39. Married, 2 little children, french, executive in a manufacture of
laboratory equipment www.israflow.com.
Life is made such a way that it made me encounter who was going to my wife inside a beautiful Israeli woman, the cause of my 12 years+ exile to Israel in general and Tel-Aviv in particular.
During the most part of my life before I became independant, I enjoyed the Cuisine of my grand-mother and mother using largely the products from the farm of my other grand-parents, 15 km off from the belgium border. At this time it was obvious that an egg is an egg, a potatoe a potatoe, evrything was simple, tasty and available.
My father developped a curious love for wine and stored up to 600 good bottles in his best times and made me familiar with quite the best of Alsace, Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Rhone. I actually tasted my first wine only around the age of 18 at St-Emilion in the cellars of Chateau Puy-Razac... It was delicious !
Second part of my life : Tel-Aviv. The first months were quite brutal. It seemed that only vegetables were left with some fade cheese, a situation which brought me quite close to depression in a short time.
Thanks to contacts in the french embassy I discovered my first decent butcher (I'm still a faithful client there) and I took then on myself much of the work of preparing food at home. I happily leave to my wife the work on salads (I'm awful in this but she's a champion) and vegetables, but concentrate on first and main courses.
Both of us are not fanatic of sugar, so we usually don't finish a meal with a dessert but with a salad, a good cheese or fruits...
I've never been used to the optics of going at the latest minute to the closest grocery in order to find a wine for a good meal. It has always been obvious to me that buying a wine was a separate act, that this bottle I buy now would fit an occasion which may occur three months, two years or 10 from the time I'm buying the wine.
My collection doesn't include great wines but still it's possible to have a lot of pleasure from the average league. These are a modest reminder of the good times I had with many of the products shown.
It's quite difficult for a french to admit that there can be wine out of France. The israelis were surprising, turned to be good and some of them bring me today to enthousiasm. By the same way I also discovered nice juice from Australia, Chile, Argentina, the USA...
Icertainly don't intend to make lessons : my wines are not the best in the world, I'm not the best cook of any country and my taste about combining food and wine can certainly be widely contested.
I'm not enough a specialist or experienced in order to describe the different berries one may feel in this or another wine, nor did I want to try to give notes. I respect enough the work of professional critics in order not to try to imitate them. If I enjoy a wine, I'll say it. If not, I'll say it also, I'll make by best in order to go a little further than saying good or bad. I feel that's the best I can do.
I have considerably more interest in reds than in whites. Consequence of the local offer ? The main exception yet is the Alsace wines, Tokay-Pinot Gris more particularly.
With temperatures exceeding 30 C for almost 5 months every year, I had to find a solution for properly cellaring my wines as my cellar increased in value.
In fact, for years, I used no cooling device and had finally only one bad surprise, but it was starting to be a little frightening : one can't be every time lucky ! I forgot quickly about buying a wine storage cabinet. As it's the general practice in Israel, the prices were totally out of reach for a normal human being. So I bought (for cheap) an old israeli fridge, connected it through a temperature controller with a sensor inside which activates it when the temperature reaches 14 C and stops it at 12 C.
What's good with these old israeli fridges (Amcor-Fridman for connoisseurs), is that they're rock-solid and that their compressors are almost totally silent and vibration free. An other concern I had was humidity, but at the end of the cooling process the cooler accumulates a thin layer of ice which is later released in the air : it's almost raining inside sometimes ! As long as care is taken about insulating the bottles from a direct contact with the cooler, the conditions inside are perfect !
My israeli readers should appreciate that I got this way a good storage for 70 bottles for less than 700 NIS. Drop me a mail and I'll let you know where you can get such a controller.
This site is born thanks to Pamela Anderson (She
really looks good !). In fact, I was making some research at work
when the suggested answers included a site of nude celebrities.
Could I resist ? The site was of course gone since a while but
www.fortunecity.com proposed me to take 20 Mb like this, for
I threw to there everything I had available in the kind of euphory I had that suddenly I was looking at the Internet not only from the side of the consumer...
At a second stage, I decided to use this place a little more seriously and to share in it my experience of this exile. I had many aspects to cover, food being a part of it and wine a part of this part also... which inflated so much that it took about 75 % of the site. By the way I also started to invest a little in the graphic appearance of the site and moved it to www.geocities.com where the advertisement was more discrete.
For doing this latest release, I finally had a serious computer, patience and the encouragement of the visits and echoes from numerous wine lovers all around the world. I decided that the wine was worth an entire site so I dropped the other things. I hope this new old site will give me the opportunity to make even more wine virtual meetings...
I don't want to make any politics in this site. The maps of israel featured are based upon the "de facto borders" of the state of Israel today and I didn't have the technical means to underline the territories under Palestinian authority. This doesn't mean that I approve or disapprove this line or another. My Israeli, Syrian and Palestinian visitors are all welcome.
In order to give some life to the thing, I created the "Menus" chapter, where one can find ideas for a good meal with a suggestion of wines. When the menu is for an event, I generally suggest a list of different wines which, from my opinion, fit well the different courses. When the menu is more reasonable, we usually drink one wine only, I then suggested up to 4 different wines, introducing usually at least one foreign alternative. That doesn't mean that the israeli wine is "like" the imported one. It simply means that both seem to me adequate for this same meal. The visitor will have to imagine what may be the common character of the alternatives.
Most of the israelis are still disconnected
from the subject and limit their wine culture to three categories : dry, semi-dry and sweet. They would never spend more than $ 5 for a bottle and prefer semi-dry white or blush wines. This is certainly why no one of the large companies renounced about producing this kind of stuff. On the second hand, the growing minority of
wine-sensible people is very active, usually economically well
installed and somewhere patriot so that any new successful
israeli wine born somewhere in the country gets quickly a large
No doubt that the Golan heights winery and different boutique wineries initiated the trend of producing quality wine for this public, but today all the wineries developped quality wines interested in touching this public able and ready to pay and enhancing their reputation by the same process.
Wine is an expensive affair in Israel. A basic "vin de table" will cost about $ 4 for a bottle. A starter wine of noble variety costs at least $ 7 for a bottle, this price will increase up to a range of $ 15 to $ 40 for a matured wine bought "Primeur". For old bottles (5 years old or more) the prices will often if not generally exceed $ 100.
Australian and american wines are sold at about twice their price from their country of origin. For french wines the ratio can grow up to 3 to 5 times the price. A good Alsace that I may find in Europe at about $ 5 for a bottle, will cost me in Israel about $ 20. For a "Vendange Tardive", it will exceed $ 80 ! I hope that from these figures one will understand that my foreign wines are not always the top of what each country has to offer.
10 years ago, I would not have considered proposing something else than french wines for a festive meal. I didn't find here so many whites worth of interest, but many reds are interesting from the top series of the big manufacturers and from many of the boutique wineries. With some practice, it appeared that most of this production, pleasing on release, would relatively quickly reach its peak around the age of 4 or 5. There are also a few beasts which seem able to get over 7 or 10 years old. I'm still exploring !
The visitor will
find links to the sites of many label collectors from all the
world in the links section... and what they show there is usually
beautiful ! Yet, my feeling is that the art of labelling remained
quite below in Israel and that some audacious graphists may find
there a field where to use their talent. The Meishar label has an unusual shape with not too much fantasy.
It's an elegant mix of classicism and modernism. Finally, the label of Margalit suggests that each and every
bottle is like an elaborate liquor prepared in a kind of lab,
this being reinforced by the use of the cursive writing (one
knows that I'm not usually a fanatic of this practice). Knowing
that Yair Margalit is a chemist by profession, I feel
authenticity and also a certain degree of humor in this label. By
the way, I like the logo so much that I used it in many of my
pages. I hope I won't have problems of copyrights...
The most common theme in Israeli labels is a suggestion of the antique practice of vine growing in the holy land, suggesting that today's wine-maker are continuing a tradition as ancient as the bible. However, it's a luck that this interpretation quite betrays the historical truth. Historical evidence seems to prove that the products of the ancient times were quite awful. Daniel Rogov prays as one of the major contributions of the Islam the removal of the old vines from the land of the country !
There's, according to my taste, an abuse of cursive writing. Used only from time to time, it may give a kind of personnal touch to a bottle. But when many bottles neigbouring on the shelves of a supermarket hold the same kind of artefact, it looks more like a worn trick of a poorly inspired graphist.
The Meishar label has an unusual shape with not too much fantasy. It's an elegant mix of classicism and modernism.
Finally, the label of Margalit suggests that each and every bottle is like an elaborate liquor prepared in a kind of lab, this being reinforced by the use of the cursive writing (one knows that I'm not usually a fanatic of this practice). Knowing that Yair Margalit is a chemist by profession, I feel authenticity and also a certain degree of humor in this label. By the way, I like the logo so much that I used it in many of my pages. I hope I won't have problems of copyrights...