Treat Your Guests to Great Wines From Israel

May 24, 2007

Recanati Wine

Israeli wine reviews including Recanati, Agur, Ben Hanna, Domaine du Castel, and Yatir.

The next time you are expecting guests, whether for an intimate dinner party or an open house, consider serving wine from one of Israel’s wineries. World-class kosher wines are being produced at a growing number number of excellent wineries in the Holy Land, spearheaded by winemakers with a mission to continue to improve their products.

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A Little Fine Wine With Your Blintzes

May 17, 2007

Sha'al Late Harvest

Some wine recommendations for Shavuot.

The Talmud states that there is no happiness without wine. As the only drink with its own blessing — thanking the “Creator of the fruit of the vine” — wine is integral to Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. Even the cup to hold the wine is special, often ornately decorated and of a specific volume to ensure that enough is consumed to fulfill the mitzvot.

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Pinot Noirs From New Zealand Peaking In Popularity

May 16, 2007

Amisfield Pinot Noir

A review of some fine New Zealand Pinot Noirs.

New Zealand is on a roll. Known for high-quality Sauvignon Blancs, Kiwi winemakers are hitting their stride with Pinot Noir, particularly the 2005 vintage. Plantings of Pinot Noir have increased almost tenfold in the past decade with a remarkable 1,100 percent increase in exports during the same time period. While some of the best examples are in limited supply, many very good New Zealand Pinot Noirs are currently available in the U.S.

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Paso Robles: California’s Most Promising Wine-Making Region

April 18, 2007

J Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

A review of some wines from Paso Robles.

More than 40 different varietals — high-quality Zinfandel, excellent Cabernet blends and first-rate Rhone varietals — are cultivated in Paso Robles, California’s largest American Viticultural Area (AVA). The 24-plus square mile area has 700 to 2,000-foot elevations, with diverse microclimates from the cooling Pacific breezes and multiple canyons.

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In The Spirit Of April 1, A Look Into The Future

March 28, 2007

Solar System

The winemakers on Europa, Jupiter’s most colonized moon, have focused on the several varietals that thrive in the grasp of the large planet’s magnetic field. Beginning as a small plot of reclaimed soil along the Western edge of the original colony, Europa has become one of the solar system’s most important wine producing regions.

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Are Cult Cabernets Worth The Craziness And Cost?

March 21, 2007

Harlan Maiden

A review of some “Cult Cabernets.”

Cult Cabernets are a subset of limited production, highly rated and extremely expensive California wines that induce a form of hysteria among devotees. They are usually only available via a special allocation from the winery sometimes requiring a wait of more than 10 years to be able to purchase a few precious bottles.

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Cure The Winter Blues With A Glass Of Red Wine

February 21, 2007

Mazzocco Zinfandel

Red wine recommendations for this winter.

A glass of red wine may be the best antidote for the winter blues. Even the coldest night is made more comfortable by a full- to medium-bodied wine served either with a hearty meal or sipped by the fire. And these long evenings are a perfect time to check out the bottles guests brought you during the holiday season.

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Washington State Wines Yield Pleasant Surprises

January 17, 2007

Alexandria Nicole Cabernet Sauvignon

A review of recent releases from Washington State.

Every year a fellow wine writer begs me to join him for his annual Washington State wine tasting. In the past these have been dreadful affairs, with the amount of swill we had to wade through completely overwhelming the occasional stars. I have learned to strategically place myself on the far end of the table and watch the faces of the other people he has coerced to join him. If they look like they have a mouthful of paint, I let that bottle pass me by.

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California Dreamin’: Wines Enhance the Holidays

December 20, 2006

Ferrari-Carano Siena

California wines for the holiday season.

With the holidays around the corner, it is time to choose the wines that will be served with the festive meals. Since the menu and head count often vary, it is best to generalize the wine choices rather than try to match them perfectly to the food and guests. Ideally, the wines should have solid fruit flavors that are true to the grape varietal. Balanced acidity is important to allow the wine to hold up to rich fare, and so is a good finish that will keep things interesting. For this year’s celebrations, I recommend wines from the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

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