Port Helps Beat Winter Blahs

February 4, 2014

A look at Port including a review of Shiloh Fort Dessert Wine along with a review of Booker’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Port is an ideal way to offset the winter doldrums. Now authentic Port comes only from Portugal. It is made from various varieties of very foreign-sounding grapes grown in the Douro Valley region of Portugal. Port is a typically heavy, rich, sweet, high-alcohol (usually 18-20 percent abv) wine not only due to the type of grapes used, but also because it is fortified; the winemakers add some measure of distilled grape spirits (a local brandy known as “aguardiente” or fire water) to fortify the wine with an artificially higher alcohol content which, in turn, immediately kills the yeast cells, halting the fermentation process before the grapes’ remaining sugar is converted into alcohol. The wine then gets aged in one of two basic processes, depending on style (and eventual price).

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The Yin And Yang Of Wine Bottles

January 27, 2014

The advantages of a half-bottle of wine along with reviews of the Terra Vega Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 944 2012 and Tullamore Dew “Phoenix” Limited Edition Irish Whiskey.

There are various ways for wine producers to distinguish their wines for consumers. Interesting and unusual varietals and blends can attract attention. Likewise, an attractive or unusual label or marketing campaign can make it stand out. Another great option is to change the size of the bottle

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Shifting From Red To White

January 21, 2014

A look at the growing emphasis on white wines in Israel including a review of the Flam Blanc 2012 along with a look at the purchase of Beam, Inc. by Suntory.

It has been interesting to observe the subtle but steady shift in emphasis from red to white wine occurring in Israeli winemaking. The country certainly produces a number of flavorful, enjoyable, compelling and occasionally even truly outstanding red wines. But now there seems to be a growing appreciation of the potential inherent in white grapes when grown in the Mediterranean climate. In this regard, there are some remarkable similarities to Greek winemaking.

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Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch

January 13, 2014

A review of the Yarden Gewurztraminer 2012 and the Ron Burgundy Blended Scotch Whisky, “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve.

Choosing a wine for your meal is dependent upon numerous factors including flavors, style, budget and accompanying foods. An often overlooked factor that can influence one’s selection is the time of day. For example, few would consider sipping a California Cab in the morning — unless attending a wine industry tasting even — but many folks have indulged in a mimosa (or Bloody Mary) to help wash down a brunch. And pairing a quality Champagne with a simply prepared egg dish for breakfast is one of life’s more decadent pleasures.

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Plan Your Pinot Perusing Vacation Early

January 8, 2014

The International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville Oregon is a winelover’s dream vacation.

The answer to where a discerning wine lover should go on their next vacation has become extremely easy to answer. Plan a trip to Oregon, specifically during the last week of July, for the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration. Held in the picturesque Willamette Valley on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., IPNC is among the finest wine and food experiences anywhere in the world. In fact, before you read any further, go to their website (www.ipnc.org) and register for this year’s event before they sell out.

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Oak And Wine — A Heavenly Match

January 6, 2014

A look at the role of oak in winemaking along with reviews of the Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 and several Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Why oak? At first glance it would seem unlikely that the wood from a tree and the fruit of the vine would have such a longstanding relationship. While both oak barrels and wine are ultimately made from plants, they are certainly cultivated, harvested, developed and utilized very differently. Yet without oak, the wide world of wine would be very, very different.

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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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