Merlot Finally Gets Its Due

August 24, 2011

Jameson Irish Whiskey

A review of the Herzog Special Reserve Merlot 2006and the Jameson 12 year old, the Bushmill’s Original and the Kilbeggan Irish Whiskies.

Merlot is no longer the unwanted stepchild of the wine world. The previous lack of respect did not stem from anything inherent to the varietal. Rather, it was an offshoot of overplanting in response to increasing demand, resulting in a multitude of characterless wines. Thankfully, the grape has been rescued by conscientious winemakers who have resisted over-commercialization, and instead carefully crafted some delicious merlots.

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Snow Phoenix: A Cascade of Tastes

August 17, 2011

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix

A review of Tierra Salvaje Carmenere 2010 and the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix.

Carmenere is Chile’s signature red wine varietal. Brought to South America from France’s Bordeaux region (where it was used primarily as a blending grape), Carmenere was first planted near Santiago in the 1800s where it was believed to be a clone of merlot. For many years the two varietals were harvested together which gave Chilean “merlot” a significantly different taste than merlots grown elsewhere. It took until the 1990s for the Chileans to recognize Camernere as a separate varietal and to appreciate its unique flavors. Rather than limiting it as a blending component, Chilean winemakers have embraced Carmenere, featuring it in some remarkably enjoyable and distinctive wines.

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Ultra-Vintage Scotch Is Delish, But Is It Worth It?

August 10, 2011

Glenmorangie Pride 1981

A review of the Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut and the Glenmorangie Pride 1981.

Champagne is usually associated with celebrations and secular holidays. Served chilled, Champagnes and other sparkling wines are very food-friendly and refreshing, especially during the warm summer months. Although other countries and regions have tried to expropriate the name, true Champagne is produced exclusively in the eponymous French appellation northeast of Paris. The principle grapes used to make Champagne are pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier and they must be grown in specifically designated areas within the region. Production and quality are strictly regulated to assure the high degree of quality expected from this most regal of sparkling wines.

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Wine Is Fine, But Summer in DC Is Daiquiri Time

August 3, 2011

Terrenal and Barcardi

A review of the Terrenal Yecla Valley Tempranillo 2009 and the tale of the Daiquiri.

Spain continues to be a source for wine values, particularly with their signature grape, Tempranillo. This grape typically produces medium-bodied wines displaying spicy red and dark fruits including cherries, berries and plums often accented with tea, vanilla, tobacco, or leather notes. A very good, value-priced example is the kosher Terrenal Yecla Valley Tempranillo 2009 ($7), which opens with cherry and red berry aromas that lead into raspberry, dark cherry and blackberry flavors with hints of earth and chocolate.

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Summer Food-Friendly Austrian White Wine Merits More Attention

July 27, 2011

Prager

A wine review of several Gruner Veltliners.

Gruner Veltliner is the primary Austrian white wine varietal. Grown mostly in the northeastern aspect of the country, “Gru-Vee” ranges from a light, slightly fizzy style suitable for immediate consumption to a lush wine with the structure to develop more complexity during cellaring. Sparkling Gruners are known by the German designation “Sekt.” Gruner’s characteristic fruitiness and signature pepper accent along with an inherent acidity make it a food-friendly wine, especially with summer fare.

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Slake Your Thirst With An Air Of Sophistication



Terra di Seta

A review of the Terra di Seta Chianti Classico 2008 and some summer cocktail suggestions.

Italians have been making wines for thousands of years. Chianti is one of their better wines, however it unfortunately suffers from the image of the straw-covered curved bottle festooned with wax drippings. But Chianti is much more than a restaurant candleholder. It can be elegantly complex and is a fabulous food wine, especially with Italian cuisine. The kosher Terra di Seta Chianti Classico 2008 ($19) is a delicious medium-bodied blend of 95 percent Sangiovese with 5 percent cabernet sauvignon. It displays cherry, coffee and cranberry aromas that lead into raspberry, blackberry and vanilla flavors, soft tannins and a silky-smooth finish with a touch of cocoa and spice. For an accompaniment, think grilled salmon or tuna, any tomato-based dish or your favorite burger.

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A Giant of a Wine and a Kiddush-Table Favorite

July 20, 2011

Balvenie Caribbean Cask

A review of the Brobdingnagian Syrah 2009 and the Balvenie Peated Cask 17 year old and Caribbean Cask 14 year old Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Large estates in California, France, Italy, Spain, South America and Israel produce tens of thousands of cases of single varietal and blended wines. These vast operations are also great incubators for wine-making talent, providing ample opportunities to learn each aspect of the field. Many now-famous winemakers started their careers as cellar rats washing tanks and cleaning floors.

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Summertime And The Sipping Is Easy

July 13, 2011

Bulleit Rye

A review of the Cantine del Borgo Pinot Grigio 2010 and the Bulleit Rye Whiskey.

Pinot grigio is an ideal wine for summer sipping. One of Italy’s most popular white wines, the best Italian pinot grigios originate from the Alto-Adige, Veneto and Friuli regions. Recently a number of very good ones are being produced in other countries including the U.S., in California and Oregon, where they are often called pinot gris.

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A Kosher Taste Tour – From Western Australia to Kentucky

July 6, 2011

Maker's Mark 46

A review of the Beckett’s Flat Five Stones Sauvignon Blanc Semillion 2009 and the Maker’s Mark # 46.

The Beckett’s Flat Five Stones Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009 ($15) is another one of those exceptional varietal marriages that the Australians do so well. A classic white Bordeaux blend, it has also found a home in the Western Australian Margaret River region where this combination of grapes produces a wine with outstanding flavors and character. This Aussie mevushal (boiled) kosher wine is richly aromatic with scents of apples, freshly cut grass and tropical fruit along with lively green apple, gooseberry and pineapple flavors with hints of herbs and lime. The finish is bright and mouth-filling, making it a great summer wine to enjoy with seafood or Asian flavored fare.

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