Yeast Is Not Only For Bread

June 2, 2014

A review of the Dalton Wild Yeast Fermentation Reserve Viognier 2012 and Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon.

Among the many factors that determine a wine’s quality, perhaps the least appreciated by most consumers is the role of yeast. It is these microscopic, single-cell organisms that convert the sugars found in grapes (and grains) into alcohol and carbon dioxide via the process of fermentation. There are numerous different yeast strains utilized in winemaking and each subtype has its own specific efficiency and impact upon the wine’s ultimate flavors.

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Kosher Wine With Biblical Roots

May 22, 2014

A review of the Abarbanel Cabernet-Merlot Blend, Batch 58, 2011 and a revisit to Jim Beam whiskies.

The Abarbanel Wine Company traces its family roots from the biblical King David to Don Isaac Abarbanel, the leader of Spanish Jewry at the time of the 1492 expulsion. Born in Lisbon, Don Isaac was a scholar, philosopher and prodigious author who also served as treasurer for Portuguese King Alfonso V, and subsequently for the Spanish royal family. He lent large sums to the Spanish throne during their battles with the Moors, and their reluctance to repay him likely contributed to their decision to expel the Jews at the war’s end.

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The Beauty Of Going Out On A Wine-Varietal Limb

May 13, 2014

A review of the Borgo Reale Maturo 2010 and The English Whisky Company, St. George’s Peated Single Malt Whisky.

There are a great many different wine grape varietals being actively cultivated and made into wine around the globe, yet only a handful are widely recognized by most consumers. The unfortunate tendency amongst most wine consumers is to avoid the unknown and stick to familiar varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot and, for kosher consumers, the always popular Moscato. Sure, some have ventured into Malbec, Shiraz, Petite Sirah, or maybe even the occasional Riesling. Most, however, seem to prefer the comfort of convention and conformity, rarely trying anything different. While perfectly understandable, and there are certainly times when sticking with what you like is the way to go, we urge folks to at least periodically expand their choices and reach beyond their comfort zones.

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Clearly, A Claret

May 8, 2014

A review of Chateau Rollan de By 2010 and Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.

Thanks to the British, the world of fine wine is firmly anchored to the love of claret. A derivative of the Latin term for “clear,” the word “claret” used to refer to the pale, rosé-like color of the wines of Bordeaux back in the 14th and 15th centuries. Even though the wines of Bordeaux began to be made typically darker and deeper in color and body over the centuries, the British wine trade, and their hoighty-toighty clientele, adopted the term “claret” in the 1700s to refer to the dark red wines of Bordeaux. Today the term “claret” remains a generic reference to the wines of Bordeaux (and also wines styled after Bordeaux). It is even a legally protected trade name within the European Union, describing a red Bordeaux wine.

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One Man’s Wine Both Kosher And Organic

May 5, 2014

Reviews of the Four Gates Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky.

Early spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. It brings forth crocus, forsythia, daffodils and… loads of tedious yard work, like cleaning up debris from the winter weather, replacing mulch and planning for future plantings. Vineyard owners have also been busily preparing for the upcoming growing season. Beginning in late winter, when the vines lie dormant, the dead brush is removed and the vines are pruned back by hand, a backbreaking and labor intensive chore. Trellis wires are repaired and in some vineyards the earth between the vines is plowed to control weeds and aerate the soil. Other growers prefer to maintain a cover crop between the vines to inhibit weed growth.

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In Spring, The Bloom Is On The Rosé

April 28, 2014

A review of Domaine Lafond-Roc Epine Tavel Rosé 2010 and Single Cask Nation, Glen Elgin 18 year old, Bourbon Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Rosés are ideal warm weather wines. Combining the refreshing qualities of a white wine with some of the fruit flavors customarily found in red wine, they are remarkably food friendly, typically pairing well with summer fare. Most rosés are light and easy drinking, best served while young and very chilled. But when we are in the mood for a more complex and richer rosé we, often reach for one from Tavel.

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Greek Wines: Of Myths and Mediterranean Flavors

April 24, 2014

A look at Greek wines, specifically Santorini Assyrtiko.

The source of much of our current wine culture rests with the ancient Greeks. Wine has been made in Greece for over 6500 years and it played such a critical role in their civilization that it had its own god; Dionysus. Considered by their leading philosophers (including Homer, Plato and Aristotle) to have profoundly positive effects upon health and intellect, wine followed the Greeks during the expansion of their empire and became a valued export to much of Europe.

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A Spanish Wine For Every Course

April 17, 2014

Reviews of Capcanes Flor del Flor de Primavera 2010 and some Kosher for Passover Spirits.

Until a few decades ago, Spanish wines were discounted as not worthy of attention to those outside of Spain. But things began to shift: an improving economy in the 1980s, an influx of innovative winemakers, and an expansive rejig of wine-production regulations.

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Wine Your Cellar Will Love

April 11, 2014

Passover wine suggestions.

With Passover just around the corner, we thought we’d highlight a couple of wines to enjoy over the festivities. One of the newest and hottest-selling Israeli kosher wines to hit the U.S. market is the 2012 Pasco Project #1 ($25) made by the critically acclaimed winemaker, and our friend, Lewis Pasco.

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