Johnnie Walker Platinum – Unsurprisingly Good

October 29, 2013

Reviews of the Terrenal Tempranillo 2010 and the new Johnnie Walker Platinum Blended Scotch Whisky.

During the past several years, kosher wines have received numerous accolades and have garnered praise from prominent wine critics and publications. But those who need further proof that kosher wines are firmly part of the mainstream wine world need look no further than their local Trader Joe’s specialty grocery stores. Kosher-anything at Trader Joe’s is regional (they have locations in 30 states), and not all regions carry the same products or even carry wine. For those that do, look for their kosher wine exclusives (for those that don’t, talk to the store manager). Trader Joe’s features some might tasty kosher wines and at mighty fine bang for your buck.

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On Balance And Blends

August 20, 2013

The importance of balance in wine with reviews of the Yarden Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and two blended Scotch whiskies; Johnnie Walker Black and Whilte Horse.

One of the most widely sought after descriptions from the mouth, or pen, of a wine critic is the term “balanced.” The term is meant to convey a harmonious interplay between the different components in a wine, including tannins, alcohol, sweetness and acidity. Should any one of these components stand out from the others, that wine would be deemed out of balance, and so in some measure lacking or less than the ideal. Of particular importance in a balanced wine, especially one whose flavors are especially pronounced, are those elements that provide a counterpoint. So for example, fruity or tannic wines are thought to need an acidic balancing counterpoint, to bring the wine together. In the case of a dessert wine, such as a sauterne, acidity is desired to check the wine’s sweetness so that it does not become boringly unctuous like a jam or jelly. Likewise too much acidity would render a wine tart and unappealing. A wine with ideal acidity keeps these other elements in check, and is perceived as cleansing, refreshing and encouraging of another sip. Any wine that does not encourage the imbiber to take another sip, is probably not enjoyable enough to drink anyway.

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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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Stress: Bad for Humans but Good for Grapes

December 7, 2011

Johnnie Walker Double Black

A review of the Teal Lake Special Reserve Shiraz 2009 and the Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black Blended Scotch Whiskies.

One of the interesting paradoxes of winemaking is that stressed grapes make excellent wines. Nutrient poor soils, minimal water, and wide temperature variations stimulate the vines to produce intensely flavorful fruit. With careful vineyard management and talented winemakers these grapes can produce some very special wines.

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Making the Desert Bloom – With Vineyards

September 7, 2011

Penderyn Single Malt

A review of the Kadesh Barnea Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, the Johnnie Walker “Blue Label” and the Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky.

It seems almost poetic that the barren region where Moses brought forth water from a rock would eventually become a winery. Also known as the place where Miriam is buried, Kadesh Barnea in the western Negev is the site of a unique boutique winery. While it seems counterintuitive to grow grapes in the desert, the hot days and cool nights actually provide the type of wide temperature variations that result in flavorful and well-balanced wines.

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Planning Ahead: Suggestions For Romantic Sipping

January 27, 2010

Palazzo Montanari Amarone

Romantic wine suggestions for Valentine’s Day

Indulge your beloved by sharing a bottle of wine or other fine libation on Valentine’s Day. California’s full-bodied Terra Valentine Spring Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 ($38), with richly spiced dark currant and blackberry flavors that finish with cedar, chocolate and caramel, is an excellent choice. Or, sip the more hedonistic, highly regarded Mollydooker Carnival of Love McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007 ($90), with big mouth-filling blueberry, exotic spice and dark plum flavors that seem to linger forever.

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