Tzora Vineyards Judean Hills 2018 has been selected as one of Decanter’s Wines of The Year 2020. It is the first time an Israeli wine is part of Decanter’s prestigious end of year list. Decanter is the most well-known wine magazine in Britain and is respected the world over. They also organize the Decanter World Wine Awards, the world’s largest and arguably most respected wine competition.
Judean Hills 2018 is a blend of selected plots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Decanter described it thus: “A serious wine on the nose with dark fruits, smoky bacon and woody notes. On the palate the wine maintains a serious structure but offers really lovely, sweet, ripe red fruit, coupled with a touch of mint and black pepper. Drink 2022-2030.”
Tzora Vineyards is one of Israel’s finest small wineries. The winery was founded by Ronnie James in 1993 at Tzora. James was one of the first in Israel to talk about terroir and was an early pioneer in the revival of the Judean Hills wine region. In 2002, Tzora Misty Hills 1999 finished the leading Israeli wine in a tasting by Jancis Robinson MW. Eran Pick joined the winemaking team in 2006. When Ronnie James sadly passed away before his time in 2008, Pick took over and Dror James, Ronnie’s son, has been the Vineyard Manager since 2005. The winery decided to focus on the Shoresh vineyard which is high elevation, with a wide variety of individual plots, on the steep slopes that rise towards Jerusalem. The soils are shallow terra rossa, on a deep bedrock of limestone.
In 2016, Eran Pick became Israel’s first ever Master of Wine. Also in 2016, the Wine Spectator published its first ever cover feature on Israel. The Tzora Misty Hills 2013 was not only the leading Israeli wine in the tasting, but all five of Tzora’s wines scored 90 points or more. In 2018 Tzora Vineyards was awarded the maximum four stars in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Guide, a status they have maintained since then. When Israel celebrated its 70th Independence Day, the Jerusalem Post selected the Tzora Shoresh Blanc as one of five wines that symbolized the Israel wine revolution, and the wine of the decade.
In 2017, the winery were co-founder members of the Judean Hills Quartet, a consortium of four wineries whose objective was to advance the Judean Hills as a highly individual and quality wine region. The four wineries, Domaine du Castel, Flam Winery, Sphera and Tzora Vineyards, have hosted joint tastings to introduce the wines of the region all over the world.
Tzora Vineyards produces approximately 100,000 bottles, made up of five wines. There is a Judean Hills Red and White, a Shoresh Red and White and the prestige wine Misty Hills. Eran Pick MW is CEO and winemaker.
2020 has been a bad year health-wise and a difficult year wine-wise, but in the ‘Top Wines of The Year’ lists, Israel has done well. Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 was in the Top 100 Wines of the Wine Spectator, Dalton Alma Crimson 2017 was in the Top 100 Wines of the Wine Enthusiast, Dalton Canaan 2019 was in the Top100 Best Buys of the Wine Enthusiast, and now, last but definitely not least, Tzora Judean Hills 2018 is one of Decanter’s Wines of The Year.