Posts Tagged ‘Wine Advocate’

Good times for Israel wines

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Having followed Israel wines for many years I knew this day would come.  Having worked at Israeli wineries I was sure that others would eventually acknowledge the high quality of up-and-coming Israeli wines.  Having chosen a career in Israeli wines I have PRAYED for universal acceptance of Israeli wines.  Ladies and gentlemen, Israeli wines have arrived!

In all seriousness I know that it will take a while, but the past 12 months have brought a barrage of recognition for Israeli wines.  First it was the extensive tasting of Israeli wines by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (“Israeli wine isn’t an oddity any more, and it is certainly not just for those who keep kosher”).  Then it was Wine Spectator’s Kim Marcus traveling the holy land (“I came away impressed by the leaps in quality, especially of the red wines, and by the dedication of the vintners”).

And more recently Israel earned its own chapter in the latest release (7th Edition) of ” Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide” – a whole NINE pages – as many as New Zealand and more than South Africa!

But I chose to write about my beloved Israeli wines today as there was more news yesterday.

Top 100

Top 100

Wine Spectator’s “annual roundup of the years most exciting wines”, AKA the top 100 wines of the year included an Israeli wine for the first time.  The Golan Heights winery’s Yarden 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon came in at 91.  How cool is that!  Also pretty cool are the messages of congratulations I received from several industry contacts.  Although I had NOTHING to do with the making of this wine I feel like a proud parent.

Now go out and buy some great Israeli wine…you’ll love it!

Happy Israeli wine tasting!


Wine Deal – Australian Cab

Friday, March 14th, 2008

It has been a while since I’ve posted/found a wine deal, but this one seems to fit the bill.

The Bleasdale Cabernet Sauvignon Mulberry Tree 2004 was given a 91 by the Wine Advocate. I have not tried it but is being sold at the retailer linked above for $12.84.  Other online retailers advertise it for between $15-$18.  Always nice to save a couple of bucks.

A WA 90+ wine for under $13 – I’d certainly give it a shot…

Have a great weekend…


Wine Deal – yet ANOTHER Aussie Shiraz, with full disclosure!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

The following wine caught my attention for a few reasons. And none of them were taste (I haven’t had the opportunity to try it), or the insane price for which it is being sold.

The 2006 Winner’s Tank Shiraz Langhorne Creek is being sold here for $11.97. There were two other online outlets selling it for $11.99, while others were selling it for $13, $14 & as much as $17 a bottle.

But the reason I felt compelled to write about this deal is that it is an UNDER $15 bottle of wine. Having just written about the increase in prices of Australian wines I thought it would only be fair to include a wine that should fall into most people’s wine buying budget. Not that it should matter, but it did receive a 91 from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, and apparently has been a consistent “best buy”.

The other thing about this wine that stood out to me was in its description the producer proudly proclaims something we do not see a lot of. They specify their oak treatment method – something common when using barrels, especially new french oak barrels.  But here no barrels were used.  Given that this wine was produced in Australia & that the price is as low as it is, many might have guessed that it did not see the inside of a barrel. Rather it must have been aged with some other form of oak. But here the producer (seemingly proudly) states that this wine “spent 9 months in tank with French oak staves“. While Oak staves are more expensive and said to be better than oak chips or oak powder (yes, some producers use a powder to provide the oaky aroma & flavor profiles) I still commend this full disclosure and definitely want to give this well priced wine a try. I suggest you do the same. And while you are at it why don’t you tell me what you thought about the wine.

Off to a big kosher wine & food event tonight. I hope and expect to blog about it no later than tomorrow. I’m sure I will have a lot to say…

Until then, happy quaffing!


Wine Deal – under $10 bottle

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I am still recovering from my NY Giants HUGE 17-14 Superbowl upset of the 18-1 New England Patriots, but I have just come across a decent wine deal I want to let you know about.

This Panarroz Jumilla 2006 is a GSM blend from Spain, and actually a wine I have tasted.  The Wine Advocate gave this wine a 90 & calls it “an amazing bargain from Spain”.  Personally, having tried the wine, I found it to be a bit HUGE even for me.  It also was distinctly a Spanish wine (which could be good or bad – depends upon your preferences).

As to the deal, it sells at many retail outlets for between $7-$10.  The email “deal” I received speaks of a regular price of $10, on sale for $7.  You can find it elsewhere for $7, but at $7 it is a wine worth trying if you like big, fruit forward, high alcohol wines, especially ones from Spain…




Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Lo & Behold, I am compelled to eat my words. Granted you may not be STEALING these wines from the retailers, but searches revealed higher prices being charged elsewhere. As to whether they are good wines or not, sadly, I have not tasted them and as such can not vouch for their quality. The first wine however (according to the retailers website) scored a 91 from Robert Parkers; The Wine Advocate.

Deal # 1 – 2006 Kofererhof Muller Thurgau. (maybe not a wine you think of in the dead of winter, but…) “sale” price $14.99. Listed elsewhere for as little as $16 or as much as $28.

Deal # 2 – 2005 Bibi Graetz Casamatta – For sale for $9.49, made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. A nice spicy varietal, great for winter time stews. And at under $10, when others are advertising said wine for between $10 (best price) to as much as $20 for the bottle, probably a wine i would take a shot on.

Now again, I’d prefer to try these wines at my local store before buying a case for everyday consumption, but given what others are charging for these wines, at least you know you aren’t being ripped off.

I’ll drink to that!


Blogging from the Israel Wine World

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to blog about tonight and two controversial issues come to mind, relating to the following two topics:

1 – Internet sales of wine

2 – Wine ratings/reviews

The first, internet sales of wine has come up as there is presently a very exciting project underway to sell Israeli wines online. While I believe that the project will ultimately be successful I have urged my contacts to be realistic in their expectations. It has also come up in the “wine world” of late given a little controversy surrounding and how the CEO has been very vocal in pointing out that there are many retailers illegally shipping wines throughout the US.  This was written about in Wine Spectator in an article “ Conducts Sting Operation Aginst Other Retailers“.  I’ll blog about this further as it becomes more relevant.

Wine ratings & reviews has come up as everyone in Israel has an opinion when it comes to the recent Wine Advocate review of israeli wines. I can probably write a book on this topic just based on conversations I have had the last week here in Israel. BUT, what I want to touch upon is something a bit more controversial (and interesting). It was expected, and realized that many of the wines would receive scores a few points lower than the wineries would have liked – OR, then local wine critics have given. At the same time something UNEXPECTED HAPPENED, there were a few wines that received scores higher than people here are used to seeing from the specific winery. How could such a thing happen??? Lower scores, OK – it was expected. But higher scores????

N O, accusations were not made. BUT, it was pointed out that there are WAYS of “tricking” wine critics. Especially when the critic is not familiar with the wine AND/OR the wine is not available in the market where the critic resides (so they can’t simply go to the store and buy a bottle). One such method can be perpetrated when the winery, during the barrel aging process, discovers that one barrel is responding particularly well to a given wine. Rather then blending that barrel in with the rest of the batch, the barrel might be bottled separately, and those bottles might be put aside for personal use AND WINE REVIEWS.

Again, there were no accusations & knowing many of the winemakers & wineries I do not believe that this took place. I am simply blogging about something which COULD take place and that is much more interesting than telling you about how great the winemakers are, how beautiful the country is, and how darn COLD it has been here since I arrived.

OK, enough controversy stirring for me for one night. Have a fabulous weekend wine drinkers of the world. I will be enjoying lots of Israeli wine this weekend with all kinds of special friends. I suggest you do the same!!!


Israeli Wine – Wine Advocate ” Modern Israel: A Survey (A Work in Progress)”

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Well ladies and gentlemen, the results are in.

I will be copying a list of wines & their scores from Israeli Wine Critic Daniel Rogov’s “Wine & Food Forum”.  I am waiting for my physical copy of the issue to arrive before I comment specifically.  The only thing I would like to share is my excitement for a 92 score given to a wine I worked on – The TZORA “Or” dessert wine.  No, I was not the winemaker & admittedly, not even as assistant, but I DID help out and as such I take pride in said wine’s positive review.

More comments later.  Without further ado, the scores…

Golan Heights Winery, Heightswine, Yarden, 2005, Score 93
Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin, 2003, Score 91
Golan Heights Winery, Chardonnay, Odem Organic, 2005, Score 86
Golan Heights Winery, Viognier, Yarden, 2005 Score 86
Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden, 2003 Score 86
Golan Heights Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Rom, Yarden, 2003 Score 88
Golan Heights Winery, Blanc de Blancs, Yarden 2000 Score 86

Yatir, Ya’ar Yatir, 2003 Score 93
Yatir, Cabernet-Merlot-Shiraz, 2003 Score 90

Castel, Grand Vin 2004 Score 92
Castel, Chardonnay, 2005 Score 91
Castel, Petit Castel, 2005 Score 90

Tzora, Or, Dessert Wine, 2006 Score 92”

Carmel, Limited Edition, 2004 Score 90
Carmel, Gewurztraminer, Sha’al, 2005 Score 90
Carmel, Cabdernet Sauvignon, Kayoumi, 2004 Score 89
Carmel, Shiraz, Kayoumi, 2004 Score 88
Carmel, Petite Sirah, Appelation, 2005 Score 88

Clos de Gat, Syrah, Sycra, 2004 Score 90
Clos de Gat, Red Blend, 2003, Score 89
Clos de Gat, Chardonnay, 2005 Score 89
Clos de Gat, Syrah, Har’El, 2005 Score 88
Clos de Gat, Merlot, Sycra, 2003 Score 86

Tulip, Syrah, Reserve 90
Tulip, Shiraz, Mostly 88

Galil Mountain, Yiron, 2003, Score 90
Galil Mountain, Pinot Noir, 2005 Score 87

Pelter,Shiraz T-Selection 2004 Score 90
Pelter, Cabernet Franc, T-Selection 2005 Score 79
Margalit, Enigma, 2005 Score 89
Margalit Cabernet Franc, 2005 Score 88
Margalit, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Score 87

Tabor, Mescha, 2003 Score 89

Flam, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2004 Score 89
Flam, Classico, 2005, Score 87

Vitkin, Petite Syrah, 2004 Score 89
Vitkin, Cabernet Franc, 2004 Score 85

Ella Valley Vineyards, Merlot, Vineyard’s Choice 2003, Score 88
Ella Valley Vineyards, Chardonnay, Vineyard’s Choice 2005 Score 87
Ella Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc, 2004 Score 86

Saslove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved, 2003 Score 88
Saslove, Adom Marriage, 2004 Score 86

Alexander, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 Score 88
Alexander, Gaston, 2004, Score 87

Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004, Score 88
Segal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dishon, 2003, Score 85
Segal, Merlot, Dovev, 2003 Score 84

Bustan, Syrah, 2003 Score 88

Ben Hanna, Petite Verdot, la Mariee, 2005 Score 88

Chillag, Merlot, Primo Riserva, 2004 Score 88
Chillag, Cagbernet Sauvignon, Primo Riserva, 2004 Score 86

Recanati, Petit Syrah-Zinfandel, Reserve Score 87
Recanati, Special Reserve, 2004 Score 87
Recanati, Cabernet Franc, Reserve, 2004 Score 85
Recanati, Chardonnay, 2006 Score 86
Recanati, Merlot, Reserve 2004 Score 85

Karmei Yosef (Bravdo), Chardonnay, 2006, Score 87
Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005, Score 87
Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003, Score 87
Karmei Yosef, Merlot, 2005 Score 81
Karmei Yosef, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001, Score78

Binyamina, Chardonnay, Onyx, 2004 Score 88
Binyamina, Cabernet Sauignon, Aquamarine, 2003 Score 82
Binyamina, Ruby-Syrah, 2003, Score 81

Gustavo & Jo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Premium, 2004 Score 87

Meishar, Cabernet Sauvignon, 730, 2004 Sore 87

Avidsan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reseve, 2005 Score 87
Avidan, Grnache Premium, 2006 Score 84

Dalton, Shiraz, Oak Aged, 2005, Score 86
Dalton, Zinfandel, 2005 Score 86
Dalton, Merlot, Meron Vineyard, 2005 Score 79

Tanya, Merlot, Reserve, 2004 Score 86
Tanya, Cabernet Sauignon, Halel, 2005 Score 85

Tishbi, Special Reserve, Sde Boker 2004 Score 85
Tishbi, Shiraz, Estate, 2005 Score 85

Odem Mountain, Merlot, Har Odem, 2004 Score 85

Hevron Heights, Cabernet Sauvingon-Merlot, Makhpeah, 2002 Score 86
Hevron Heights, Syrah, 2003 Score 84

Benhaim, Cabernet Sauvignn, Grande Reserve, 2003 Score 86

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 720, 2005 Score 85
Barkan, Pinotage Superieur, 2002 Score 85

Sea Horse, Antoine, Tete de Cuvee, 2004 Score 85
Sea Horse, Elul, 2004 Score 84

Agur,Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2004 Score 85
Agur, Kessem, 2005 Score 84

Assaf, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2005 Score 85

Bazelet HaGolan, Czabernet Sauvignon, 2004 Score 84

Kadesh Barnea, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2004 Score 84

Ben-Zimra, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2004 81

Katlav, Wadi Katlav, 2005 Score 81
Katlav, Merlot, 2005 Score 79

The BIG Israeli Wine review – Wine Advocate

Friday, December 21st, 2007

OK, it is time to let the cat out of the bag.

Yes, I am The Wine Tasting Guy, but more importantly I am the Israeli Wine Tasting Guy.

What does that mean? Well, if I ever get my BIO up some of it will be explained. But for now, let’s just say I have a strong affinity for Israel, and as such I have spent extensive time working at wineries in Israel. Convinced that Israeli wine is top notch, under appreciated, and held to a much lower regard than it warrants, I made it my mission to expose Israeli wines to the masses. There are others out there with a similar mission, and their success is my success. But for now, I must focus on my mission. I have a lot of work ahead of me. More on how I plan on tackling this once perceived “impossible task” in future posts…

But for now, lets get back to the BLOG TOPIC – The Israeli wine report in this edition of the Wine Advocate. WA edition #174 is being mailed out tomorrow (or I suppose technically today) and will contain a thorough report on Israeli wines. I can’t wait!!!! As soon as I have seen it I will report on its findings, and eventually comment on them. Many thanks to Robert Parker & Mark Squires of the Wine Advocate for their soon to be released efforts.

Anyone who wants to talk Israeli wine, just drop me a dime and I’ll be more than happy to discuss for HOURS…..

Until the next time…HAPPY ISRAELI WINE DRINKING!!!

The (Israeli) WTG.