Israeli Wines Continue Ancient Tradition

July 7, 2014

Reviews of the Psagot Edom 2011 and the Kilkerran “Work in Progress” 5th release, Sherry Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Given the importance of wine in ancient times, it is not surprising that the writing on a clay jug fragment found in Jerusalem dating from the time of King Solomon is actually part of a wine label. University of Haifa Professor Gershon Galil believes the inscription indicated the vintage and appellation as well as quality of the wine contained within.

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Wine For The Fourth

June 30, 2014

Reviews of the Joseph River Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot 2009, Agua Dulce Winery Zinfandel 2010 and 2 rye whiskies, the Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye Whisky and Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Small Batch Rye.

Celebrating the Fourth of July typically involves fireworks and outdoor grilling or even barbeque (cooking with smoke rather than fire). On the grilling front, one of the great customary summer foods, and one of our favorites, is the hamburger. While many believe that beer is the ideal accompaniment to burgers, we – not surprisingly – recommend cracking open a bottle of red wine as well, if not instead.

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Burgundy’s Long Reach

June 23, 2014

Reviews of Domaine du Castel “C” Chardonnay 2012 and several Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Led by the owners of two of the region’s most renowned vineyards, France’s Burgundy region has applied to become a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. This honor is conferred upon locations that have “outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.” Burgundians believe their specific vineyards are the epitome of “the quest for a relationship between wine and the natural environment where it is produced” and therefore qualified to be designated as a location that UNESCO considers “our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations.”

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Israel’s Developing Wine Culture

June 16, 2014

Reviews of Gamla Syrah 2010 and Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel Sherry Cask.

A recent visit to Israel has reaffirmed our enthusiasm for the Holy Land’s developing wine culture. Besides the different wineries that seen to be cropping up nearly every week, there is a palpable sense that enjoying wine is becoming as fundamental to Israelis as their love of coffee.

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‘Cooking’ The Wine

June 9, 2014

Reviews of Covenant’s “The Tribe” Chardonnay 2013 and Cragganmore 12- year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

There has been a steady increase in the number of kosher wines released on the U.S. market that are being made mevushal or “cooked.” These are wines that have been thermally processed in accordance with religious strictures so as to, basically, inoculate the wine from being rendered not-kosher by the handling of non-Jew or a non-Sabbath observant Jew.

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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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