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

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Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Philip Aron » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:24 am

Catch me if you can, but thats my conclusion after 10 years of testing and counter testing 10 years of tasting local wines and foreign imported products.Kosher or not Kosher its still Dalton.
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Gabriel Geller

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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Gabriel Geller » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:55 am

Hi Philip,

In my (very :wink: ) humble opinion, Galil Mountains give it quite a good fight as well in the QPR department.

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GG

P.S. Is everyone still asleep (well some are for sure right now, both on the east and west coasts) or drunk as lords? While I take into consideration that the holiday ended only last night outside Israel, the forum has rarely been so quiet for so long.
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Craig Winchell

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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Craig Winchell » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:18 am

Sorry, Gabriel, but I have nothing worth talking about, yet. Thus inactivity. Of course, because of the prospect of rain, the initial period after the yom tov was spent beginning to disassemble the sukkah. Possibly others have similar reasons.
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Harry J

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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Harry J » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:48 pm

Funny, I was thinking similar thoughts recently,especialy after not appreciatin the galil mt cab of 2010 or 200c. Has anyone tasted the daton 2010? It is $5 more a bottle though. H
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Philip Aron » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:45 pm

Hi Harry,

The Dalton Cab Sauv of 2011 is currently on sale in Israel and I found it to be really good.Same for the 2009. The $5 price difference you mention is I think well worth it, as you will easily taste the difference between the Dalton and the Galil Mt .
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Adam M

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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Adam M » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:27 pm

Hi Philip - I couldn't (respectfully) disagree more. Dalton makes some very good wines, but the ones that I am drawn to are the higher end wines that are hardly a superior value. Others who are active on this forum hold the QPR of the entry-medium wines of Dalton in high regard. So your comment is not totally out of the bounds of reasonablness. I just think that, pound for pound, wine for wine, the Golan Heights Winery, including Yarden and Galil Mountain, produces more wines with a much better QPR. I don't know another kosher cabernet sauvignon under $20 that can age gracefully over a 10+ year-period. Certainly, the comparable cab made by Dalton can't do this.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Harry J » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:31 pm

Hi Adam. Which cab are you referring to from GH that's undrr 20? Surely not Yarden. And as for the 10 yesars you get for a yarden. Some want to buy and drink realitively now and maybe Dalton has been improving in quality dramaticly recently. H
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Michael P » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:54 pm

According to Wine Searcher the Yarden Cabernet is $25 at best price, but on average $30 (current vintage). The Dalton Cabernet can be found for under $19, and an average of $21 - $9 or 30% cheaper than the Yarden.

I think another interesting comparison is the Dalton Cabernet Reserve, found for an average of $35 (although taking out an outlier not found in the other wines above, the average is more like $32-33) versus the Single Vineyard Yarden Cabernet wines (El Rom and Yonatan) at about 2x the price of the Dalton.

I'd also add that I don't think age worthiness should be the only factor toward determining QPR (and I don"t think the Gamla, Golan or Galil labels are particularly more age worthy than Dalton wines).
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Yossie Horwitz » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:13 pm

Historically Galil Mountain represented some of Israel best QPR wines with not only the Yiron being one of the best wines for under $20, but also its "regular" series Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and others being very nice wines. In recent years however, the quality of these wines has deteriorated and they no longer represent good value, as they are rarely "good". Agreed on the Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon being the best QPR for an ageable wine (although it VERY tough to find it below $20 - doable, but tough) and the winery certain delivers value for nearly every wine it makes, making it a great QPR winery. That said, folks usually look for good value at the cheaper end of the spectrum when thinking about QPR. I would easily put Recanati in the mix together with Dalton and, if a lower tiered quality series is the criteria, Binyamina's reserve line is certainly deserving of consideration as well, as is Carmel's Appellation.

Perhaps a weigh in on what other folks consider the "requirements" for a QPR winery would facilitate the discussion?
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Jay H » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:48 pm

Michael P wrote:According to Wine Searcher the Yarden Cabernet is $25 at best price, but on average $30 (current vintage). The Dalton Cabernet can be found for under $19, and an average of $21 - $9 or 30% cheaper than the Yarden.

I think another interesting comparison is the Dalton Cabernet Reserve, found for an average of $35 (although taking out an outlier not found in the other wines above, the average is more like $32-33) versus the Single Vineyard Yarden Cabernet wines (El Rom and Yonatan) at about 2x the price of the Dalton.

I'd also add that I don't think age worthiness should be the only factor toward determining QPR (and I don"t think the Gamla, Golan or Galil labels are particularly more age worthy than Dalton wines).


Yarden Single vineyard Kaleh, Odem, or even Yonatan (shiraz) can very often be found at $29.99 (some times even less).

You should also consider the fact that Yarden releases its wines much later then Dalton. Yarden just released The 2009 reg Cab and the single Vineyard that they currently sell is the 2006 which makes it a much better QPR IMHO
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Michael P » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:06 pm

Jay H wrote:
Michael P wrote:According to Wine Searcher the Yarden Cabernet is $25 at best price, but on average $30 (current vintage). The Dalton Cabernet can be found for under $19, and an average of $21 - $9 or 30% cheaper than the Yarden.

I think another interesting comparison is the Dalton Cabernet Reserve, found for an average of $35 (although taking out an outlier not found in the other wines above, the average is more like $32-33) versus the Single Vineyard Yarden Cabernet wines (El Rom and Yonatan) at about 2x the price of the Dalton.

I'd also add that I don't think age worthiness should be the only factor toward determining QPR (and I don"t think the Gamla, Golan or Galil labels are particularly more age worthy than Dalton wines).


Yarden Single vineyard Kaleh, Odem, or even Yonatan (shiraz) can very often be found at $29.99 (some times even less).

You should also consider the fact that Yarden releases its wines much later then Dalton. Yarden just released The 2009 reg Cab and the single Vineyard that they currently sell is the 2006 which makes it a much better QPR IMHO



Jay I was responding directly to Adam's comment about a Cabernet for under $20, but you're 100% correct that many of the Yarden Singe Vineyards in other varietals are available for a more reasonable price (although I haven't seem them at $30 in the US).

I think when talking generally about QPR, one must take into account an average price (within reason). Otherwise, its not a general comment but a specific deal opportunity QPR. There are many wine drinkers that look for quality wines at a good price BUT don't have the time/energy/wherewithal to search for deal specific opportunities.

As to the release dates, while I understand that Yarden does release later, I don't believe its 3 years later, rather 12-18 month later. I'm not always sure this is an advantage in the search for QPR.

Finally, I do believe that Dalton wines generally offer a solid quality price ratio, and its worth noting that the Dalton QPR is generally consistent across varietals and the price need not be negotiated.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Adam M » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:56 am

Sorry for the delay, guys. Somehow, I didn't get pinged that the discussion was continuing.

I stand corrected. I inadvertantly misstated the going retail price of a regular Yarden cab. I wasn't intending to throw out a price that perhaps one has seen on the moon, or would apply only to the 2008s (which are tougher to sell which is often reflected in the price). An average savvy kosher wine consumer could probably secure the latest vintage of a regular Yarden Cab for no less than $25-$27. The prices of this particular wine have gone up. But I think it is directly a function of supply and demand, which is a reflection of quality.

Those who say that long-term aging, and the ability to continue to significantly improve with age, is not a factor that should be considered, are creating their own definition of "quality." In order to properly analyze and productively discuss relative "QPRs", we need to level set how "quality" is defined for this purpose. To me, it is defined by body structure and layers of flavors, and the ability for these two aspects to improve even further to the point of reaching a level that is unique to ordinary wine. The weaker these attributes are, the less the "quality;" and vice versa.

The Yarden cabernet sauvignon has consistently proven to age gracefully over a long period of time. In fact, there aren't many more kosher wines out there that have PROVEN to continue to improve for as long or longer. For about $25, this, to ME, is a turbo-charged QPR. Just because one doesn't have a cellar (or the patience) to be able to avail himself this continued aging doesn't mean that it cannot be acknowledged that it is nevertheless an attribute of quality. To suggest otherwise is, I think, confusing objective "quality" with subjective "value."

And we all know that cabernet sauvignon isn't the only wine in Yarden's stable. Their regular merlot and syrah are also very age-worthy and are materially less in price. I feel comfortable saying that one should be able to fetch these for under $20. I would purchase these two wines over Dalton's equivalents any day. Others may disagree, and I respect that and will not try to argue about what particular wine tastes good to a particular person; that would be silly nonesense. But I wuld argue with the premise the Dalton is the "very" best QPR in Israel.

I second Yossie's comment that the Galil Mountain wines aren't as cheap as they once were. The Yiron, e.g., is now selling in the low $20s; whereas it used to go for $17-$19. Having said this, the Yiron and even the Meron have now fully come into their own as not just a top mid-level wine, but arguably deserving of a place in the "high end" kosher wine stratosphere. And they, too, are equipped with an above average aging engine.

another point to make is that, when I think of QPR, I don't just think of the best wines that are under $20, or something along these lines. I also give weight to the fact that (i) many (certainly not all) very expensive wines (say, over $50) are priced for a reason (which is confirmed by the operation of the markets), (ii) this price level is influenced by a finer crafted wine and the resulting quality and (iii) a wine that can be massed produced at a comparable quality for a fraction of the price (even if this price is higher than an entry-level wine) is deserving of a very high QPR, even higher than a QPR for a wine of mid-level quality at an entry-level price.

I'll halt the rambling here but look forward to the continuation of this discussion....
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Craig Winchell » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:29 pm

I am not sure I agree with your criteria for "quality". Structure, certainly, remains a part of my criteria, but layered and nuanced flavors do not. Those are among my criteria for maintaining my "interest". In my opinion, top quality wine has no flaws, is colored typically for its type, flavored typically for its type, has greater flavor intensity then the norm of its type, is structured for no less than the typical age at which wines of that type would be consumed, and is delicious when cast against a standard of its type. A higher priced wine should be more interesting, but a low-priced wine can be of extremely high quality, while remaining fairly simple in terms of flavor nuances. One can have a top quality wine which is not worth its price, because it doesn't provide the interest factor. What this does for me is allow me to judge quality at a large tasting such as the Herzog tasting, without devoting a great deal of time and effort to each wine. I just don't have Raccah's stamina. I'm pretty sure, however, that if I find a wine to be delicious, chances are there are at least some others who will also find it to be delicious, and the same is true of the humdrum wines I find. So to put it simply, in a way that could be applicable to any product, a high quality wine is one that does what I want it to do (taste good), and a low quality wine does not. The higher quality the product, the better it performs its function (instead of tasting good, it tastes delicious). And that is more a function of balance than nuance.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Adam M » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:02 pm

Interesting perspective, Craig. Certainly in no position to disagree with it. I'm sure if a formal poll were taken on each person's definition of "quality," it would produce numerous variations. In light of this, it might very well be pointless to debate relative QPRs as people invariably will talk past each other, not on purpose but rather due to the lack of a common baseline...
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Steven B » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:50 pm

Hi Craig. I'm not so sure that wine being flavored typical to its varietal should be a measure of quality. For example I very much enjoy Yarden's pinot noir although it may taste nothing like a "true" pinot (not to bring up that discussion again). Does that mean it is of inferior quality? The fact that it does not taste like a pinot does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the wine. And while I don't know the first thing about the actual winemaking process, but is it possible that winemakers may sometimes deliberately try to show terroir at the expense of being true to the varietal?
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Craig Winchell » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:58 pm

Steven, if a Pinot does not have typicity, it may be a good wine but it won't be a good Pinot. I don't think a winemaker would wish to show terroir at the expense of showing varietal typicity if one is labeling the wine varietally, because the wine is being purchased due to its varietal qualities. A blend is an altogether different story, because it is by definition not varietal. But a Bordeaux variety blend should show the nature of a Bordeaux variety blend, and a GSM should show GSM-ness. A wine can taste good, even delicious, and still not be a high quality wine because it fails to deliver on its varietal character or blend-ness. Because when one factors such things into the mix, the definition of "performing its function" changes to reflect the wine's identity, which is the identity under which it was sold, and therefore the expectations one has for the wine. A blender can be a great blender, and do some of the things a food processor can do, but if the item was sold as a food processor and one purchased it to be a food processor, one is liable to be disappointed.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Steven B » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:52 pm

Thanks for clarifying things for me.
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Elie Poltorak

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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Elie Poltorak » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:56 pm

I agree with Adam here. Ability to age well is a coveted property of expensive wine. Offering a wine that ages well at a lower price point definitely increases QPR.

I disagree with Craig. I don't think most consumers buy wine because of its varietal (except chardonnay which is in a class of its own). Once I've tasted the Yarden Pinot and I like it, I'll buy more. Who cares if it's a true Pinot or not?

GHW/Galil Mountain definitely offer the best QPR in mid-range wines--in fact, no one else can even come close to their range of solid offerings in the $20-30 range. As Adam pointed out, their CS is totally unique, as it's the only inexpensive wine in the kosher marketplace that's consistently proven to be long term cellar-worthy vintage after vintage for 30 years now.

GHW also offers very good QPR in their high-end SV offerings coming in just under $50. Where they've fallen behind is on low-end (say $12-18) wines. Gamla and Galil Mountain used to be solid across their lines but lately have deteriorated (Golan line and Hermon have always been crap). The GM CS and merlot used to be very good young simple wines but the past few vintages they've been undrinkable. GM continues to make truly excellent wines with unbeatable QPR (Yiron, Meron) but at a slightly higher price point. Gamla has been spotty in recent years.

Dalton does offer some really great QPR in the $20-30 range (as does Ella Valley) but they can't match Yarden on consistency or age-ability.

In the entry level market--say $10-15--Recanati has some nice wines (e.g., Shiraz) although they're not so consistent (and don't get me started on the ridiculously soaring prices on Recanati's higher-end offerings--simply insane). Zion's wines are quite good at an entry-level. Elvi has some inexpensive wines that are nice. And of course Peraj Petita is unbeatable.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Craig Winchell » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:42 am

Elie, I don't mind your disagreeing with me. Not everyone has the same criteria for quality, which was what Adam said in his last post in this thread. And I admire the fact that you will purchase what you enjoy drinking. But at the risk of sounding pompous (of which I have been accused many times) I believe you are deluding yourself on both counts which you attribute generally to wine consumers.

First of all, you are correct that ageability has been considered a factor in quality considerations in the past. The paradigm is changing dramatically. In the past, the majority of serious drinkers cellared a small fortune in wine in their cellars, against the time when whim would determine that a particular wine be served. Nowadays, few can afford to do that. Secondly, wineries themselves often fail to cellar wines for the future, often because the storage conditions available to them are not optimal, and often because there is no room. The result is that even the best wines are often styled for earlier drinking than they were 15 or more years ago. Bottom line is that wines are designed to be enjoyed sooner, and cellaring therefore is of less importance. Ultimate quality rests in how the wine tastes at optimal maturity, whether that maturity occurs earlier or later. A wine styled for a 10 year maturity may be a briliant example, as might be a wine styled for 20 year maturity and that styled for 5 year maturity. One may be better than another, but not necessarily the older wine. Ageability depends upon style, not upon ultimate quality.

Then comes the question of why a wine is purchased in the first place. I would suggest that, except for novices who know nothing about wine, the initial bottle is purchased because of the type of wine it purports to be. A Cabernet that comes across like a Pinot may taste very good, but if I purchased a Cab, I would have done so because I wanted a Cab. If I brought the wine as a gift, it would have been because I wished to gift a Cab. I firmly believe most consumers would balk if served an atypically cast wine as any more than an occasional aberration, and significant deviation from their expectations would lead to a feeling that it detracted from its quality. I could well be incorrect. It could be that the overwhelming number of consumers look at quality as you look at it, instead of the way I do. Perhaps there are 2 or more distinct ways of perceiving quality in wine. It would be interesting to field an open questionaire on the other forum (dealing with large populations probably makes for more valid results) to determine whether there are competing criteria for wine quality.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Elie Poltorak » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:06 am

Craig:

On the second count I strongly disagree. I don't know anyone who walks into a store seeking a cabernet or a merlot (chardonnay being the great exception there). Wines are purchased based on previous experiences, familiarity with the winery, recommendations, etc. Fielding a poll is a great idea, with the caveat that the results would only reflect wine nuts--not the general public. Perhaps Gabriel and Yehoshua can offer their experience selling to consumers.

On the first count, I don't disagree with your premise: today wines are successfully styled to be enjoyed younger and a great young wine can be better than a wine that has successfully aged for 10 years, but that doesn't change the fact that ageability is a quality that adds to the price of a wine. It's like arguing whether gold or silver is better--it's beside the point because gold is more expensive. So when comparing QPR, you need to compare apples with apples--just like you wouldn't compare prices of sauvignon blanc with cabernet sauvignon--you expect the latter to be more expensive. An exceptional sauvignon blanc might be a good value at $20 but even an unremarkable but decent cabernet is a great value at that price because it's a more expensive commodity--whether as a result of consumer perception or cost of production (cooperage, cellar time, etc.). Same goes for ageability--it is a prized quality that commands a price premium.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Daniel Kovnat » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:23 am

Quality (like beauty in the eyes) is in the taste buds of the beholder. It is completely subjective. And although price might seem, at first thought, to be an absolute term, I have to consider how much money I have in my pocket. What's a high price to one person may not be so expensive to another. This adds a certain degree of relativity to how many dollars you have to spend to purchase the wine. I guess that's basically why there is so much disagreement in this discussion. When one steps back and looks at the whole picture of what any winery produces, there will generally be a whole spectrum of wines, some of which have a high QPR and some of which have a low Q or a high P. My approach has been not to drink wine from any single producer, but to search out that winery's high QPR wine and then move over to another winery with the same search in mind. Dalton's original Alma was my choice for their high QPR wine as was Yiron from Galil Mountain Winery. This decision has, no doubt, been influenced by my taste for blends over varietals.

Another point -- Please don't lump Galil Mountain Winery in with Golan Heights Winery. Though they are interrelated economically, they have different terroir and vintners. They have two different styles. I view the Golan Heights Winery as the parent ( or Grand Daddy) with more maturity and a wider variety of wines. Galil Mountain Winery as the teenager or as the "start up" without the elegance of the parent winery.
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Gabriel Geller » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:40 am

Elie Poltorak wrote:Fielding a poll is a great idea, with the caveat that the results would only reflect wine nuts--not the general public. Perhaps Gabriel and Yehoshua can offer their experience selling to consumers.

:lol: :lol: So here is what a wine-nut (your faithful servitor in this case) has to say:

My customers usually ask in this order (2-3 of the following criteria, very rarely all of them):

1) price
2) color: red/white/rosé
3) sweetness/dryness
4) kashrut stamp
5) oak/fruit/new world-old world
6) body/structure/finish
7) variety
8 ) cellaring ability
9) region (galil/golan/judean hills etc)

Best,

GG
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by Gedalya P » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:24 am

Three wineries to add to the QPR discussion:
Livni
1848
Tzuba
We of the lower budget world find these to be delightful and reasonably priced.
From Cellar 18 in Ramat Beit Shemesh
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Re: Dalton is the very best QPR wine maker in Israel

by David Raccah » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:50 am

This conversation has moved drastically from where it started - but what the heck! When I was in Chicago over the holidays, I went to a few wine stores. At each, I immediately became the wine expert in the room, and I soon realized the very fact that the vast majority of wine purchasers are not us. They have no basic idea of what a Chard is versus a Sauvignon Blanc. Further they mostly care about price and then by how sweet or dry it is., much like Gabe said above. They could care less about supervision in America, if it is kosher you are good, so leave that one aside. The next thing was - who the wine was for! If the wine was for a host or for their house! Most were happy to bring something to a host - but wanted higher quality for their home - interesting!

None could get their head around wine pairing no matter how hard I tried and in the end, it always came down to price and availability. I would tell them to go to a different store and that was not an option, they had little time and was going to make a choice with what was available in this store.

In the end - all that we talk about here is really for us wine nuts. The vast majority of wine purchased in the US, non-kosher, is done by folks that have no idea of what they are buying. IN the old days in the kosher world a limited set of options was great for the folks who know little of wine - as they had few choices to make. Now, the kosher buyer is faced with hundreds of options, many in the store I visited were over the hill or undrinkable - but again - that is my palate - not the average guy on the street.

So before we get all wrapped around an axle - the vast majority of wine sales - are by folk who are not really worried about QPR - as they may well not have the facility to see it as quality or non-quality. They do care about price and what the wine is for - and the rest is in the hands of the guy/gal in the aisle or just dumb luck.

On the subject of QPR - totally agree on Recanati and Yarden. Galil baseline wines have fallen hard. Recanati's baseline wines have improved, and Dalton wines are nice as well.

When I was in one store - and the lady had a HARD price cap (mind you the prices at this store were essentially list price - and this is NOT KosherWine/Hungarian), the winners were Elvi, Barkan, Galil, and baseline Herzog. In my opinion not all of those are QPR, again for Gary, in my opinion, they do not meet a QPR, but for her they were great! Remember - we are wine snobs and the rest of the world sees it as a way to enjoy a meal.

David
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