Since Robert Parker, the world’s most famous wine critic, gave the Yatir Forest 2003 93 points, Yatir Winery has turned into one of the hottest of the new boutique wineries in Israel. This was further reinforced when the Wine Spectator, the world’s leading wine magazine, awarded the Yatir Forest 2005 92 points. The only thing in common with the two tastings of Israeli wines was that Yatir Forest was the number one wine in both tastings! So the launch of the latest Yatir Forest was eagerly awaited. One Israeli magazine even referred to it as ‘Israel’s first cult wine!’
Yatir Forest is the de-luxe, prestige wine of Yatir Winery, which is situated at Tel Arad in the north east Negev desert. The vineyards lie within Yatir Forest, hence the name of the wine. This is Israel’s largest planted forest situated at up to 900 meters above sea level, in the southern Judean Hills. Yatir Forest the wine is usually a blend designed to reflect the unique terroir of the region. The mix of grape varieties changes every year, but it is always based on Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Yatir Forest 2005 is made from 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 10% Merlot. It was aged in small, French oak barrels, 1/3rd of them new, for 14 months. The wine has a deep red almost black color,and a rich, velvetty Cabernet nose with a hint of Mediterranean herbs in the background.
Yatir Winery was built in 2000 and first launched in 2004. It is owned by Carmel Winery but managed independently. The winemaker is Eran Goldwasser, a young Israeli who graduated from Adelaide University and worked for a Southcorp winery in Australia, before returning to israel to open Yatir.