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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Hot Tips On Mevushal Wine

November 8, 2012

What is “Mevushal” anyway? Also a review of Dalton Safsufa Merlot 2009 and Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky.

One of the most confusing aspects of kosher wine is the concept of yayin mevushal or “cooked” wine. The following discussion might seem academic, but we are continuously asked about this, so we thought a brief treatment is warranted. For a wine to be made kosher (according to Orthodox standards, and presuming here that all the ingredients, as well as the vineyard practices, already conform to Jewish legal requirements), it must be produced exclusively by Sabbath observant Jews.

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What’s In A (Wine’s) Name?

July 12, 2012

A review of the Gilgal Merlot 2007 and the Arran Malt 14 year old Single Malt Whisky.

On a plateau within the Golan Heights is a series of five concentric stone circles made up of more than 42,000 volcanic basalt rocks. Thought to be from the early Bronze Age period, this megalithic monument’s outermost wall stands nearly 8 feet tall and around 520 feet in diameter. At the center of this site is a 15 feet tall burial mound. Bear with us, the booze is coming.

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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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Wine Made With A Measure Of Tikkun Olam

March 28, 2012

Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon

A review of the Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, the Tulip Just Merlot 2010 and the Glennfiddich Cask of Dreams Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

With the onset of spring it seems appropriate that our next Passover seder wine suggestions are from Israel’s Tulip Winery. Established in 2003 by the Yitzhaki family, the winery rests on a hillside overlooking the Jezreel Valley in Kfar Tikva, a unique community that is home to 200 emotionally and developmentally disabled adults aged 20 to 74. This pastoral “Village of Hope” is recognized as one of the most innovative locations in Israel for adults with special needs. The village has a staff of 85, and 20 full-time volunteers from Israel and abroad, and their philosophy includes integrating the residents within the community at large, and providing creative and productive outlets for them – such as working at the local candle factory, craft workshops or the Tulip Winery.

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Merlot Finally Gets Its Due

August 24, 2011

Jameson Irish Whiskey

A review of the Herzog Special Reserve Merlot 2006and the Jameson 12 year old, the Bushmill’s Original and the Kilbeggan Irish Whiskies.

Merlot is no longer the unwanted stepchild of the wine world. The previous lack of respect did not stem from anything inherent to the varietal. Rather, it was an offshoot of overplanting in response to increasing demand, resulting in a multitude of characterless wines. Thankfully, the grape has been rescued by conscientious winemakers who have resisted over-commercialization, and instead carefully crafted some delicious merlots.

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Napa’s Oldest Winery Leads Industry

June 1, 2011

Charles Krug

A review of Charles Krug wines on their 150th anniversary.

The 150th anniversary of the Napa Valley’s oldest winery, Charles Krug, will be celebrated this summer. With a $21.6 million renovation of its winemaking facilities and vineyards under way, the winery is positioning itself to remain a leader of California’s wine industry. The winery’s story began when the 27-year-old Krug left Germany in 1847 and became a teacher in Philadelphia. Inspired by the French Revolution, he returned home the next year to participate in the unsuccessful attempt to establish a German Republic and was imprisoned for nine months

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Location, Location, Location Factors Into Essence Of A Wine

March 30, 2011

O'Shaughnessy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

A comparison of two excellent Napa Cabernet Sauvignons; the hillside grown O’Shaughnessy and the valley-floor grown Revana.

An easy way to appreciate the nuances, flavors and structure of a well-crafted wine is to open a second bottle. Side-by-side comparison of wines created from identical varietals but sourced from dissimilar locations often reveals more than tasting them individually. Even wines from the same vineyard might vary widely each year depending upon the weather or the techniques used during a particular season. Truly great wines maintain an underlying consistency that speaks to the specific site where the grapes are grown. The French term “terroir” embodies this concept of location as a determinant of a wine’s essence. Grapes grown in the verdant California climate are, and should be, different from those grown in less hospitable climes and those differences ideally are reflected in the wines they produce.

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Musings on Food and Wine Pairing

February 11, 2010

DC wine &food festival

Wine and food pairing is not very complex.

We all know the rules. Wine and food are meant to compliment each other. But the complexity of multiethnic cuisine and the subtlety of much of modern gastronomy have invalidated the traditional convention of “red with meat and white with fish.” There is really only one iron-clad rule: Drink what you like! Don’t be swayed by scores, prices or the presence of animals on the label.

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