My Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

This isn't the best picture but it's what I have of an interview for a Hobbies section in a local weekly supplement.

As a supplement to the interview, the paper listed some recommened venues for wine tastings and some wine sites. Since I only suggested some of these to writer Vered Kelner I'd like to expand on the tastings I can recommend first hand:

  • WineRoute's beginner course was the one that actually got me into this hobby. If you attend their more advanced tastings regularly, you will eventually have a good idea what the major wine regions have to offer. They're very professionaly executed and reasonably priced most of the time. Decent food on the side.
  • Giaconda offer exceptional, highly educational German wine tastings as well as various other tastings. I have attended only the German tastings and a New Zealand tasting (interesting, moderately priced, not a knockout like their better German tastings can be) and so have no opinion on their other offerings. They're on the expensive side and I think they should factor in the marketing value of these tastings and cut the prices a bit but I'm a sucker nonetheless. Interesting and tasty finger-foods.
  • I've attended a couple of Burgundy tastings presented by Tomer Gal. They're not held regularly as far as I know; the ones I attended were held at private homes and the price was tailored to the audience's budget, at more or less the shelf price of the wines. Thus, not cheap but you can't beat Burgundy when it's on.
  • For a certain type of Tuscan wines, that is to say modern wines with Old World notes, I'd send you to the Anavim store in Ben Yehuda. I don't like all their Tuscan wines but they deserve my eternal thanks for introducing me to Brundlmayer plus I adored the Paternoster Don Anslemo 1997 which they carry. They serve amazing cheeses at their tastings and Amir and Hagit are very friendly and knowledgeable. The tastings are decently priced and, since Tuscany is not a region I will personally buy 'blind', very useful.

Of course almost every wine store holds tastings and special events. I've heard only good things from people I trust about Andre Suidan's tasting at Special Reserve at Haifa but that's only hearsay. Just FYI, his special sales, when he holds them, can offer some amazing deals.

I'd also like to mention wine sites not mentioned in the paper. Besides the wine anorak, I'd like to mention his British peer, the Winedoctor, which is damned terrific. Make up your own mind about the rest of it, but the guy likes and understands sherry! I wish I could recommend Neal Martin's Wine-Journal but the guy not only sold out to Parker - which I can understand - but he also crapped out and removed all the old contents, even the musical reviews. Idjit!

Not to everyone's tastes but sure to mine is the Gang Of Pour site, which I'd recommend if only for the terrific word play on an old punk fave of mine (Gang Of Four, just in case).


Anonymous said…
I attanded both Tomer Gal and Giaconda's tasting (i saw you there) and i must say that true - both are not cheep - but as they say - "you pay for what you get".
With both you get so much more than just another tasting in town.
Think about it.
2GrandCru said…
Sounds like we both agree as despite what I said about the prices, I go to both Tomer Gal's and Giaconda's tastings. So I don't think they're "just another tasting in town". But it's very hard to judge a tasting's "value for money" factor except by comparing the shelf price. Certainly Wine Route do price their tastings lower than the shelf price and I think that when Koby Shaked is presenting the tasting, you get an extra value, though not every time.

I think it's legitimate to expect importers to factor in the marketing value into the price of tastings and thus lower the prices but having said that, I'll play Devil's Advocate and reply that:

1. Not every importer needs tastings as a marketing tool.
2. Not every importer can afford tastings as a marketing tool, if the marketing budget isn't big to begin with.
3. On second though, I appreciate that in Giaconda's case, they're also a center for wine courses so part of their income is from tastings and thus tastings can't serve as a marketing tool.
Anonymous said…
That is exactly what I meant.
Giaconda is not just an importer but a center for wine courses.
Sometimes we get to taste some wonderful wines which they do not have for sell at all and yet they let us taste those wines for the purpose of study and get to know another variety.
They do not do the tastings for the purpose of sells only.
I do not remember if you participate at Giaconda's white wine course but at that time 90% of the wines were not for sell but for the purpose of
study only.
We had Gruner Veltliner, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Muskateller,
and a few others such as great Chenin Blanc.
No wine was available for sell.
I think that you are right and one can not compare Giaconda with the other importers and their tastings which are for the purpose of sells only.