Smokey, Peaty Whisky Fans – We Feel Your Pain

May 31, 2012

A review of the Carmel Kayoumi Vineyard Shiraz 2007 and 2008 along with a review of the Kilchoman 2006 Single Malt Whisky.

Baron Edmond James de Rothschild is credited with establishing the modern Israeli winemaking industry in the late 19th century. As an ardent Zionist and owner of France’s Chateau Lafite, Rothschild readily offered his assistance to the new immigrants of the First Aliyah who wanted to cultivate vines and set up a winery. He began by planting grapes outside of Jaffa and soon after at another site in Zichron Yaakov, south of Haifa. In 1882, Baron Edmond founded the Carmel Mizrachi Winery (now just “Carmel Winery”) which has grown to become Israel’s biggest wine-making company with nearly 3,500 acres of vines and an annual production of over 15 million bottles.

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Science, Inspiration Play Roles In Winemaking

April 25, 2012

Old Grand Dad Bourbon

Review of Bravdo Karmei Yosef Shiraz 2009 and a look at 2 Bourbon’s without an age statement, Basel Hayden and Old Grand Dad.

Making wine is a marriage of nature and technology. The interaction of yeast and grapes has been investigated for centuries with the results implemented in the vineyards and wineries. But winemaking is not an exact science, and great wines are not a result of formulas or recipes. Inspiration also has its role, especially when based upon a sound scientific foundation.

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Spring Brings Outdoor Recreation, Rosé Wine Season



montes cherub rose

Wine recommendations for picnics and outdoor concerts.

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is a true national treasure. The almost 5 acres of available picnic space, an extensive and wide-ranging performance schedule and a liberal alcohol policy allowing patrons to bring their own wine and beer assures a wonderful experience without the over-charging for beverages found at other concert locations. It is the ideal venue to enjoy wines suited to picnicking in the warmer weather.

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Winery With Ancient Roots

April 5, 2012

Distillery No 209 Kosher for Passover Gin

A review of the Distillery No. 209 Kosher for Passover Gin and Vodka along with a look at the Shiloh Winery.

Before the Temple was built, before Jerusalem became the center of Jewish national and religious life, Shiloh was Israel’s capital. It was the place where the “whole congregation of Israel assembled” to set up the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Today, Shiloh is also the name of one of Israel’s most well-regarded boutique wineries. The winery is situated in the modern – and Modern Orthodox-community of Shiloh, which is just a few dozen meters from Tel Shiloh, the archaeological site that is widely thought to be all that remains of the pre-Davidic capital of the Jewish nation where the Talmud tells us the Mishkan stood for 369 years. Established in 2005, the winery’s roots actually go back thousands of years as evidenced by the ancient winepresses found in the nearby Samarian (Shomron) hills.

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Preparing For Pesach’s Four Cups

March 15, 2012

Benromach Scotch

A review of Odem Mountain Syrah Reserve 2009 and several Benromach Scotch Whiskies.

Traditionally one begins learning the laws of the Jewish holidays 30 days before they begin. This means focusing on Passover just as Purim has finished. Activity that, of course, entails so much more than just hitting the books to refresh ourselves on the dos and don’ts – for one has also to think of potential guests and menus. Naturally, this leads us to ponder which wines to serve.

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Stress: Bad for Humans but Good for Grapes

December 7, 2011

Johnnie Walker Double Black

A review of the Teal Lake Special Reserve Shiraz 2009 and the Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black Blended Scotch Whiskies.

One of the interesting paradoxes of winemaking is that stressed grapes make excellent wines. Nutrient poor soils, minimal water, and wide temperature variations stimulate the vines to produce intensely flavorful fruit. With careful vineyard management and talented winemakers these grapes can produce some very special wines.

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A Giant of a Wine and a Kiddush-Table Favorite

July 20, 2011

Balvenie Caribbean Cask

A review of the Brobdingnagian Syrah 2009 and the Balvenie Peated Cask 17 year old and Caribbean Cask 14 year old Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Large estates in California, France, Italy, Spain, South America and Israel produce tens of thousands of cases of single varietal and blended wines. These vast operations are also great incubators for wine-making talent, providing ample opportunities to learn each aspect of the field. Many now-famous winemakers started their careers as cellar rats washing tanks and cleaning floors.

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Wines Celebrate The Spirit Of St. Valentine

January 26, 2011

Mollydooker Carnival of Love

Some suggestions for Valentine’s Day wines including Cremant d’Alsace, Pedro Ximenez and several whose names reflect romance.

Many centuries ago, Euripides noted the intimate relationship between wine and passion: “Where there is no wine, there is no love.” The ancient Greek playwright undoubtedly was alluding to the aphrodisiacal qualities of wine’s myriad flavors. The choices for this Valentine’s Day include many wines that allow the full expression of this association along a broad range of styles

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Varietals Make South African Winemakers Shine Brightly

May 26, 2010

Rust en Vrede

A review of some South African wines courtesy of the “Drink Well, Do Good Tour.”

As host of this year’s soccer World Cup, South Africa is showcasing its first-rate vineyards and wineries. The South African wine industry traces its beginnings to its first harvest and crush in 1652. Not long after the British acquired the colony, production surged; the wines were popular in 19th century Great Britain. But a change in British trade regulations devastated South African wine imports and the industry remained essentially moribund until the end of apartheid. The subsequent lifting of trade embargos and ending of consumer boycotts renewed interest in South African wines, resulting in increased investment and modernization of facilities and techniques.

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