Highlights: Itay Lahat Roussanne 2021 Upper Galilee, Israel

I’m in Israel, to talk at a conference on regenerative viticulture tomorrow. So it’s only appropriate to be drinking a wine from Israel as I prepare my presentations (I have to give two talks…). This is a wine from Itay Lahat, who I met here in 2011. He’s a winemaker who trained in Adelaide, and he’s in strong demand for winemaking and viticultural consultancy here. It’s a Roussanne, a variety well adapted to the Mediterranean climate experienced here. More to come on the wines of Israel over the next few days.

Itay Lahat Roussanne 2021 Upper Galilee, Israel
13.4% alcohol. The grapes for this wine were harvested mid-August then cooled overnight, before pressing cold into a 320 litre clay amphora (made by Tava in Italy) for fermentation. Just free run juice was used. These clay vessels have the same oxygen permeability as a new oak barrel, and the volume means that the wine has more-or-less the same lees contact as a wine in barrel, without the oak influence. The result is a slightly stony, linear expression of Roussanne with some flower blossom and lavender notes as well as fresh pear and green apple characters, as well as a slight stony spiciness. There’s a restraint and balance to this wine, but it also has this lovely presence and a finely spiced, long finish. Very stylish. Retail in Israel is NIS 150, which works out at about £30, appropriate for a fine white like this. 93/100

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