Wines Fit For The Grill

June 27, 2013

A review of the Recanati Syrah Reserve 2011 and several Glenglassaugh Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

It’s grilling time, and we could not be happier for there are few summer pleasures more gratifying than preparing meals outside. Whether you are a charcoal devotee or a fan of propane, rarely are there foods that don’t do well cooked on a grate. The imparted roasted, smoky flavors are truly irresistible. Besides the usual culprits (steak, burgers, dogs) we have grilled nearly every vegetable from artichokes to zucchini and even some romaine lettuce. You can grill cheese, make pizzas, roast veggies, bake bread and create unique desserts. Try slicing a firm nectarine in half, remove the pit and place it on direct heat for a few minutes for a delicious ending to a summer meal. Selecting a wine to pair with grilled foods is relatively straightforward. Stick to reds and avoid the lighter wines like pinot noir by opening something more robust with complementary flavors. One of our favorites is syrah (also called shiraz), a dark-skinned varietal that likely originated in France’s Rhone Valley. It ranges in style from deep and brooding to very fruity and alcohol laden with flavors that can include floral, berries, coffee, earth, chocolate, dark fruit, spice and pepper.

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Tulip Winery: Good Wine and Good Works, As Well

March 28, 2013

A review of the Tulip Syrah Reserve 2010 and several recommendations for Passover libations.

All Jewish holidays, outside of fast days, entail big, festive meals. Passover is, in many respects, the ultimate example of this, despite having a more restricted diet. Not only must we eat matzah and maror at the seder meals, but we must eat matzah and refrain from all chametz (leavened grain products) throughout the holiday. Further, not only must each of us consume four cups of wine at each seder, which, depending on the number of guests, can make for a lot of bottles, but we are encouraged to keep the wine flowing as an expression of our freedom and joy. Besides, with our adult beverage options severely limited by type, with all grained-based spirits and beer unequivocally off limits, the importance of having enough wine on hand takes on yet another level of importance. So drink up (in moderation, of course).

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Australia’s Only Kosher Winery

January 23, 2013

A review of the Harkham Shiraz 2010 and the Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

This week our search for enjoyable kosher wines leads us to Australia’s Hunter Valley. Located in New South Wales, about 75 miles north of Sydney, Hunter Valley is not well-recognized in the U.S. as a wine-producing region. Yet Hunter Valley was Australia’s first wine-producing region and is currently home to more than 120 wineries, including the well-regarded nonkosher producers Tyrrells, Wyndham and Lindeman’s. The local weather is hot and humid but fortunately the mountain ranges flanking the valley draw the nearby cooler ocean breezes into the region thereby facilitating grape cultivation. Subdivided into the Upper and Lower Hunter Valley areas, the region is known for its semillion, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz wines. Its proximity to Sydney has made Hunter Valley a prime tourist destination.

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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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High Holidays – Time To Switch Sides

September 14, 2012

Boulard Calvados XO

A review of the Flam Reserve Syrah 2010 and Boulard Calvados.

As a general rule of thumb, the High Holidays are neither early nor late but always on time – even when they seem to sneak up on you. Regardless of the actual dates, in the northern latitudes the holidays are in the autumn, whose weather encourages a shift from summer wines to those better suited to this time of year. The brighter, high acid wines like roses give way to wines with earthier flavors and more complexity that compliment both the harvest season and the traditional holiday meals.

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Israeli Label Yarden Shows Much Promise

August 22, 2012

Yarden Chardonnay

A review of Yarden wines from Israel’s Golan Heights Winery.

In 1972, oenologist Cornelius Ough identified the Golan Heights as an ideal location for grape growing due to its altitude, cool climate and volcanic soil. More than a decade later the award-winning Golan Heights Winery was established and it is credited with invigorating Israeli winemaking by dramatically improving the quality of the country’s wines. Its early successes led to the search for a winemaker that would build upon these accomplishments. In 1992, a young American graduate of UC Davis, Victor Schoenfeld, arrived in Israel to become its new head winemaker. It could be argued that advanced Israeli winemaking really began that year.

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Scotch In A Can?

July 26, 2012

Scotch in a can

A review of the Mony Reserve Syrah 2009 and look at a new product: Scotch in a Can.

The Mony Winery is an unlikely producer of kosher wines. The winery is located at the Dir Rafat Monastery in the foothills of the Jerusalem Mountains, part of the much vaunted Judean Hills wine region (the mountain range that divides the Sharon Coastal Plain to the west and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east). Mony is nestled on a peak overlooking the Soreq Valley, opposite Beit Shemesh, its vineyards and olive trees start at the winery and descend the slopes towards the valley.

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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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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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