Daniel Rogov, wine and food critic, died yesterday. It was not sudden; he had been ill for a while, and he clearly knew of his imminent passing.
But I didn’t. I had thought to read/watch the tribute that was just made for him on August 29 in Israel, but now I will. His memory is for the blessing, in a way that we use wine to elevate our lives. Can we say that our lives are for a blessing?
I figured I’d make my title clear and then go wide.
(Is that the correct use of that terminology? Probably not.)
Daniel Rogov probably did more to further quality of Israeli wine than any other individual in the last number of years. No, he did was not a winemaker but a critic, and critics are usually, well, critical. But he was open to tastes and value, always looking for excellence at the same time. Today I came across something he wrote last December when I was looking to see about a very inexpensive Pinot from Argentina that I was not familiar with at all. (Oh does that make me sound snotty. No Sideways here. I really don’t know that much at all, but I do know what I like when I drink it!) And that made me think that he should be honored.
And so I looked further on his site for the most up-to-date entry and I found this.
by Daniel Rogov » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:58 am
This is a difficult letter to write and that because as it is posted it will serve to let forum members, guests and friends know that I have died. As I write, I continue to be functional but recent setbacks of a physical nature have led me to consider the possibility that I will not be here for very long. Simply disappearing is not my style. Nor, although I do like to show off my knowledge at times, would it feel appropriate to boast of my past or present. Thus, just a few words of what will be, by necessity, of farewell. Truth be told, I knew what was happening to my body. It was not always easy but I did manage throughout to maintain my optimism and yes, even a good many of my small pleasures. I was not one for mourning myself before the fact and realized that life goes on and in all of life, no matter how
difficult there can be smiles, warmth and pleasure. And that those should be actively sought out. I did it. In this, it should also be noted that I very much appreciated the support that I was given by my readers, friends, people in the wine trade and my colleagues, much of which was kind enough to bring a tear to my eye.
As to food and wine, I have written about those over the years out of a sense of deep love and devotion, that both emotional and intellectual. As I hope I have made known, wine and food to me are not simply things that enter our body. They are a reflection of our anthropology, history, psychology, social needs and, of course pleasure. And, like all critics who take themselves seriously, I have gained enormous pleasure from sharing my thoughts. Specifically with regard to the forum, I have come to know a group of people who in great part share that love. Perhaps best of all, through the forum, my columns in the newspaper and my books, I have met people with whom honest dialogue is important, people to whom disagreement is every bit as important as agreement. It is clear that we do not agree on everything but that an honest, open dialogue and a sense of mutual trust are crucial to the true success of the critic. In a sense, I have come to think of myself as the Umberto Eco of wine and culinary criticism, striving in my work to present points of view that are both accurate and post-modern, that leaving the intelligent reader to make many of his/her own conclusions.
I very much hope that Rogov’s Place as a forum will continue. There is no reason why it should not because many of our participants have a great deal of knowledge and certainly have what to say. It is equally apparent that many of our participants increase in their knowledge on a regular basis. In other words, plenty to talk about even if Rogov is no longer around.
As to the future, remember me if you can. As I have enjoyed you, I hope you have enjoyed me as well.
Overall, it was a good life.
Thank you for elevating life, Rogov.