The fundamental wine of the Yatir Winery, which has been listed in some of Israel’s finest restaurants, presents stability and consistency of the highest quality, year after year. The wilderness, the mountain and the vegetation on the reservation, along with Mount Amasa (at an altitude of 859 meters+) border the Yatir Forest and its vineyards and serve as a unique meeting place between the mountain and the desert, the snow and the sun, the rocks and earth – all which embody the nature of the Yatir wines. This is how the new name of the wine was conceived. Up to the 2010 vintage, it was called “Yatir Merlot / Shiraz / Cabernet.” The wine is based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz varieties. As with similar climatic regions in the world (the South of France, Australia), the combination of these varieties is synergetic and it intensifies the wine with a refreshing, peppery body of the Cabernet and a fruity softness and smoky zing of the Shiraz. The Winery uses varying percentages of Merlot / Malbec / Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc in its blends. The assortment of varieties contributes to the accentuation of the regional character of the wine over the nature of each individual variety. The wine is aged for approximately one year in small barrels (225 liters) and in large wooden containers (5,000 liters), with the goal of obtaining fresh fruit and mineral-oriented wine, with no emphasized wood flavors. The Yatir-like nature of the wine is manifested in the firm structure of the wine and its aroma of Mediterranean seasoning herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) which blend beautifully with the fruit flavors. The wine is bottled and marketed after two additional years of further aging in the bottle.
Yatir Mt. Amasa 2013 is composed of 48% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot. The composition of grape varieties varies from year to year depending on the nature of the vintage, highlighting the unique " Yatir" character of the area the vineyards. The grapes were harvested from several sections in the Yatir Forest between an elevation of 650 to 900 meters. The soil consists of clay and limestone. The wines from the different vineyards were aged separately in oak barrels for a year before the creation of the final blend. The wine was bottled in March of 2015 and left for two more years in the bottles for further maturation. The wine will continue to age for at least five years from vintage.
Tasting Notes: The wine displays a deep crimson color with a ripe raspberry, slightly smoky and spicy aroma. Full fruit flavors, mature and full-bodied.
Yatir Forest Vineyards 2013 Vintage: Rainfall in the vineyards in 2013 were 248 mm, slightly less than the average, with most of the rainfall occurring in the first half of the winter. The accumulation of cold bouts (important for the consistency of early growth sprouting) is common place in this region. The ripening period (May-August) was relatively easy, with not too many heatwaves, and with cool nights. The harvest, which was earlier than usual, began in early August with Viognier, and was completed with the harvest of the Petit Verdot grapes at the beginning of September. The average yield was slightly higher than normal (900 kilo per dunam). The grapes were of high quality and of naturally high acidity.
What is Yatir Winery?
The major goal in the Yatir Winery is to highlight in its wines the individuality of its region. At the Yatir Winery, the pride of the "Yatir uniqueness" which is expressed in its wines, is due not only to the high altitude in the desert where the grapes are grown, but also to the chalky soil and the dry, hot desert climate with cold nights – this all creating a particularly unique terroir. The winegrowers, together with the winemakers, are dedicated to producing wines of the highest quality, beginning with the choice of specific plots and nurturing of the vines, up until the harvest, fermentation, ageing and bottling. This is all aided by the most sophisticated technology and state of the art equipment. The first wines that were introduced were from the harvest of 2001. The flagship wine of Yatir is the Yatir Forest, and the other series consists of Mt. Amasa (a regional red blend), rosé and four other varietal wines.
The Yatir region, located in the southern tip of the Judean Hills, has a rich and fascinating history of wine production. Passersby and onlookers can view the extensive and impressive wine press, a testament to a developed wine industry of over 2500 years, dating back to the first reign of the kings of Judah. A large center of Jewish settlement existed in this region between the periods of the destruction of the Second Temple to the inception of the Islamic period. The livelihood of these early farmers was based mostly on growing and processing grapes and olives. The region was known as one of the finest for growing vines for the purpose of winemaking and from this very region wines were later exported to Egypt, Rome and across Israel.
David Ben Gurion had a dream of making the Negev region bloom and blossom and so when he wanted to plant a forest in the Yatir region, he consulted with selected experts to guide him through the process. After numerous discussions and assessments, the agronomists determined that the region, which was overly dry and warm, was unsuitable for planting trees. Ben Gurion had other plans in mind however: “Replace the experts!” he said and rightfully so. The forest, which borders the desert and which was planted in a semi-arid region, became one of Israel’s largest forests (stretching across approximately 40,000 dunams). The forest was named after the Levite biblical city of Yatir, whose ruins remained in great destruction. The site serves as a green lung and a hiking site, as well as an experimental model for innovative methods for combating desertification. The forest became a significant ecological tool and over the past several years has been researched by numerous scientists. In the heart of the largest planted forest in Israel, in valleys and slopes surrounded by a myriad of trees, such as Jerusalem Oaks, carob, pistachios, pine and olive trees, the Yatir Winery vineyards were planted.
The Yatir Winery was built at the foot of the Israelite Tel Arad Fort (an archeological site), located 10 minutes away from the vineyards of the Yatir Forest. This small and exclusive winery was founded in 2000 as a joint venture between local vine-growers and the Carmel Winery, who recognized the extraordinary potential of the Yatir region. These days the winery produces 150,000 bottles. Over the years, this southern winery, located in the heart of the desert, has turned into a symbol of the region. Its wines, which have been repeatedly awarded with high scores, exceptional recognition and medals, have been rated in recent years among Israel’s top wines by local as well as international wine critics.