Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.
no avatar
User

lewis.pasco

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

185

Joined

Mon May 01, 2006 12:41 pm

Location

Jerusalem, Israel

Reflecting on Rogov - long post.

by lewis.pasco » Thu May 30, 2013 11:15 am

This afternoon I went through one exercise and some home cooking - both of which led me to reflect on Rogov. My reflection started really during the cooking and tasting of the chicken schnitzel I was making. It had been a long while since I made schnitzel, and I was having, at first, some trouble getting the fire just right to achieve the crisp brown crust but tender juicy inside properly cooked schnitzel must have. Then after I got the fire correct, and began tasting the cooked schnitzel, I immediately realized I had underseasoned it. My wife adds crushed minced garlic, a good dash of worcestershire, and dijon mustard into her beaten eggs, along with some freshly ground black pepper, ground sweet paprika, and of course salt to the breadcrumbs. I'd missed out adding the worcestershire and mustard, and also didn't add enough salt - most crucial of all...

Rogov and I had one thing in common which I'm not sure applied to any other Israeli winemaker. Having been a pretty successful and well regarded chef before I ventured into winemaking, I have always been every bit as interested in food as I am in wine. Rogov was one of the very few (in fact the ONLY, that I know of) critics who covered both food (restaurants, in particular) and wine. I think I followed his restaurant reviews even more carefully than his wine reviews, and many times he set me on a path to discovery of a restaurant he was particularly fond of.

The first reflection that occurred to me today, as I was thinking about how I'd improve on the second batch of schnitzel, was that Rogov almost certainly trusted MY palate more regarding restaurants than he did about wine! It came up a couple of times in conversations between us. When maybe he doubted a review of a restaurant he'd lauded (and reflecting on it, maybe he felt he'd been overly generous in praise), he asked me quite pointedly what I felt about that restaurant. I was sure he had a lot of respect for my opinion...

But when it came to wine, he seemed to always feel (it wasn't just about me) that all winemakers have a kind of a set of blinders on - particularly about their own wine, but even in the process of how they must judge other winemakers' wines, as they do in competitions. As if only critics were fit to judge wines! Of course this idea was to me patently nonsensical. Anyone producing anything of good quality must be extremely self critical - or they wouldn't consistently produce GOOD quality. What's more winemaking is partly a technical skill - moreso than cooking in that it involves specific and complex chemistry. You just don't get consistently good wine from a winemaker if he's not critically sharp and professionally knowledgeable.

It has ALWAYS been my experience - both as a chef and a winemaker - that the things I make, once I sit down at a table and actually consume them as a customer might, are much BETTER than I regularly judged them to be DURING the process of making them. It's the exact opposite of having blinders on! The hyper critical approach one takes during the production process leads one to be overly harsh in opinion, because one is focusing on details and minutia that are virtually "invisible" to the nose and palate once you move to "the front of the house."

So I was going through my 2012 wines again, at home rather than in the venues where I am producing them, and everything that could be wrong in this tasting was. I mean the house (and therefore the wines) are way too hot, which usually screws up big alcoholic reds. A couple of the sample bottles had been open since yesterday to boot. And yet each component tasted better than I recalled at the wineries. The aggressive barrel lot tasted more integrated, more interesting and "stylish" than flat out too aggressively woody as I'd been thinking. Another lot was showing emergent properties of blue-black fruit (Raccah, are you still with me?) which I thought should be in the wine based on the ripeness it was harvested at, but hadn't really been showing itself - with any obviousness - till now.

Probably too the schnitzel will be just fine - once I dress it with a bit of good mustard or my kids douse it in ketchup....
Life is too short to drink bad wine.
no avatar
User

Isaac Chavel

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

535

Joined

Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:54 am

Re: Reflecting on Rogov - long post.

by Isaac Chavel » Thu May 30, 2013 4:19 pm

Of course, Lewis, with regard to food you were a consumer, so Rogov could afford to consider your opinion. When it came to wine, he was the critic and you the winemaker --- the last thing he would consider is your opinion of the wine you created.

More generally, my take is that much of what you said is universal. Simply put, there is the creator, the critic and the consumer. And there are two issues:

1. The creator wishes the respect of his peers (other creators) and the approval of his customers (their approval expressed in the most obvious way). He, or she, views the critic, at best, as means to get to the customers.

2. What happens when the creator becomes a customer/consumer. I do not see as a surprise that one changes one's evaluation when one switches to creator to consumer.

I went through both of these in my career as a university mathematician, and when I had a photography show (my first --- not a big deal) in a local YMHA.

The second is easy. With all the fussing and self-criticism that went on through the producing and framing the photos, and being aware of every imperfection contained therein, boy!, did they look good once there were up there on the walls and I walked through like any other viewer.

The first is more involved. In the eighties (yes, of the previous century) I was working in a new developing field in mathematics, and wrote a book to introduce the field to new researchers, at the same trying to capture excitement of what was going on. Two of my peers, researchers in the field, reviewed it --- one strongly panned it, and the other simply presented a different view of the subject. I was relatively young at the time, and, needless to say, appropriately devastated. Indeed, since the critics were simultaneously peers/competitors, they were strongly committed to their view of the field, and were not prepared to consider my presentation on its own merits. But it turned out that the book was extremely successful in reaching mathematicians who were working in neighboring fields and wanted to learn what was going on in mine. Lesson learned? Keep your true audience in mind and don't waver.
User avatar
User

YoelA

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

907

Joined

Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:43 pm

Location

San Francisco area

Re: Reflecting on Rogov - long post.

by YoelA » Fri May 31, 2013 1:35 am

I have no comments on the practice of either food or wine criticism but it sounds like I need to convince my wife to add some ingredients to her schnitzel recipe. We will see if I am successful.
User avatar
User

ChaimShraga

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

816

Joined

Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:53 am

Location

Tel-Aviv, Israel

Re: Reflecting on Rogov - long post.

by ChaimShraga » Fri May 31, 2013 4:46 pm

lewis.pasco wrote:Rogov was one of the very few (in fact the ONLY, that I know of) critics who covered both food (restaurants, in particular) and wine.


I think the fact the Haaretz paid him for both gigs was a somewhat provincial attitude. "Let's have the restaurant guy do the wine gig as well - neither are a particularly specialized field". Kudos to Rogov for suckering them into footing the bill.

His replacement is actually much, much worse in that respect (that is, suckering Haaretz into footing bills of questionable ROI as far as reader interest is concerned). Sometimes Sagie Cohen's choice of covered restaurants seems to be heavily influenced by considerations of how best to make sure his expense report is suitably opulent.
Positive Discrimination For White Wines!
http://2GrandCru.blogspot.com
no avatar
User

Jonathan K

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

310

Joined

Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Re: Reflecting on Rogov - long post.

by Jonathan K » Fri May 31, 2013 5:15 pm

I get overzealous enough when I find a wine I particularly like that I can't imagine how I would act if I actually made the wine. And I've never been a big fan of schnitzel, but perhaps I have never had it prepared correctly before. To me it is the gefilte fish of poultry.
User avatar
User

ChaimShraga

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

816

Joined

Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:53 am

Location

Tel-Aviv, Israel

Re: Reflecting on Rogov - long post.

by ChaimShraga » Fri May 31, 2013 5:26 pm

Well made shchnitzel is heaven. Lewis, try to make it with panco (sic?) - Japanese bread crumbs.
Positive Discrimination For White Wines!
http://2GrandCru.blogspot.com

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign