Making It To The Top

December 12, 2014

Reviews of the Recanati Galilee Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and several whiskies from The Glenlivet.

For the first time since 2008 an Israeli wine has been included in the Wine Spectator magazine’s annual list of this year’s “Top 100 Wines”. It is quite an honor since the magazine’s editors sample over 18,000 wines from around the world before selecting their favorite 100 wines of the year based upon “quality, value, availability and excitement.”

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Glassware Matters

December 8, 2014

Review of Twin Suns Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 and a cocktail suggestion: The Hot Toddy.

In one of the final scenes of the 2004 multi-Oscar nominated film “Sideways” (it did win for best adapted screenplay) we see Miles—a joyless, glass half-empty type character who has previously declared his disdain for Merlot grape wines—drinking his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc in a fast-food joint out of a Styrofoam coffee cup. For most wine connoisseurs, there is a special place in hell reserved for folks who drink wine out of a Styrofoam cup, and for wine geeks in particular, hell doesn’t begin to repay the crime of drinking such a wine out of such a container.

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Earthquake in Napa

November 24, 2014

Reviews of Covenant “RED C” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2011 and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

On August 24 an earthquake struck one of California’s most popular winemaking regions injuring over 200 people, and causing at least $100 million in damages. The strongest quake in the area for 25 years and centered just south of the city of Napa, the 6.0 quake even damaged buildings that were specifically retrofitted to resist tremors, and of course led to fires. It is estimated that 60 percent of Napa’s wineries were affected in some fashion by the quake with 25 percent sustaining moderate to severe damage.

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Elephant Walls And French Whisky

October 8, 2014

Review of Or Haganuz, Amuka Series, Idra Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and Brenne Estate Single Cask, Single Malt French Whisky.

One of the first things we are traditionally “required” to do after breaking our Yom Kippur fast is to begin building our sukkah. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the rabbinic discussions about the details on how we are supposed to fulfill the commandment to “dwell in booths” are long, complicated and occasionally bizarre to modern sensibilities. An example of the seemingly odd is the Talmudic discussion that relates a dispute concerning whether it is permissible to use a live elephant as one of the sukkah’s walls.

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Taplin Cellars

July 21, 2014

A look at Napa’s Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Taplin Cellars is a Napa winery with bicoastal roots. A great-great grandfather of the present-day owners moved his dairy farming family from Vermont to San Francisco in the mid-1800s. They eventually found their way to the Napa Valley where they purchased land to grow fruit and walnuts. Farming was considerably challenging in the late 18 and early 1900s, especially in ground described as “9 parts rock and 1 part dirt.” Yet the family persevered and was able to keep ahold of the property through the Depression, Prohibition and two World Wars. In the mid-1970s they replanted to Cabernet, just in time to ride the growing interest in California wines.

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Israeli Wines Continue Ancient Tradition

July 7, 2014

Reviews of the Psagot Edom 2011 and the Kilkerran “Work in Progress” 5th release, Sherry Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Given the importance of wine in ancient times, it is not surprising that the writing on a clay jug fragment found in Jerusalem dating from the time of King Solomon is actually part of a wine label. University of Haifa Professor Gershon Galil believes the inscription indicated the vintage and appellation as well as quality of the wine contained within.

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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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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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One Man’s Wine Both Kosher And Organic

May 5, 2014

Reviews of the Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky.

Early spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. It brings forth crocus, forsythia, daffodils and… loads of tedious yard work, like cleaning up debris from the winter weather, replacing mulch and planning for future plantings. Vineyard owners have also been busily preparing for the upcoming growing season. Beginning in late winter, when the vines lie dormant, the dead brush is removed and the vines are pruned back by hand, a backbreaking and labor intensive chore. Trellis wires are repaired and in some vineyards the earth between the vines is plowed to control weeds and aerate the soil. Other growers prefer to maintain a cover crop between the vines to inhibit weed growth.

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