Inspired by the initiatives of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the Tishbi family started to plant vineyards in 1882 on the slopes of Mount Carmel near the town of Zichron Yaakov and continued to cultivate vines over the next hundred years. In 1985, Jonathan Tishbi launched the family-owned winery in the nearby town of Binyamina. It was initially called HaBaron in homage to Rothschild, but was later renamed Tishbi.
The winery is currently producing about one million bottles annually, with Golan Tishbi serving as senior winemaker. Drawing on grapes from their own nearby vineyards as well as from vineyards in the Jerusalem region, the Negev and the Upper Galilee and Golan, the winery produces several series. Their top-of-the-line wines are in the age-worthy varietal Special Reserve series and the varietal Estate series. It is my understanding that the Vineyards series will be discontinued, to be replaced by a more upswing level of the Tishbi series. The existing Tishbi series is also being continued. That there are now two "Tishbi" series may confuse some, even though the labels for the two series are quite different. Also, the winery occasionally produces a sparkling wine and a reinforced red dessert wine, and is restarting production of their fine Charantais-style brandy.
A family owned and operated winery, each member seems to have a specific set of responsibilities. However when talking with Golan Tishbi, it becomes quite clear that he considers himself responsible for the overall operation.
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tishbi, 2008: Going along with their 2008 policy of releasing several unoaked wines, this deep purple, medium-bodied wine proves to be without complexities but is quite pleasant. Its light tannins and black fruits making for a fresh and appealing quaffer. Drink now. NIS 45. Score 85. K
Tishbi, Syrah, Organic, 2007: A limited edition, dark garnet in color, reflecting its 12 months in new barriques with sweet-and-spicy wood. Full-bodied, with caressing tannins, opens to reveal a tempting array of plum, black cherry and currant fruits, supported nicely by notes of Mediterranean herbs and earthy minerals. Long and generous. Drink now-2012. NIS 85. Score 90. K
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, 2007: A Bordeaux blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, flushed out with Merlot and Petit Verdot. Full-bodied, with an appealing note of tar on the nose and generous but soft tannins, parting to make way for black currant and wild berry fruits. Nutmeg, fresh Mediterranean herbs and a hint of black olives are all in the background. Long and mouth filling. Drink from release-2013, perhaps longer. NIS 85. Score 90. K
Tishbi, Shiraz, Estate, 2007: Developed in oak for 12 months, medium- to full-bodied, garnet red towards royal purple in color. An aromatic wine opening to show traditional black fruits, leathery and earthy mineral notes. Round, well-balanced and long. Drink now-2012. NIS 85. Score 89. K
Tishbi, Merlot, Estate, 2006: Opens with blackberries, spices and a hint of tar, goes on to reveal black and red berries and hints of chocolate. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins, reflecting its 12 months in oak with generous hints of spicy wood. Long and generous. Drink now-2011. NIS 85. Score 88. K
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Blended with 7% of Petit Verdot, dark ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied with soft tannins and a gentle wood influence from its 12 months in barriques. On the nose and palate - blackberry, blueberry and currant fruits complemented by notes of spices. Drink now-2011. NIS 85. Score 87. K
Tishbi, Barbera-Zinfandel, Estate, 2006: A blend of 50% each Barbera and Zinfandel, those "sun aged" for 18 months and fortified with brandy, bringing it to an alcohol level of 18%. Full-bodied, with caressing tannins and showing blackberry and raspberry fruits, highlighted by notes of spicy dates and prunes. Thickly textured and finishes with a note of candied walnuts. Best not with dessert but as dessert. Drink now-2014. NIS 85. Score 87. K
Tishbi, Chardonnay, Estate, 2008: An unoaked white blended with 10% of Viognier. Golden straw in color, medium-bodied with notes of green apple, orange, pineapple and summer fruits. Fresh and refreshing. Drink now. NIS 50. Score 87. K
Tishbi, Sauvignon Blanc, Estate, 2008: Unoaked, light- to medium-bodied, light golden straw colored. Generously aromatic, showing apple and citrus fruits on a light grassy background. Drink now. NIS 50. Score 86. K
Tishbi, Shiraz, Gush Etzion, Tishbi, 2008: A light- to medium-bodied red, unoaked, dark cherry red in color and opening to reveal generous raspberry and cherry fruits along with a hint of spices. A good and refreshing quaffer, best served lightly chilled. Drink now. NIS 45. Score 86. K
Tishbi, Merlot, Tishbi, 2008: A very nice unoaked quaffer, medium-bodied, soft and round, with strawberry and cranberry fruits yielding to blueberries and a hint of milk chocolate. A fun wine. Drink now. NIS 45. Score 86. K
Tishbi, Pinot Noir, Judean Hills, Estate, 2007: Ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, somewhat on the acidic side, with cherry and berry fruits leading to a pleasant near-sweet finish. A good summertime quaffer. Drink now. NIS 45. Score 85. K
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