Wine For The Holidays – Part 2

November 11, 2013

A review of the Borgo Reale Prosecco Brut and a look at several Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

There is something very stressful yet comforting about planning the typical Thanksgiving meal. On the one hand, the menu is pretty much standard fare with turkey, stuffing, fall vegetables, something cranberry and plenty of dessert. On the other hand, the stress involved can be stultifying, leaving one’s head abuzz with questions: Which recipe or style of preparation to use? When to start cooking the bird so that it won’t dry out? What to do about seating arrangements? Another potential source of stress is choosing a wine to match all the divergent flavors, especially this year when Chanukah’s many oil-based foods are factored in.

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Break Your Fast Libation Suggestions

September 12, 2013

Libations to accompany the break-fast including two kosher wines from Hagafen and the Bunnahabhain Toiteach Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Every family seems to have its own traditions when it comes time to breaking the fast. Usually a milchik (diary) or pareve (neutral) meal, the dishes might range from one relative’s treasured lokshen kugel (egg noodle pudding) to another’s prized blintzes, to a table laden with various vorspeis (appetizers) of fish (various picked herrings, white fish salad, lox, etc.) along with cream cheese and bagels. Typically there will be plenty of desserts or at least sweet foods, such as honey or jams — serving as both reminder and ardent wish of life’s sweetness and the promise of the New Year. Usually there will also be eggs, recalling the cycle of life. Delicious and nostalgic, yes, but this is essentially breakfast fare — that is, these menus are not exactly screaming for wine.

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Alinea: Connoisseur’s Dream Is Just A Short Flight Away

September 9, 2013

The artistry at Alinea extends to their wine pairings.

Inventive, exciting, imaginative, fascinating, thrilling, exceptional, delicious, amazing … the list of superlatives used to describe dinner at Alinea is nearly as long as the drive from O’Hare to the restaurant’s location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park district. At Alinea a refined, exquisitely prepared meal is transformed into performance art where the chef, staff and diner are each intimately involved in the entire experience. It is no easy feat to match wines with ingredients as varied as rabbit, cherry blossom, wasabi and smoke. The courses dance from light and airy (green apple taffy balloon) to multifaceted and profound, each designed to require the diners to interact with the preparations. This makes the wine pairings even more difficult since there are often multiple options within each course that provide different intensities and sequences of flavors. Not surprisingly, the talented team at Alinea made outstanding wine selections that both complemented and enhanced the evening’s multiple dishes.

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Drinking To A New Jewish Life

May 23, 2013

A review of the Louis de Sacy Brut Rose Champagne and the Talisker 25 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky bottled in 2005.

We recently had some reasons to rejoice and, as our readers would expect, there were a few bottles opened with family and friends. With a wide range of excellent wines available at all price levels, choosing the best celebratory wines was a bit of a challenge.

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Sparkling Wine From The “Cava”

January 30, 2013

Reviews of the Elvi Wines Brut Cava and the first three offerings from the Jewish Whisky Company under their private “Single Cask Nation” label.

Cava is Spain’s best known sparkling wine. It is produced primarily in the Catalonia region, which borders France along the Mediterranean coast. The name “Cava,” which is Catalan for cave or cellar, comes from the cellars of the Codorníu Winery that winery owner Josep Raventos i Fatjo, created to age and produce wines, and from which he produced the first commercially available Spanish sparkling wines in 1872. Invariably less expensive than Champagne, Cava is just as versatile and food-friendly, making it a terrific choice to match both budgets and menus. Thankfully, there are several kosher Cavas on the market. Cava is produced using the “methode champenoise,” the same process used in France’s Champagne region to naturally create the carbon dioxide in the bottle. The three indigenous varietals most often used to create Cava are xarello, macabeo and parellada. First the grapes are fermented separately as nonsparkling “base” wines which are then blended to create a consistent “house style.” This is no easy task.

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Sparkling Wine: Too Good For Just New Year’s Eve

December 28, 2012

Reviews of the kosher Louis de Sacy Brut Champagne and the Lagavulin 16 Year Old and Distiller’s Edition 1996 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally celebrated with a Champagne toast. This is likely because the bubbles are considered festive, or perhaps in the belief that drinking something expensive will bring good fortune for the coming year. Whatever the reason, more Champagne will be consumed during the hours after midnight on Jan 1 than during any other time of the year.

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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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Gift Guide For Wine Connoisseurs Offers Good Words, Good Cheer

November 21, 2012

Iconic Spirits

Some recently published books that would be perfect gifts for the wine-lovers on your list.

A veritable feast of new publications are this year’s recommendations for holiday gifts for wine lovers, beginning with “Iconic Spirits — An Intoxicating History,” by Mark Spivak, the former host of NPR’s “Uncorked” and a prolific writer on food, wine and spirits.

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Bubble Trouble Turns Into Elegant Sparklers

December 29, 2011

Pol Roger White Foil

A sparkling wine review including the Pol Roger Brut Reserve “White Foil,” the Mionetto, Lunetta, Voveti and Lamberti proseccos, JJ Vincent Cremant, Champalou Vovray Brut, Trapiche Extra Brut, and the J Vineyards Brut Rose and their 25th Anniversary Brut.

Bubbles in wine were once considered a fault, especially when the increased pressure caused the bottles to explode. The early Greeks attributed the presence of bubbles in wine to either astrological influences or malevolent spirits. It is likely that the French monk credited for “discovering” sparkling wine, Dom Perignon, was trying to find a way to prevent the bubbles from occurring. And it is equally likely that the development of stronger glass bottles by the English and their use of cork stoppers is what led to the subsequent success of the French Champagne region.

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