Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Vortman-A True Garagiste

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Daniel Rogov

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Vortman-A True Garagiste

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:46 pm

With his winery literally in his Haifa home, Hai Vortman is a dedicated garagiste. Relying entirely on grapes grown on Mt. Carmel, Vortman has planted two vineyards – Netiv Ofakim (planted in 2003, literally in front of his home) and one planted in Shfeya. Grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Pinotage and Carignan. First production, from the 2007 vintage, was of 1,000 bottles and 2008 production was about 2,000 bottles. Releases from 2009 and 2010 will be of 4,000 and 6,000 bottles respectively.

As to Vortman's notion of blending, I cannot help but think of the song that Frank Sinatra made so famous … "I did it my way", for although his blends may be anything but the expected norm they work well enough to put a comfortable smile of pleasure on the face.

My thanks to Hai for bringing his wines to Tel Aviv for me to sample.

Best
Rogov


Vortman, Netiv Ofakim, 2008: Developed in French oak for 12 months, a blend of 38% Carignan, 31% Malbec, 22% Merlot and 3% each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A super-dark potpourri of just about everything in the vineyard if you like, but one that comes together very nicely indeed. Ripe and floral, with caressing tannins and generous minerals and herbs to support currants and berries on a background of earthy minerals. An impressive effort. Drink now–2013. Score 89. (Re-tasted 12 Mar 2011)

Vortman, Petite Sirah, 2008: Petite Sirah blended with 25% Merlot, reflecting its 16 months in French oak with chewy tannins and notes of smoky mahogany, those in fine balance with fruits and acidity. Medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full) and on the nose and palate purple plums, cassis and blackberries, those supported comfortably by notes of tobacco and spices. An long and appealing almost charred finish. Drink now-2014. Score 90. (Re-tasted 12 Mar 2011)

Vortman, Shambour, 2009: Living up nicely to its barrel-tasting promise. Ruby toward garnet, medium- to full-bodied, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carignan (54%, 35% and 11% respectively) reflecting its 8 months in French oak with soft tannins that open to reveal red and blackberries and cassis, those supported nicely by notes of chocolate and tobacco. Fine balance between fruits, tannins, wood and acidity. Drink now-2014, perhaps longer. Score 90. (Tasted 12 Mar 2011)

Vortman, Shambour, 2010 (Barrel Tasting): A blend this year of 45% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan and 10% Merlot. Dark garnet toward royal purple, full-bodied, with gently caressing tannins and an appealing hint of spicy oak. On the nose and palate currants, blackberries and purple plums, those on a background that hints of roasted herbs and earthy minerals. Generous and mouth-filling. Drink from release-2015, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 87-89. (Tasted 12 Mar 2011)

Vortman, Mourvedre-Carignan, 2010 (Barrel Tasting): Garnet toward royal purple, medium- to full-bodied with soft tannins, a hint of spicy oak and a perhaps too generous acidity. A spicy red fruit nose and then opens in the glass to reveal blackberry and black cherry fruits, those with an appealing hint of mint that linger nicely on the finish. The acidity may well settle down with additional time in the oak. Tentative Score 88-90. (Tasted 12 Mar 2011)

Vortman, Grenache-Mourvedre, 2010 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of 87% Grenache and 13% Mourvedre. Dark ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, a plush wine with gently caressing tannins and a bare hint of spicy wood parting to reveal aromas and flavors of cherries, blueberries, exotic spices and earthy minerals. Complex and round, potentially the best to date from Vortman. Drink from release-2015, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. (Tasted 12 Mar 2011)

Also re-tasted from my own library, in both cases my earlier tasting notes holding firmly.

Vortman, Shambour, 2008: Dark garnet with orange and purple reflections, a blend of Merlot, Mourvedre and Petite Sirah (68%, 30% and 2% respectively). Aged in French oak barriques for six months, medium-bodied, with gently mouth-coating tannins and hints of spicy wood, opening in the glass to show appealing currants and ripe plums, those on a background that hints comfortably of tobacco and dark chocolate. Drink now–2012. Score 88.
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Gabriel W

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Re: Vortman-A True Garagiste

by Gabriel W » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:05 pm

Hi Daniel,
I see that that the '08 Netiv Ofakim has some Malbec. Is that really Mourved' ?

How has Mourvedre been faring in Israel?

Thanks,
Gabriel
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Vortman-A True Garagiste

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:19 pm

Gabriel, Hi....

Malbec it is in this particular blend. As to the current path of Mourvedre in Israel, definitely on the ascendant as a blending agent, especially with old vine Grenache in making Rhone-style blends, the Mourvedre adding balance and softening the Grenache. On its own so far, the grape seems to do well in warm regions (think Bandol) and shows red fruits, herbs, spices and earthy aromas and flavors, not infrequently with a hint of ripe game meat.

A difficult grape, sometimes needing a decade before the vines show their best and in some areas problematic because th vines tend to show well only every other year. An experiment and wait and see attitude is required.

Best
Rogov

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