July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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The very best method for exploring wine is to taste it—as often as possible, and preferably with good food, friends, and family. Because there is a seemingly endless number of different wines out there, however, specialists or wine critics have emerged to help consumers make sense of it all, and make informed wine purchases.

These wine critics publish—in newspapers and in specialized wine newsletters and magazines—articles in which they talk about wine, review specific wines, and pass judgment over them. Like film, restaurant, or book reviews, their efforts are meant to guide consumers into making more informed decisions. Wine reviews tend to award scores or points to a wine, so that readers can, at a glance, determine some very basic information as to how good the wine might be.

The logic is straightforward, and familiar from an entirely different context. If your child’s quiz is marked on a 10-point scale, for example, you know at a glance if he or she is doing well when the mark is 8 or 9 out of 10, rather than 6 or 7. Likewise, a five-star resort, when graded on a five-point scale, is better than a three-star resort. So too in wine.

There are, of course, detractors to the basic concept of scoring anything in matters of taste. Wine is obviously subjective to a degree, and what I like might not be what you like. On the other hand, this is true of a great many things, yet we can and do still speak to each other meaningfully, intelligently, and to our mutual benefit, about our tastes, our preferences, and our experiences. Indeed, what better way to expand our horizons, and learn more about each other than to converse about our individual perceptions and judgements?

After all, our social interaction would be rather dull if we didn’t share our judgments with each other. The wine critic simply adds a professional opinion, and to enable quick reference usually develops, or makes use of, some method for rendering a score on the wine under review.

Decades ago, in the late 1970s, Mr. Robert M. Parker Jr., a lawyer in Monkton, MD, began The Wine Advocate, a consumer newsletter of wine evaluation. Owing to wine’s many variables in quality and character, he decided upon a 100-point scale. Given the similar 100-point scale used in American education, he figured consumers would readily understand that, say, while an 85-point wine might be pretty good, a 90- or 93-point wine would be even better.

Points are awarded for a wine’s appearance, color, aroma, body, flavor, overall quality, and the like. Today, Parker is the world’s most influential wine critic. Other influential publications have adopted this same 100-point wine scale, such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, both venerable wine specialty publications designed to give consumers informed, expert opinions on wine.

These critics and publications look at wines from all over the globe, evaluating thousands of wines each year. So those wines that merit their praise, much less their lavish praise, are thought to be truly worthwhile.

A 90-point or higher score from, say, Wine Enthusiast magazine can be thought of as an award of excellence from the panel of tasters employed by that magazine. In their rankings, for example, a score of 87–89 is deemed “very good” and “well recommended,” while 90–93 score is “excellent” and “highly recommended,” and above that is, well, above that! While every publication’s exact scale differs slightly, they all essentially function in this way.

Over the last decade, fortunately, kosher wines have collected some mighty impressive scores and some remarkable praise in the wine press. The latest extremely impressive review comes from Wine Enthusiast in their April 2015 issue including over 30 Israeli wines, 16 of which received 90+ scores and none rated lower than an 85. In addition, two wines, Carmel Selected Sauvignon Blanc and Carmel Selected Cabernet Sauvignon won Editor’s Choice and two were awarded Best Buys by the prestigious magazine.

For decades now, wine critics have recognized Israel’s ability to produce world-class wines, but this review appears to have taken this recognition one step further. The highly rated wines come from virtually all of Israel’s wine-growing regions. The Galilee and Judean hills, for years, have been noted regions but now the Upper Negev/Judea, Shomron, and other regions have shown they too can produce wines of high regard.

Best Value is a rarity in any review and so when that best value comes from Israel it’s even more astounding although not surprising to me,” says Jay Buchsbaum, Director of Wine Education for Royal Wine, the importer of Carmel wines. “We always knew our wines could compete on the world stage, now everyone else knows it too,” said Joshua Greenstein, who heads the trade group IWPA, Israel Wine Producers Association.

So if you see a kosher wine with this or that high wine score, it means that some wine expert or panel of experts, folks who spend most of their time evaluating non-kosher wine from around the globe, tasted that kosher wine and thought it deserving of praise. Whether or not you agree is entirely your own prerogative. The scores are not there to tell you what to like, only to suggest that such a wine is one you might like. Maybe even love. Taste for yourself to find out. L’Chaim!

Our Wine Scores:

93 Shiloh Winery 2010 Legend Red Blend Judean Hills $40

92 Domaine du Castel 2011 Grand Vin Bordeaux-style Red Blend Haut-Judeé $75

92 Madmon 2012 Soreka Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Shomron $30 92 Editors’ Choice Tzuba 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Judean Hills $30

92 Editors’ Choice Alexander 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc Galilee $40

91 Shiloh Winery 2010 Legend II Red Blend Judean Hills $40

91 Flam 2011 Reserve Syrah Galilee $50

91 Psagot 2011 Edom Bordeaux-style Red Blend Judean Hills $38

91 Flam 2011 Reserve Merlot Galilee $70

91 Psagot 2011 Psagot Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Jerusalem Hills $75

91 Carmel 2011 Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee $20

91 Psagot 2011 Cabernet Franc Judean Hills $35

91 Domaine Netofa 2011 Syrah-Mourvèdre Galilee $25

90 Shiloh Winery 2011 Shor Barbera Judean Hills $32

90 Psagot 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Judean Hills $35

90 Tulip Winery 2012 Just Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee $25

90 Tulip Winery 2011 Black Tulip Bordeaux-style Red Blend Galilee $80

90 Domaine Netofa 2011 Latour Netofa Estate Bottled Syrah-Mourvèdre Galilee $45

90 Psagot 2012 Merlot Judean Hills $26

90 Alexander 2009 The Great Amarolo Red Blend Israel $120

90 Flam 2012 Classico Bordeaux-style Red Blend Judean Hills $35

90 Segal’s 2009 Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon Galil $75

90 Tulip Winery 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee $45

90 Tzuba 2012 Chardonnay Judean Hills $25

90 Yatir 2010 Petit Verdot Judean Hills $45

90 Tulip Winery 2011 Mostly Shiraz Galilee $40

90 Barkan 2011 Special Reserve Winemakers’ Choice Merlot Galilee $25

90 Alexander 2012 Sandro Red Blend Upper Galilee $25

90 Barkan 2011 Special Reserve Winemakers’ Choice Shiraz Galilee $25

90 Carmel 2010 Carmel Mediterranean Red Blend Galilee $60

90 Barkan 2012 Special Reserve Winemakers’ Choice Chardonnay Judean Hills $25

89 Shiloh Winery 2012 Chardonnay Judean Hills $27

89 Domaine Netofa 2013 Estate Bottled Rose Galilee $21

89 Domaine Netofa 2013 Estate Bottled Chenin Blanc Galilee $25

89 Best Buy Carmel 2013 Selected Sauvignon Blanc Galilee $11

89 Best Buy Carmel 2013 Selected Cabernet Sauvignon Shomron $11

89 Tulip Winery 2013 White Franc White Blend Judean Hills $30.

89 Barkan 2011 Special Reserve Winemakers’ Choice Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee $25

88 Tulip Winery 2013 White Tulip White Blend Galilee $25

88 Flam 2013 Rose Judean Hills $35

88 Montefiore 2011 Karem Moshe Red Blend Judean Hills $50

86 Carmel 2012 Single Vineyard Kayoumi Vineyard White Riesling Galilee $30

86 Shiloh Winery 2011 Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Judean Hills $40

85 Tzuba 2010 Metzuda Syrah Judean Hills $30

85 Psagot 2012 Chardonnay Judean Hills $25

By Joshua E. London

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