‘Cooking’ The Wine

June 9, 2014

Reviews of Covenant’s “The Tribe” Chardonnay 2013 and Cragganmore 12- year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

There has been a steady increase in the number of kosher wines released on the U.S. market that are being made mevushal or “cooked.” These are wines that have been thermally processed in accordance with religious strictures so as to, basically, inoculate the wine from being rendered not-kosher by the handling of non-Jew or a non-Sabbath observant Jew.

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Is It Worth The Price?

February 27, 2014

A review of the Dalton Alma Chardonnay-Viognier 2011 and the (r?)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.

One question we are asked fairly frequently about booze is, “Is that worth the money?” While we may sometimes have a ready answer to offer in the moment, it is actually a question that gives us pause as it lends itself to a little deeper contemplation. “Worth,” like “beauty,” is subjective. Indeed, asking the “worth” question is really another way of asking “Is that worth it to you?” In context, however, it is clear that what folks typically mean to ask is, “Do you think this is worth it to me?” Yet, how does one begin to answer that?

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Oak And Wine — A Heavenly Match

January 6, 2014

A look at the role of oak in winemaking along with reviews of the Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 and several Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Why oak? At first glance it would seem unlikely that the wood from a tree and the fruit of the vine would have such a longstanding relationship. While both oak barrels and wine are ultimately made from plants, they are certainly cultivated, harvested, developed and utilized very differently. Yet without oak, the wide world of wine would be very, very different.

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What’s Really In That Glass Of Wine?

May 20, 2013

A review of the Binyamina Reserve Unoaked Chardonnay 2011 and the Highland Park Loki 15-year-old single malt Scotch Whisky.

Last week we noted that a wine’s flavors are primarily the result of how and where the grapes are grown coupled with the skill of winemaker, and that wine is essentially free of additives. There are parts of the wine producing world where the nonadditive approach is simply common practice and well-established tradition, while there are other regions where this sort of nonadditive winemaking is actually regulated. Even where regulation prevails, however, there are sometimes stipulated allowances for certain invasive steps and ingredients.

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Kicking Off A New Year With Chablis

February 14, 2013

A review of some of the excellent white wines produced in Chablis.

It is always an excellent time to become acquainted with Chablis. Located nearly 100 miles south of Paris, Chablis is the northernmost aspect of the renowned Burgundy region although the vineyards are actually closer to Champagne than to the rest of the Burgundy. Relatively isolated with a limestone and clay soil containing fossilized seashells that is planted exclusively with Chardonnay, Chablis was once the largest vineyard area of the country and reigned as the premier white wine of Parisian bistros. The area is prone to harsh weather including devastating frosts that reduce crops. Combined with competition from other winemaking areas such as Bordeaux, Chablis plantings dramatically decreased despite its prominent name recognition.

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Options Abound For Holiday Cheer

December 26, 2012

Sparkling Wine Recommendations To Celebrate The New Year

A consequence of the current economic doldrums is the savvy wine consumer’s greater willingness to explore less-familiar wines and regions that offer both quality and value. This is especially true for those who wish to toast the holidays with something bubbly but do not want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a bottle of vintage Champagne.Thankfully, there are some terrific sparkling wines being made in many other locations including Italy, Spain and California.

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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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Israeli Label Yarden Shows Much Promise

August 22, 2012

Yarden Chardonnay

A review of Yarden wines from Israel’s Golan Heights Winery.

In 1972, oenologist Cornelius Ough identified the Golan Heights as an ideal location for grape growing due to its altitude, cool climate and volcanic soil. More than a decade later the award-winning Golan Heights Winery was established and it is credited with invigorating Israeli winemaking by dramatically improving the quality of the country’s wines. Its early successes led to the search for a winemaker that would build upon these accomplishments. In 1992, a young American graduate of UC Davis, Victor Schoenfeld, arrived in Israel to become its new head winemaker. It could be argued that advanced Israeli winemaking really began that year.

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Wines Worth The Search

June 28, 2012

A review of the Segal’s Special Reserve Chardonnay 2009 and the Glenmorangie Artein Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Israel’s Segal Winery has its roots in the early 20th century when Yankel Hirsh Segal and his brothers Elhanan and Yehezkel established the country’s first distillery in Tel Aviv’s German Colony. Their early successes lead the regional colonial authorities to ask them to set up similar enterprises in Damascus and Beirut. In the 1950s, the Segals changed their focus to winemaking, initially calling their winery “Ashkelon” before changing it to the family name. Until the Golan Heights Winery launched Israel’s quality wine revolution in the 1980s, Segal’s was considered a high-end producer.

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