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Mike_F

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Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Mike_F » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:51 pm

Quite a number of premium releases from Israeli wineries are being released lately at prices of around $ 50 and above per bottle. This has lead to round x-zillion of a perennial discussion on Rogov's forum, some excerpts-

Mike_F: No, the "blame" rests entirely with those who are willing to pay the mark-ups... . One hopes the wineries are getting some fraction of increased profits, and that it does not all end up in the hands of the dealers. As long as market hype of the type seen lately on this forum continues (e.g. threads with 'alerts' of release dates, as if the wines are precious collectibles and the forum readers are racing each other for the trophies) prices will continue to climb. If and when the Israeli yuppies and American kashrut observant consumers calm down, the market may return to reality. Meanwhile, these consumers are feeding a price bubble, which is not good for long term development and exposure of Israeli wines to the international market (I can't imagine many of the more worldly members of the wider WLDG forum will be willing to purchase top Israeli wines at current prices - why on earth should they?).

Rogov: Not speaking to wines in general but to this one in particular - and why not? Borrowing a bit of linguistic jingo from Gary Vaynerchuck: "At fifty bones for a wine that scores 94 points and that shoves a lot of California and Bordeaux into the closet, a deal you shouldn't miss"

Relevant threads are at viewtopic.php?f=29&t=17705 and at viewtopic.php?f=29&t=17730

Tasting notes from Rogov for two of the wines in question (there are many more climbing into this price range)-

Yarden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elrom Vineyard, 2004: Full-bodied, with still firm tannins and spicy wood well on the way to integrating and al-ready showing elegance and finesse. Look for layer after layer of currant, blackberry and wild berry fruits, those supported beautifully by notes of cedar, sage and tar, all leading to a near-sweet fruity finish that lingers on and on. Approachable now but best 2010–2016. Score 94. K

Recanati, Special Reserve, 2005: Full-bodied, dark garnet towards royal-purple, with once firm tannins now integrating nicely with spicy and vanilla-rich wood. Aged in barriques for 19 months, this blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Merlot, all from the Upper Galilee, shows fine balance and structure. On first attack blackcurrant, blackberry and a hint of anise, those followed by lightly toasted, near-sweet cedar and oak along with an appealing hint of black licorice. Approachable and enjoyable now but best 2009-2014. Score 93. K (Re-tasted 14 Aug 2008)

So a simple question to the distinguished members of this forum - would you be willing to shell out $ 50 for a bottle of Israeli wine, or does that price set an insurmountable barrier?

thanks,

Mike
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Ryan M

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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Ryan M » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:36 pm

If I could my hands on the 2003 El Rom, then yes.
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:54 pm

Under the appropriate circumstances and for a suitable occasion, I would certainly pay $50 or, occasionally, considerably more, for an Italian, French or American wine. By that standard, I can't honestly say I would refuse to pay the same for an Israeli wine of equal quality.

That said, since I neither read nor trust Parker, the Speck or most of the other similar mass-wine publications, I would require a trustworthy guide. Rogov, for instance ... or better yet, Rogov and a random sample of trusted forumites. In that case, assuming I could find the wine, sure, I'd buy it.
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Ian Sutton » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:23 pm

£50 isn't an insurmountable barrier (I enjoy Barolo - $50 feels like entry level!)

Getting to taste such wines is likely to be a bigger obstacle, as I suspect Israel and the USA would be the initial target markets. Sometimes better to price lower to get a foothold in a market and then ease the price up as the quality becomes widely recognised.

I tend to prefer to buy on track record as well, so if these are new 'super-cuvees' then I'd prefer to wait and see how they typically develop - Not all super-cuvees (talking internationally now) are as drinkable as the 'normale' wines from the same producer.

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Bernard Roth

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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Bernard Roth » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:19 am

I pay $50 for a lot of wines from places with not much of a track record, but based only on their recent critical acclaim. As long as some consensus is forming that wines from Israel are rising to international standards of excellence (that's excellence, not style), then why not try a few?
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Peter May » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:05 am

The Wine Society are listing a £30/$60 Israeli wine, Clos De Gat Sycra Syrah, 2004.

As they're limiting purchases to a max of 6 per member, I guess that some people are buying, but its too expensive for me to have a punt on an unknown. There's plenty of good Syrahs available at a lot less.


http://www.thewinesociety.com/shop/shop ... 21&prl=STD
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Eli R

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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Eli R » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:18 pm

Hi, Mike

(Mike is my nieghbor, although we never met).

Let me first introduce myself: I am from Israel, relatively very new to the wine world as an active wine-lover. My focus is on local red wines and my cellar includes around 300 bottles, all from the current millennium.

The price discussion has been a very hot topic in the last year or so.
There are two major reasons:

- One is the devaluation of the US$ against the local New Israeli Shekel by 30%, which has recently narrowed to 20% - leaving the current exchange rate at 3.6 NIS per 1 $US.
- The second is the increased exposure of Israeli wines in Europe and North America: by wine reviews, press, or by the on-line coverage by likes of Gary Vaynerchuck

The result is a 10%-30% price increase of several new issues of wines with Rogov's score of 90+, over last year's vintage. When converting to $US, it could be over 50% increase.

Now to my personal opinion,

I have put the barrier at 200 NIS (56 $ today). Except for maybe one ot two bottles, I have never paid more than that. I do try to find a good deal buying future or at the wine release date, or on special sale days.

The wines in question come from very small issues, starting from a barrel or two, and up to few thousands bottles. Therefore, in the short run the winery will sell every single bottle, even at the outrageous list price of 64$ we have seen recently.

Another factor is the very high price of good imported wines one can find in Israel.
Not being an expert, I tried to get familiar with the range of labels offered by representative wineries from France, Italy, and Australia.
I have found out the wines I would consider as "OK", start at around 35$, and excellent starting at 50$ and one can find only one or two from each variety. For most wines with a score of 93 or more, the price will be over 60$.

To illustrate, I will quote a few WTN, of wines which I purchased or tasted lately, as posted by Rogov on this and on the previous forums:

Perrin et Fils, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Les Sinards, 2006: Made from the younger vines of the estate, it might be fair to call this one the baby brother of the Beaucastel Chateauneuf. Dark garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins parting to reveal a tempting array of blackberries, cassis and citrus peel, those supported nicely by hints of spices and a light note of sugared toasted brioche that comes in comfortably on the finish. Approachable now but best 2010-2016 NIS 219. Score 93. (61$)

Marques de Riscal, Reserva, Rioja, 2003: Perhaps the best Reserva from the Marques since the great wine of 1964. Dark garnet, with purple reflections, with simultaneously firm but laid-back tannins integrating nicely with spicy wood. Opens with a distinctly plumy note but that yielding quickly in the glass to blackberries, blueberries and vanilla notes, those on a background of spicy black cherries, herbs and floral notes. On the long finish look as well for near-sweet raspberries and a hint of mint. Approachable now but best 2010-2018. Score 92. 119 NIS (Re-tasted 13 May 2008) (33$)

Thorn-Clarke, Shiraz, Shotfire, Barossa, 2005: Full-bodied, with caressing tannins and spicy wood, those integrating very nicely indeed to show generous red plum, cherry and citrus peel notes, those with hints of fresh earth and sweet herbs all leading to a long and mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2015, ideally keeping several bottles aside for tasting every year or two as the wine develops in its complexity. Score 93. (Tasted but not blind 28 Jun 2007) 139 NIS (36$)

Tedeschi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, 2003: Dark ruby towards garnet, full-bodied, with opening sweetness yielding with charm to bitter almond and bitter orange peel. On the nose and palate purple plums and floral notes supported nicely by overlays of figs and walnuts and, on the long finish a generous hints of leather and bitter-sweet chocolate. Long and delicious. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from 2010. NIS 230 (about US$ 70) Score 92. (Re-tasted 21 Jul 2008)

And a couple of examples outside my current price range:

Francesco Rinaldi, Barolo, Cannubbio, Piedmont, 2003: Full-bodied, with gently mouth-coating velvety tannins. Opens with plums and blackberries, those yielding comfortably to strawberries and notes of boeuf tartare and mocha, all on a lightly spicy background. Generous and long. Approachable now but best 2010-2018. NIS 270. Score 92. (75$)

Le Sang de Caillou, Cuvee de Lopy, Vacquyeras Rouge, Rhone, 2005: If you need a reference, think of this as an elegant country-style Chateauneuf. A full-bodied, generously tannic blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, showing a meaty, almost musky and earthy nose and opening on the palate to reveal ripe currant, blackberry and spices. Approachable and enjoyable now but best from 2010 at which time those tannins will integrate somewhat more. Cellar until 2016, perhaps longer. NIS 250. Score 93. (Tasted 16 Jul 2008) (70$).

I would finish by saying that from most of the Israeli wineries in question, one can find a second label with a more reasonable (local) price in the range of 22-25$, with good QPR, nice cellaring potential, and a 90+ score.

Cheers,

Eli
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Mike_F » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:02 am

Thanks for all responses so far. Two quotes, that seem reasonably representative-

Robin Garr wrote:...I would require a trustworthy guide. Rogov, for instance ... or better yet, Rogov and a random sample of trusted forumites. In that case, assuming I could find the wine, sure, I'd buy it...


Peter May wrote:...but its too expensive for me to have a punt on an unknown. There's plenty of good Syrahs available at a lot less...


So the question is are the prices matced by sufficiently widespread information on the perceived quality of the wines? I for one am wiling to bet that the answer to that question is no, but the market will no doubt settle this question sooner or later...
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:47 pm

Mike, Hi.....

I' ve purposely held off on responding so far but now that I do, let me respond to your question with two questions.

1. Would you/we pay $50 or more for a wine from Valtalina? ...from the Uco Valley? ... from Cotes du Aix-en-Provence? ...from Sicily? ...from the Peloponnesus?

2. Might it be more appropriate to ask: "If we had heard good things about the above wines (or those of Israel) from a source we consider reliable, might we not be willing to try such a wine and learn for ourselves whether it is worth the investment?"

Best
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Avi Hein

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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Avi Hein » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:11 pm

Mike_F wrote:So the question is are the prices matced by sufficiently widespread information on the perceived quality of the wines? I for one am wiling to bet that the answer to that question is no, but the market will no doubt settle this question sooner or later...



Right, that's why -- for me -- insofar as I'm willing to pay $50 for any wine (which is rare, I admit) I would have no problem paying $50 for an Israeli wine of high quality (as determined by Rogov or others who have tried the wine and whom I trust). However, living in Israel, I believe that is the major 'it' factor for me. That is to say, even the wines I've never drunk, I'm still vaguely familiar with and can find at good wine shops in the country. Personally, I happen to be more familiar with Israeli wines than the wines of France or Italy or California, and so I know who I trust and whom I don't. But this is something that we in Israel need to recognize -- wines that we may be intimately familiar with at home are totally unknown for most outside of Israel.



On the other hand, $50 for any wine is, at the moment, a bit out of my league and wallet.
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Mike_F » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:55 am

Daniel Rogov wrote:I' ve purposely held off on responding so far but now that I do, let me respond to your question with two questions.
1. Would you/we pay $50 or more for a wine from Valtalina? ...from the Uco Valley? ... from Cotes du Aix-en-Provence? ...from Sicily? ...from the Peloponnesus?
2. Might it be more appropriate to ask: "If we had heard good things about the above wines (or those of Israel) from a source we consider reliable, might we not be willing to try such a wine and learn for ourselves whether it is worth the investment?"


Well, I recently faced a similar dilemma on a visit to Portugal. The language barrier and paucity of information (including paucity of responses to queries on this forum) basically did not allow for informed purchases. I ended up with five wines priced between 9 to 22 Euros each, and did not buy wines on offer at 35-50 Euros. As Peter puts it, "its too expensive for me to have a punt on an unknown..." (and note that Peter was a regular on the Strat's Place forum and has heard more than most people about Israeli wines).

I rest my case.
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Marlene R » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:30 pm

If you can get your hands on Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2003/4, it is ABSOLUTELY worth the $40-$50.
It's a classy Bordeaux blend which is more Napa than Bordeaux, but has the best of both worlds.
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Alejandro Audisio » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:53 pm

If I taste a wine and it meets my expectations... and its in a price range I find acceptable for the overall performance Im obtaining, then I dont care if its from Israel, Uruguay, Bulgaria or Burgundy or Chamagne or Bordeaux or Napa Valley.... where it comes from is one of the lesser considerations. I just dont believe in capping prices for wines just because they come from " XXXX ".
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Re: Would you pay $ 50 for an Israeli wine??

by Shlomo R » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:37 am

Based on reliable good reviews or personal tasting, yes. Blind on the recommendation of a store owner, the answer depends on the store owner. Based on the recommendation of someone I don't know, probably not.
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