Yarden group of wines produced by the Golan Heights Winery, in my opinion the premier winery of Israel, has again expanded its armamentarium of fine wines by bringing to us a variant of its 2T wine. In their brochure that is enclosed in the handsome box that contains the wine, they assiduously avoid calling this Port or even Port style wine and only mention that “Yarden T2 is made from two Portuguese varieties — Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao — that are famous in Portugal for their part in producing outstanding wines of the Douro Valley.” They do state that the Yarden T2 is “fortified with brandy during the fermentation process, preserving some of the natural sweetness of the grapes. The wine aged for 26 months in French oak barrels.” Hey, what a coincidence that this is how Port is produced! To paraphrase Shakespeare, A Port By Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet. The fortification results in a higher alcohol content that most wines, 18% in this case. The sweetness will entice many to drink it as a desert wine, although I love it as an aperitif. And it does have the taste of a fine Port wine. It is rich and thick and creamy with a complexity of flavors reminiscent of stewed prunes, cherries, mixed nuts, and vanilla.
We give it an Israelwinetaster Grade of A- with the minus only because of the price of 150 shekels at the winery. This is the equivalent of approximately $40 and is quite expensive. For this price I have found that in the United States, you can purchase a 20 year old Fonseca Tawney Port. The Yarden is, of course, kosher, providing availability to those who drink only kosher wines. Other than that, I would, some day, like to do a comparison tasting of these two wines.