Located in the northern Jerusalem Mountains, overlooking Wadi Kelt, the Psagot winery was founded by Na'ama and Ya'akov Berg, who planted their first vineyards in 1998. The winery's oak barriques are stored in a cave containing ancient pressing facilities, which maintains 90% humidity and temperatures up to 18 degrees Celsius. Relying on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and Chardonnay grapes, current production is about 90,000 bottles annually.
Psagot, Cabernet Franc, 2008: Fully faithful to the variety, this wine offers an array of complex and elegant black cherries and purple plums, matched nicely by notes of cedar, minerals and asphalt and, from mid-palate on, notes of tobacco and sage. A supple and long wine. Drink from release-2015. NIS 110. Score 91. K
Psagot, Edom 2007: A Bordeaux blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. Medium- to full-bodied, with its once-firm tannins and generous spicy wood and acidity now integrating nicely. The wine opens in the glass to show generous spicy black fruits, which yield to notes of cassis and Mediterranean herbs. Long and generous. Drink now-2013. NIS 120. Score 90. K
Psagot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, 2007: Almost impenetrable inky-dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with once generous oak now integrating nicely with near-sweet tannins and fruits. On the nose and palate are ripe currant, blackberry and citrus peel notes, complemented by notes of sweet chewing tobacco and mocha. Drink now-2013. NIS 110. Score 90. K
Psagot, Merlot, 2008: Part of the signature line of the Psagot wines is a clear, clean minerality and that shows nicely on this 100% Merlot. Oak-aged for 14 months, dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently gripping tannins and spicy cedarwood notes integrating nicely and parting to reveal raspberries, red currants and an appealing note of dark chocolate on the finish. NIS 90. Drink now-2013. Score 89. K
Psagot, Viognier, 2009: Golden straw in color, lightly oaked, with appealing aromas and flavors of pears and blood oranges supported by light pepper notes and coming to a lively near-creamy finish. Drink now. NIS 86. Score 88. K
25 Years for Tishbi
Following initiatives by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the Tishbi family started to plant vineyards in 1882 on the slopes of Mount Carmel near the town of Zichron Ya'akov, and continued to cultivate them over the past 100 years. In 1985, Jonathan Tishbi, a fourth-generation member of the family, launched this family-owned winery in the nearby town of Binyamina, initially named Habaron as homage to Baron Rothschild, and later renamed Tishbi.
With Jonathan's son Golan Tishbi serving as winemaker, the winery currently produces about 1 million bottles annually. Drawing on grapes from their own nearby vineyards as well as from vineyards in the Jerusalem region, the Upper Galilee and Golan and the Negev, the winery produces several series.
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, Sde Boker, 2006: Garnet to royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with gripping tannins that yield slowly in the glass to reveal appealing aromas and flavors of currants, wild berries and chocolate on a lightly spicy background. Drink now-2013. NIS 190. Score 87. K
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, 2006: Blended with 7% of Petit Verdot, dark ruby to garnet, 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. NIS 85. Score 87. K
Tishbi, Shiraz, Estate, 2007: Developed in oak for 12 months, medium- to full-bodied, dark cherry to garnet, an aromatic wine opening to show traditional black fruits, leathery and earthy mineral notes. Drink now-2012. NIS 85. Score 87. K
Tishbi, Chardonnay, Special Reserve, 2008: Dark golden straw in color, full-bodied and reflecting generous oak aging with a buttery and light bitter note. On the nose and palate are appealing tropical and citrus fruits, supported by hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Drink now or in the next year or two. NIS 75. Score 88. K
Tishbi, Sauvignon Blanc, Estate, 2009: Blended with 4% of Viognier, light- to medium-bodied, almost clear in color, showing pineapple, citrus and tropical fruits on a clean, lightly grassy background. Not complex but refreshing and lively. Drink now. NIS 70. Score 85. K
Tishbi, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz, 2009: Dark ruby to garnet, medium-bodied, with soft, gently caressing tannins, showing aromas and flavors of currants, blackberries and espresso coffee. A simple but pleasant little wine. Drink now. NIS 33. Score 85. K
Tishbi, French Riesling, 2009: Light- to medium-bodied; as always an off-dry blend of French Colombard and Emerald Riesling. Clean and fresh but one-dimensional. An entry-level wine. Drink up. NIS 30. Score 82. K