Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines: 2009

The best way to learn about Israeli wines is to taste them. My own recent tasting experiences with Israeli wines have been very positive. The second best way to learn about Israeli wines is to read about them, to learn about their wineries, wine makers and more. When seeking out such information, there is a single book that stands out.

Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines: 2009 by Daniel Rogov (Toby Press LLC, December 2008, $19.95) is considered by many to be the seminal guide to Israeli wines. Rogov is the
the wine and restaurant critic for the Israeli daily newspaper HaAretz and for the Israeli version of the International Herald Tribune. He also writes food and wine articles for other newspapers, magazines and books. He is considered the expert on Israeli wines.

The 2009 edition of Rogov's Guide is the fifth such book and its 528 pages contain plenty of information about Israeli wine, including reviews of almost 1800 wines. It is a hardcover but only the size of a paperback book, making it easy to carry around. The Introduction has plenty of basic information including a history of wine in Israel, their current status of wine production, Israeli's grape growing regions and varieties, vintage reports from 1976-2007, kosher wines, and a few top ten lists. This will give you an excellent overview to the Israeli wine industry.

Most of the Israeli wines I have tasted, and enjoyed, are obtainable through Israeli Wine Direct. They currently represent about ten boutique wineries, and a number of them are on Rogov's Top Ten lists. For example, four of the wineries they represent are on Rogov's Ten Best Wine Producers list.

The bulk of Rogov's Guide is an alphabetical listing of over 140 Israeli wineries. Each listing provides some brief information about the winery and then tasting notes, drinking windows, and scores of their wines. Rogov uses the 100 point ranking system and discusses the use of such scores later on in the Afterword. Like Robert Parker, Rogov states that the tasting notes are much more important than the scores. The rest of the Afterword contains a guide to tasting wines, a glossary of wine terminology and contact information for the wineries.

This is certainly a very comprehensive guide, though I would have liked to see more information about each specific winery. Generally, Rogov provides only a paragraph of facts and background about each winery. But, as he usually provides the website url for each winery, you can easily find more information if you want. The guide has tons of wine reviews and they give a great overall picture of the expanse of Israel wine production. It is an easy guide to use and has numerous wine labels throughout, adding color to the book.

If you want to learn more about Israeli wines, this is an excellent resource and one I recommend. For the price, this is a very good value that is stuffed with plenty of information. I am unaware of any other resource that contains as much information about Israeli wine. Learn about one of the hottest, upcoming wine regions and check out Rogov's Guide.

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