Shaken, Not Stirred

November 14, 2012

Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat

A review of the Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat 2011 and a look at the Martini.

We are often asked how and why kosher wine in the United States began as sweet, syrupy drek. The simplest answer is that the Jewish immigrants who settled in the northeastern United States way back when discovered that the only locally available grapes suitable for wine production were American varietals like the Concord grape. The only way to make the wine both palatable and easy to produce, however, was to add a huge amount of sugar to the grape juice – it aided fermentation and improved the taste of the product.

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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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Harvesting a Liquid Dessert

August 31, 2011

Hafner Icewine

A review of the Hafner Gruner Veltliner Icewine 2002 and the story of the “Hot Toddy,” a classic curative cocktail.

There are times when you need to have something sweet. Cookies, cake, ice cream and even fruit usually quench that craving. But for a less caloric and often more interesting alternative, consider a late-harvest wine. More commonly known as “dessert wines,” late-harvest wines are among the world’s most desirable and expensive, with many bottles costing hundreds of dollars. Dessert wines are created in a number of fashions but most include harvesting the grapes after a prolonged growing season. Over time, the sugar levels increase and the flavors become more concentrated- and the results can be ephemeral.

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Wine Is Fine, But Summer in DC Is Daiquiri Time

August 3, 2011

Terrenal and Barcardi

A review of the Terrenal Yecla Valley Tempranillo 2009 and the tale of the Daiquiri.

Spain continues to be a source for wine values, particularly with their signature grape, Tempranillo. This grape typically produces medium-bodied wines displaying spicy red and dark fruits including cherries, berries and plums often accented with tea, vanilla, tobacco, or leather notes. A very good, value-priced example is the kosher Terrenal Yecla Valley Tempranillo 2009 ($7), which opens with cherry and red berry aromas that lead into raspberry, dark cherry and blackberry flavors with hints of earth and chocolate.

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Slake Your Thirst With An Air Of Sophistication

July 27, 2011

Terra di Seta

A review of the Terra di Seta Chianti Classico 2008 and some summer cocktail suggestions.

Italians have been making wines for thousands of years. Chianti is one of their better wines, however it unfortunately suffers from the image of the straw-covered curved bottle festooned with wax drippings. But Chianti is much more than a restaurant candleholder. It can be elegantly complex and is a fabulous food wine, especially with Italian cuisine. The kosher Terra di Seta Chianti Classico 2008 ($19) is a delicious medium-bodied blend of 95 percent Sangiovese with 5 percent cabernet sauvignon. It displays cherry, coffee and cranberry aromas that lead into raspberry, blackberry and vanilla flavors, soft tannins and a silky-smooth finish with a touch of cocoa and spice. For an accompaniment, think grilled salmon or tuna, any tomato-based dish or your favorite burger.

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A Sure Cure For Brain Frying Heat

June 29, 2011

Goose Bay

A review of the Goose Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and the story of the Gimlet.

An excellent accompaniment to salads, grilled chicken and other light summer fare is the Goose Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($18). As New Zealand’s first kosher (and mevushal,or boiled) wine, it displays the classic Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc crispness and grassy overtones along with nicely balanced green apple, gooseberry and tropical fruit flavors. The finish is bright and lengthy with a touch of lemon and grapefruit. Served chilled, it is a delightful way to enjoy a warm summer evening.

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Mamma Mia! That’s Good Wine

May 11, 2011

Domaine du Castel grand Vin

A review of the Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2007 and a summer martini recipe.

One of the world’s best kosher wines is Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2007 ($59) – an elegant blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec. It’s full-bodied with gorgeous blueberry, cedar and chocolate aromas leading into layers of beautifully integrated dark plums, blackberries, currants and anise, with hints of olives and oranges in the satisfyingly lengthy finish.

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The Booze Timeline: From Second Temple to Mint Julep

May 4, 2011

Ella Valley EverRed

A review of the Ella Valley EverRed 2007 and the Mint Julep.

There are few wineries with a longer pedigree than the Ella Valley Vineyards. When Danny Valero, the winery’s general manager, began preparing the area for modern grape cultivation, a site of ancient winemaking dating from the Second Temple period was discovered. According to the biblical account, the Ella Valley is also where David fought Goliath. For Valero, however, the location was not just about history or the Bible.

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Summer Is The Perfect Season For Sippers

June 24, 2010

Bombay Sapphire

Some summer drink suggestions including cocktails, beer and wine.

The noted philosopher Robin Williams once declared: “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party.’ ” Sounds like an ideal excuse to try new drinks and to invigorate some old favorites.

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