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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What’s In A (Wine’s) Name?

July 12, 2012

A review of the Gilgal Merlot 2007 and the Arran Malt 14 year old Single Malt Whisky.

On a plateau within the Golan Heights is a series of five concentric stone circles made up of more than 42,000 volcanic basalt rocks. Thought to be from the early Bronze Age period, this megalithic monument’s outermost wall stands nearly 8 feet tall and around 520 feet in diameter. At the center of this site is a 15 feet tall burial mound. Bear with us, the booze is coming.

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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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Location, Location, Location

February 9, 2012

Barkan Altitude

A review of the Barkan Altitude +624 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Isle of Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

While there are many factors that can be manipulated to affect the quality of a wine, there is one fundamental aspect that cannot be changed: the place where the grapes are grown. The monks in France’s Burgundy region spent hundreds of years painstakingly characterizing and classifying the precise aspects of specific hillside plots in the Cote D’Or and the result is some of the world’s most profound wines. Matching the correct varietal to the local climate and geography is likely the most critical decision that will assure a winery’s success. It is exactly as the old the real estate adage goes: location, location, location.

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