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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Wine For The Holidays

November 4, 2013

Reviews of the Shiloh Shor Barbera 2009 and 3 Tomatin Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Since oil played a significant role in the Chanukah story, oily foods have become traditional during the holiday. So those celebrating both Chanukah and Thanksgiving are likely to have some interesting menu variations this year. Wine, of course, should play an important role.

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Wine For “Thanksgivukah”

October 31, 2013

Reviews of the Dovev Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and the latest release of Kilchoman Scotch Whisky.

This year, due to the distinct dynamics of the secular and Jewish calendars, Chanukah is the day before Thanksgiving (the first night of Chanukah is erev Thanksgiving, which means that the first day of Chanukah is also Thanksgiving day; so those who celebrate both will be lighting the second night and then fressing at their Thanksgiving feast).“Thanksgivukah?” “Turkukah”? Whatever. This overlap of American Jewish life has given us turkey-shaped menorahs and mash-up songs that combine lyrics that embody both holidays. It also means that, for many, there is likely to be a similar convergence of menus for the American national holiday meal with latkes appearing side-by-side with turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes. It can be a challenge to find an appropriate wine to match. Over the next several weeks, we will look at various ways to include wine in this year’s celebrations.

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Johnnie Walker Platinum – Unsurprisingly Good

October 29, 2013

Reviews of the Terrenal Tempranillo 2010 and the new Johnnie Walker Platinum Blended Scotch Whisky.

During the past several years, kosher wines have received numerous accolades and have garnered praise from prominent wine critics and publications. But those who need further proof that kosher wines are firmly part of the mainstream wine world need look no further than their local Trader Joe’s specialty grocery stores. Kosher-anything at Trader Joe’s is regional (they have locations in 30 states), and not all regions carry the same products or even carry wine. For those that do, look for their kosher wine exclusives (for those that don’t, talk to the store manager). Trader Joe’s features some might tasty kosher wines and at mighty fine bang for your buck.

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Wine Labels: A Sticky Situation

October 24, 2013

Wine labels are unnecessarily confusing. A few changes would make them more consumer friendly and help facilitate sales.

Wine labels are funny things. With the hundreds of unique winemaking varietals, numerous different methods and an entire world of distinctive regions, you would think that wine labels would be designed to be models of clarity in order to assist a consumer in making an educated purchase. If only that were true.

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