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

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WTN: The Wines I had during my Trip to Israel

by Pinchas L » Tue May 15, 2012 5:46 pm

Having spent a week in Israel, tasting wine on several occasions, I figured it would be nice to share my impressions with the forum. I would like to note that the wines I had were not chosen by me, and, more importantly, for the most part they were wines I don't recall having had in the past.

Teperberg Red 2009 - The Red is an entry level blend of almost equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine opens with a kick of spice and ends with green tobacco and earth, sandwiching supple red and black fruit. Of all the entry level wines I had of late this was the best. Unfortunately, this wine lacks consistency, as I was disappointed with the '10 vintage.

Teperberg Red 2010 - While the blend is similar to that of the '09 vintage, the wine tasted very different. If I'm not mistaken the alcohol level is significantly different between the two vintages, the '10 standing at a mere 13% AbV, whereas the '09 has about 14.3% AbV. As a result the '10 was much duller, lacking the spiciness of the '09. It almost seems that the winemaker chose to alter his approach in '10, with an outcome that disappointed me.

Yarden Syrah 2005 - With 15% AbV, the wine delivers ample spice, adding depth to the blueberry notes. Its pleasant but not complex.

Gamla Sangiovese 2009 or 2010 - Peeping out from beneath the oak and tannins were nice notes of vanilla and cherry. The wine is medium bodied and went well with the meal. I recall it having 14.3% AbV.

Barkan Classic Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot - On the flight home, El Al offered a glass of this blend. Unable to take note of the details, I'll just say that it was rather thin in body and with a bit of astringency, but it still provided pleasure even in the paper cup it was served.

Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - As an entry level wine it is not bad. This cab is approachable young and seems to have been intended for early consumption, with its mellow tannins and low acidity. The fruit is dominant, yet the tad of earth and tobacco on the finish is sufficient to raise it a notch. The alcohol is well integrated, so that its actual level did not stand out enough for me to take note of it. Nonetheless, of the various entry level Israeli wines I had over the past week, my favorite is the Teperberg Red of the 2009 vintage.

My takeaway is that Israel's entry level offerings are improving, and after not being offered a glass of white wine over the entire week, I think that Israelis are drinking too little white wine.

Best,
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Craig Winchell

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Re: WTN: The Wines I had during my Trip to Israel

by Craig Winchell » Tue May 15, 2012 6:25 pm

Regarding the Teperberg, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that wines are always designed by the winemaker. In this case, it could have been any number of factors, including the condition of the vineyards, that determined the alcohol content and the character. You state that the '09 had more alcohol, 1.3% by volume more than the '10, yet the '10 was dull compared to the '09. Assuming the fruit was from the same vineyard, and the vintages progressed in the same manner, I would have expected the higher alcohol wine to be duller since acidity and sugar (therefore acidity and alcohol) have an inverse relationship, all other things being equal. I would have expected the more acidic wine to be less dull, brighter than the less acidic, higher alcohol one. Since that is not the case, other things must be considered. Perhaps in 2010, the vineyard was ovecropped. This would lead to a condition of lower sugar and lower acid, if the vintages were otherwise similar. Or perhaps it was a much hotter year, so he had to have the fruit harvested early to have any semblance of acidity. Or the most obvious reason, that he makes his entry level wine out of whatever his worst quality fruit, and it happened that 2010's worst fruit made worse wine. In any or all of those cases, one doesn't necessarily worry about the entry level wine as long as it is good enough for the market.
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Pinchas L

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Re: WTN: The Wines I had during my Trip to Israel

by Pinchas L » Tue May 15, 2012 6:52 pm

Craig,

Thanks for pointing out that the differences in style and quality should not necessarily be attributed to the one detail differentiating them on the label.

However, when you say that
one doesn't necessarily worry about the entry level wine as long as it is good enough for the market
you surprise me, because I would hope that certain standards are kept even in an entry level series. These two vintages are levels apart, and the marked difference cause me, as a buyer, to pause, thinking twice before considering a purchase. Personally, I haven't noticed such marked differences between vintages of Barkan's Classic series, or Yarden's Mt. Hermon Red releases.

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Re: WTN: The Wines I had during my Trip to Israel

by Craig Winchell » Tue May 15, 2012 8:50 pm

Pinchas, I didn't say I don't worry about such things, or that there are not other winemakers who do, I meant that it isn't necessarily a worry across the industry. In fact, in California, consistency from year to year is considered primary in an entry-level wine, because the non-afficionado wine drinker wants the same taste (and I'm talking the exact same taste) from drink to drink to drink, whether you're talking vintage wine or nonvintage Almaden or Inglenook Navalle jugs (do they still make these? Probably not.) But that isn't necessarily the case elsewhere, especially when there is a degree of sophistication (consumers may know that vintages, and therefore the wines from those vintages, vary). And it could be that you, as an American (even one with a considerable amount of sophistication) are incredulous about it, whereas the Israeli neoconsumer is taking it more in stride.

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