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April 28, 2005 - Image 60

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-04-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Special to the Jewish News

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s pre-eminent

kosher wines are Israeli, not all Israeli
wines are kosher — can seem like a
meeting place that's made specially for
snobs and rubes to share. To paraphrase
a certain White House cabinet mem-
ber, a lot of people don't know what
they don't know or don't know what
they think they know.
"Kosher" triggers associations with
"Manischewitz," the syrupy, sacramen!
tal stuff found in the fruit and jug
wines section of the supermarket.
In fact, Israel has followed the global
trend of crafting quality wine and is
now regarded by wine experts as an up-
and-corner. The industry is technologi-
cally modern, with state-of-the-art facil-
ities and know-how. It's also growing
aggressively, with more than 120 winer-
ies, an implausibly high number given
Israel's small population. To put that in
perspective, if Israel were a U.S. state, it
would rank fifth in production.
The vibrancy of Israel's vineyard

growth is surprising, especially consid-
ering that Israelis are light drinkers.
Israelis now consume up to 7 liters per
person compared with 56 liters for a
Frenchman or 49 for an Italian.

Upward Curve

"Israeli wines are on a steep upward
curve," says wine-writer Rod Smith.
"The country has the conditions, espe-
cially in the Golan Heights with its
cool high-altitude sites, varied expo-
sures and volcanic soils.
"Israeli growers and winemakers are
among the most progressive and cos-
mopolitan in the world. They have the
financial backing, too, so all the parts
are in place."
The latest part is Rogov's Guide to
Israeli Wines 2005 (The Toby Press;
$14.95), the first comprehensive
English-language book on the subject.
"When I met Robert Parker
(arguably the world's most influential
wine critic), he told me he's 'the
Daniel Rogov of the United States,"'
the book's author joked in a Tel Aviv
café last year.
Rogov has long played the role of
food and wine ambassador for Israeli
tourism, and readers have consulted
him for wine and restaurant choices
for more than 35 years. His columns
appear in the newspapers Ha'Aretz and
the International Herald Tribune and
on his personal Web site
(www.stratsplace.com/rogov).
He has, and is, a big personality,
who knows the skinny on seemingly
every chef, restaurateur, supplier and
wine expert in Israel.
The guide aims to put Israel on the
oenological map a la John Platter's
South African Wine Guide or annual
Pocket Wine Guides by Britain's Hugh
Johnson and Australia's Oz Clark.
Rogov's endeavor is handsomely
published, and its portable format
underscores its usefulness for wine trav-
elers.
The book includes a fine introduc-
tion, with a history and an overview of
the subject. It goes on to review vine-
yards and their varietals using the con-
vention of stars and the 100-point rat-
ings system, with evaluations accord-
ing to the flavor wheel.
Although wine talk can be generally

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