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IFWF Los Angeles Thread

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Andrew B

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IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Andrew B » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:31 am

Good times, post away! I'll check in later...
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Craig Winchell

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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Craig Winchell » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:05 am

I certainly enjoyed seeing David Raccah and Benyamin Cantz, Andrew Breskin and his better half, Jon Tabak, Carole Groover and Bill Coleman, and a host of others at the event, including Gary Landsman of the Herzog organization. I introduced my son Gedalia David, who was pouring along with many young adults largely from our community, to the higher-ups in the Herzog group, including David Herzog,Nathan Herzog and Jay Bucksbaum. I even had a son-in-law partaking. There were some really nice wines and some that probably should not have been shown. Highlights for me were the entire Shiloh line of reds, including a very well balanced Barbera, and the others were not overoaked (overoaking was a definite trend among many red wines there) and expressing good balance. The best balanced red, in my opinion, was the Yatir Cab (didn't catch the vintage), and the Yatir Forest was good as well. Of course, I did not taste every wine- I'm not an automaton like Raccah. I missed many of the Binyaminas, and just was not impressed with anything Capcanes My son was pouring Barkan, and the middle altitude of the altitude series was a very reasonable wine, well balanced and expressive. I liked the Tulips as well, and the Castels were pretty good. I'm going to think about this more. Didn't take notes, so I'm missing some stuff. The 2005 Bordeaux (Leoville -Poyferre, Malartic-Lagraviere, Le Crock) were good across the board (nod goes to the Leoville-Poyferre, though) and the Drappier Champagne was very good, though I enjoyed the Laurent Perrier rose' as well . The Sha-al was very tasty. I was not impressed with the Netofa this year. Flam was OK. And this year, the food was OK, which is fine- if I were putting it on, I would not want the food to overshadow the wine. All in all, a very nice tasting, all the more impressive because of its location in a remote venue. Royal did a really good job. I guess my biggest complaint is with the Herzog line, and it is not so much a complaint about quality as it is about matching the style of wine to a tasting of this type. They had all of the single vineyard and reserve wines there. In the early phases, when attendance was still sparse, one could differentiate one from another, and get a fair look at wines which were too woody and tannic to be enjoyable at that time. Bu the end of the tasting, with so many people and so many wines, I am afraid that the more fruity, open wines, such as the Shilohs, were the ones that impressed with instant enjoyment. Certainly by the end of the trade tasting, I was unable to fully differentiate more than 3 or 4 basic components of a wine's character. I do best on my first 15 or so wines before things tend to blur and I can't keep track of minutia. Presence or absence of defects, balance, intensity and overall enjoyment (purely subjective) become the components I can evaluate throughout the tasting. Most of the wines were free of defects, most were not so intense, most were pretty well balanced, but just lacking some acidity (which is better than years past, when there was major imbalance in a fair number of wines) and most didn't wow (which was expected). But the overall impression was that more wines were on the cusp, and with a little tweaking, their wineries will have the recipe for success.
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David Raccah

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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by David Raccah » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:39 pm

Craig - indeed nice seeing you and family. I must say as much as I liked the event, and many readers of this forum and my blog were there, I did not get the sense of excitement that I did from Sommelier. There were many A- wines - MANY! But, many people seeked me, Benyo, Jon, and others, and asked - what is the best wine? Should be easy no? NOPE! There was no single out of this world standout. Which bothered me to a great extent. That said, MANY nice A- or even A- to A wines. The only real clear winner was the To Kalon Cab - still killer and rich.

I will be posting soon on the blog and will post here as well...

David
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Craig Winchell » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:41 pm

Interesting, David. My WOTN was Yatir Cab. I liked the Herzog Chalk Hill (Clone 6 and Warnicke) and Gen 8 and Napa Cab, didn't like the Alex Valley or Mt Veeder or Oak Knoll by comparison (weaker, lower intensity), but found all of them to be unsuited to the venue when compared with a few wines which were more drinkable and developed, such as the Yatirs and the whole Shiloh line. Tight, woody wines with tannin just don't appeal in a tasting like this. Calvin Dennison, Gallo's head winemaker, said something compelling at the Unified. PAraphrasing, he said that the key is making something delicious, because then nobody can resist. In a venue like this tasting, wines that will be delicious in 5-10 years, but are tight, woody and undeveloped, will show worse than lesser wines which taste delicious *now*. The way to impress, then, is to show an sell wines which are ready, or soon to be ready, balancing the deliciosness of one wine against the corresponding deliciousness of another. then, when things are on a level playing field, one can taste that the wines may be balances somewhat differently, one may have more or less wood, greater or lesser intensity, greater or lesser fruit, or complexity. I'm a big believer in buying wines which are not yet ready to drink, because presumably, they will be cheaper earlier. But that is not what I would display in a tasting of this type.
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Andrew B

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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Andrew B » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:56 am

Craig Winchell wrote:Andrew Breskin and his better half, Jon Tabak


Craig, despite my affinity for people who can simultaneously taste and tweet, I'm not sure what my wife has to say about this!
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Craig Winchell » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:19 am

Uh, sorry! Perhaps a combination of better punctuation on my part and your not taking it out of context would take care of the problem. Really, it was a pleasure meeting your wife and baby. Oh, and seeing you again as well.
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Craig Winchell » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:30 pm

So nobody has yet formulated a post about the tasting? I mean, aside from mine. Anxious to see what your thoughts are!
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Pinchas L » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:03 pm

Craig,

Many of the issues you raise, are the pitfalls of the venue, and are par for the course. Wineries, especially the boutique wineries, don't have the luxury to pick and choose what wines to pour at an expo, they must bring whatever wine is available at the time. Attending such events must be for the purpose of momentary enjoyment, as judgements about how these same wines will show at the dinner table are doomed to fail, being pure speculation. Aside from detecting obvious flaws in wines, not much else can be gleaned, as palate fatigue, the order in which the wines are tasted, and the various distractions distort one's senses and judgement. The enjoyment the event provides are mostly social, such as meeting friends, winemakers and the relaxation offered by alcohol and food.

-> Pinchas
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Craig Winchell » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:09 pm

I understand, Pinchas. I went first to the Goose Bay and associated Oregon/Washington wine table. Why there? I knew that one of the most delicate wines likely to be there would be the Oregon Pinot. And I was right. I did all ofthe Pinot first, including the Clos Vougeot. There disappointingly weren't that many Pinots around, and I was not impressed with any. That Oregon Pinot was the cleanest of the bunch, but it was distinctly low intensity. Of course, knowing the 2010 vintage on the west coast, I figured that would be the case. And knowing how difficult it is to make good Pinot, it isn't surprising that few are making it kosher, just disappointing. Then I tried the 2 Champagnes, and then ,still extremely early , to the Herzog table. The only Herzogs I tried until the end (when I tried the Late Harvest Chenin) were those reserve Cabs. It was still early enough to taste them and differentiate one from another, and it wasn't so crowded that sensory input made it too difficult to think. From there, I went to other Cabs, with a smattering of other wines. I'd expect that I tried wines from about 2/3 of the tables, and rarely all of the wines at each table. The only reason I tried all of those Shilohs is that Raccah told me I should, and he was correct. At the end, I even tried both the passion fruit wine and the pomegranite wine. I found them well balanced, but not particularly wines that I would purchase. My son found them disgusting. But they really weren't any different than late harvest wines in terms of sweetness or acid, and they weren't bad. Point is that I attempted to try the ones I especially wanted to try, first, knowing that the palate would be shot later, in that I knew I would be unable to differentiate subtle tastes and flavors later on.
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Andrew B » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:00 pm

Craig, I will post my impressions here soon. The Muse and the Wino link to their blogs, but maybe Shimon and some other lurkers might chime in.
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Jon Tabak » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:17 am

Dumped by Andrew...just when I thought things were starting to go well :lol:
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Andrew B » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:46 am

Jon Tabak wrote:Dumped by Andrew...just when I thought things were starting to go well :lol:


Craig didn't think my post was as funny as I did :lol:
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Craig Winchell » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:07 pm

On the contrary, Andrew, I was quite amused.
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Andrew B » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:56 am

Anyway, now that I have a second, just wanted to share a few reflections about the event. It's tough to get a real sense of the wines at these kinds of tastings, but the great equalizer is the fact that the conditions are poor for all the wines. They were not opened in advance of either portions of the tasting, and were also opened as they went along throughout the evening. So, that being said, I very much enjoyed the Shilo line, and couldn't believe that a few of the editions were mevushal. I was nauseated by the Barkan Pinotage, but was really surprised by the Altitude Cab series. They were all unique and all palatable. The Herzog wines were typical, if you like them, you do, and if you don't, nothings changed. The Castel Rose was great, and the other offerings were old news. Psagot Cabernet was excellent but the others weren't interesting to me. I enjoyed the Fourcas Dupre Bordeaux, which is a nice value. The "big boys" were not open for business, so I have no reflections, although the Le Crock '05 did have some pleasing elements.
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Gabriel Geller » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:48 pm

Andrew Breskin wrote:It's tough to get a real sense of the wines at these kinds of tastings, but the great equalizer is the fact that the conditions are poor for all the wines. They were not opened in advance of either portions of the tasting, and were also opened as they went along throughout the evening.


I totally agree with Andrew here. As opposed to David Raccah and YossieH, I personally usually have a bit of a hard time to really enjoy the wines at the tasting events as I would at home or in a more intimate, relaxed setting. Interestingly, I find usually whites whines (either sweet or not) easier to taste during those events as long as they're at a proper temperature but I will take my time whenever there is some red stuff I'm especially interested in tasting. Yesterday in TLV I really wanted to focus on some of the boutique wineries that I didn't or barely know product-wise (apart from Rogov's notes), so for example I took all my time to taste the wines quietly in the good company of the winemaker of Gat Shomron (stay tuned for my TN of their IceWine Viognier!), Avigdor Sharon, as I did with Livni, Ramot Naftali, Harei Yerushalyim, Lueria (I was very impressed with their Yinon, a blend providing a great QPR) and some others as well. I had as well some quality time discussing with Shmulik and Pierre Miodownick from Netofa and Tzur Agency (Royal's ambassador in Israel) and also enjoyed meeting Tanya, Yoram Cohen's daughter after whom the winery is named and that seems to have learned quite a bit about Winemaking over the years! I shall be back there tomorrow so a more detailed report will follow.

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GG
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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by David Raccah » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:15 pm

Gabriel all of those were already at Sommelier - I loved the Vognier Ice Wine - quite lovely. I thought there were going to be wineries that were not at Sommelier - Bummer! Either way, I am working on my Herzog posting - will get it out soon - B"H.

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Re: IFWF Los Angeles Thread

by Yossie Horwitz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:46 pm

David - I will post a complete summary a little later but there were actually a fair number of wines & wineries that weren't present at Sommelier (in many cases, simply the new vintage) or at least wines I didn't come across (although I was only there for one day, not two).

These include Binyamina's 2011 wines (Yogev & Reserve Gewurz) and 2010 Reserve Carignan, Gat Shomron's 2008 Merlot and a 2010 barrel sample of an "Amarone-style" wine, Galil Mountan's Alon and 2010 Pinot Noir, Tulip's 2011 white wines, Teperberg's new series (Nevel (a port-style wine), Chalil & Kinor), Luria's Gewurztraminer (a lot of new Gewurz's, most of them pretty good and a great addition to the quality white wines being made in Israel), GHW, Yarden, Syrah in magnum format from both 2005 and 2006 (and 2005/2007 Katzrin Chardonnay), Ramot Naftaly's 2010 Barbera, 2009 Petit Verdot and 2009 Malbec, Recanati's 2010 Carignan and Syrah/Viognier, Gvaot's 2009 Masada, a larger number of Tanya wines (I tasted 13 different ones and didn't make it through their entire available lineup), including their new entry-level series - "Ivri" (including a blend, Cab & Merlot) - just to name a few examples (see my later post). Additionally, there were a few new kosher wineries I hadn't tasted before including Artsi and Weitzman.
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