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

Sparkling Wine From The “Cava”

January 30, 2013

Reviews of the Elvi Wines Brut Cava and the first three offerings from the Jewish Whisky Company under their private “Single Cask Nation” label.

Cava is Spain’s best known sparkling wine. It is produced primarily in the Catalonia region, which borders France along the Mediterranean coast. The name “Cava,” which is Catalan for cave or cellar, comes from the cellars of the Codorníu Winery that winery owner Josep Raventos i Fatjo, created to age and produce wines, and from which he produced the first commercially available Spanish sparkling wines in 1872. Invariably less expensive than Champagne, Cava is just as versatile and food-friendly, making it a terrific choice to match both budgets and menus. Thankfully, there are several kosher Cavas on the market. Cava is produced using the “methode champenoise,” the same process used in France’s Champagne region to naturally create the carbon dioxide in the bottle. The three indigenous varietals most often used to create Cava are xarello, macabeo and parellada. First the grapes are fermented separately as nonsparkling “base” wines which are then blended to create a consistent “house style.” This is no easy task.

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Australia’s Only Kosher Winery

January 23, 2013

A review of the Harkham Shiraz 2010 and the Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

This week our search for enjoyable kosher wines leads us to Australia’s Hunter Valley. Located in New South Wales, about 75 miles north of Sydney, Hunter Valley is not well-recognized in the U.S. as a wine-producing region. Yet Hunter Valley was Australia’s first wine-producing region and is currently home to more than 120 wineries, including the well-regarded nonkosher producers Tyrrells, Wyndham and Lindeman’s. The local weather is hot and humid but fortunately the mountain ranges flanking the valley draw the nearby cooler ocean breezes into the region thereby facilitating grape cultivation. Subdivided into the Upper and Lower Hunter Valley areas, the region is known for its semillion, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz wines. Its proximity to Sydney has made Hunter Valley a prime tourist destination.

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How Much Time Should The Wine Spend In Its Bottle?

January 16, 2013

A review of the Carmel Mediterranean 2007 and several GlenDronach Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

In a strictly biological sense, there is nothing “alive” in a bottle of wine, and yet there is no doubt that wine continues to evolve after bottling. Many have compared wine to a living creature since it begins as an organic product that changes over time and has a limited lifespan. Indeed, most well-made wines seem to have their own unique personality, and often with the inherent potential to become more complex and interesting over time.

Most wines are made for early consumption rather than extended maturation, and accordingly are generally consumed within days or weeks after purchase. There are some wines, by contrast, that require additional time in the bottle to allow the various components to merge and reach their full potential. A great many wines fall somewhere in between and will benefit from a few years of additional time in the bottle.

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A Taste Of Black And White

January 9, 2013

A review of the Vinobles David Cote du Rhone Villages-Reserve 2010 kosher wine and the Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky.


The Rhone river valley produces some of the world’s finest red wines. It is comprised of two geographically and viticulturally distinct regions. The Northern Rhone climate varies widely through the year and is known for cold winters and warm summers. Its red wines are exclusively syrah although some subregions permit the addition of a small amount of white grapes. In the southern Rhone, the weather is more Mediterranean with a milder winter and hotter summer. The wines are predominately grenache based blends that can include over a dozen other red and white varietals.

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On The Importance Of Vintage

January 3, 2013

A review of the Recanati Petite Sirah/Zinfandel Reserve 2010 and several Springbank Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Vintage is the most important number on a wine label. Each growing season brings its own differences in vineyard temperatures and rainfall, which significantly affect the quality and character of the grapes. The winemaker’s role is to create the best possible wine every year in a specific style despite these annual variations.

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