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Shirah Winry

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David Raccah

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Shirah Winry

by David Raccah » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:05 am

This is my latest post on the Shirah Winery. They are friends, and I hope my post gives you a better more intimate and close-up perspective of these two great guys!

http://kosherwinemusings.com/2013/04/10 ... ne-bottle/

David
Checkout http://www.kosherwinemusings.com for my blogs on the world of kosher wines and follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/kosherwinemuse.
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Pinchas L

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Re: Shirah Winry

by Pinchas L » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:36 am

David,

Let me begin with my polite words. I'm in agreement with you that the Bro Deux is the best of the bunch, displaying a nice handling of the Bordeaux varietals, resulting in a pleasantly unique wine. It goes downhill from there. I, too, have sampled the wines over the holidays and they range between C+ and B. Grading the BroDeux B+ would probably be a stretch, but still within reason. (And I'm referring to my grading in which a C is probably the equivalent of an 84 by Rogov and a B is more like an 88)

Now to the less polite, there should be a limit on the amount of hyperbole a post should contain. Your post is bordering on being disrespectful to all the others in the industry who have also paid their dues, even if perhaps in a more traditional way. Honestly, the amount of knowledge contained in Craig's fingernails surpasses that which many other winemakers will ever learn. Also, please keep in mind that the Weiss brother's evident enthusiasm for wine-making does not necessarily translate into great wines.

Yes, their labels are unique, and if anyone wants to pay between $40 and $75 for unique stationary they can go ahead and spend their money on these wines. To each their own, but I see no reason for them to be singled out, placed on a pedestal, on the basis of the juice that is in the bottle.

Best,
-> Pinchas
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Re: Shirah Winry

by Craig Winchell » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:36 pm

High praise indeed, Pinchas, and I thank you, but I assure you, my fingernails possess no knowledge of winemaking. I also agree with you, that the labels and their uniqueness is what seems to motivate most of my acquaintances towards Gabe and Shimon's wines. But the enthusiasm of these young men is compelling. And I do learn things from them, as I hope they learn things from me. For instance, I have rarely seen or been a party to tiny winemaking, which is all that they do. The types of operations they perform, the intense man-hours they put in to perform them, these are things of beauty, even if they were to yield not one iota of increased quality or uniqueness. I find it interesting and fascinating, and you know I use such vocabulary only rarely. As one who has been exposed not only to the great wines of the world in vintages far in the past, but also to the majority of wine styles which have popped up throughout history, it is easy to become bored with the sameness of modern wines, especially reds, as everything seems to condense into a half-handful of styles. Enter the Weiss boys (now men), who have 2 wishes: to create something unique, and to create something marketable. In many cases, they have done both. One waits with anticipation towards the future, to see whether vintages will remain unique endeavors, or whether they will become caricatures of vintages past. Unfortunately, it is something to which I will not be a party, as their operation has simply become too large for Agua Dulce, and they must find a new creative venue for next year's crush. Still, I value the time spent observing their quaint or their higher technology methodologies. They have proven to me how inexpensive it can be to produce quality micro-quantities of wine, if one doesn't mind working to the point of exhaustion days or weeks at a time, certainly a young man's game (younger than me, at least). And that has been a pleasure to observe.
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Re: Shirah Winry

by Jonathan K » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:27 pm

I am not sure what to make of this discussion. The wines are what they are. They are fun and delicious for the most part, and very easy drinking wines. They occupy a fairly unique place in the kosher wine world. The Bro-deux and Power to the People Syrah bring a smile to my face every time, and is there an easier wine to drink that actually has some stuffing than the Coalition.
They are not (I don't think) supposed to be ageworthy or profound expressions but so what. I will agree that everybody has their breaking point on what to shell out for wines like these and in the non-kosher world, these wines would have to be a good 40% or more cheaper to compete, but I buy them. Anyway, I struggle to find wines I enjoy with seder and this year the Shirah wines really enhanced my experience, although I did drink enough of them this Pesach that I am unlikely to reach for one for awhile.
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Re: Shirah Winry

by David Raccah » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:58 pm

Wow - I can go in so many different directions with this one. Let me start by saying that we all have our own opinions. My opinion, as was stated in the posting, is threefold:

1) These are really nice guys who have gone through a lot in life - more than you probably care to know, and that they have come out on the other side with their heads held high, both professionally and personally. My opinion, and I do not care if others disagree - as I know the accounts first hand and nuf said.

2) They make a very unique wines. Some call them light and easy, some call them fruity, some even call them juicy, I call them flat out unique! Until their wines - I had never smelled or tasted such a varied number of fruits within a single bottle of wine. YES, that is what I call unique. They are controlled and sweet and ripe. This is 100% up for debate and thank you as always Pinchas for your opinions - we disagree, though believe it or not - I doubt we really disagree as much as you would like to think. We both dislike overly sweet wines, we like wines with more acid. Your scoring system has no curve and mine does - who cares. You have an opinion and as always I respect it.

3) The wines show the style the boys like and the labels attempt to display that more than ANY OTHER label out there. Labels are not why I drink wine, and not here either.

Finally, in the end, your issue that they have not cut their teeth or earned their keep - to be blunt - is 100% BS and stupid - sorry! Really? For you track record matters? I have had the true pleasure of watching Four Gates evolve from DAY 1 and I had the true joy of enjoying much of Gan Eden wine before many here even knew what it was, as Craig was by my house and my friends homes - more often then you drank his wines. Are you going to tell me that if he brought you a bottle of his 1986 or 1989 Cabernet that you would have poo-pooed it until he had more years under his belt! Who cares! If the wine is good - praise it, if it sucks slam it! Period! By the way those two Cabs may well be the best Cabernet I have ever tasted!

So for you to say that time in the business matters - does not matter to me. I judge a wine by its flavors - not by the years of its creator, nor by the years that said creator has been in the Biz. I do not judge it by its cost or by its perceived value (though I do talk about it). In the end the ONLY thing that matters to me - is how does it taste, and these wines are all 100% unique and pushed to my sensory capacity. If you do not like them, I am 100% ready and fine with respecting your opinion. But cost, time in market, and time under the knife mean nothing to me or anyone else that I know.

Best Wishes,
David
Checkout http://www.kosherwinemusings.com for my blogs on the world of kosher wines and follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/kosherwinemuse.
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Pinchas L

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Re: Shirah Winry

by Pinchas L » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:44 pm

Jonathan K wrote:
I am not sure what to make of this discussion.

My critique is directed towards David and not towards the Weiss Brothers nor their wines. Although I rarely criticize what people post on their personal blogs, once they post it here it is open to criticism. I thought I was clear about what it was that bothers me, but since you didn't get it, perhaps I was not, unless you'll admit to not having read David's post. The post reads almost like a cheerleaders chant, to the point that it loses all credibility. He details the history of the winery, for the most part the work of wine enthusiasts learning on the fly, yet not a single experiment fails as they are all "doubles or home runs". Not a single wine is rated below an A-, and even when he does so, he often adds that the the score "is somewhat more".

The wines are what they are. They are fun and delicious for the most part, and very easy drinking wines. They occupy a fairly unique place in the kosher wine world. The Bro-deux and Power to the People Syrah bring a smile to my face every time, and is there an easier wine to drink that actually has some stuffing than the Coalition.
They are not (I don't think) supposed to be ageworthy or profound expressions but so what. I will agree that everybody has their breaking point on what to shell out for wines like these and in the non-kosher world, these wines would have to be a good 40% or more cheaper to compete, but I buy them. Anyway, I struggle to find wines I enjoy with seder and this year the Shirah wines really enhanced my experience, although I did drink enough of them this Pesach that I am unlikely to reach for one for awhile.

Had David written anything resembling your take on the wines, I wouldn't have commented at all, or perhaps agreed with it. But he did not. Reading his post, I gagged, and therefore chose to respond.

Noticing that David has responded, I'll expand in my response to his post directly.

Best,
-> Pinchas
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Re: Shirah Winry

by Craig Winchell » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:36 pm

I think Gabe and I clearly saw Pinchas' post as relating to Raccah and not to Shirah per se. I had a different take, not like a cheerleader but rather a star-struck lover, I told Gabe it made me wonder who was the top and who the bottom (Gabe got a chuckle, don't know whether David will). But it is a pleasure to see David excited.
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Re: Shirah Winry

by Pinchas L » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:38 pm

David Raccah wrote:Wow - I can go in so many different directions with this one. Let me start by saying that we all have our own opinions. My opinion, as was stated in the posting, is threefold:

1) These are really nice guys who have gone through a lot in life - more than you probably care to know, and that they have come out on the other side with their heads held high, both professionally and personally. My opinion, and I do not care if others disagree - as I know the accounts first hand and nuf said.

Why do you bring this up? They should not be dragged into this discussion. I know of many other great people, with very compelling life stories, whose wine would probably not be worth drinking. But even when you compare their life story to that of many of the other players in the field, I don't think theirs necessarily stands out. In any case, if I were to allude to their difficulties, I wouldn't choose one about being pulled over by a state trooper, causing them to miss a trade show, as the low point of their careers.

2) They make a very unique wines. Some call them light and easy, some call them fruity, some even call them juicy, I call them flat out unique! Until their wines - I had never smelled or tasted such a varied number of fruits within a single bottle of wine. YES, that is what I call unique. They are controlled and sweet and ripe. This is 100% up for debate and thank you as always Pinchas for your opinions - we disagree, though believe it or not - I doubt we really disagree as much as you would like to think. We both dislike overly sweet wines, we like wines with more acid. Your scoring system has no curve and mine does - who cares. You have an opinion and as always I respect it.

I expect you to score consistently, meaning that the size of the winery, your acquaintance with the winemaker, or your worry of the winemaker's response should not affect the curve you are using. In this instance, I'm convinced you chose a different curve than that which you use when judging wines made by others, including those made by Four Gates.

3) The wines show the style the boys like and the labels attempt to display that more than ANY OTHER label out there. Labels are not why I drink wine, and not here either.

I just find it odd that you devote more words on describing the labels than on the wines themselves. Perhaps, you did so, because the wines themselves are indescribable, but the labels are :lol:

Finally, in the end, your issue that they have not cut their teeth or earned their keep - to be blunt - is 100% BS and stupid - sorry! Really? For you track record matters? I have had the true pleasure of watching Four Gates evolve from DAY 1 and I had the true joy of enjoying much of Gan Eden wine before many here even knew what it was, as Craig was by my house and my friends homes - more often then you drank his wines. Are you going to tell me that if he brought you a bottle of his 1986 or 1989 Cabernet that you would have poo-pooed it until he had more years under his belt! Who cares! If the wine is good - praise it, if it sucks slam it! Period! By the way those two Cabs may well be the best Cabernet I have ever tasted!

Track records aren't established over a single vintage, and they have basically only released one set of wines. Four Gates has been releasing wines since '97, and Craig has been releasing wines since '86.

So for you to say that time in the business matters - does not matter to me. I judge a wine by its flavors - not by the years of its creator, nor by the years that said creator has been in the Biz. I do not judge it by its cost or by its perceived value (though I do talk about it). In the end the ONLY thing that matters to me - is how does it taste, and these wines are all 100% unique and pushed to my sensory capacity. If you do not like them, I am 100% ready and fine with respecting your opinion. But cost, time in market, and time under the knife mean nothing to me or anyone else that I know.

When you phrase it as "time in the business" than you are right that it does not matter. But for people who are self taught, experience matters a lot, and they have very little, though they are gaining more experience with every vintage. For instance, when I compare the amount of experience they've had, and by whom they've been gaining that experience with many of the Israeli winemakers, theirs pales in comparison. That has nothing to do with "time in the business", but with how much one's hands got dirty learning the nuances of winemaking. One of the statements you make and which I would like you to expand on is the one comparing the Weiss brothers to Hajdu, saying that "In many ways, the Weiss brothers and Jonathan Hajdu (of Brobdingnagian Wines) are cut from the same cloth, with Jonathan’s wines showing more finesse and control, maybe stemming from the time he spent studying viticulture at Australia’s Swinburne University." But besides for the experience needed for their personal growth, for a writeup about a nascent winery to be credible I expect to read more about the learning process they have endured, and you include none of that. You present them as winemakers who are hitting home runs and doubles out of the gate, the equivalence of someone going form singe A to the big leagues in one season, and winning the batting title. That is not credible. Had you included some anecdotes about experiments that went awry I would have gained more insight and appreciation for what they are doing.

As for the wines themselves, I've posted on them.

Respectfully yours but in disagreement this time,
-> Pinchas
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Re: Shirah Winry

by David Raccah » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:50 pm

Pinchas - you and I truly disagree about one thing here, you do not like the wines and I do. Based on that fact - you then extrapolate and project your feelings in your comments. In the end, we disagree - get over it! I do! I like them and yes, just like Brob wines - they have hit sold doubles and home runs out of the gate - sorry!

More than that I have nothing to say - as always have a great day,
David
Checkout http://www.kosherwinemusings.com for my blogs on the world of kosher wines and follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/kosherwinemuse.
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Pinchas L

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Re: Shirah Winry

by Pinchas L » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:00 pm

David Raccah wrote:Pinchas - you and I truly disagree about one thing here, you do not like the wines and I do. Based on that fact - you then extrapolate and project your feelings in your comments. In the end, we disagree - get over it! I do! I like them and yes, just like Brob wines - they have hit sold doubles and home runs out of the gate - sorry!

More than that I have nothing to say - as always have a great day,
David


David,

Gosh! I never said I don't like their wines. Having my enthusiasm under control does not equate dislike for the wines. Admittedly, I like some of their wines more than others, and I agree they have a unique product, even if I don't think that the wine itself is unique in each and every case. Finally, I root for them and wish them much success.

Best,
-> Pinchas

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