Hip, Hop and Wine

February 23, 2015

Reviews of the Bartenura Moscato and Jefferson’s Ocean, Aged at Sea, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Very Small Batch.

Ever since the modern kosher wine industry began the shift from sweet, syrupy kiddush wine to table wine, producers and importers have been desperately trying to break free of the ethnic market into truly mainstream wine sales. Who knew that the industry’s first real success would be a sweet, simple quaffer?

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Wine and Memories

February 11, 2015

Review of Four Gates Pinot Noir 2009 and Westland American Single Malt Whiskey.

One of the lovely things about wine is the way drinking of a particularly pleasant one can stir an involuntary memory and evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort. Likewise, wine can sometimes cue a subconscious mental filtering and sifting of long ago accumulated trivial data, bringing the mental detritus to one’s immediate attention. For one of us, for example, a recently tasted wine called to mind the great film director Alfred Hitchcock (we are both ardent fans).

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Crowdfunding Winery

December 29, 2014

Reviews of the Jezreel Red Blend 2012 and two Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskies.

For better or worse the Internet has expanded public participation into nearly every aspect of society. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other outlets allow anyone with access to some type of keyboard to comment, review and critique pretty much anything they see, hear or taste. The implications are as broad as the imagination when everyone can voice their opinion far and wide, influencing others to vote with their wallets.

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Top 10 Kosher Wines Over $30

September 19, 2014

Our Top 10 kosher wines $30 and up for the past year long with a alook at Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project.

During the Jewish month of Elul, the final month in the Jewish calendar, we are enjoined to reflect on where we stand and where we should be going in life. Thus it is also a perfect time to look back and select our top wines from the previous year. This week we will focus on wines costing $30 or more and that are worthy of the expense. That is, these wines are either to collect and cellar or, better yet, to share with family and special friends. Next week we will look at the top 10 value-priced wines we especially enjoyed this past year.

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Getting The Whiskey’s ‘Backstory’

September 2, 2014

A review of the Ramot Naftaly Duet 2010 and a revisit to High West whiskies.

We are often asked why we do not assign a numerical score to the wines and spirits we review. After all, it is a process employed by many of the most popular reviewers including the eminent Robert Parker, the glossy Wine Spectator and the high-end British publication Decanter, which bills itself as the “World’s Best Wine Magazine.” It is easy to understand the appeal since we all grow up in an educational system that rates our performance via numeric scores and grades. Numeric scores invariably call to mind logical precision and objective truth, that as sure as 2+2=4, a score of 98=a great wine…but does it really? Is it possible to objectively distinguish between, say, a wine rated 91 points versus one rated 93, or maybe an 87 versus a 92?

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Wine For The Fourth

June 30, 2014

Reviews of the Joseph River Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot 2009, Agua Dulce Winery Zinfandel 2010 and 2 rye whiskies, the Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye Whisky and Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Small Batch Rye.

Celebrating the Fourth of July typically involves fireworks and outdoor grilling or even barbeque (cooking with smoke rather than fire). On the grilling front, one of the great customary summer foods, and one of our favorites, is the hamburger. While many believe that beer is the ideal accompaniment to burgers, we – not surprisingly – recommend cracking open a bottle of red wine as well, if not instead.

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Yeast Is Not Only For Bread

June 2, 2014

A review of the Dalton Wild Yeast Fermentation Reserve Viognier 2012 and Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon.

Among the many factors that determine a wine’s quality, perhaps the least appreciated by most consumers is the role of yeast. It is these microscopic, single-cell organisms that convert the sugars found in grapes (and grains) into alcohol and carbon dioxide via the process of fermentation. There are numerous different yeast strains utilized in winemaking and each subtype has its own specific efficiency and impact upon the wine’s ultimate flavors.

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Kosher Wine With Biblical Roots

May 22, 2014

A review of the Abarbanel Cabernet-Merlot Blend, Batch 58, 2011 and a revisit to Jim Beam whiskies.

The Abarbanel Wine Company traces its family roots from the biblical King David to Don Isaac Abarbanel, the leader of Spanish Jewry at the time of the 1492 expulsion. Born in Lisbon, Don Isaac was a scholar, philosopher and prodigious author who also served as treasurer for Portuguese King Alfonso V, and subsequently for the Spanish royal family. He lent large sums to the Spanish throne during their battles with the Moors, and their reluctance to repay him likely contributed to their decision to expel the Jews at the war’s end.

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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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