Musical Flavors

September 10, 2015

Review of Hagafen Pinot Noir 2013 and the Gimlet, a perfect summer refresher.

There are numerous factors that have been demonstrated to influence the perceptions of a wine including temperature at which it is consumed, the size and shape of the glass, the appearance of the label, the time of day it is drunk, its presumed cost, associated food pairings, and the power of suggestion. Now to the list can be added background music.

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Truffles

July 13, 2015

Review of Elvi Herenza Rioja Reserva 2009 and a look at the Martini.

One of us has lately had a hankering for truffles. Known as the “diamonds of the kitchen,” truffles are among a chef’s most prized ingredients. The fruiting body of a type of fungus that grows underground in very specific conditions, truffles impart an intensely pungent flavor to food that is most often described as slightly garlicky, musky and earthy. They are extremely expensive costing several hundreds of dollars per ounce. In 2010, a 2½ pound white truffle sold for $417,200.

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A Spanish Wine For Every Course

April 17, 2014

Reviews of Capcanes Flor del Flor de Primavera 2010 and some Kosher for Passover Spirits.

Until a few decades ago, Spanish wines were discounted as not worthy of attention to those outside of Spain. But things began to shift: an improving economy in the 1980s, an influx of innovative winemakers, and an expansive rejig of wine-production regulations.

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Neo-Prohibitionists: Hands Off Our Hooch

August 12, 2013

More governmental efforts to restrict access to our favorite spirits, wine and beer by blocking privatization.

We have written in the past about the byzantine-seeming regulatory patchwork of alcohol laws in this country. Every so often, folks seek to change this regulatory system in the name of freedom and consumer choice, and while progress of a sort has been made in this or that locale, there remains a very long way to go. Even though Prohibition ended with the passage of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 5, 1933, more than a dozen states today still maintain monopoly control over the sale and/or distribution of distilled spirits — and some still over beer and wine. Most states do not do so, and the idea that monopoly control of some aspect of booze is justifiably a core function of government is silly. Worse, however, is that they further limit product choice, increase costs and generally annoy us consumers.

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How To Cool Off A Fried Brain

August 1, 2013

A review of the Tishbi Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and a look at the “Gimlet” cocktail.

Sauvignon blanc is one of our favorite warm weather wines. It is produced around the winemaking world in a number of different styles ranging from dry to very sweet dessert wines. The bright flavors and balanced acidity typical of well-made dry, nonsweet versions of sauvignon blancs pair well with lighter summer fare, including cheeses, salads and even sushi; It makes for delightful backyard deck or picnic sipping. The varietal is thought to have originated in France’s Bordeaux region, and it is widely supposed that it gets its name from the word “sauvage” (wild) and blanc (white) from its early life as an indigenous varietal in the southwest of France. More recently, the grape has flourished and gained a great deal of popularity in New Zealand. Sauvignon blanc’s profile ranges from grassy and herbaceous when grown in warmer climates to gooseberry, melon, citrus and tropical fruits when the vines are in cooler locations.

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Cool, Classic Cocktails

July 31, 2013

A review of the Carmel Kayoumi Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and some summer cocktail suggestions.

It may seem counterintuitive to discuss Cabernet Sauvignon during the warm summer months. An ideal wine for cooler weather, the tannins in cabernet make it a poor match to the customary summer fare and an unlikely candidate to consider sipping poolside. But summer may actually be an ideal time to think about buying some Cabernet, especially if you have a location to keep it cool and undisturbed until the inevitable arrival of autumn and winter. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is the result of an inadvertent, but very fortuitous, cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc that occurred in southwestern France in the 17th century. Thick skinned, relatively disease resistant and easy to cultivate, Cabernet Sauvignon has become one of the world’s most popular red wine varietals. Indeed, globally it was the most planted premium red grape varietal until Merlot edged it out in the 1990s. As it is still widely planted the world over, quality varies with the terroir and the skill of the winemaker — harvesting too early or late will result in off-flavors such as green peppers or over jammy black fruit. When well-produced, appropriately aged and treated gently, Cabernet Sauvignon becomes a true vinous treasure.

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Martinis — And Earl Grey MarTEAnis

July 29, 2013

Suggestions on how to store wine along with a review of the Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and a look at the Martini.

Last week we encouraged purchasing wines not meant for immediate consumption, but with a caveat: You need to be able to store your wines in a fashion that will preserve their flavors and allow them to reach their potential. Seeking out and then buying a great bottle of wine is a waste of time and money if it ends up sitting on a rack nestled in the space between the top of the refrigerator and a kitchen cabinet. After all, heat rises — and kitchens get very hot indeed. Even less expensive wines can be ruined if improperly stored.

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What To Drink With Your Brisket

March 21, 2013

A review of the Dalton Zinfandel 2010 and some suggestions for Passover libations.

Though the Passover seder has firmly established millennia old rules, rituals and traditions – the very word “seder” means “order” or “arrangement” – after all, the Jewish way is to conduct the night’s proceedings with highly personalized, family specific, customs and practices. This is especially true for the menu, which may run the gamut from cherished family recipes, to the latest cookbook concoctions, to professional catering, to potluck. Invariably one of the most traditional foods – at least among Ashkenazi Jews, is beef brisket. This, alone, seems subject to countless variations.

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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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