Making Kosher Wine – In Italy

Reviews of the Borgo Reale Chianti Vespertino 2009 and several Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.
There have been Jews in Italy since Judah Maccabee sent ambassadors to the Roman Senate in 161 BCE. Conditions have varied during the subsequent centuries depending upon the dispensation of various pontiffs and secular rulers. The ravages of World

The “New Wine” For Jews

Reviews of the Covenant Solomon Lot 70 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and several SMWS single cask Scotch whiskies.
While wine has a pivotal role in Jewish life, whisky and other spirits, especially single malt Scotch whisky, have become quite the rage in shuls all across the country. Rare is the kiddush these days that does not

Gift Guide For Wine Connoisseurs Offers Good Words, Good Cheer

Some recently published books that would be perfect gifts for the wine-lovers on your list.
A veritable feast of new publications are this year’s recommendations for holiday gifts for wine lovers, beginning with “Iconic Spirits — An Intoxicating History,” by Mark Spivak, the former host of NPR’s “Uncorked” and a prolific writer on food, wine

Shaken, Not Stirred

A review of the Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat 2011 and a look at the Martini.
We are often asked how and why kosher wine in the United States began as sweet, syrupy drek. The simplest answer is that the Jewish immigrants who settled in the northeastern United States way back when discovered that the

Hot Tips On Mevushal Wine

What is "Mevushal" anyway? Also a review of Dalton Safsufa Merlot 2009 and Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky.
One of the most confusing aspects of kosher wine is the concept of yayin mevushal or "cooked" wine. The following discussion might seem academic, but we are continuously asked about this, so we thought a brief treatment

Cork It

A review of the Five Stones Shiraz 2010 and the SMWS # 23.72 Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch.
One of the most beloved rituals in the world of wine snobbery is the extraction of the cork. Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, or Quercus Suber that grows in Spain and Portugal. The

Chasidic Bootlegging

A review of the Ramot Naftaly Barbera 2007 and the Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon for 2012.
A few years ago a 300-family Montreal chasidic congregation paid a $20,000 fine to the Quebec civil authorities. Its offense? Supplying their community with kosher wines. This chasidic shul, Congregation Toldos Yakov Yosef Skver, was raided in

Second Label Doesn’t Mean Second Rate

A review of Yatir Red Wine 2007 and Tio Pepe Fino Sherry.
A great many wineries produce what is called a "second wine" or, more commonly these days, a "second label" in order to make use of grapes not selected for blending into their "first label" wine. This practice enables producers to be more selective

Making Wine Where Perfume Once Reigned

A review of the Binyamina Reserve Carignan 2010 and two Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.
Israel's Binyamina Winery began life in 1952, when Hungarian winemaker Joseph Zeltzer immigrated to Israel and established the Eliaz Winery, named for his son who perished in Israel's 1948 War of Independence. The winery's facilities actually began life as a