In Spring, The Bloom Is On The Rosé

April 28, 2014

A review of Domaine Lafond-Roc Epine Tavel Rosé 2010 and Single Cask Nation, Glen Elgin 18 year old, Bourbon Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Rosés are ideal warm weather wines. Combining the refreshing qualities of a white wine with some of the fruit flavors customarily found in red wine, they are remarkably food friendly, typically pairing well with summer fare. Most rosés are light and easy drinking, best served while young and very chilled. But when we are in the mood for a more complex and richer rosé we, often reach for one from Tavel.

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The Growing Population Of Sweet Reds

December 2, 2013

A review of Ben Ami Zmora Semi-Sweet Cabernet Sauvignon and the “Whisky of the Year,” the Glenmorangie Ealanta, 19 Year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

One of the fastest growing segments of the wine industry is sweet red wines. This isn’t much of a surprise since most folks grow up and continue to go through life with high-fructose corn syrup or refined sugars in nearly every processed food product we eat. Some of the more tasty if nutrition-less garbage, like donuts, cupcakes, soda, ice cream and the like, are obviously sugar-packed, but so many other processed foods have such sweeteners too — from pasta sauce to Cheerios, and from energy drinks to yogurt. So winemakers are now recognizing that many consumers are looking for wines that fit that same sweet-flavor profile.

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Wish List For Chanukah Gifts

November 25, 2013

Some suggestions for wine and spirits related holiday gifts.

With the beginning of Chanukah falling on Thanksgiving, many folks will be focused on the traditional turkey-centric meal and related Thanksgiving aspects of the day. But it is good to remember that Chanukah is not only the more important of the two holidays, it also lasts longer — far longer than any Thanksgiving leftovers. So a little more thought and contemplation are required. With this in mind, relevant to a column on wines and distilled spirits, it seems worthwhile to discuss some great booze related gifts.

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It’s The Terroir, Stupid

July 7, 2013

A review of the Goose Bay Pinot Gris 2011 along with some Father’s Day Whisky suggestions.

One of the more fascinating aspects of wine is the influence of “terroir,” a French term that encompasses the various geographic and climatic influences upon a wine’s aromas, flavors and structure. Identical grapes grown in dissimilar locations will have distinctly different characteristics. Distances as small as a few meters between rows of vines can produce profound changes in the quality of the resulting wines.

Burgundy is one of the better known illustrations of the influence of terroir. Over several centuries the local monks painstakingly classified and subdivided the region based upon the quality of the wines produced by grapes grown in specific locations. In contrast with Bordeaux where the classifications are based upon the producing Chateaux, the wines from Burgundy are labeled according to the vineyard and there may be more than one producer creating wines from that site. There are 400 types of Burgundian soil and the stratification into Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Village are entirely dependent upon geography. One of the more fascinating aspects of wine is the influence of “terroir,” a French term that encompasses the various geographic and climatic influences upon a wine’s aromas, flavors and structure. Identical grapes grown in dissimilar locations will have distinctly different characteristics. Distances as small as a few meters between rows of vines can produce profound changes in the quality of the resulting wines.

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A Better Way To Arrange Wines

May 29, 2013

Reviews of the Le Mourre de l’Isle 2010 and the Glenmorangie Signet and Ealanta along with a look at the new Ardbeg release: “Ardbog.”

Walk into many wine stores and you will see the bottles organized by country of origin. Occasionally this will be further subdivided by varietal or, more commonly, by the color of the wine. Since many European winemaking countries refrain from listing the types of grapes utilized on the label, the result is that the cabernet sauvignon-based Bordeaux may be sharing space with pinot noir from Burgundy which is next to a bunch of red Rhones containing syrah.

There is likely a very sound underlying marketing rationale for this arrangement. It is a useful system for those who have an idea of what they want to drink or, perhaps more significantly, for the wines they want to avoid. But for those uninitiated into the intricacies of regional winemaking regulations, it really isn’t very helpful and adds to both confusion and the intimidation factor.

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Spluring On Fortified Wines

April 18, 2013

A review of the Zion Miharmartif Port-style kosher wine and several Port-finished Whiskies.

While we love a bargain wine, every so often it is fun to splurge, especially when the bottle remains drinkable for a long time after the cork has been pulled. This is the domain of the fortified wine, that middle ground between wine and spirit. Some fortified wines, such as Port and Madeira, can provide pleasure for weeks after opening while others retain their flavors only if kept refrigerated. These wines are typically costly to produce and available in limited quantities, hence the generally higher price tag.

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Wines Worth The Search

June 28, 2012

A review of the Segal’s Special Reserve Chardonnay 2009 and the Glenmorangie Artein Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Israel’s Segal Winery has its roots in the early 20th century when Yankel Hirsh Segal and his brothers Elhanan and Yehezkel established the country’s first distillery in Tel Aviv’s German Colony. Their early successes lead the regional colonial authorities to ask them to set up similar enterprises in Damascus and Beirut. In the 1950s, the Segals changed their focus to winemaking, initially calling their winery “Ashkelon” before changing it to the family name. Until the Golan Heights Winery launched Israel’s quality wine revolution in the 1980s, Segal’s was considered a high-end producer.

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“My Passion and Favorite Hobby”

January 18, 2012

Rachel Barrie Morrison Bowmore Scotch

A review of Chateau de Parsac 2010 and an interview with Rachel Barrie, the new Master Blender at Morrison Bowmore Distillers.

There are few names better known in the world of wine than Rothschild. Primarily a financial dynasty since the 1700s, the Rothschild family expanded into the wine business with the 1853 purchase of the Bordeaux estate Château Brane Mouton by Nathaniel de Rothschild who renamed it Château Mouton Rothschild. His father-in-law, Baron James bought the neighboring Château Lafite in 1868, thereby establishing a rivalry between the two grand estates that has lasted until this day.

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A Toast to Drinking No Wine Before Its Time

December 21, 2011

ardbeg Alligator

A review of Capcanes Peraj Ha’abid 2008, the Glenmorangie Signet and the Ardbeg Alligator.

While it is true that most wine is meant to be consumed within a few years after its release, there are many wines that are created with aging in mind. In general, these wines have markedly noticeable tannins – the chemical compounds from the grape stems, seeds and skins that influence the wine’s color, structure and ultimately its aging ability.

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