David Joroff, Israel's leading food and wine critic and a veteran Haaretz writer better known by his pen name, Daniel Rogov, passed away on Tuesday night after a serious illness. Although he would not disclose his age, Rogov was believed to be in his 70s.

The author of "Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines" and "Rogov's Guide to World Kosher Wines," Rogov was a central figure in Israeli culinary circles.

Rogov was born in the United States and grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn, to parents who had immigrated from the Soviet Union. He finished his high school studies at the age of 15 and flew to Paris, where he began his journalistic career by writing articles about food and wine for American magazines and newspapers. He later widened his repertoire and wrote for publications in France and Switzerland, and appeared on television programs as an expert on the subject.

On Christmas eve 1976 Joroff moved to Israel. Two years later he began writing for the Jerusalem Post, quickly establishing himself as the leading wine expert in Israel. He started writing for Haaretz about food and wine in 1984.

On Sunday Rogov announced he was leaving Haaretz, just three days before his death, due to his deteriorating health. A month earlier, on August 29, top members of the wine industry organized an evening in his honor at the Dan Panorama hotel in Tel Aviv.

Rogov sampled dozens to hundreds of wines a month and visited several restaurants every week. He wrote regularly for Tom Stevenson's "World Wine Report," was a consultant for Hugh Johnson's "Modern Encyclopedia of Wine." He contributed to Johnson's Pocket Wine Book and managed the Wine Lovers Page website.

Rogov prepared a goodbye message for members of the website's forum:

"As to food and wine, I have written about those over the years out of a sense of deep love and devotion, that is 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...

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 leave the intelligent reader to make many of his/her own conclusions.

Overall, it was a good life.

Daniel Rogov, Resident Curmudgeon"

More on Rogov in Friday's Haaretz