The annual tasting of Israeli wines by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has taken place. Since 2007, there have been annual tastings of Israeli wines by this most prestigious of publications. Robert Parker is the world’s most influential wine critic and the Wine Advocate is his newsletter. Mark Squires, who tasted the wines, is in Parker’s wine tasting team as the specialist on Israeli wine.
There were 80 wines in the 2012 tasting from 21 different wineries.
The highest scores were achieved by Yarden El Rom Cabernet Sauvignon, Yatir Forest and Tzora Or.
A score of 90 points or more is a target for Israeli wineries. Yatir and Tzora each had three wines which achieved this, Golan Heights Winery and Ella Valley had two each.
The following wines were most successful:
Carmel Mediterranean 2009 90 points
Clos de Gat Ayalon Valley 2004 90
Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 90
Ella Valley Vineyards 32 N 35 E 2008 90
Ella Valley Vineyards Chardonnay 2010 90
Flam Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay 90
Golan Heights Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon EL Rom 2008 92
Golan Heights Yarden Merlot 2008 90
Shilo Merlot Secret Reserve Sod 2009 90
Tzora Vineyards Misty Hills 2010 90
Tzora Vineyards Neve Ilan 2011 90
Tzora Vineyards Or 2011 91
Yatir Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 90
Yatir Petit Verdot 2009 90
Yatir Forest 2009 91
Since the first tasting in December 2007, only 23 Israeli wines have succeeded to score 91 points or more. The highest score for an Israeli wine is still 93 points, an achievement shared by Clos de Gat, Castel, Margalit and Yatir.
By far the most successful wineries over the five years have been Domaine du Castel and Yatir Winery. Castel has had no less than 13 wines being awarded 90 points or more, followed by Yatir with 11.
The positions are reversed for wineries at 91 points or more with Yatir leading with 6 wines followed by Castel with 5. And the two most successful wines? Yatir Forest and Castel Grand Vin, the flagship wines of Yatir & Castel.
Yatir Forest has received a score of 90 or more score from the Wine Advocate in seven years in a row between 2003 and 2009. Castel’s Grand Vin has also received seven scores of 90 points or more.
In the absence of a dominant wine critic in Israel like Daniel Rogov, who sadly passed away in 2011, the scores provide an important barometer of the progress of Israeli wines in the court of international opinion.