Following are my tasting/re-tasting notes for several of the better kosher Pinot Noir wines now on the market.
Ella Valley Vineyards, Pinot Noir, 2006: Dark cherry-red, medium-bodied, with soft, well-integrating tannins and appealing raspberry, red plum and cherry flavors supported by sweet spices. Gains intensity in the glass and ends with a long finish. Drink now–2011. Score 90. K
Ella Valley Vineyards, Pinot Noir, 2005: Ruby towards garnet in color, medium-bodied, with soft, caressing tannins and generous cherry, cassis, strawberry and cranberry aromas and flavors, those backed up nicely by minerals, hints of white pepper and vibrant acidity. Drink now–2012. Score 92. K
Galil Mountain, Pinot Noir, 2006: Dark cherry-red towards garnet, this medium-bodied wine, still relatively firm shows tannins but reveals fine balance and a complex array of red berry, cherry, blueberry and spices, supported nicely by light toasty vanilla and, on the finish, a hint of minerality. Drink now–2010. Score 89. K
Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2007: Medium-bodied, supple, fragrant and graceful, with silky tannins and almost jammy blackberry and currant fruits on a background of white pepper. On the moderately long finish, hints of sandalwood and black cherries. Tentative Score 88–90. K
Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2006: Intense ruby towards garnet, medium to full-bodied, with well-focused cherry fruits at the core, those opening to reveal plums, dark chocolate and espresso coffee, all leading to a long blackberry-rich finish. Generous, balanced, and long, with wood and tannins integrating nicely. Drink from release. Tentative Score 90–92. K
Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2005: Promises to be the best Pinot Noir yet from the winery. Dark ruby, full-bodied enough to be thought of as fleshy and with spicy wood and gentle tannins in fine balance with acidity and fruits. Opens with near-sweet, liqueur-like berry aromas and flavors, those yielding in the glass to reveal a crisply dry wine on which you will feel hints of kirsch, dark chocolate and lightly smoked meat, all climaxing in a long and generous blackberry finishing. Drink from release–2013. Tentative Score 91–93. K
Yarden, Pinot Noir, 2004: Dark ruby towards garnet, medium to full-bodied, with well-integrated soft tannins and showing a generous array of blackberry, plum and black cherry fruits, those supported very nicely by hints of pine nuts. On the fruity finish a tantalizing hint of anise. Drink now–2012. Score 90. K
Tanya, Reserve, Pinot Noir, 2007: Dark ruby in color, full-bodied and with near-chewy tannins waiting to settle down. Opens to reveal raspberry and cassis fruits on a generously herbal background. Best starting in 2010. Tentative Score 86–88. K
Tzuba, Tel Tzuba, Pinot Noir, 2007: Pinot with a distinctly Burgundian flavor. Dark ruby in color, medium to full-bodied, with generously caressing soft tannins. On first attack quite firm, but opens in the glass first to show floral, mineral and raspberry fruits and then to black cherries, green tea and notes of both Oriental spices and saddle leather. A multi-layered wine. Drink from release–2012. Tentative Score 91–93. K
Hagafen, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley, 2006: Cherry red towards garnet in color, floral on the nose, a stylish and supple wine, showing a generous array of cherry, pomegranate and red currant fruits, those on a background of green tea and vanilla. Soft tannins linger on a finish of minerals and cedar wood. Drink now-2011. Score 90. K
Goose Bay, Pinot Noir, East Coast, New Zealand, 2006 (Kosher Edition): Cherry red towards garnet, medium-bodied, with super-soft tannins and showing cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruits on a lightly spicy and cedary-oak background. A not overly complex wine but a very pleasant quaffer. Drink now.. NIS 125 in Israel. Score 86. K (Tasted 11 and 12 Jun 2008 with consistent notes).
And let us not forget:
Laurent Perrier, Brut Rose, Champagne, n.v. (Kosher Edition): Depending on how the light hits, pink towards orange or salmon pink in color, a medium-bodied Champagne, made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes. Light notes of yeast and oak highlight a fascinating array of cherry, red berry, apple and orange peel notes. Fine, long-lasting sharp bubbles, a long mousse and a hint of yeasty white bread that rises on the long finish. NIS 575. Score 91. K