Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

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

Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby Michael Greenberg » Fri May 18, 2012 4:57 pm

Greetings fron Canada again! I have not posted for a long time since Rogov's death...But I just wanted to comment on Vintages May 12th release -Vintages is the "premium" wine division of the LCBO (Liquor control Board of Ontario) which is the world's largest retailer of wines (due to its monopoly in Ontario --Canadfa's larget province by population- for wine and spirits distribution) ...Vintages releases new wines to its shelves every 2 weeks and prints a magazine listing the wines released plus feature articles on a select few "themes" highlighted in each release...One of the theme articles in the May 12th edition was "STARS OF ISRAEL" wherein they informed readers about how ancient civilizations in the terroir of israel were among the first to pioneer winemaking dating back over 5,000 years and how as recently as the mid-90's there were only about 20 wineries in Isreal where today it has burgeonedto over 200 wineries .They then featured 4 wineries and their wineowners/winemakers ...The 4 wineries featured in the article are Clos De Gat ,Gamla, Recanati,and Shiloh ....They also featured wines from these wineries included for the shelves in the may 12th release (releases are always on a Saturday )...2 wines from Glos De Gat in this release : the Chardonnay 2009 (Rogov score 94) and the Ayalon Valley 2007 (Rogov Score 94) which is the red blend of Cab Sauv,Merlot and Petit Verdot ....Of course Clos De Gat is not a kosher winery but the product is lionized as among the best in israel so for any premium wine lover from anywhere these should be prized purchases ...I bought 2 of the '09 Chardonnay and 3 of the Ayalon Valley '07 's.. Each bottle sold for $47.95 cdn --so a hefty outlay --but some very good premium wines !

I did not buy either of the 2 Gamla releases-- a Gamla Moscato 2011 (I do not like spparkling wines) ,and the Gamla Reserve Merlot 2010 (only an 87 score by Rogov --I have plenty of higher rated Merlot's I've spent on in my cellar) ; I also did not buy either of the Recanati wines released --the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and the Reserve Single Vineyard Merlot 2007
neither of which had high enough scores from Rogov (88 and 89 respectively) to entice me to buy them (though I did enjoy some Recanati wines i had bought earlier for passover -so it is not as if I haven't contributed to Recanati's profits this year) ---BUT i did buy 1 bootle each of the 2 SHILOH wines released since these are the first wines from SHILOH to be sold hereby Vintages and i was curious about a winery i had never tried before... SO I bought a botte of the SHILOH Chardonnay 2010 which did not have a score published with the TN but got a "very well-made" cooment and enticing TN description from the VINTAGES PANEL....AND I bought 1 bottle of the SHILOH SHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 (an 88 Score from Rogov but his TN was quite enticing on the mix of fruits,light spiciness and soft tannins, and full mouth-feel..so I decided to buy 1 bottle)..The Shiloh Chard was selling at $23.95 cdn a bottle and the Shiloh SHOR CAB SAUV at $32.95 a bottle...

In short--a hefty expense on this purchasing visit but despite how big Vintages ?LCBO is as a wine distributor it will always be limited as to the amount of Israeli wines and the availability
of the best Israerli wines (Kosher or Non-Kosher) that get to our shelves here in Ontario..
Obviously the CLOS DE GAT releases here are the highest rated and thus "premium" --and so I took what i could get and afford...I already have some CLOD DE GAT Har'el reds in my cellar from previous releases and lokk forward to drinkimg them in their best drinking windows.. I cellared the 3 Ayalon red meritage blend bootles -but i had to try 1 of the bottles of the CDG CHARD right away to see who was correct on the score assessment--Rogov with his 04 or Mark Squires who scored it only 90... Rogov was notorious for over-rating Israeli wines by one or two points and Squires criticized for underating them by one or two points ...So the wine PROBABLY would be at least 92 in a consensus of others' opinonions..

I 've tried the CDG Chardonnay 2009 with both Salmon and a lemon chicken pasta meal ..
I would say on first tasting i thought it had a beautiful deep dark gold clour, tremendous balance of oak and spice and sweetnesss and a medium only acidity and medium weightiness ..the over all impression was balance and nuanced distinction of thefruit layers which nevertheless were harmonious.. So not a bland so much balance nothing stands out /all smoothered away--but rather everything in just the right proprtion and sequence to appreciate both the whole as one and the separate distinct parts...in other words--well weell crafted in my opinion...IF it lack anything it would be 'gravits" in that the acidic kick could have been a bit sharper... Still in terms of its overall "quality" I'd say Rogov's 94 was a lot closer to the truth than SQUIRES' paltry 90 ....I found the wine very enjoyable straight without food...that it went nively with the salmom,but somehow it became spicier and overwhemed the lemon chicken and pasta dish .. This would prbably also be the case with my beloved Niagara chards with their butter-scotchy flavours and oak spice could alsobe too much for the lemon chicken --perhaps a thinner chard or a 'grasier" style goes better with that dish...
Anyway overall the CDG 2009 CHardonnay is certainly a premium quality Chardonnay ...BUT then I've had some respected Onatrio wine critic under rating some of the Ontario chards I would give 94 or higher scores to ...Compared to the CDG 2009 Chardonnay some of those Niagara Chards i've enjoyed in the past few years would be a bit better --but not by much...
IF the CDG 2009 Chardoonay merits at least a 93-94 score in my opinion then some of those great Niagara Chards i've "loved" are at least 94-95 worthy ....this makes both SQUIRES (trying not to give too much credit to mere Israel) and the under-ranking Ontario wine critics who go out of their way not to appear "homers" and so underscore local wines in trying to appear "unbiased" exposed as either not really knowing their wine quality or perhaps snobs to the perceived ancien "favourite" Internationally acclaimed and recognized best Chardonnay producers ...Rogov was on the other hand not bothered by his accusers claiming he was Bolstering Israeli wines above their quality level by adding some ratings points for his local wines --the horde of Niagara wine critics doing the oposite in fear they would be accused of "hommerism" and so marking too harshly the local (IMO) "greats"..However at some point you just hit a rating you cannot go under in all honesty ..So again I say the CDG 2009 Charodnnay probably is 94 worthy -i cannot see any over or under ranking by rogov in this ...
If it had a bit more acidic bite I'd be bumping it up into the 96-97 score range..
I have also just bought a Niagara Chardonnay made ny Hidden Bench winery wre a respected niagarawne critic gave it the highest scorehe ever gave a Niagara Chard--guess what--it was ONLY a 94! Probably-I'll let you know when i drink it --I would rate it higher (because I know ontario wine critics are underranking their own local "top" wines ...Why they do this whileother critics "bolster" the ratings of their local or perceived "expertise" on certain regional wines from more traditional winemaking regions is beyond me.
I do recall Rogov once really blowing it and way under-ranking a Margalit wine i thought was simply the best red wine i ever tasted -he only gave it a 91 score -I thought it should be about 97 but at the very least a 93 ...but they even critics can be way off at times for various reasons....In general though I can say certain critics are low markers and others high markers
...IN general I'd say most ontario wine critics rank thetop Niagara wines too low (as if they fear scoffing from the hoi polloi critics like Robinson or Parker so they bend over backwards if using a 100 point scale and deduct 2-3 points as being cautious)....In contrast the noted Aussie wine critic James Halliday seems to give almost every wine produced in Australia 2or 3 points more than it probably deserves... (just from my owntasting observations--the wines are invariably good but when i compare to other wines from other regions whose critics maked lower-I really do not see much difference but my feelig is Halliday overscores too much ...

Unfortunately most of my highest ranted paer-scored wines are still cellaring so I can't say if he is overscoring on his highest rated wines or not...We'll see.

In general I've found thescoring of James Suckling on many italian wines to be very consistent and about right on.. I think he neither overor underscores..

To conclude this thread it did start on the Israeli wines released by Vintages May 12th,2012..I
only have tried one of them from those that i bought--but I again state that this time I think Rogov got the score right ...A well desereved 94....SQUIRES is completely wrong 90 is way to low for this well crafted a Chardonnay. IF there is one variety of wine i think i know best -it is Chardonnay.. Do i have preferences for type of chards i prefer--yes !

I have stated before that having tried Chardonnays from France,California,Australia -i prefer the style and RESULTS i taste from my own local Niagara Chardonnays right here in Ontario (the premium ones that i buy)...Now Israel has surprised me with an excclent and thouroughly top quality Chardonnay in the Clos De Gat 2009...I wil lnow use this standard (and its 94 score) to benchmark other chards as I go forward ..if I like something better in another chard I will score it higher..If I don't think that new chard i'm tasting measures to this standard I will scoe it lower.

BY getting the score right on this Rogov (May he rest in peace) has given me a final farewell
item to remember him by and a useful benchmark of excellence in Chardinnays to use to judge all future chardonnays...this wine is almost perfection in its balancing act ..Some chards won't be as balanced and so will lose points won't be as delightfully flavoured and will lose points or will have more acidity and gravitas which will gain score points...How the overall impression will come together will determinethe score. So now i have i think the proper benchmarrk to use for a top chardonnay... The standard has to start at 94
and i can compare as to why i took off or added points to that top benchmark standard for each wine.

I wish I could say I found a benchmark like this for other varieties of wine-but i have not.

It is of course interesting that VINTAGES uses 90 as the beginning benchmark for "premium" wines...Yes that tells you the wine is "good" but it does not enter the "great" category yet..
We can only use 94 and above for that range of greatness...94-97 is going to be reserved for very very good to excellent ,98-100 for only wine that meets divine standards above and beyond anything earthly--transporting you to heaven or a higher dimension.. One will instantly know when that rare super-level is tasted.

IT is harder to be so precise when the 5 star system or the 3 glasses system is used to rate wines...4.5 to 5 starrs is very good wine ..5 stars is very very good wine ...BUT one would need to score 6 out of 5 stars to get heavenly transportive wine meannig.

Similarly 3 of 3 glasses (eg . the Gambero Rosso rating system) would imply that 2 of 3 glasses is good to very good wine and 3 glasses is very very good to excellent/transportive wine -you know you are not wasting money if you buy 3 glasses quality but you are not helped to know if it is a rare heavenly experience..

The bottom line is--while the Clos De Gat did not quite transport me to heaven-it nevertheless was among several of the highest quality chards I have had the pleasure to drink ..94 score is well deserved and is my benchmark from now on for dtermining if I like a Chard even better or worse..and now i think i can give reasons ..So thank you Rogov (may you rest in peace!) for this last gift.. There probably willnot be too many more of his reviews
coming on future releases from Israeli wineries to the vintages shelves-so this review and this wine will remain indelibly fixed to my memory as both an enjoyable wine drinking experience and a future recallable resource o judge other chards by...
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby ChaimShraga » Fri May 18, 2012 5:30 pm

I know you probably didn't really intend it as such, but that was a lovely discourse on why scores should be banned.
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby Yehoshua Werth » Sun May 20, 2012 1:57 pm

Very cool Overview on what is going on in the North.. Yet...

That Gamla Reserve(Realy should try this one) and the

Recanati Reserve Merlot Single Vinyard (wow) need to given due!
@ $23 this is a Realy solid wine with some amazing elements.

""AGREE CHAIM""

Read before the scores and hear what he is tasting.. The descriptions always get me NOT NOT NOT the scores.
Find the style you like not the rating.. OK if something gets a 95 and its $20 Run to get it otherwise find the STYLE you love not the score, Your pallete will thank you :)

Look to hearing how the bottles you find fit you level of IN-Joyment
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby Joshua London » Sun May 20, 2012 3:11 pm

ChaimShraga wrote:I know you probably didn't really intend it as such, but that was a lovely discourse on why scores should be banned.

I fully agree.
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby Gabriel Geller » Sun May 20, 2012 4:53 pm

ChaimShraga wrote:I know you probably didn't really intend it as such, but that was a lovely discourse on why scores should be banned.

I can but only agree with you on this one! :lol: CS, Your avatar fits my reaction pretty well btw... 8)
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Tue May 22, 2012 5:03 pm

Here is the link to the online catalog: http://www.vintages.com/circular/120512/index.shtml. Israeli section starts on page 26.
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby David Raccah » Tue May 22, 2012 6:20 pm

I was asked for my notes on the 2010 Chard from Shiloh - nice:

2009 Shiloh Chardonnay – Score: A-
A nose that reminds me of Castel’s ‘C’, in ways, with rich burnt toasty oak, brioche, peach, all wrapped up in a mouth filling butterscotch and lemon treat. The nice apple, summer fruit, round out the mouth and show up again in the long and spicy finish with highlighting oak and citrus.
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby David Raccah » Tue May 22, 2012 6:53 pm

Oh well that was a mistake - I have no notes on the 2010 - sorry just the 2009 Shiloh Chard
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Re: Vintages showcases Israeli winnes in May 12 release

Postby Gabriel Geller » Tue May 22, 2012 9:09 pm

Thanks Dave, hope the 2010 is as good or better. Got a sampler yesterday and planning to taste it soon as part of my continuous effort to find excellent israeli oaked Chardonnay as alternatives to Castel and Yarden. Btw the Ventura Chardonnay '09 is also really nice and very much appreciated here.
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