Wine Talk: An ultimate guide

Daniel Rogov’s ‘Guide to Israeli Wines’ has been published, giving local wine lovers a last chance to learn from the late author’s vast knowledge.

Bibi netanyahu (photo credit: JPost Staff)
Bibi netanyahu
(photo credit: JPost Staff)
The ultimate, and final, The Ultimate Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines has been published. It contains nearly 687 pages. Last year’s version had a mere 603 pages! This year there is no international kosher wine guide nor a version in Hebrew as there was in the 2011 edition. The book is published by Toby Press, which has provided a wonderful service to Israeli wine over the years. Rogov’s Guide 2005, the first, was published at the end of 2004. This new edition is the eighth and last in the series.
It is the final edition because of the untimely death of the author, Daniel Rogov, nearly two months ago. Rogov was for 30 years Israel’s most famous wine critic and the voice of the Israel wine renaissance. He came to the fore writing about food and wine in The Jerusalem Post. However, it was the annual Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines that really made him a household name.
The book contains 175 Israeli wineries. For this reason alone it is worth purchasing because it is the most comprehensive list of Israeli wineries available anywhere, and that includes Israeli wine websites and even the country’s official wine bodies. So it is a valuable source of information and the best place to find details about the new small winery near you that no one else has heard of. It also contains a database of winetasting notes and scores for older wines, making it a complete source of information.
The eagerly awaited winery rankings by Rogov were increased this year from the usual “Top 10” to a baker’s dozen, allowing the addition of three more wines to the standard list.
The top wineries were: 1. Golan Heights Winery (Katzrin, Rom, Yarden, Gamla) 2. Margalit 3. Yatir 4. Castel 5. Clos de Gat 6. Flam 7. Chateau Golan 8. Pelter 9. Carmel (Limited Edition, Mediterranean, Single Vineyard, Appellation) 10. Sea Horse 11. Recanati 12. Tzora 13. Vitkin
Of these, Margalit, Clos de Gat, Sea Horse and Vitkin wineries produce non-kosher wines. The rest produce kosher wines. Flam wines are kosher from the 2010 vintage onwards.
According to Rogov’s book, the highest scoring Israeli wines released in the last 12 months were Golan Heights, Yarden Rom 2007 (95 points), Margalit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve 2009 (NK) (95 points), and Yatir Forest 2008 (95 points).
Tom Stevenson, the author of The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia and editor of The Wine Report, wrote: “...thankfully sommeliers and consumers of Israeli wines everywhere can turn to Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines. The Guide ranks with Platter’s Guide in South Africa as head-and-shoulders above every other national wine guide.” A compliment indeed from one of the world’s most respected wine writers.
The Ultimate Rogov’s Guide is the biggest and best ever. It remains a fitting memorial to Daniel Rogov’s giant contribution to Israeli wine. His memory is a blessing.
The Ultimate Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines, by Daniel Rogov. Published by Toby Press. Price NIS 129.
Israeli Wine
 Cordinata, publisher of Shvil Hayayin (The Wine Route of Israel), has launched a new-style compact book for the Hebrew reader, which is smaller than the parent book. It is called Yayin Yisraeli (Israeli Wine) and may be recognized by the innovative and attractive green cover featuring grape leaves spread out and superimposed one on another.
The book contains brief information about nearly 100 Israeli wineries. These are listed geographically from the northern Golan Heights to the southern Negev, and there are helpful maps. It is in a visually attractive, easyto- read style and represents great value to the wine lover.
Yayin Yisraeli is edited by Eliezer Sacks and published by Cordinata. Price NIS 99.
The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia
I am often asked to recommend the best book to have in a wine library. My answer is invariably The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia. Fortunately for those that seek the most up-to-date version possible, the fifth edition has just been published.
It is a most comprehensive tome covering everything you might need to know about wine, from the grape to the glass. It contains information on wines, winegrowing regions and wineproducing countries. The maps are particularly helpful.
It also contains practical information on tasting, storing and serving. The coverage of Israel has also grown. In previous editions, Israel merited a mere paragraph. In this new edition, Israel receives a full page.
The author, Tom Stevenson, has won numerous awards, including Writer of the Year three times. He is one of the most diligent, professional and hard-working of all wine writers. He was editor of the Wine Report, which gave very good coverage to Israel, and he is also the world’s No. 1 specialist on the wines of Champagne and Alsace.
I thoroughly recommend this book for both wine professionals and wine lovers.
The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia by Tom Stevenson, published by Dorling Kindersley. Price in UK: £35
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine in Israeli and international publications.