Finicky Pinot Noir Grape Can Produce Profound Wine

February 25, 2014

A review of Yarden Pinot Noir 2009 and the Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

There is some mysterious aspect of Pinot Noir that results in a degree of winemaker madness. It is difficult to grow and vinify, temperamental in the barrel and prone to closing down in the bottle for years before becoming really drinkable again. These very challenges seem to inspire rather than inhibit those winemakers who consider crafting a Pinot Noir the pinnacle of their profession.

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The Desirable Taste Of The Varietal

February 17, 2014

A review of the Barkan Assemblage Tzafit 2010 and The Glenlivet 15 year old, French Oak Reserve, Single-Malt Scotch Whisky.

One of the more difficult aspects of winemaking is creating a blend. It requires the ability to predict how a very young wine will evolve, and then also the ability to choose which additional varietals to add to enhance the finished product. Since the final result may not be ready to drink for years, a finely crafted and enjoyable blended wine is a true testimony to the winemaker’s skill and experience.

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A Fine Whisky From Low Down In The Scottish Highlands

February 12, 2014

A review of several Glengoyne Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

We thought this week we’d revisit a few of the remarkable whiskies of the Glengoyne Distillery from fairly low down in the Scottish Highlands. Glengoyne is sadly not as familiar a name to many as it should be. It was founded in 1833 in a wooded glen on the western edge of the Campsie Fells, not far from Loch Lomond, almost exactly on the demarcation line between the Highlands and Lowlands (about 30 minutes outside of Glasgow). The distillery had a good reputation and in 1984 was issued a royal warrant as supplier of whiskies to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s household.

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Port Helps Beat Winter Blahs

February 4, 2014

A look at Port including a review of Shiloh Fort Dessert Wine along with a review of Booker’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Port is an ideal way to offset the winter doldrums. Now authentic Port comes only from Portugal. It is made from various varieties of very foreign-sounding grapes grown in the Douro Valley region of Portugal. Port is a typically heavy, rich, sweet, high-alcohol (usually 18-20 percent abv) wine not only due to the type of grapes used, but also because it is fortified; the winemakers add some measure of distilled grape spirits (a local brandy known as “aguardiente” or fire water) to fortify the wine with an artificially higher alcohol content which, in turn, immediately kills the yeast cells, halting the fermentation process before the grapes’ remaining sugar is converted into alcohol. The wine then gets aged in one of two basic processes, depending on style (and eventual price).

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The Yin And Yang Of Wine Bottles

January 27, 2014

The advantages of a half-bottle of wine along with reviews of the Terra Vega Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 944 2012 and Tullamore Dew “Phoenix” Limited Edition Irish Whiskey.

There are various ways for wine producers to distinguish their wines for consumers. Interesting and unusual varietals and blends can attract attention. Likewise, an attractive or unusual label or marketing campaign can make it stand out. Another great option is to change the size of the bottle

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Shifting From Red To White

January 21, 2014

A look at the growing emphasis on white wines in Israel including a review of the Flam Blanc 2012 along with a look at the purchase of Beam, Inc. by Suntory.

It has been interesting to observe the subtle but steady shift in emphasis from red to white wine occurring in Israeli winemaking. The country certainly produces a number of flavorful, enjoyable, compelling and occasionally even truly outstanding red wines. But now there seems to be a growing appreciation of the potential inherent in white grapes when grown in the Mediterranean climate. In this regard, there are some remarkable similarities to Greek winemaking.

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Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch

January 13, 2014

A review of the Yarden Gewurztraminer 2012 and the Ron Burgundy Blended Scotch Whisky, “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve.

Choosing a wine for your meal is dependent upon numerous factors including flavors, style, budget and accompanying foods. An often overlooked factor that can influence one’s selection is the time of day. For example, few would consider sipping a California Cab in the morning — unless attending a wine industry tasting even — but many folks have indulged in a mimosa (or Bloody Mary) to help wash down a brunch. And pairing a quality Champagne with a simply prepared egg dish for breakfast is one of life’s more decadent pleasures.

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Plan Your Pinot Perusing Vacation Early

January 8, 2014

The International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville Oregon is a winelover’s dream vacation.

The answer to where a discerning wine lover should go on their next vacation has become extremely easy to answer. Plan a trip to Oregon, specifically during the last week of July, for the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration. Held in the picturesque Willamette Valley on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., IPNC is among the finest wine and food experiences anywhere in the world. In fact, before you read any further, go to their website (www.ipnc.org) and register for this year’s event before they sell out.

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Oak And Wine — A Heavenly Match

January 6, 2014

A look at the role of oak in winemaking along with reviews of the Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 and several Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Why oak? At first glance it would seem unlikely that the wood from a tree and the fruit of the vine would have such a longstanding relationship. While both oak barrels and wine are ultimately made from plants, they are certainly cultivated, harvested, developed and utilized very differently. Yet without oak, the wide world of wine would be very, very different.

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