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

Making Kosher Wine – In Italy

November 28, 2012

Glen Grant

Reviews of the Borgo Reale Chianti Vespertino 2009 and several Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

There have been Jews in Italy since Judah Maccabee sent ambassadors to the Roman Senate in 161 BCE. Conditions have varied during the subsequent centuries depending upon the dispensation of various pontiffs and secular rulers. The ravages of World War II severely diminished Italian Jewish life but there still remains evidence of its vibrant culture including the magnificent Moorish-styled Great Synagogue of Florence and a smaller one in Siena. Like Jews everywhere, the Jews of Italy were influenced by the local conditions, customs and agricultural products. So it is interesting to speculate what types of grapes Italian Jews utilized to create their kosher wines.

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The “New Wine” For Jews

November 25, 2012

Covenant Solomon Lot 70

Reviews of the Covenant Solomon Lot 70 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and several SMWS single cask Scotch whiskies.

While wine has a pivotal role in Jewish life, whisky and other spirits, especially single malt Scotch whisky, have become quite the rage in shuls all across the country. Rare is the kiddush these days that does not offer at least a cheap single malt. (There are, of course, synagogues that are completely dry – but such institutions are wholly foreign to us – we mean, come on, “dry”? Really, why bother?) Reflecting this trend is the newly formed “Jewish Whisky Company,” an independent bottler that offers single cask whiskies under its “Single Cask Nation” label (www.singlecasknation.com; the first of these whiskies will soon be released, and likely reviewed here).

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Gift Guide For Wine Connoisseurs Offers Good Words, Good Cheer

November 21, 2012

Iconic Spirits

Some recently published books that would be perfect gifts for the wine-lovers on your list.

A veritable feast of new publications are this year’s recommendations for holiday gifts for wine lovers, beginning with “Iconic Spirits — An Intoxicating History,” by Mark Spivak, the former host of NPR’s “Uncorked” and a prolific writer on food, wine and spirits.

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Shaken, Not Stirred

November 14, 2012

Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat

A review of the Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat 2011 and a look at the Martini.

We are often asked how and why kosher wine in the United States began as sweet, syrupy drek. The simplest answer is that the Jewish immigrants who settled in the northeastern United States way back when discovered that the only locally available grapes suitable for wine production were American varietals like the Concord grape. The only way to make the wine both palatable and easy to produce, however, was to add a huge amount of sugar to the grape juice – it aided fermentation and improved the taste of the product.

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Hot Tips On Mevushal Wine

November 8, 2012

What is “Mevushal” anyway? Also a review of Dalton Safsufa Merlot 2009 and Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky.

One of the most confusing aspects of kosher wine is the concept of yayin mevushal or “cooked” wine. The following discussion might seem academic, but we are continuously asked about this, so we thought a brief treatment is warranted. For a wine to be made kosher (according to Orthodox standards, and presuming here that all the ingredients, as well as the vineyard practices, already conform to Jewish legal requirements), it must be produced exclusively by Sabbath observant Jews.

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