Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

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Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Yehoshua Werth » Thu May 03, 2012 4:47 pm

Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Israel is stretching its wings a little in the single Varietal zone.

Any thoughts as to why now?
What worked before may still work yet those used for blends are also beginning to shine on their own...
Thoughts... Should they blend these making bigger bold and more profound blends or focus on the single varietal and enhance the individual Terrain of Israel itself.

In California has had the blend from the Weiss Bros. with that National grape... Wow cool and totally different.
This type of thing gets me excited (New growths, new grapes or new ways of using old techniques)
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby David Raccah » Thu May 03, 2012 6:10 pm

Israel is working on Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian varieties, which makes sense given the Mediterranean similarities. Yarden and Netofa are working with Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao. Tempranillo from Barkan and Hevron Heights, but without great success. Barbera, sangiovese, nebbiolo from Galil, Barkan, some old one from Recanati, etc.

The hot ideas are Carignan, Malbec, and Petite Sirah for sure. Along with the now main stays - the noble six.

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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Gabriel Geller » Thu May 03, 2012 6:30 pm

Well Yehoshua I believe that this is because Israeli wineries keep looking for a specific identity like many of the new world countries, meaning they are looking to find the grape variety/ies that show best in our climate such as Shiraz for Australia, Malbec for Argentina, Zinfandel for California etc. Perhaps also because they believe that people might be tired of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines and are looking for something different. The topic has been discussed here many times with many forumites voting for Cabernet Franc as Israel's Variety. While I personally would rather go for either Petite Sirah or Carignan, I'm also not really convinced that such identity should be looked for. Why? Because while being a tiny country barely the size of the state of New Jersey, Israel is blessed with many small wine-growing regions each having its own micro-climate, resulting in the Judean Hills better suited for Cabernet Franc or Carignan, the Golan Heights for Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, Petit Verdot in the more southern areas etc. A bit like a micro-sized France (CS and Merlot in the Southern West (Bordeaux), Cabernet Franc in Loire, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Burgundy, Gewurtztraminer and Riesling in Alsace etc).

I can testify anyway that both the single vineyard and the different varieties (Touriga Nacional, Carignan, Petite Sirah...) as well as out-of-the-box blends such as Barkan Assemblage Tzapit or Shiloh Legend are gaining popularity in Israel so I'm very curious to see whether wineries such as Galil Mountains or Dalton will or not follow the path by trying to also produce blends and varietal wines from less-common varieties...

Best,

GG
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Stacey B » Thu May 03, 2012 7:15 pm

Gabriel- The Tzapit is such a fine example both in variety and taste of what Israel can produce! Caldoc, Marselan, Carignan etc in one bottle! I look forward to experiencing more of these wines.
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Craig Winchell » Thu May 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Everyone wants to do something different, and everyone starts looking the same. We used to wear long hair and bell bottoms to express our individuality, but we looked just like everyone else. In the past 20 years, everyone now makes Syrah, many make Pinot, Many got on the Sangiovese bandwagon, now look at Viognier and the list goes on. Everyone is interested in trying a new thing. When successful, others try the same. Soon the market becomes saturated, prices decrease, marketing becomes tougher, and people sprint away. It is always the way things go. Certain varieties can absorb greater production, others can't. So Syrah is losing ground. Sangiovese is just about shot. Chenin Blanc is just about nonexistent except for Loire, where it is one of the classic grapes, and South Africa, where it has become a standard. Sauvignon Blanc is an "also ran" everywhere but France and New Zealand. GSMs are big now, but they will decline, and people will largely go back to CdP.

It takes more than good wine to get a grape going in a big way. It takes great wine, and lots of it, and many distinctive wines. There will always be Syrah, in the northern Rhone and in some places in Australia, but it will lose ground in most places. Cab, though, is ubiquitous, because of the perception that great Cab can be made anywhere, and frequently is. Same for Chardonnay.

So where does that leave us? Brand Napa Valley for Cab and a couple of others, brand Walla Walla for Merlot and a few others, brand Sonoma County for Chardonnay, Zin and Pinot, brand Santa Barbara for Pinot. Maybe Anderson Valley for Pinot and Chard. It doesn't matter that a host of varieties is growing in each of these places, the only thing that matters is that these are often excellent and distinctive. Israel makes some very good wines. When they hit upon a variety which they can do uniformly excellently and distinctively, they will become known for it. Otherwise, they will be also-rans, like so many others. It's not a matter of novelty., which admittedly can sell a few bottles. It's chronic greatness, past the winemaking and into the grape itself, at that location. It's chronic distinctiveness on top of that, from winery to winery in the region.

I'm afraid that none of those varieties listed at the top of the thread will be enough to brand Israel, and I don't think Touriga Nacional will be enough to brand Shirah Wine Company, in the end... The wine must be distinctive and uniformly excellent, and not a novelty. People will always buy one bottle of a novelty. Right now, Georgia (formery Soviet)is very popular. Unless quality increases, novelty is all it will be.
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Stacey B » Thu May 03, 2012 9:11 pm

Just a thought Gabriel- Dalton Alma Smv(Shiraz Morvedre and Viognier) is an example of their new blending style, Recanati is adding Viognier to tho their new Reserve series Syrah Blend(same series as the wild Carignan).
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Gabriel Geller » Fri May 04, 2012 2:38 am

Stacey B wrote:Just a thought Gabriel- Dalton Alma Smv(Shiraz Morvedre and Viognier) is an example of their new blending style, Recanati is adding Viognier to tho their new Reserve series Syrah Blend(same series as the wild Carignan).

Hi Stacey - fine examples indeed, very good to excellent new wines by both Dalton and Recanati although regarding the Alma SMV, while I liked it very much I still prefer the Latour Netofa as a Cotes du Rhone blend though there's no Viognier in it. I thought the Alma has less complexity and still reflecting a new world style while the Netofa could really be mistaken for a traditional French wine. I've actually noticed that when an Israeli wine "imitates" an old world style very well it (Netofa, Castel, Yatir Forest) tends to impress more the newbies (of Israeli wine), especially the French. They are so full of themselves sometimes that they must blind-taste such a wine to admit that they are impressed... But when tasting either a fine varietal Cab, Syrah or a more distinctive wine, they will always find a reason to complain...
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Isaac Chavel » Fri May 04, 2012 1:17 pm

Appreciate Craig's and Gabriel's comments.

I do not drink the high end cabs, merlots, and chardonnays --- can't afford them.

The middle versions of these wines can range from very good to excellent but without being distinctive. More importantly, not every one of these varieties constitutes an answer to every kind of drinking occasion. Hence some boredom and mild dissatisfaction with these classic varieties and the interest in something new. Everyone seems comfortable with the fact that Israel can produce fine wines; it has the climate, earth, and, most recently, loads of talented winemakers. What people are not comfortable with is the imagination and patience necessary to go through the experimentation required to single out those varieties most conducive to producing a high quality "genuinely" Israeli wine. The experimentation with Mediterannean varieties and styles seems so obvious and natural in retrospect that it is surprising that it was not tried earlier. And there is no guarantee that it will become singularly successful --- say, on the order of malbec in Argentina. But maybe progress here is by its nature a lot slower than what people are accustomed to in other areas, for example, technology.
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Craig Winchell » Fri May 04, 2012 2:51 pm

I also wonder if the way to go is to brand Israel or its regions/microclimates. There is a brand California, but it is for lower priced, high quality commercial wines. The brand Argentina is low-priced Malbec. But the prices at which many Israeli wines come into the US (the largest wine market in the world), I don't think brand Israel will be forthcoming any time soon, unless they can create something truly distinctive, yet similar enough from winery to winery in Israel to develop a unique identity for the State. Mind you, it has already developed a unique identity the world over in the Kosher marketplace, but that marketplace is limited, and still not as sophisticated to a widespread degree as the Israelis would require to absorb all of the wine at the prices desired by the wineries. Whether Mediterranean blends, new varieties or ubiquitous high-end varieties, in a sea of high quality wine, people are going to require a reason for thinking "Israeli wine" rather than any other. Support of the State just is not sufficient reason for most US Jews, much less the nonJewish US population. Until quite recently, Bordeaux's biggest export market was UK, and it was the indigenous population of France, even if not Bordeaux, that was responsible for the development of Bordeaux as a region and a reputation. Now that we are global, things are much more difficult to get started, as reputations are created initially on a global level rather than local. Perhaps it will even be up to individual wineries to establish their own reputations in the world (Musar comes to mind) without benefit of more regional branding.
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby Joshua London » Mon May 07, 2012 3:12 pm

Craig Winchell wrote:Perhaps it will even be up to individual wineries to establish their own reputations in the world (Musar comes to mind) without benefit of more regional branding.


For what it is worth, I actually think this may prove to be the key, and relates directly to one of the other threads on the forum (about Israel being an "exceptional" wine producing country). Musar has the added advantage of being more or less an oasis in a sea of trouble, but this is all part of their "legend." Arguably Musar owes as much to Serge Hochar's salesmanship and media strategy, as to his winemaking, possibly even more.
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Re: Carignan, Argeman, Petite Syrah & Petite Verdot What next?

Postby YoelA » Mon May 07, 2012 3:39 pm

My last post in Gabriel's thread could apply here as well, so I won't repeat them.
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