The Israeli Wine Reviewers: Redeeming the investment

Typically, wine connoisseurs are comfortable and relaxed. They are also usually more optimistic than others, able to break away from the pace of life for a few minutes and enjoy a timeout.

That's why we wondered why Aaron and Hannah (not their real names), a pair of well-known wine lovers, decided to divorce. Over the years they had built a beautiful home, gave birth to four children, 12 grandchildren, with an exemplary education and an extensive social life. They always seemed to us like the kind of couple who would live together forever.

Over the years they invested much time and money in their personal wine collection. In fact, not one week went by in which we didn't receive a telephone call from them with a request for information about new wines. Like many others, it was important for them to be "plugged in", to get real-time information about trends in the making.

This time it was Aaron who called and in a trembling voice asked us to help them sell their wine collection to advance the common property division agreement. He was obviously sad and broken. There was no sign of the cheerful Aaron that we knew, full of the joy of life.

Since the collection belonged to both of them, we wanted to talk to them together and examine it closely. A few days later, we arrived in the late afternoon at their doorstep located in one of Tel Aviv's established neighborhoods. Hannah opened the door for us and led us to the basement stairs where Aaron was waiting for us. Their eyes were dull and the house was quiet and lifeless. Sadness prevailed.

We were amazed at the collection, the quantity and especially the quality. Thousands of different types of wine bottles, stored at an optimal temperature – a real treasure, the great dream of every wine merchant. It was evident that this collection was built with thought and in-depth knowledge. Undoubtedly, they knew how to choose the "winning horses" of each vintage, the wines which were expected to improve and whose value will rise dramatically over the years, when it will not be possible to find them on the shelves. We were confident that despite the high cost of the collection, many people would express interest.

After we finished reviewing the collection, the four of us sat around a wooden table, and we presented the couple with their options. On the agenda was splitting the collection to various target audiences (those who were interested in specific series) or selling the whole collection in one block to the highest bidder, starting at a minimum. When we finished the room was quiet. They looked down and it was clear that the situation was very painful to them. People who want to sell their own private wine collection voluntarily do not look like that. According to the unwritten law of vintners, we could not sell these wines. We realized that the mission had changed.

We surprised the couple with an exceptional request. "Throughout all the years you bought wine from us, this time we want to buy from you the first bottle of the collection". We pulled out a wallet and asked for the "2003 Grand Vin from the Castel Winery". Aaron looked surprised but fulfilled our request and gave us the bottle with a trembling hand. It was hard to part from it.

We paid them and asked for a bottle opener and 4 glasses. We opened the wine and poured. "We want to toast your new way". We let the excellent wine take its course.

Aaron smelled the wine, tilted the glass and sipped. He seemed excited.


Hannah also sipped: "In the past we had a fixed time in the week when we opened a bottle that we liked and drank together. Quality time. But for years we haven't drunk. We forgot ourselves."

"True," added Aaron, and finally looked at Hannah eyes, "Those were our best years. Over time the wine became an investment and less a way of life".

After another 20 minutes of light conversation, the bottle was almost empty, the atmosphere had warmed up and we understood that it was time to leave the couple alone. Mission accomplished!

This time, we recommend two Israeli wines (for purchase in Israel, in shekels) that in our opinion will increase their value significantly in the future.

1.       Jordan Cabernet 2011 El-Rom Vineyard.

To understand why you should invest in Cabernet Sauvignon from El Rom vineyard vintage 2011, here are some data:

·         The vineyard is located in the northern Golan Heights near Mt. Hermonit at an altitude of 1,050 meters above sea level. The vineyard was planted in 1983.

·         The year 2011 was the coldest and wettest in the Golan Heights since 1997 with above-average rainfall. The cold spring prevented growth of the vineyard causing the harvest to be delayed. As a result, very high quality grapes were produced.

·         The Jordan Cabernet 2011 from El Rom was produced entirely from grapes grown in El Rom.

·         The wine aged for 18 months in French oak barrels in the cellars of the winery.

·         The wine displays the aromatic properties of ripe red and black fruits, with hints of earth and herbs.

·         The wine is characterized by a full body, a rich flavor and a long finish. This wine deserves to age for a long time.

·         The combination of quality and a limited quantity of bottles for sale creates great demand.

The recommended price by the winery: 249 shekels.

Grade: 5 out of 5

2.       Flam Noble 2010:

It is well-known that the Flam Winery is one of the veteran boutique wineries in Israel with the word "quality" engraved on its flag. The winery was founded in 1998.

Golan Flam, the winery's winemaker, said: "The freedom to choose only the best of grapes and to patiently give nature its time helped me focus on crafting the wine I always dreamt of - a wine with an Israeli heart and a noble soul".

Despite the winery's status as a manufacturer of quality wines, Golan let time take its course and after 10 years of production decided it was time to bring out the super-premium everyone was waiting for. The super-premium, which was called "Flam Noble", first appeared in vintage 2008, then again in 2009. Vintage 2010 the Noble came out twice, once as a continuation of the quality production and the second time as the first Kosher Noble of the winery.

The Noble is a Bordeaux blend composed of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Petit Verdot and 7% Merlot. The quality vineyards which make up the Noble are located in the vineyards of Dishon and Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee and Mata in the Judean Mountains.

On the nose it contains the smell of delicate fruit, precise and delicate seasoning.

On the palette it is characterized by a restrained fruity taste, elegant seasoning with a long and caressing finish. The wine could age for many more years.

Again, the combination of excellent quality with restricted quantity creates great demand for the wine.

The recommended price by the winery: 340 shekels.

 Grade: 5 out of 5