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

Rafael Joseph

Rank

Cellar rat

Posts

18

Joined

Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 pm

I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Rafael Joseph » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:25 pm

Hi Guys,

I've been toying with the idea of having a Kosher food review website which would incorporate Restaurants, Food and Wine from a UK perspective. This is my first review of a wine. It is written for people not necessarily into the finer elements of wine an in-keeping with the goals of the site, focuses mainly on what kind of value for money does it offer. Please read it if you have the time and I'd love some feedback. (£1 = $1.6)

Dalton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

If you are reading this wine review then you probably empathize with the lonely existence of a kosher wine enthusiast. Being surrounded by philistines who torture Shabbos guests week in, week out with subpar cooked acidic concoctions is quite frankly enough to turn anyone to drink. Having said that, there are some compelling reasons why kosher wine doesn’t seem to matter to most Jews that I know who keep the faith – the price tag being the most likely cause. Since the exuberant prices of Kosher food is one of the reasons I decided to start this website, one of the main areas of summation will be whether or not this wine is worth the money the retailer is charging. Simply put, taste and quality in the kosher world must be assessed within context of price.

The Dalton winery was founded by the Harouni family (from England!) and in a matter of two decades have risen to be a popular brand found on pretty much very shelf of every kosher store.

The Dalton Reserve range is a 2nd tier wine, one below their flagship wine - the Matatia. The wine is oak-aged for a good 15 months and uses grapes grown in the Upper Galilee at a height of 850 meters. The 15 months in oak should impart enough elements to allow this bottle to be aged and I have seen various wine connoisseurs recommend cellaring up until 2014/15.

The bottle retails at a weighty £28 per bottle. This puts it in the higher price bracket of mid-range wines with anything over £40 considered in my eyes to be a top end wine (for special occasions etc.) My local wine shop (Sussers) had a special on this pre-Rosh Hashanah and I picked up two bottles for £20 a piece.

To confess, I’ve probably drunk more of this wine than any other wine on the market. When we used to host a full table every Shabbat, this was the wine of choice – I loved it, the guests loved it … the wife couldn’t stand the sight of it! Being oak-aged and locked up since 2009 means you should pre-empt the consumption and air this baby right before Kiddush and dive in right about the time that the main course arrives (around 45 minutes to an hour for the Yekers amongst you).

The wine itself is a real treat. It possesses a lovely aroma that emanates from an almost opaque deep purple colour. I wont embarrass myself by trying to detail what scent/taste notes I was getting but rest assured it gets the thumbs up. Most importantly, I found this wine incredibly easy to guzzle down, it’s so moreish that I now understand why I rarely threw any of it away come Motzei Shabbat. Furthermore, it lacks any of the offensiveness that sometime accompanies even some of the finest of kosher wines. The one criticism I would have is that it clearly lacks the depth I have experience in some more expensive wines such as the Capcanes La Flor del Flor de Primavera 2007 or the Segals Unfiltered Cabarnet 2007 (both £40+ bottles) but perhaps it would be unfair to compare it to any flagship wines. This is what you should expect from a mid-range wine – complete drinkability whilst not paying the earth.

Israel’s foremost wine critic - the revered and unfortunately deceased Daniel Rogov, gave the Dalton winery a 4/5 star rating (5 stars being a winery that delivers consistently good wine both across range and vintages). When I mentioned this to Dalton’s representative at Kedem Europe’s wine tasting, he was adamant that had Rogov lived longer then his winery would have been given 5 stars in the next edition of his comprehensive guide. Based on what I have experienced with the Dalton range (Alma, D-Shiraz, D-Cabernet and Cabernet Reserve), I have to agree although until I’ve devoured a bottle of Matatia, we’ll have to leave this dilemma unresolved.

Ok, lets talk about price. The £28 price tag is in my mind slightly above what it should be. The reason for this is that there are some astounding wines that one can purchase for only £2-3 more – Yatir’s 2nd tier Merlot/Shiraz/Cabernet 2007 blend immediately springs to mind as being a superior wine that has much more complexity and taste although it doesn’t go down as easy as the Dalton (but that’s probably a good thing!). Another recommendation in this price bracket would be Castel’s 2nd tier Bordeaux blend – Petit Castel. Both these wines retail around the £30 mark and would probably elicit a better wine tasting experience for that kind of money than the Dalton Reserve. I actually found this on special prior to Rosh Hashanah at £20 per bottle (a steal at this price) and this might be the way to go with such a wine.

Having said that, were you to have a table full of guests that weren’t wine drinkers, the Dalton Reserve Cabarnet Sauvignon 2009 is a great wine to serve. Even the most untrained palate would be able to appreciate the quality of this wine and presenting this to your guests right after the soup leaves the table would definitely enhance your Shabbos table.
no avatar
User

Elie Poltorak

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

471

Joined

Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:05 pm

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Elie Poltorak » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:34 pm

Nice review! Good luck with the project. Anything that educates people about the kosher wine world is certainly worthwhile.

The Yatir blend better than the Dalton Reserve cab??? I don't think so. Not by a long shot. Unless you're still getting '04 or '05 vintages...

BTW, the top tier at Dalton isn't just the Matatia flagship. It includes the Meron wines produced in exceptional vintages and the Anna. Also, Dalton's tier system is all confused to the point of being meaningless. Sometimes the wines from "lower tiers" (D, Alma, Safsufa) can be better than the Reserves. The only safe thing you can safely say is that the Canaan and Yuvalim are bottom-tier; the D, Alma, Safsufa, and Reserve are mid-tier; and the Matatia, Anna, Meron SV, and SV Zinfandel are top-tier.
no avatar
User

Rafael Joseph

Rank

Cellar rat

Posts

18

Joined

Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 pm

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Rafael Joseph » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:14 pm

thanks so much for the info, I'll amend the tier system content to reflect what you have said (which basically means I'll admit to even more ignorance about it!

Now, I'm not going to argue with your expertise but ... I've put away 3 bottles of the Dalton over chagim and 2 of the Yatir - this week, I'm going back for the Yatir. The problem is I can never put these wines against each other because none of my stupid friends or my wife's stupid friends (G-d I hope she doesn't read this) drink wine properly. So I've got to put away at least a half a bottle of each on a Friday night which means my kid don't make childrens service the next day and I become the house Rasha. Anyway I digress - we'll resolve this at Purim ok?

thanks for commenting
no avatar
User

Elie Poltorak

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

471

Joined

Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:05 pm

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Elie Poltorak » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:50 pm

Rafael Joseph wrote:thanks so much for the info, I'll amend the tier system content to reflect what you have said (which basically means I'll admit to even more ignorance about it!

Now, I'm not going to argue with your expertise but ... I've put away 3 bottles of the Dalton over chagim and 2 of the Yatir - this week, I'm going back for the Yatir. The problem is I can never put these wines against each other because none of my stupid friends or my wife's stupid friends (G-d I hope she doesn't read this) drink wine properly. So I've got to put away at least a half a bottle of each on a Friday night which means my kid don't make childrens service the next day and I become the house Rasha. Anyway I digress - we'll resolve this at Purim ok?

thanks for commenting


LOL! Keep drinking and you'll increase your alcohol tolerance. :wink: Eventually, you'll want to uncork a white and a red to go with the Friday night courses... and maybe even a dessert wine...

I have no expertise--merely very loud, vigorously stated opinions. Take everything I write with a huge grain of salt--no matter how stridently I express myself.

If you like the Yatir blend, try their other wines--they're orders of magnitude better. The Forrest is awesome but really needs a good few years in the cellar to come into its own, but the cab is quite approachable in youth and much more reasonably priced. The blend used to be one of my favorite table wines (generous, almost-sweet fruit balanced with tangy acidity made it super food friendly across a wide variety of dishes) but it's gone downhill in the past few years.
User avatar
User

Gabriel Geller

Rank

'So-called' wine expert

Posts

1436

Joined

Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:46 pm

Location

Jerusalem, Israel

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Gabriel Geller » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:57 pm

:lol: :lol: this is a lot of fun and thank you Rafael for the British humor! This is a great project and I wish you all the best of success with it! :)

Whether the Yatir red blend CMS is or not a better wine than the Dalton Cab reserve is of course purely subjective and a matter of personal taste. For instance, like Elie I fancy the Dalton more than the Yatir. Now Elie is also correct with the Meron single vineyard coming in between the reserve series and the Matatia. As well, while I love the Alma Bordeaux-blend and have enjoyed several bottles of both the 2008 and 2009 over the past year I would love to see what the winery has done that extraordinary with the Matatia as to be honest, I've never tasted it. Owning and managing a wine store certainly does have its perks (may be I could taste it at the winery but unfortunately I don't have much time to travel anywhere, even for a wine tasting), I've never had the opportunity to taste it so I can't tell how much greater it is in comparison with the Alma (same components, CabSav, Merlot, Cab Franc) and whether or not it is worth such a high price tag. As to the Zinfandel Single Vineyard which I have also not tasted yet, a Dalton sales representative (whose name of course wont appear here) told me himself that the regular D-Zinfandel is better than it...

Best,

GG
no avatar
User

Elie Poltorak

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

471

Joined

Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:05 pm

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Elie Poltorak » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:55 am

Gabriel Geller wrote::lol: :lol: this is a lot of fun and thank you Rafael for the British humor! This is a great project and I wish you all the best of success with it! :)

Whether the Yatir red blend CMS is or not a better wine than the Dalton Cab reserve is of course purely subjective and a matter of personal taste. For instance, like Elie I fancy the Dalton more than the Yatir. Now Elie is also correct with the Meron single vineyard coming in between the reserve series and the Matatia. As well, while I love the Alma Bordeaux-blend and have enjoyed several bottles of both the 2008 and 2009 over the past year I would love to see what the winery has done that extraordinary with the Matatia as to be honest, I've never tasted it. Owning and managing a wine store certainly does have its perks (may be I could taste it at the winery but unfortunately I don't have much time to travel anywhere, even for a wine tasting), I've never had the opportunity to taste it so I can't tell how much greater it is in comparison with the Alma (same components, CabSav, Merlot, Cab Franc) and whether or not it is worth such a high price tag. As to the Zinfandel Single Vineyard which I have also not tasted yet, a Dalton sales representative (whose name of course wont appear here) told me himself that the regular D-Zinfandel is better than it...

Best,

GG


Gabriel:
You are of course correct that this is all subjective; hence, my previous post.
I can't believe you haven't tasted the Matatia! It's nothing like the Alma. The alma is fruit forward. The Matatia is a serious Bordeaux blend, although unlike say the Katzrin, it's meant to be approachable upon release and to improve over say 10 years from release... it certainly isn't a wine for long-term cellaring. I absolutely love it, but I'm sure others will find it too ummm.... I can't find a better term than "slutty." Shall we say, it's very open. Not a wine that requires a serious investment to enjoy--other than the dollar investment of course. :lol:
As far as the SV Zin--depends on the vintage. In good years, the Dalton Zin has been absolutely phenomenal. Screaming with eucalyptus. Unlike anything else out there. N.B., Dalton makes a great zin in the D series--certainly the best in Israel.
no avatar
User

Rafael Joseph

Rank

Cellar rat

Posts

18

Joined

Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 pm

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Rafael Joseph » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:38 pm

Gabriel Geller wrote::lol: :lol: this is a lot of fun and thank you Rafael for the British humor! This is a great project and I wish you all the best of success with it! :)

Whether the Yatir red blend CMS is or not a better wine than the Dalton Cab reserve is of course purely subjective and a matter of personal taste. For instance, like Elie I fancy the Dalton more than the Yatir. Now Elie is also correct with the Meron single vineyard coming in between the reserve series and the Matatia. As well, while I love the Alma Bordeaux-blend and have enjoyed several bottles of both the 2008 and 2009 over the past year I would love to see what the winery has done that extraordinary with the Matatia as to be honest, I've never tasted it. Owning and managing a wine store certainly does have its perks (may be I could taste it at the winery but unfortunately I don't have much time to travel anywhere, even for a wine tasting), I've never had the opportunity to taste it so I can't tell how much greater it is in comparison with the Alma (same components, CabSav, Merlot, Cab Franc) and whether or not it is worth such a high price tag. As to the Zinfandel Single Vineyard which I have also not tasted yet, a Dalton sales representative (whose name of course wont appear here) told me himself that the regular D-Zinfandel is better than it...

Best,

GG


Many thanks Gabriel for the feedback and the appreciation of my dry English humor. I was trying to find the price online for the Meron and it seems to be less than the Reserve (can you confirm that or is it just old pricing?) Anyway, I'm going to re-write the article as mentioned to reflect some of the feedback.

The Matatia is on my list for when something special happens next in my life. Future reviews will be the new Flechas offering (Cab/Syrah) just off the shelves (I was a big fan of their Malbec but my tongue has since moved onto different pastures) as well as the aforementioned Yatir. Out of curiosity, how do Israeli prices compare with the ones I mentioned (Dalton Res £28 Petit Castel £31 Segals Unf. £48)?

Looking forward to visiting your wine shop one day.
User avatar
User

Gabriel Geller

Rank

'So-called' wine expert

Posts

1436

Joined

Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:46 pm

Location

Jerusalem, Israel

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Gabriel Geller » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:20 pm

Rafael Joseph wrote:I was trying to find the price online for the Meron and it seems to be less than the Reserve (can you confirm that or is it just old pricing?) [...] Out of curiosity, how do Israeli prices compare with the ones I mentioned (Dalton Res £28 Petit Castel £31 Segals Unf. £48)?

Hi Rafael, I do not recall exactly the Meron's pricing (guilty, I don't have it on the shelf...) but it is somewhere around 160-180 shekels (around £28) while the Reserve are 120 (£19). Petit Castel is 110 shekel (£17-18) and Segal Unfiltered 220 shekels (£35).

Best,

GG
no avatar
User

Rafael Joseph

Rank

Cellar rat

Posts

18

Joined

Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 pm

Re: I wrote a review for my new project, feedback please!

by Rafael Joseph » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:30 pm

Gabriel Geller wrote:
Rafael Joseph wrote:I was trying to find the price online for the Meron and it seems to be less than the Reserve (can you confirm that or is it just old pricing?) [...] Out of curiosity, how do Israeli prices compare with the ones I mentioned (Dalton Res £28 Petit Castel £31 Segals Unf. £48)?

Hi Rafael, I do not recall exactly the Meron's pricing (guilty, I don't have it on the shelf...) but it is somewhere around 160-180 shekels (around £28) while the Reserve are 120 (£19). Petit Castel is 110 shekel (£17-18) and Segal Unfiltered 220 shekels (£35).

Best,

GG


Shavua Tov, Thanks for the prices, I just finished reading the QPR thread (quite an intense read at times!) It is clear to me that I am in the worst country in the world to develop an affinity for kosher wine.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign