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

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WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:38 am

I suppose all critics live for the day when all of their criticism can be positive. The social critic dreams of that time when he/she can say that "all is well in the homeland and abroad"; the theater critic hopes for the month in which it can be reported that "the theater is alive and vibrant"; and the wine critic lives for that week in which he/she can taste 100 or more wines and write that every one of those earned scores of 93 or more. Alas, such days, weeks and months come very rarely indeed (if at all). Following are my notes for five local wines that were included in my blind tastings of 27 white wines this morning.

Best
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The First Two

Zion, Emerald Riesling-French Colombard, Tidhar, 2007: Two of the varieties that might be thought of as "left-overs" from the bad-old days before the Israeli wine revolution. One of these days I might even understand why wines such as this remain in high demand by some segments of the population. Straw colored, with a nose that is best described as "neutral" and flavors that remind of tinned pineapple and alcoholic pineapple juice. Innocuous but without charm. Drink up. NIS 35 (about US$ 10) Score 75. K (Tasted 7 Aug 2008)

Zion, Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc, Erez, 2007: Light golden straw in color and medium-bodied, a blend of 50% each of the two varieties. Categorized as dry but with a hint of honey running through and alas, as flat and flabby on the palate as it is on the nose, with somewhat overripe peach and melon fruits and an unwanted bitter finish. Drink now if at all. NIS 49. (About US$ 14) Score 76. K (Tasted 7 Aug 2008)


And now the good news……

Pelter, Chardonnay, 2007: Golden-straw in color, light to medium-bodied and unoaked, opens with grapefruit and pineapple notes, those going on to citrus, green apples and pears. Stylish, juicy and long, finishing on a light flinty-mineral note. Drink now. Score 90. (Re-tasted 7 Aug 2008)

Carmel, Viognier, Upper Galilee, Regional, 2007: With 75% cold fermented in stainless steel and the remainder in barriques, that aged sur lie for 4 months. Shows a bare, tantalizing hint of spicy oak on the nose as it opens, yielding to an array of spicy pear, grapefruit and tangerine fruits all on a supple and just-spicy-enough frame. Refreshing and rich. Drink now–2010. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 7 Aug 2008)

Assaf, Sauvignon Blanc, 2007: Developed for three months in 400-liter casks, this deep golden wine shows earthy, mineral and vanilla aromas and flavors that come together very nicely with citrus, pear and melon fruits. Creamy and intense enough that you might describe this white wine as tannic. Drink now. Score 90. (Re-tasted 7 Aug 2008)
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Mike BG

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Re: WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Mike BG » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:11 am

with a nose that is best described as "neutral" ... Innocuous but without charm.
I think I would prefer the term "not worth the calories" ... :wink:
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Gary J

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Re: WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Gary J » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:38 am

Seems like things are turning upside down. I know people call Israel a "backward country" but this is a bit ridiculous...

A nice wine from Carmel???

An UN-oaked Chard????

An OAKED Sauvignon Blanc???

As football season nears a familiar quote comes to mind - "What the hell is going on out there?!"

Happy to read the "good news" & smiling...
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Mike BG

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Re: WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Mike BG » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:43 am

Gary J wrote:Seems like things are turning upside down. I know people call Israel a "backward country" but this is a bit ridiculous...

A nice wine from Carmel???


Come on now, there have been many truly excellent wines from Carmel over the past 4 years or so.
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:33 am

Gary, Hi.....

Responding partly in seriousness, partly in the sense of humor that I felt in your own note, let us keep in mind that no-one would dare call Israel "backwards". I think "upside-down and right to left" might be more appropriate.


Gary J wrote: A nice wine from Carmel???


Indeed Carmel's upper level wines - especially those in the Special Edition, Single Vineyard and Appelation series have been doing very nicely indeed for some time now, in fact, a definite part of the positive aspects of Israel's wine revolution

An UN-oaked Chard????


As might be said, some of my best friends are unoaked, those including a great many that carry the label "Chablis"


An OAKED Sauvignon Blanc???


Sheesh..... Robert Mondavi started that as early as 1979

Best and, like you, Smiling
Rogov
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Lior Yogev

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Re: WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Lior Yogev » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:25 pm

Hi Gary,

Not a lot to add to Rogov's comment, but some more examples:

Unoaked Chardonnay - give Pelter a try, consistently a nice, fun, fresh and inexpansive white.
Oaked Sauv-blancs - I recommend trying Ella Valley's SB. Carmel used to produce an oaked SB in the Kerem series (Ramat Arad vineyard), but since 07 the grapes are left to Yatir that make a quality lightly-oaked SB as well (not my cup of sauv - but indeed well-made).
As for Carmel in general - worth to keep an eye for the Zarit SV cab which can comfortably compete with most other local cabs in it's price range IMO, and some other reds from the Appelation series including the friendly shiraz-cab, the interesting PS and others. I've been hearing more and more about an improvement in quality of the lower and lowest series, but didn't try any of them myself in the past couple of years.
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Re: WTN: Whites from Israel: Bad News and Good News

by Gary J » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:02 pm

I agree with you all. I was really just kidding around. But when you think of it 10 years ago (or less) the things I pointed out were all true...and who could have predicted things such as a quality revolution at Carmel or an unoaked Chard.

Yes, I have had and think relatively highly of the better Carmel wines.

Yes, I very much LIKE UN-oaked Chard's - especially those from Pelter.

And while I think that SAuvignon Blanc is a grape that is best enjoyed fresh & crisp, without the influence of oak, I have tried and enjoyed some oaked Sauv Blancs...

But THANKS to all!!!
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