Fast Breaking

October 2, 2014

Reviews of the Golan Heights Winery’s Gilgal Brut and Talisker 10 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Breaking the Yom Kippur fast is a nominally festive occasion customarily celebrated with family and friends. And while the meal occurs at the end of a long day, the foods are usually some variation of a milchik (dairy) or pareve (neutral) breakfast or brunch. While there are often loads of desserts and other sweets, such as honey or jams—serving as both reminder and ardent wish of life’s sweetness and the promise of the New Year—at least one (and often many) of the dishes will contain eggs, recalling the cycle of life.

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The Best In Value-Priced Wine

September 22, 2014

The Top 10 Kosher wines ($20 or less) and our 5 Favorite Whiskies for the past year.

Last week we listed the Top 10 kosher wines we tasted over the past year that cost $30 or more a bottle. After all, festive holiday meals with family and friends are nigh, so a bit of expensive indulgence is in order. As wine is a necessity in a civilized world, however, we have put together a list of value-priced wines to be enjoyed on a more regular basis, within a more limited budget.

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The Taste Of Rocks

August 6, 2014

A look at the concept of “minerality” in wine with reviews of the Dalton Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Bruichladdich, Islay Barley, Rockside Farm, 2007, Unpeated Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Several of the wines we have recently recommended have a notable “minerality” as part of their flavor profile. At first glance, minerality seems to be a strange example of wine jargon since no one really expects a grape-based drink to taste like rocks. But one of the wonders of wine is the way it can express its local growing conditions, what the French call terroir, including the composition of the vineyard’s soil. Thus the Kimmeridgian limestone and fossilized seashells found in the ground of Chablis are perceived within the region’s wines.

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How America Caused – And Cured – A Winemaking Crisis

July 28, 2014

A review of Castel Rosé du Castel 2013 and Isle of Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Among the plethora of pests that winemakers must contend against, none has been more devastating than a sap-sucking insect named “phylloxera.” This tiny aphid-like bug destroys vines by feeding off the roots, thereby choking off the supply of nutrients to the plant and leaving it susceptible to fungal infections. Initially limited to the United States, the phylloxera menace was inadvertently introduced to Europe in the 1850s by Victorian English botanists returning home with American vine specimens. Phylloxera destroyed nearly 95 percent of the continent’s vineyards.

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Out Of Isolation, Chilean Wines Prosper

July 17, 2014

Reviews of the Lanzur Sauvignon Blanc 2013 and The Macallan 18 year old (1996 vintage) Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Chile is the source of some of the world’s best wine values. The country boasts over a dozen distinctive wine producing regions that extend hundreds of miles from the northern Copiapo valley to the Austral region, the southernmost location where grapes can grow.

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Israeli Wines Continue Ancient Tradition

July 7, 2014

Reviews of the Psagot Edom 2011 and the Kilkerran “Work in Progress” 5th release, Sherry Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Given the importance of wine in ancient times, it is not surprising that the writing on a clay jug fragment found in Jerusalem dating from the time of King Solomon is actually part of a wine label. University of Haifa Professor Gershon Galil believes the inscription indicated the vintage and appellation as well as quality of the wine contained within.

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Burgundy’s Long Reach

June 23, 2014

Reviews of Domaine du Castel “C” Chardonnay 2012 and several Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Led by the owners of two of the region’s most renowned vineyards, France’s Burgundy region has applied to become a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. This honor is conferred upon locations that have “outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.” Burgundians believe their specific vineyards are the epitome of “the quest for a relationship between wine and the natural environment where it is produced” and therefore qualified to be designated as a location that UNESCO considers “our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations.”

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Israel’s Developing Wine Culture

June 16, 2014

Reviews of Gamla Syrah 2010 and Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel Sherry Cask.

A recent visit to Israel has reaffirmed our enthusiasm for the Holy Land’s developing wine culture. Besides the different wineries that seen to be cropping up nearly every week, there is a palpable sense that enjoying wine is becoming as fundamental to Israelis as their love of coffee.

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‘Cooking’ The Wine

June 9, 2014

Reviews of Covenant’s “The Tribe” Chardonnay 2013 and Cragganmore 12- year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

There has been a steady increase in the number of kosher wines released on the U.S. market that are being made mevushal or “cooked.” These are wines that have been thermally processed in accordance with religious strictures so as to, basically, inoculate the wine from being rendered not-kosher by the handling of non-Jew or a non-Sabbath observant Jew.

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