Musings on Wine and Spirits by Louis Marmon

As seen in:
Washington Post, Gazette Newspapers, DC Examiner, The Wine Report
Washington Jewish Week, LA Times, Jewish Exponent, Capitol File Magazine and in other cities in the US and Canada

Latest Article

Wine Made With A Measure Of Tikkun Olam

March 28, 2012

Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon

A review of the Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, the Tulip Just Merlot 2010 and the Glennfiddich Cask of Dreams Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

With the onset of spring it seems appropriate that our next Passover seder wine suggestions are from Israel’s Tulip Winery. Established in 2003 by the Yitzhaki family, the winery rests on a hillside overlooking the Jezreel Valley in Kfar Tikva, a unique community that is home to 200 emotionally and developmentally disabled adults aged 20 to 74. This pastoral “Village of Hope” is recognized as one of the most innovative locations in Israel for adults with special needs. The village has a staff of 85, and 20 full-time volunteers from Israel and abroad, and their philosophy includes integrating the residents within the community at large, and providing creative and productive outlets for them – such as working at the local candle factory, craft workshops or the Tulip Winery.

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For This Year’s Seder, Pacific Northwest Offers Fine Wines

March 22, 2012

Tomintoul 10 year old

A review of Pacifica Evan’s Collection Pinot Noir 2010 and Meritage 2010 along with reviews of two Tomintoul Single Malt Scotches.

Our next stop in the search for wines for this year’s seder is the Pacific Northwest. Relative newcomers to winemaking, both Washington state and Oregon have evolved rapidly to become world-class sources of distinctive white and red wines. Both states are divided by the Cascade Mountain range which separates the wet coastal region from a drier interior area. Known for bright pinot noir, floral riesling and fragrant pinot gris, Oregon’s wineries are mostly located in the valleys of the west side. Washington creates some profoundly delicious cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlots from grapes grown in the more arid east.

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Preparing For Pesach’s Four Cups

March 15, 2012

Benromach Scotch

A review of Odem Mountain Syrah Reserve 2009 and several Benromach Scotch Whiskies.

Traditionally one begins learning the laws of the Jewish holidays 30 days before they begin. This means focusing on Passover just as Purim has finished. Activity that, of course, entails so much more than just hitting the books to refresh ourselves on the dos and don’ts – for one has also to think of potential guests and menus. Naturally, this leads us to ponder which wines to serve.

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A Little Taste Of Chametz Before Pesach

March 13, 2012

He'brew beer

A look at the kosher craft brewery He’brew and a review of the Loch Chaim, Isle of Arran 13 year old Single Malt Whisky.

Admittedly this is a departure from our usual focus on wine, but with Purim here and Pesach approaching we’ve had levity on the cards and chametz (leavened food) on the brain. Made with yeast and grains, beer, like bread or whisky, is chametz gamur (pure chametz), the ultimate forbidden food on Pesach. So finding some tasty, Jewish brewed beer for a pre-Pesach indulgence is a real treat. Made by aptly named Shmaltz Brewing Company, the kosher He’brew line of beers fits the bill perfectly.

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Burgundy and Japanese Cuisine Prove A Perfect Paring

March 7, 2012

Becky Wasserman

Red Burgundy is an ideal wine to serve with Japanese Cuisine.

Sake is the classic accompaniment to Japanese food. Often called rice wine, it actually is “brewed” from rice that has been “polished” to expose the underlying starch. Quality varies depending upon the amount of polishing and whether or not alcohol is added to develop underlying flavors. But there are other choices. One of my favorite pairings with Japanese cuisine is a red Burgundy. However, it wasn’t always that way.

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From Strength To Strength

March 1, 2012

A review of the Dalton Alma 2009 and two High West Distillery Whiskies.

“May you go from strength to strength” is one of the more common blessings. In the wine and spirits world, “strength” commonly refers to the sometimes controversial subject of alcohol content. In wine, too much alcohol can interfere with how well a wine pairs with food; in spirits, too much dilution interferes with one’s evaluation of that spirits’ character and flavor. Of course, “strength” can also refer to one’s appreciation for the artistry, bravery and longevity of a winery, distillery or brewery.

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