A Variety Of Varietals

June 4, 2013

A review of the Balma Venitia Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2006 and several bottlings of Bowmore Single Malt Scotch.

Most casual wine drinkers are aware of only a few grape varietals such as Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec and Shiraz. Others may have tried a Riesling, Pinot Gris or Petite Sirah. But there are literally hundreds more varietals that have been made into wines that are stylistically different and extremely enjoyable. All it takes is a willingness to explore the shelves of a well-stocked store and a sense of adventure.
An example is the Muscat, a floral and somewhat spicy, light-bodied varietal that is grown in nearly every wine producing country and may be the oldest domesticated grape. In Italy it becomes Moscato and it is made into Moscatel in Spain. These muscat wines are best enjoyed when young and chilled and they pair wonderfully with lunch and other light fare or as an aperitif.

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Shaken, Not Stirred

November 14, 2012

Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat

A review of the Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat 2011 and a look at the Martini.

We are often asked how and why kosher wine in the United States began as sweet, syrupy drek. The simplest answer is that the Jewish immigrants who settled in the northeastern United States way back when discovered that the only locally available grapes suitable for wine production were American varietals like the Concord grape. The only way to make the wine both palatable and easy to produce, however, was to add a huge amount of sugar to the grape juice – it aided fermentation and improved the taste of the product.

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Even More Dessert Wines To Please Your Palate

December 10, 2009

Quady Essensia

Part 2 of a look at dessert wines including Tokaji, Quady Essensia, Niagara Peninsula Ice Wines and Tawny Ports.

Last week, I wrote about the legendary dessert wines from the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France and the traditional off-dry Moscato d’Asti wines of Italy. But wine growing regions around the world have created unique methods dedicated solely to the art of producing these wines.

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The Antidote To Boring Wines

November 27, 2007

Martinelli Pinot Noir

A look at the wines of the Martinelli Winery.

Inside a red barn along Sonoma’s River Road is the Martinelli Winery tasting room. The Martinelli family planted their first vineyard in 1899 on a site known as ‘‘Jackass Hill,” a location reportedly so steep that only a fool would harvest there. During the ensuing century, the family has acquired several other prime vineyards and now their portfolio includes excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Syrah, many of which are available only through their mailing list.

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A Little Fine Wine With Your Blintzes

May 17, 2007

Sha'al Late Harvest

Some wine recommendations for Shavuot.

The Talmud states that there is no happiness without wine. As the only drink with its own blessing — thanking the “Creator of the fruit of the vine” — wine is integral to Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. Even the cup to hold the wine is special, often ornately decorated and of a specific volume to ensure that enough is consumed to fulfill the mitzvot.

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A Modest Proposal For Reaping Greater Rewards

January 18, 2006

Riedel

Some wine related New Year’s resolutions.

Nowhere does it say that New Year’s resolutions have to be limited to diet and exercise. For those who wish to enhance their wine experience and knowledge, here are some wine-related ones.

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What’s For Dessert?: Sweet Wines Growing In Popularity

December 15, 2004

Chambers Rosewood Muscat

Dessert wines are an under-appreciated treasure.

Dessert wines may well be the next American wine craze. It seems only natural that a country that has donut shops and ice cream parlors on nearly every corner will learn eventually to appreciate the wonders of a well-made “stickie.” It is a mystery why dessert wines are not more popular. They are a great way to end a meal with more flavor and fewer carbohydrates than a slice of cheesecake. Good dessert wines have a noticeable sweetness balanced by other components, and the best examples have an amazing complexity of flavors. Most are served slightly chilled from half-bottles, or splits, which can serve up to 12 guests. If you are looking for a gift for a wine-lover, a bottle of dessert wine always will be appreciated.

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The Perfect Gift For A Dinner Party Host

December 11, 2003

Hanukkah wine suggestions.

Wine makes an excellent Hanukkah gift. Easily wrapped and portable, there are wines for all tastes: dry or sweet, bubbly or still, red, white or even pink. “Around the world the quality of wines has improved dramatically,” said Jon Genderson, owner of Schneider’s Wine Store in Washington DC. “This is especially true for kosher wines.”

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