Kosher Food And Wine Experience

February 27, 2013

A review of the Hagafen Riesling 2012 and several whiskies including Angel’s Envy, the Tomintoul 10-year-old single malt and two single malts from Glengoyne.

The 2013 Kosher Food and Wine Experience was held in NYC earlier this month. This annual tasting event is one of the best opportunities-along with their tasting events in London and Los Angeles-to sample the latest kosher wines and spirits distributed by the Herzog family’s Royal Wine Corp. also known as Kedem, the world’s largest importer, producer and distributor of kosher table wines.

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Better Than Chanukah Gelt

December 6, 2012

Four Gates Winery

Our Chanukah wish list including some kosher wines and a bunch of the great spirits we’ve recently enjoyed.

Chanukah gift-giving is really just an American transmogrification mimicking Xmas of the actual Jewish custom of giving Chanukah gelt (money). Still, we have nonetheless given in to modern convention and have compiled a list of a few things that we wouldn’t mind being given.

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Gift Guide For Wine Connoisseurs Offers Good Words, Good Cheer

November 21, 2012

Iconic Spirits

Some recently published books that would be perfect gifts for the wine-lovers on your list.

A veritable feast of new publications are this year’s recommendations for holiday gifts for wine lovers, beginning with “Iconic Spirits — An Intoxicating History,” by Mark Spivak, the former host of NPR’s “Uncorked” and a prolific writer on food, wine and spirits.

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Chasidic Bootlegging

October 29, 2012

Four Roses Small Batch Limted Edition

A review of the Ramot Naftaly Barbera 2007 and the Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon for 2012.

A few years ago a 300-family Montreal chasidic congregation paid a $20,000 fine to the Quebec civil authorities. Its offense? Supplying their community with kosher wines.
This chasidic shul, Congregation Toldos Yakov Yosef Skver, was raided in 2009 by the organized-crime unit of the Quebec Police Department. Le Fuzz confiscated nearly 900 liters of kosher wines and spirits including banana liquor and peach schnapps. Several members of the shul and the congregation itself were charged with importing and distributing kosher wines that had not been obtained through the province’s alcohol regulatory commission, Societe des Alcools de Quebec (SAQ).

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Inhospitable Locations, Better Wine

September 10, 2012

A review of Bazelet Hagolan Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Jim Beam’s Devil’s Cut 90 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Although it seems somewhat counter-intuitive, the best grapes for wine frequently grow in the most inhospitable locations. This is a bit of a simplification, but basically the more stress the vines experience, the more flavorful are their grapes – so good wineries tend to seek out vineyards with well-drained, nutrient-poor conditions in the hopes of getting better quality, more flavorful grapes. These are often hillsides with a thin layer of dirt over some sort of rock such as limestone or granite. There are numerous other factors that influence grape quality and flavor, but selecting the correct sites for the vineyards is critical for a winery’s success.

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Modest Beginnings

July 4, 2012

Gush Etzion Winery

Reviews of the Gush Etzion Cabernet Franc 2007 kosher wine and 2 expressions of Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey.

Inspiration comes in many forms, but for the Gush Etzion Winery, an Israeli boutique winery, it came in the improbable form of a blackberry bush. When Shraga and Tamar Rosenberg relocated from Jerusalem to Efrat in 1986, their new neighbors informed them that the blackberry bush in their yard produced fruit that made good blackberry wine. Shraga, a former retirement home manager, decided to tinker, fermenting crushed blackberries in his basement, and moved on from blackberries to grapes.

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Summer Indulgences

May 10, 2012

Makers Mark Bourbon

A review of the Domaine du Castel Rosé 2011 and a look at the Mint Julep.

There are few better summer indulgences than a glass of chilled rosé. Not the horrific, semi-sweet “white” blush wines from California that remains surprisingly popular. The rosés worth drinking are “dry,” without significant residual sugar, and display bright fruit flavors balanced with crisp acidity. They are usually created by either allowing the pressed juice to have only minimal contact with the skins or by a method known as “saignee” (bleeding), which removes lightly colored juice from vats to concentrate the remaining future wine. Nearly every red grape has been made into a rosé. Regardless of the methodology, the goal is to create a wine that maintains elements of the varietal’s character in a lighter more refreshing fashion.

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Science, Inspiration Play Roles In Winemaking

April 25, 2012

Old Grand Dad Bourbon

Review of Bravdo Karmei Yosef Shiraz 2009 and a look at 2 Bourbon’s without an age statement, Basel Hayden and Old Grand Dad.

Making wine is a marriage of nature and technology. The interaction of yeast and grapes has been investigated for centuries with the results implemented in the vineyards and wineries. But winemaking is not an exact science, and great wines are not a result of formulas or recipes. Inspiration also has its role, especially when based upon a sound scientific foundation.

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The Spiritual Side Of Wine

February 12, 2012

Angel's Envy

A review of the Or HaGanuz Namura Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Angel’s Envy American Whiskey.

When consumed appropriately, wine has been known to induce contemplative and even religious thought. Sometimes, as we’ll see shortly, it is exactly this sort of contemplative, religious thought that leads to the production of wine.

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