A ‘Signature’ Wine From Upper Galilee

December 30, 2013

Review of the Ramot Naftaly Duet 2010 and several of the Bowmore Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Most established wineries produce a “signature” bottling. Usually a product of their finest grapes, these flagship wines are meant to reflect both the winemaker’s skill and the winery’s specific terroir. These signature wines, often with limited-production runs, tend to be a winery’s most expensive. Indeed, beyond striving for excellence, these signature wines are useful marketing tools; especially if widely and critically acclaimed, as positive buzz tends to shine a light on the rest of the winery’s portfolio.

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Further Gift Ideas For The Wine Lover On One’s List

December 18, 2013

Some more holiday gift selections for the wine lover’s on your list.

The holiday catalogs abound with numerous gifts ideal for the wine-lovers on your list. In addition to a nice bottle of bubbly or a Pinot Noir from Oregon or the Russian River Valley, consider some other ideas that will not spill or require decanting. Continuing with last month’s literary gift theme, the first suggestion is the latest edition of “The World Atlas of Wine, 7th Edition” by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. A perfect synergy of entertainment and detail, this volume is an absolute must for anyone passionate about the fruit of the vine.

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Yes,There Really Is Kosher Moldovan Wine

December 16, 2013

A review of the Le Soreq Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and two Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Moldova is a landlocked country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania with a long history of winemaking. There are fossil records that indicate grapes flourished in Moldova 6 million to 25 million years ago, and the country was a significant source of wine for the ancient Greeks and later the Romans. After the end of Ottoman rule, Moldova became the main supplier of wine to Russia and several Eastern European countries.

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Wine Books Are Perfect Holiday Gifts

December 4, 2013

Books are the focus of this year’s gift suggestions for wine-lovers.

Did you know that 90 % of the wine sold annually in the US retails for less than $12? Jeff Siegel certainly does. He has been a tireless proponent of well-made, value-priced wines for many years and his most recent book, The Wine Curmudgeon’s Guide to Cheap Wine, provides a road map to finding and appreciating wine’s inexpensive gems. Jeff eschews the use of scores and other techniques utilized by the “Winestream Media” that he believes confuses and intimidates wine consumers. He makes it clear that “cheap” does not necessarily mean “bad” and that the most important aspect of a wine is whether it is enjoyable. The book explores why all wines have gotten better (including the less expensive ones), how a wine is priced, what a wine label reveals, the questions to ask in a wine store, where in the world the best values are currently being produced and how to find good, low-cost wines.

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The Growing Population Of Sweet Reds

December 2, 2013

A review of Ben Ami Zmora Semi-Sweet Cabernet Sauvignon and the “Whisky of the Year,” the Glenmorangie Ealanta, 19 Year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

One of the fastest growing segments of the wine industry is sweet red wines. This isn’t much of a surprise since most folks grow up and continue to go through life with high-fructose corn syrup or refined sugars in nearly every processed food product we eat. Some of the more tasty if nutrition-less garbage, like donuts, cupcakes, soda, ice cream and the like, are obviously sugar-packed, but so many other processed foods have such sweeteners too — from pasta sauce to Cheerios, and from energy drinks to yogurt. So winemakers are now recognizing that many consumers are looking for wines that fit that same sweet-flavor profile.

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Wish List For Chanukah Gifts

November 25, 2013

Some suggestions for wine and spirits related holiday gifts.

With the beginning of Chanukah falling on Thanksgiving, many folks will be focused on the traditional turkey-centric meal and related Thanksgiving aspects of the day. But it is good to remember that Chanukah is not only the more important of the two holidays, it also lasts longer — far longer than any Thanksgiving leftovers. So a little more thought and contemplation are required. With this in mind, relevant to a column on wines and distilled spirits, it seems worthwhile to discuss some great booze related gifts.

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Pushing The (Winemaking) Envelope

November 18, 2013

A review of the Weinstock Alicante Bouschet 2010, the Talisker Storm and the Talisker 10 year old Single Malt Whiskies.

Winemaking is a complex, time-consuming and often expensive endeavor. The inherent risks of dealing with the vagaries of weather, yeasts and market forces would seem to favor a more formulaic approach to making wine. Fortunately, some winemaking folks not only tinker with how they make wine, but also sometimes experiment with uncommon grape varietals.

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Liquid Poetry

November 13, 2013

A review of the Tzuba Pinot Noir 2010 and 2 new releases from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Among our favorite varietals for Thanksgiving is pinot noir. It is a notoriously finicky grape that can be difficult to grow and challenging to vinify, but it’s also responsible for some of the world’s greatest wines. It prefers cooler growing conditions and has been planted nearly everywhere in the world with variable success. Except, of course, in France’s Burgundy region where the resulting wines can become ethereal and profoundly complex.

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Wine For The Holidays – Part 2

November 11, 2013

A review of the Borgo Reale Prosecco Brut and a look at several Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

There is something very stressful yet comforting about planning the typical Thanksgiving meal. On the one hand, the menu is pretty much standard fare with turkey, stuffing, fall vegetables, something cranberry and plenty of dessert. On the other hand, the stress involved can be stultifying, leaving one’s head abuzz with questions: Which recipe or style of preparation to use? When to start cooking the bird so that it won’t dry out? What to do about seating arrangements? Another potential source of stress is choosing a wine to match all the divergent flavors, especially this year when Chanukah’s many oil-based foods are factored in.

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