Wine and Spirits Specialists to Cultivate

The best boutique importers tend to specialize in one or two regions and select wines reflecting their terroir. They find artisanal wineries with a distinct personality. IsraProVinum (home base is Tel Aviv ) has become a wine importer worth taking seriously, with wines coming largely from Languedoc-Roussillon.

This region in the south of France boasts three times the number of vineyards of all of Bordeaux. Until the 1980s, it produced rather ordinary table wines. The last 20 years have seen improvements that caught the attention of connoisseurs.

Wines from the region of Costieres de Nimes may be labeled as coming from Languedoc-Rousillon or the Southern Rhone. For centuries, Costieres de Nimes was considered part of Languedoc, but in 2004, it officially became a part of the Southern Rhone appellation though some winemakers continue to list Languedoc-Roussillon on the label.

IsraProVinum imports may be purchased by telephoning Uri Caftori at 052-6133926 or by sending an email to

Chateau d'Or et de Gueules, Les Cimele, Camarque, Costieres de Nimes, 2008: Pale golden straw in color, a fresh, crisply dry and lively white showing notes of lemon, lime and grapefruit peel, supported by hints of white pepper and spring flowers. No great complexity but great charm. Drink now or in the next year or so. NIS 75. Score 88.

Chateau d'Or et de Gueules, Cuvee Trassegum, Rouge, Languedoc-Roussillon, 2005: Syrah with a small percentage of Carignan, dark ruby, reflecting 12 months spent in oak with light notes of spicy oak and chunky tannins providing a rustic note. On the nose and palate purple plums, blackberries and figs, plus hints of earthy minerals. A round, mouth-filling wine that almost begs to be consumed with lamb chops or lamb stews. Drink now-2012. NIS 119. Score 90.

Mas Cristine, Rouge, Cotes de Roussillon, 2008: Medium-bodied blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Raspberries and spices on the nose, opens to reveal crushed berries, cassis and spices. Tannins and fruits rise nicely on the finish. Drink now-2013. NIS 115. Score 89.

Borie la Vitarele, Les Schistes, Languedoc-Roussillon, 2008: Blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, fermented with wild yeast and aged for 12 months in well-used oak barriques in order not to let the oak dominate. Full-bodied, with tannins that grip on first attack but then meld with fruits as the wine sits. A generously peppery wine, showing red plums and crushed red and black berries and raspberries. Mouth-filling finish hints of paprika and Oriental spices. Drink now-2013. NIS 135. Score 90.

Domaine de l'Horizon, Rouge, Pyrenees-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, 2007: From an artisanal producer, one of the few left in France who crushes his grapes by foot. Equal parts of Carignan and Grenache. Dark garnet, generous plum and berry fruits on the nose, opening to red berries, pomegranate and cassis on a background of spiced beef. Remarkably rich and generous, with a long finish with notes of candied ginger. Thoroughly enjoyable now-2014. NIS 245. Score 93.

Domaine de l'Horizon, Blanc, Pyrenees-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, 2008: Light gold with green tints, a full-bodied white blend of Macabeu, Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc. When first poured, boasts musky aromas, shifting nicely in the glass to notes of roasted almonds and spring flowers. Look for a generous chalky mineral base that highlights peaches and peach pits, citrus and citrus peel and on the long finish a note of smoked meat. Drink now-2014. NIS 245. Score 93.