Monday, July 13, 2020

Our Jewish Link Zoom wine tasting a few weeks ago discussed rosé wines from Cantina Giuliano, Dalton, Herzog Lineage, Bat Shlomo, Tabor and Lueria. There were quite a few other 2019 bottles that I couldn’t get to my group to taste together for a variety of reasons, including cost and availability, but they’re here now, exceedingly special and are perfect for this season and throughout the summer (assuming they last that long). I want to highlight several higher end “opportunity wines” that are not to be missed.

The Château Roubine Cru Classé Premium 2019 is one of the most expertly made kosher rosés on the market. One of Provence’s older and more storied wineries, Château Roubine first started producing kosher wines (in partnership with Royal Wine Europe, operated by Menahem Israelievich) with the 2015 vintage.

The one word that came to mind when I tasted this wine? Balance. It is a translucent wine with only the slightest hint of pink, perhaps a light salmon, that presents with a deceptively clean citrus nose. The grapes that make up this wine are grenache, mourvèdre, cinsault, syrah, tibouren and rolle. The taste on the tongue is a bone dry yet bright mix, acidic with restrained citrus and melon, and a long, sustained finish. It’s so lovely and perfect that the first taste made me smile. While there are many good rosés with lots of different qualities, this one is like no other rosé I’ve tried this season.

A conversation with Royal Wines’ Gabriel Geller reminded me that Roubine is one of only 18 wineries out of 280 in the Côtes de Provence region—the birthplace of rosé wines—that was included in the 1955 classification of grands crus classés, or “classed growths.” That means that those 18 wineries have constantly produced outstanding wines for decades only using grapes grown in their own vineyards.

“To this day, to be able to feature the cru classé moniker on the label the winery must use only grapes from the same vineyards they owned and used in 1955,” Geller told me.

[Some truly exciting news is that Château Roubine, starting in 2020, has made Royal Wine its exclusive U.S. importer. What that means is that Royal will also distribute Château Roubine wines to the non-kosher market. While the kosher status of the wines won’t be emphasized in that market, the kosher production will significantly increase as Royal does not import non-kosher wines. This will include another Roubine wine as well as wine from another winery it owns, Château Sainte-Béatrice. I hope to write another article soon on this important industry development.]

But on to the other three wines I wanted to highlight:

I had long awaited the opportunity to taste the Domaine Netofa LaTour Rosado 2019, which is made from 100% tempranillo grapes. Made by living legend Pierre Miodownik in Israel, after his long career supervising the kosher runs of fabulous French wines for Kedem Europe (and succeeded by Israelievitch), this bright pink wine, a lustrous raspberry color, has a lovely nose of cherry and plum, a nice punch of acidity and a beautiful sustained finish that goes on and on. This is a finish that I now view as the calling card of Netofa LaTour wines. This is not to be missed.

The Elvi Herenza Rosato 2019, made by the Cohen Aleta family in Spain’s only kosher winery, is a real treat. This rosato, a mix of 50% garnacha (also known as grenache) and 50% syrah, renders a beautiful color, also lustrously dark pink with coral tones. The nose of this wine, of honeyed apricot, strawberry, lychee and candied violets, follows with a silky, smooth mouthfeel and a round, herby, satisfying finish. As it was a pleasure to meet David Cohen Aleta earlier this year before Purim, Brooke and I, who tasted this together via FaceTime, felt that this wine was representative of the winery’s other selections we enjoyed this spring. They all share a unique, handpicked quality of smart design and floral, earthy notes. It gives the impression of a small batch wine made just for us. But we’d really like to share it with you.

Finally, I enjoyed the Israeli Teperberg Essence Rose 2019, made of grenache noir, mourvedre and barbera grapes. A beautiful peachy salmon color, it has a nose of grapefruit and lemon, quite acidic, but it mellows out when tasted, turning to a very decidedly apricot and stone fruit flavor on the mid-palate, with a lemon pith finish. Lovely and cool.

Whatever pink wines you enjoy this season, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Chag sameach!

By Elizabeth Kratz