New World Winemakers Look To Old For Inspiration

June 1, 2015

Review of Dalton Alma GSM 2012 and Arette Artesanal Suave Blanco Tequila.

One of the principle distinctions between “Old World” European wines and those of the rest of the globe are the rules and regulations that govern wine-making. The “Old world” has many; the “New World” has few.

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The Unkosher Source of Some Kosher Wines

June 24, 2012

Domaine Netofa Galilee

A review of the Domaine Netofa Galilee 2009and Highland Park Thor Single-Malt Whisky.

While kosher wine must be made under strict religious supervision, not all kosher-certified wine comes from strictly kosher wineries. Many are created and bottled under the labels of wineries that select only a portion of their harvest for the kosher market with the rest being made not under supervision and released for the general public. Made with the same grapes and methods, many of these kosher wines are as good, and sometimes even better, than their regular nonkosher counterpart. The technique utilized is called “shadowing,” where every step of wine production is handled by Sabbath-observant Jews under rabbinic supervision, but all under the watchful eye, or shadow, of the winery’s regular winemaker. Not that the kosher production winemaker and crew are mere automatons. On the contrary, to be effective, they must possess the requisite skills, knowledge and palate to create excellent wines, along with a clear understanding of the underlying approaches of the winery where they labor.

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Wines Suitable For Sipping Under Sun Or Stars

April 27, 2011

d'Arenberg Hermit Crab

Some picnic wine recommendations including some Rosés and Torrontes along with wines from d’Arenberg and Cline.

Picnic wines should be uncomplicated, but still interesting. Here are some that fit the bill.

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A Dramatic Transformation For One California Winery

May 5, 2010

Zaca Mesa Winery

A look at the Zaca Mesa Winery.

Once known only for characterless, cheap and cheerful quaffs, the Zaca Mesa Winery now produces incredibly flavorful wines from varietals like Syrah, Roussanne and Viognier. Located in California’s Santa Barbara County, specifically the Santa Ynez Valley, Zaca Mesa planted its first vines — a mishmash of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot and Zinfandel — in 1978. In the ensuing years, the number of original investors dwindled, leaving the Cushman family in charge since 1988. With the realization that the location is best suited for the classic “Rhone” varietals — Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, Roussanne and Viognier, new vines and a new winemaking team — the quality of the Zaca Mesa wines has increased significantly.

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Value-Priced Wines Come From Around The World

March 31, 2010

Greg Norman Estates Shiraz Cabernet

A look at some wine values from Chile, Australia, Spain and California.

Underlying every wine purchase is the question: Is this bottle really worth the price? Does some fundamental aspect of the $200 Cristal Champagne make it better than a $15 Spanish sparkler? Maybe to a hip-hop artist, but to most of us, discovering pleasurable wines that cost considerably less is more pleasurable. Fortunately, many of the world’s wine regions still produce reasonably priced wines. Each of the following recommendations costs $15 or less.

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Choosing A Wine For Thanksgiving

November 16, 2005

Chapoutier Belleruche

Some Rhone wine suggestions for your Thanksgiving feast.

The classic meal of roast turkey, stuffing and cranberries offers a variety of flavors that expands, rather than limits, the types of wine that can be served. Ideally, the wine should have good fruit flavors, refreshing acidity for balance and not be too tannic or oaky. Champagne and other sparkling wines work wonderfully as would an aromatic Pinot Noir, a crisp Riesling, a fruity Beaujolais Nouveau or a spicy Zinfandel. This year, however, I am recommending a Cotes du Rhone.

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