Daniel Rogov, A Great Vintage In His Own Right

September 21, 2011

Daniel Rogov

A tribute to the legendary Daniel Rogov including a review of the Mosby Kosher Plum Brandy Slivovitz.

The wine world has sadly become a little less interesting with the recent passing of Israel’s preeminent wine critic Daniel Rogov earlier this month. Rogov (as he preferred to be called) arrived on the Israeli wine scene just as there was a growing interest in quality improvement.

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From Italy’s Piedmont To The Scottish Highlands

September 14, 2011

Glenlivet 18

A review of Bartenura Dolcetto D’Alba Ovadia Estates 2010, the Glenlivet 18 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky and the Jameson 18 year old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey.

There’s more to Italian wines than just Chianti and Soave. In actuality, Italian varieties range from bone dry to enticingly sweet, and they are produced in nearly every corner of the country. While many are fine for sipping anytime, most are best appreciated with food, especially cuisine from the same region as the winery. Northern Italy’s Piedmont region is best known for its Barbaresco and Barolo offerings, which are created from the Nebbiolo grape. Both are big, powerful wines that need several years of aging to achieve their potential. In contrast, Dolcetto is a fruit-forward, low acidity wine that is very food-friendly and is meant to be enjoyed young. Produced within several areas in Piedmont, the best originate in D’Alba.

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Around the World of Wonderful Wines

September 12, 2011

Morgon Descombes

A review of several Cru Beaujolais, some Pinot Grigios and New Zealand Pinot Noirs.

To appreciate the variety of notable wines being made around the world, try less familiar varietals or more familiar ones that come from different locations. Begin your journey in France’s Beaujolais region where the Gamay grape is made into remarkable, reasonably-priced and often underappreciated wines. Distinct from the simply styled “Beaujolais Nouveau” meant to be consumed soon after harvest, the better Beaujolais have complex fruitiness along with minimal tannins, making them the ones to pour for a friend that usually likes only white wine.

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Making the Desert Bloom – With Vineyards

September 7, 2011

Penderyn Single Malt

A review of the Kadesh Barnea Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, the Johnnie Walker “Blue Label” and the Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky.

It seems almost poetic that the barren region where Moses brought forth water from a rock would eventually become a winery. Also known as the place where Miriam is buried, Kadesh Barnea in the western Negev is the site of a unique boutique winery. While it seems counterintuitive to grow grapes in the desert, the hot days and cool nights actually provide the type of wide temperature variations that result in flavorful and well-balanced wines.

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Harvesting a Liquid Dessert

August 31, 2011

Hafner Icewine

A review of the Hafner Gruner Veltliner Icewine 2002 and the story of the “Hot Toddy,” a classic curative cocktail.

There are times when you need to have something sweet. Cookies, cake, ice cream and even fruit usually quench that craving. But for a less caloric and often more interesting alternative, consider a late-harvest wine. More commonly known as “dessert wines,” late-harvest wines are among the world’s most desirable and expensive, with many bottles costing hundreds of dollars. Dessert wines are created in a number of fashions but most include harvesting the grapes after a prolonged growing season. Over time, the sugar levels increase and the flavors become more concentrated- and the results can be ephemeral.

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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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