It has been a year since the passing of Daniel Rogov, and much has happened in that time. In many ways his passing still holds a pall over the Israeli wine world, as it now lacks a true wine tasting ambassador. Adam Montefiore, in many ways has taken over as the wine ambassador for Israel, but there still lacks a wine taster with no business affiliations and one whose notes have driven droves and flocks of people to taste and enjoy the world of Israeli wines.
If forced, I would say the single most horrific loss from Rogov’s passing is the lack of continuity. We all leaned on him so heavily for his wine knowledge and passion, that in his passing there is an even greater and more vast emptiness that we are forced to bear.
In a bittersweet irony, the Israeli wine industry as a whole has finally begun to achieve the status of which Rogov was so tirelessly working to achieve. The fact that both of the main wine journals (Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast) have now twice listed Israel in their wine notes, in a span of less than a year, speaks volumes for how far Israel and its wine industry, as a whole has come
Clearly, the work of Montefiore, Royal, and many of the other Israeli wine importers has been instrumental in the acceptance of the Israeli wine industry. However, credit the wineries as well, their tireless efforts in producing wines that are more acceptable to the world palate, and moving away from the new world style – has clearly been a driver for their new-found successes. Couple that with better marketing and improved handling of their vineyards and fruit, helps to understand the appreciation that the industry as a whole has recently garnered.
Still, the lack of a clear wine critic for the English-speaking world that has the time and passion to drive the new generation of wine lovers, is what I fear could be is ultimate undoing. Time will tell, and I hope I am truly wrong, with all my heart. There is so much potential in the passionate artists that drive the Israeli wineries, that give me hope, that maybe the industry can find its way to the new wine loving generations on its own
With a heavy heart I say, I personally miss you Daniel Rogov, and your work continues to inspire so many, and I hope that it can continue to inspire generations of wine lovers to come.
I guess I can say that I really knew very little about Daniel Rogov’s (AKA David Juroff) personal life, and that was fine by me. I knew little of Daniel or his likes or dislikes, until I started reading all about them in his books and on the two forums (the original one became defunct a couple of years ago) to which he truly dedicated his life. To say that my wine and culinary knowledge was weaned at the feet of Mr. Rogov would be an understatement. The few times I was fortunate enough to met him one word about him came clear to me; Philosopher. His speech, cadence, knowledge, and overall delivery style was clearly a blend of many environments that he grew up in, but it was also clear that behind his persona lived a philosopher. He lived his life to the fullest, and was angered when people, organizations, and even his own country disallowed him to see life as he did. He always had a cigarette in his hand and a smile on his face, his very persona may have been a philosopher and hedonist, but his true joy came from educating the masses on the true joys of life. To Daniel life was not complete unless it was lived to its fullest, much like the phrase in Psalms; Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Daniel needed to taste of this world and he loved to share those tastes with the world as well. To Daniel life was seen in the eyes of hedonism. Some may see that as an insult, but they would be wrong, hedonism is not a cult, it is not an evil way of thinking, and it is surely not a pleasure bound binge. Simply stated Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain) (taken from Wikipedia). When people would post about food or wine on the forum, Daniel would always be quick to remind them that life was truly too short to accept mediocrity. Life was indeed too short for Daniel – to that I personally can attest!
Daniel Rogov was an educator to the masses, through his books, newspaper articles, and Internet forums. I would often laugh at web sites and apps that would say that they gave you access to the world of wines at your fingertips. To them I would always say, I have the world of food and wine at my fingertips, because Daniel was always just a forum post or email away. His unbelievable ability to remember wines, foods and tastes from years gone by was second nature to him, but his never-ending patience to share that with all of his followers is what made him truly happy. He was a human first and a critic second, though many tried to sue him (unsuccessfully) for libel (a critic’s weight to bear), he was always true to his calling. He had beliefs and opinions that I did not agree with, and thankfully I was never foolish enough to attempt to convince him of them to the otherwise (though many were all too happy to try), but he never let those beliefs cloud his professionalism.
Daniel Rogov and Gary Vaynerchuk together in the same room – what a joy! They sat together and tasted four kosher wines:
- 2007 Yogev Cabernet Sauv & Petit Verdot
- 2006 Carmel Carignan
- 2005 Yatir Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2006 Herzog Generation VIII Cabernet Sauvignon
The give and take was close to hilarious at times. The overall tasting was fun, informative, and enjoyable to boot. The wines that were chosen for the tasting was also interesting, as the wines were a broad spectrum of weak to strong wines. Great information about Rogov himself and a good insight into his world for those who have yet to meet him.
Flattery is not a trait that we use here on KosherWineMusings. Daniel Rogov is a man that has brought focus to the Israeli wine world. He is a world renowned wine critic and one that I have learned an immense amount from. Anyway, his long standing forum (www.stratsplace.com/rogov/) is being taken down – with the untimely death of the forum’s founder; Art Stratmeyer. He has moved his prose to the wine lover’s page site. It is run and founded by another worldly wine critic Robin Garr. So the new site is: http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village/viewforum.php?f=28. I have updated my link to his site.