attempts to rediscover ancient varieties such as Marawi for commercial wine production.
In Israel’s Mediterranean climate, humidity and drought can be problematic, concentrating much of the country’s grape growing in the north near Galilee, Samaria near the coast and at higher elevations in the east. The most successful red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, while the best whites are made from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Many, though by no means all, Israeli wines are certified Kosher.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.