Parker heaps praise and points on Israel

  • Thursday 3 January 2008

Israel’s wineries are celebrating after Robert Parker's Wine Advocate awarded 14 of the country’s wines 90 or more points.

Two wines – Yatir Winery’s Yatir Forest 2003 red and Golan Heights Winery’s Gewurztraminer 2005 dessert wine – scored 93 points in the Wine Advocate, Parker's highly influential journal.

These are claimed as the highest scores ever given by Parker to wines from the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece and Lebanon.

The scores also match the highest mark given by Parker to a kosher wine.

In the Wine Advocate’s first-ever generic tasting of Israeli wines, Parker lieutenant Mark Squires said, ‘The corner has been turned qualitatively. Israel has a real wine industry that deserves consumer attention. These are attractive wines with typicity and some distinction.’

Carmel, Israel’s oldest and largest winery, and its Yatir subsidiary scored 90-plus points with four of its wines, while Domaine du Castel did so with three wines, including C Blanc du Castel 2005, the highest-scoring dry white wine with 91 points.

Golan Heights Winery and subsidiary Galil Mountain also scored 90-plus points with three wines, while Pelter, Tzora, Tulip and Clos de Gat were also among the top producers.

All but three of the wines, including the top six, were kosher. Most were Bordeaux blends, three were Syrah/Shiraz, and three were dessert wines. Only three came from Golan Heights vineyards, and just two from the Upper Galilee area.

Carmel Wineries CEO Israel Ivzan said the rankings could mean potential sales ‘on a massive scale’, with more and more consumers getting to know Israeli wines and exports of quality wines likely to increase markedly.

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