Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

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Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Barry K » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:18 pm

Can anybody suggest new wines that are available in Jerusalem and not yet available in the US
Will be arriving in Jerusalem on Jan 18 ... would prefer to be drinking high quality Israeli wines not available to me here in NY
Thanks
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Gabriel Geller » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:09 pm

Hi Barry!

Non-exhaustive list:

Whites:

Midbar: All
Lueria Gewurztraminer 2012
Gvaot Gewurztraminer 2011
Kadesh Barnea White Desert 2011
Teperberg, Terra Viognier 2011
Tzuba, Late Harvest Chardonnay NV
Ella Valley Muscat 2006


Reds:
Lueria all the reds (Grand Vital and Rosso) 2008
Adir A 2009
Alexander, both Sandro and Gaston 2008
Yikvei Haroei, both Merlot and CabSav 2011
Gvaot Gofna Pinot Noir 2009
Gvaot Masada 2008
Livni Pinot Noir Sde Calev 2010
Domaine Netofa, Fine Ruby Port-Style 2010
Ramot Naftali Malbec 2010
Domaine Herzberg Malbec 2009
Ella Valley Cabernet Franc 2008
Ella Valley Vineyard's Choice Merlot 2004
Benhaim Merlot 2004 and Shiraz 2009
Benhaim Rosé 2011
Ella Valley Rosé 2011
Bustan Syrah 2007
Domaine Ventura Cabernet Franc 2009
Flam Syrah Reserve 2010
Kinor David KPort 8 years (Madeira-style according to Adam Montefiore)

Many more 8)

Best and safe travels, hope to meet you,

GG
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Harry J » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:30 pm

Bsd. Gakik mt alon-could be dollar wise one of the best deals youakll find(unless of course moneys no object). H
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Elchonon Hellinger » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:18 am

im going to have to say that bottle weight is a factor too
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Barry K » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:26 pm

Thanks for the info
First Gabriel : I do plan on (B"N)visiting with you. Would you have any information regarding availabilty of the Flam reserve Cab 2010 or if there will be a 2008 Kela Merlot?

Second Harry : Is the mount Alon a red or white?
thanks
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Gabriel Geller » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:55 pm

The 2010 Flam Reserve CabSav and Merlot won't likely be available before Purim. As to the Alon, that's the red blend in the mid-series of Galil Mountains Winery. It's very good, especially the 09 that is now hard to find. The 10 is fine but not as good as the 09. I can check if I can find it for you but you may find it as well at the BG airport duty free on you way back. Regarding the 2008 Merlot Kela, I think that yes, the wine will likely make it to the states as well, for a higher price though. However personally I do not have it right now.

Best,

GG
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Harry J » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:18 pm

Gabriel could it be perhaps the 2010 just need more age in the bottle rather than grading not as good as the '09? I haven't tasted it yet myself. On the other hand maybe a lot of the '10's are so/so. Felt that way about the recanati cab and merlot and the galil mt cab. H
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Adam M » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:13 pm

Barry - I would put the Yatir Shiraz on the top of the list of wines that has already been provided above by our esteemed colleagues. In contrast with many of the wines noted above, some recent vintage of which (though perhaps not the exact vintages suggested; e.g., the alexander sandro, which is very good and one of my go to wines but hardly worthy of stuffing in your suitcase) are available in the US. The Yatir Shiraz is not and has never been available in the US. I live in NYC and would gladly pay you a hefty premium for any bottles you can bring me! :D A word of caution, though: the wine needs a few years from release to come into its own. If you drink it too young you're bound to encounter an unpleasant glass full of dirty ashtray.

Another local favorite is the Hevron Heights Elon Mamre Cabernet Sauvignon. This is not only an Israel-only wine, but it is specially made only for the AA Pyup wine shop in Jerusalem, located very close to the intersection of Golda Meir and Bar Ilan in the Sanhedria junction. I have had great experiences with this wine, both while in Israel and in the US after schlepping my own stash back with me a number of years ago. Rogov (ZL) was even very impressed with this wine after a forumite posted her random discovery of the wine while on vacation. He scored it accordingly notwithstanding his clear disdain for the winery, whether by reason of location or otherwise. :shock: You can search this forum for his TN. I find it fascinating that, in his last fading months in an obvious mad rush to finalize his last book, Rogov significantly downgraded his score of this wine in his book and attributed it to bottle variation (I.e., the TN and high score that he posted on this forum died a quite death and was replaced with a TN that I'm sure the winery never wishes was born). My personal view is that this was an unfortunate unfriendly gesture toward the winery. I've had numerous bottles of this wine and did not ever experience any sort of material bottle variation. Out by me in NYC, the winery's Isaac's Ram (also a cab) literally FLIES off of the shelf once it comes to the US. The distributor sells out of it almost immediately. Must mean it's good, no? I'm here to say that it is absolutely very good and also very similar to the Elon Mamre. Anyway, enough about that.... :!:
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Elie Poltorak » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:54 am

Adam M wrote:Barry - I would put the Yatir Shiraz on the top of the list of wines that has already been provided above by our esteemed colleagues. In contrast with many of the wines noted above, some recent vintage of which (though perhaps not the exact vintages suggested; e.g., the alexander sandro, which is very good and one of my go to wines but hardly worthy of stuffing in your suitcase) are available in the US. The Yatir Shiraz is not and has never been available in the US. I live in NYC and would gladly pay you a hefty premium for any bottles you can bring me! :D A word of caution, though: the wine needs a few years from release to come into its own. If you drink it too young you're bound to encounter an unpleasant glass full of dirty ashtray.

Another local favorite is the Hevron Heights Elon Mamre Cabernet Sauvignon. This is not only an Israel-only wine, but it is specially made only for the AA Pyup wine shop in Jerusalem, located very close to the intersection of Golda Meir and Bar Ilan in the Sanhedria junction. I have had great experiences with this wine, both while in Israel and in the US after schlepping my own stash back with me a number of years ago. Rogov (ZL) was even very impressed with this wine after a forumite posted her random discovery of the wine while on vacation. He scored it accordingly notwithstanding his clear disdain for the winery, whether by reason of location or otherwise. :shock: You can search this forum for his TN. I find it fascinating that, in his last fading months in an obvious mad rush to finalize his last book, Rogov significantly downgraded his score of this wine in his book and attributed it to bottle variation (I.e., the TN and high score that he posted on this forum died a quite death and was replaced with a TN that I'm sure the winery never wishes was born). My personal view is that this was an unfortunate unfriendly gesture toward the winery. I've had numerous bottles of this wine and did not ever experience any sort of material bottle variation. Out by me in NYC, the winery's Isaac's Ram (also a cab) literally FLIES off of the shelf once it comes to the US. The distributor sells out of it almost immediately. Must mean it's good, no? I'm here to say that it is absolutely very good and also very similar to the Elon Mamre. Anyway, enough about that.... :!:


Adam:
As much as I hate to say this (Chevron is my favorite place in the world and I love the winery), I've experienced serious bottle variation time and again with every wine this winery produces (although I haven't tasted the particular wine you reference). It's a crying shame as I absolutely love their wines when they're good, but I find it hard to regularly shell out $30-80 on a wine that may very well be a bad bottle--not bad in the sense of spoiled or cork, in which case I could just return it, but just plain bad. I haven't had that experience more than once in a blue moon with any other premium winery (except perhaps Binyamina, but I haven't purchased their wines often enough to really generalize). I know very little about wine making, so I haven't a clue as to what could cause that, but they really need to upgrade their quality control/bottling procedures! Until then, I only buy their wines occasionally... a bottle here and a bottle there, but I can't justify stocking up :cry:
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Bill Coleman » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:04 am

Barry K wrote:Can anybody suggest new wines that are available in Jerusalem and not yet available in the US
Will be arriving in Jerusalem on Jan 18 ... would prefer to be drinking high quality Israeli wines not available to me here in NY
Thanks


I would suggest bringing back 2008 vintages of wines you like.
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Elchonon Hellinger » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:50 am

HHW - Lord knows about that place, my friend worked there but left, gab ca direct you to stable vintages
Livni - Gab has this, sdei kalev '09 AMAZING.. gab made me blind taste it and i was a jumping jehoshphat, brought a bottle back, and it was awesome!! sediment was thick but y fault for storing flat and not letting it settle enough
KD PORT - its honestly pointless to describe this, just trust me and buy 2-4 bottles!
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Elchonon Hellinger » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:54 am

Harry J wrote:Gabriel could it be perhaps the 2010 just need more age in the bottle rather than grading not as good as the '09? I haven't tasted it yet myself. On the other hand maybe a lot of the '10's are so/so. Felt that way about the recanati cab and merlot and the galil mt cab. H


No one but YOU can decide this... I left some '10 vintages in my cool hebron apartment since november, will try them feb to see if 3 months let them mature'sh

If not, im going to start a 3 year rule of the thumb, I know the guys will beat me at KWFE, but I love the just right / ripe vs the green notes (IMHO I taste pepper)
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Gabriel Geller » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:23 am

OK Harry, no. From my experience the Alon '10 is a good wine but doesn't come close to the '09, again IMHO. I don't believe that bottle aging will change that.

Now regarding HHW and Livni. I have more insider info than many about those 2 wineries.

Long story short: Since the 2007 vintage, HHW have no real professional winemaker/enologist on premises and use the services of consultants from time to time. Officially, Pinchas/Michel Murciano makes the wines himself. Until the 2005 vintage he was buying the grapes for his top-tier labels from Livni that owns the very best vineyards/grapes in the region. Armageddon, Makhpela, Isaac's Ram, Pardes, Syrah reserve etc. were made with some of the finest grapes and barrels available.

Now, since Livni has his own winery and hired full-time a professional and talented french winemaker Bruno Darmon he stopped selling his premium Pinot, CabSav and Shiraz grapes to HHW and others and makes some quite fine wines that earned high scores from Rogov and others as well as awards worldwide.

I can't prove the following, I'm just quoting some friends of mine in the know: Many of HHW's 350 or so barrels are too old, they don't replace them often enough and don't always take the required care with the used barrels. They gave the same careless sort of treatment with thousands of corks that were stored in a way too hot and too humid room...

Since they can't have Livni's top grapes anymore, they now source many of their grapes from vineyards of lower quality owned by arabs and take many shortcuts to sell as many bottles as possible while lowering production costs. Logically, there are consequences on the quality of the wines. Now, having not tasted any red wines beyond the 2007 vintage from HHW I can't tell whether the 2009s are good or not and I'm looking forward for an opportunity to taste them. But the 2007 Makhpela, 2005 Isaac's Ram and Pardes are very fine wines that impressed me and none of the bottles I had so far wasn't good.

Best,

GG
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Adam M » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:51 pm

Hi Elie - I only know the two cabs mentioned in my above post, and the tens of bottles that I have enjoyed, sourced from both here and Israel, were within an acceptable range of bottle variation tolerance. I have some of the newly released 09 Isaac's Ram and am happy for you to pick up a bottle from my place in NYC. I'm into sharing good stuff with old friends :D
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Elchonon Hellinger » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:27 am

Adam M wrote:Hi Elie - I only know the two cabs mentioned in my above post, and the tens of bottles that I have enjoyed, sourced from both here and Israel, were within an acceptable range of bottle variation tolerance. I have some of the newly released 09 Isaac's Ram and am happy for you to pick up a bottle from my place in NYC. I'm into sharing good stuff with old friends :D

'

Can I be your old friend ? how about dinner feb 5 with elie and me and whomever is left in nyc?

But i have the HHW wine catalog from 7-9 years ago... they show:

ARMAGEDON: CAB SAV, MERLOT, SHIRAZ
HEVRON HEIGHTS RESERVE: CAB SAV, MERLOT SHIRAZ, PETIT VARDOT
MAHPRLA
ISAACS RAM

Etc..

they made amazing wines, in 2007-2008 isaacs raqm was i think 60 shekel and makhpela was 100 lol
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Elie Poltorak » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:34 am

Adam M wrote:Hi Elie - I only know the two cabs mentioned in my above post, and the tens of bottles that I have enjoyed, sourced from both here and Israel, were within an acceptable range of bottle variation tolerance. I have some of the newly released 09 Isaac's Ram and am happy for you to pick up a bottle from my place in NYC. I'm into sharing good stuff with old friends :D


Thanks Adam, I appreciate that!

I too haven't had anything from HHW post '07, so my troubles predate the issues Gabriel discusses. I absolutely LOVE the Pardes, Makhpela, Isaac's Ram, Armageddon, Hevron Heights Reserve, etc.--when they're not bad bottles! When in Israel (where they were sold at MUCH lower prices than here--don't know if that's still the case), I enjoyed many bottles of each, notwithstanding the bad bottles mixed in here and there. But both in Israel and even more so here in the US, I've experienced more than enough disappointing bottles to cause me to very rarely splurge on them at US prices. No one can question the quality of the fruit (at least pre-'07), but the carelessness is evident in the difference from one bottle to another. Like I said, a crying shame!
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:02 pm

Going back to the original request, here are some suggestions for wines I'd recommend bringing back from Israel. My preference is usually to only focus on wines not available (and especially wines that aren't going to be available) in the US, as opposed to wines that are cheaper, but that is simply my own personal preference. A more robust list can be found on my site (http://www.yossiescorkboard.com/?page_id=959). I'd also note that while the Midbar (f/k/a Asif) wines are terrific, especially the white ones, they don't have "formal" certification. Like others who know the winemaker, many trust him as an Orthodox Jew (also ordained rabbi) and understand that the issue behind his lack or certification are somewhat political in nature...

As was mentioned, depending on your personal view, most of the 2008 wines weren't exported to the US and it was a very good vintage for Israeli wines, so stocking up on the 2008 vintage for your favorites is good advice (the only 08 wines I mention below fall into the not imported at all category (as opposed to not being imported due to being shmittah):

Adir, Blush Port, 2010
Ella Valley, Personal, 2008; Ella Valley, Vineyards Choice, Petite Sirah, 2008; Ella Valley, 32/35, 2008
Kinor David, Shir HaMa'alot, KPort, 8 year.
Lueria, Grand Vital, 2008; Lueria, Gewurztraminer, 2012
Mia Luce, 2011
Ramot Naftaly, Barbera, 2010; Ramot Naftaly, Malbec, 2011; Ramot Naftaly, Petit Verdot, 2010
Shiloh, Late Harvest Chardonnay, 2007
Yaffo, Carignan, 2009; Yaffo, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
Yatir, Petit Verdot, 2008; Yatir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009; Yatir, Shiraz, 2009
Sign up for my weekly newsletter on wines, wineries & other oenophilic goodies at http://www.yossiescorkboard.com
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Re: Israeli wines to consider shlepping back; your suggestion

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:09 pm

Yossie Horwitz wrote:Yatir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009

This one is actually available in the US (it's the picture of the Forest though) at Skyview: http://www.skyviewwine.com/sku045075.html
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