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August 6, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 6, 2004

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 6, 2004 ,1 wlnema Philip Carmel (JTA)--Jean-Paul held the glass up )ushed the wine palate and, with spat it out into a receptacle. he pronounced his to refill his a different white of the Paris nologues-- experts--Trouslard .'s from trade to at- recent tasting held in :ime however, the not contain the Burgundy for which range from Israel. by the Israel Co- Institute, the event pro- eager to enlighten n~ost part, the re- positive. Trous- with one of the :like a Cote du Blanc ion," buverneuil, chief ~ris's Inter- Hotel, was also :the quality of the )s the ul- Israeli red in the Judean Jerusalem. very close to Bor- could very well said. The wine, said, had "good was "well bal- 'even if the price Trouslard, Du- the words tly SUrprised"--,a made it seem of those attend- a far lower Were less diplo- are grown in a so the wines are and rich but they're author of "Foreign Wines in France." Durand- Viel was sharply critical of the tendency of Israeli growers to concentrate on grape varieties that didn't adapt well to the climate of the Middle East. He also suggested that the Israelis adapt to using rarer varieties such as those found in Sicily or in the New World, as countries outside Europe are referred to in the wine business. "Many of the whites I found greasy, thin and without freshness," he said. Until recently, Israel had not produced quality wine, said Eli Ben-Zaken, who owns a "small private winery near Jerusalem. Ben-Zaken said that Israeli wine largely had been produced by national cooperatives that mass pro- duced wine while not always adapting grape varieties to particular soil and climactic conditions. "We always want to do everything when we don't yet know what works and in what soils," Ben-gaken said. "Ultimately, many of the varieties we grow today will disappear and maybe we'll even find our own variety of grape." Similar criticism of the factory-style production of wines--almost unknown in France--came from Ricardo Cohen, a French importer of Israeli wines. "When you produce mil- lions of bottles, it's like mak- ing Coca-Cola," he said. While the Israeli produc- ers were trying to push their wine to the non-Jewish trade, Cohen said the battle would always be difficult. "We have to face it, whether we like it or not, that the Jews are the natural market. I don't believe that suddenly, over- night, the French are going to be gasping for Israeli wine," Cohen said. Figures on French wine consumption seem to bear out the difficulty of the task. About 98 percent of wine con - sumed in France is produced within the country. Even the small niche market of foreign wines is highly competitive, with a vast array of Italian, Spanish and Portuguese wines available. But while the French are drinking far less wine than they used to, there appears to be a newwillingness to try out wines from around the world, Trouslard said. Josephine and Martin Prieur produce wines in Burgundy but have long been admirers of Israeli wine. "You'd think that with such a warm climate they would produce a heavy wine with- out freshness, but it has great minerality and fruitiness," Josephine Prieur said. As a French believer in the quality of international wines, Prieur pointed out that some of the best wines come from the New World. "There's definitely a place for Israeli wines today among the Californian, South Ameri- can and South African wines," she said. On that point, there was tacit agreement from the Israelis--even if they would prefer to compete with the finest of France's wines. According to Adi Adiri, the general manager of Yarden Wines, one of Israel's largest producers, the non-Jewish market should be targeted in terms of world wines, not just in terms of quality. "After all, when it comes to France, we're dealing here with the No. 1 world power in wine," he said. Adiri's company produces about 5 million bottles per year and almost all of it is sold to Jews. Some 20 per- cent of the production is ex- ported from Israel. But even in France, where Adiri is keen to expand the market, around 95 percent of the wine goes to Europe's largest Jewish community. However, that fact also meant quality was still an important factor, as wine importer Ricardo Cohen pointed out. "Let's not forget that French Jews are also French. Israeli wine is still the best quality kosher wine. They appreciate that," he said. Moreover, time is on the side of Israeli wine, wine critic Durand-Viel said. "People here look for older red wines and naturally, the Israeli wines haven't reached that stage yet. But some of the bouquets have great potential. They could have greatwines in 10 years time," he said. Matters starts the year off right daughter of Louise and Philip Brown, poses with school sup- vith her morn for Jewish Family Services School Matters" campaign helps kids start the school year off right. PAGE 11 Participants sample Israefi wines during wine exports to France, June 29. photo courtesy of Israel Export and Cooperation Institute a tasting event held in Paris to boost Israeli Art Jewelry Judaica Contemporary Crafts ur ome ur PRESSURE CLEANING & WINDOW Residential & Commercial Pool Decks & Enclosures Windows, Awnings Roofs, Walkways Remove Mildew, Rust, Dirt Exterior Building Beautification Call Us TO da y! U l 8328