Top 10 Kosher Wines Over $30

Our annual list of the Top 10 kosher wines from the previous year costing $30 or more/bottle along with a review of the Laphroaig 18 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky.


By Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon


Washington Jewish Week  September 14, 2015


Top 10At this time of year, around the Yamim Noraim (the Days of Awe), we are supposed to reflect on the past year and where we should be going in life. It is a perfect time to look back and select our top wines from the previous year. This week we will focus on wines costing $30 or more that are worthy to collect and cellar or, better yet, to share with family and special friends. Next week we will look at the top 10 value-priced wines we especially enjoyed this past year.

So here we go:

Shiloh Legend II 2010 ($35): A rich, hefty yet elegant, full-bodied, fresh, balanced blend exhibiting aromas and flavors of black fruits, tobacco, eucalyptus and lovely spices, all structured with enough acidity and smooth tannins to provide a little longevity.

Jezreel Red Blend 2012 ($32): A delicious, easy drinking fusion that displays a slightly smoky dark fruit aroma that leads into strawberry, red cherry, cassis and plum flavors with accents of herbs, spice and oak.

Shirah Wines, White Hawk, Syrah 2012 ($55): Intense with nice acidity and booming notes of blackberries, blueberries, and mild black pepper with perhaps a touch of cassia or nutmeg, some leafy tobacco, distinct notes of oak, with a long, hearty, drying tannic finish.

Shirah Wines, Luna Matta, Aglianico 2013 ($65): A wonderfully balanced wine  displaying lovely dried red fruit, licorice and mint aromas leading into supple black plum, strawberry, fig, dark chocolate, leather and exotic spice flavors, in a medium frame and a poised lengthy finish.

Black Tulip 2011 ($80): A full-bodied, concentrated Bordeaux-style blend that expresses a host of aromas and flavors including black currant, cassis, dark cherry and tart blackberry accented with vanilla, Mediterranean spices and bits of dark chocolate.

Covenant Lavan Chardonnay 2012 ($38): This begins with scents of white flowers and apples that extend into a medium frame of pear, fig, and citrus, along with hints of minerals, anise and toast, all following through the poised and polished finish.

Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($87): Cassis, black cherry and chocolate aromas and flavors flow smoothly and persist in this full-bodied, velvety-smooth beauty, along with red currants, coffee, graphite, mint and oak, all leading to a prolonged finish

Hagafen Brut Cuvée 2012 ($37): Full-bodied with a lovely, bright peach hue and a robust head of large, lively bubbles, this dry sparkler offers aromas and flavors of peach, apple, strawberry, a touch of melon, citrus, dollops of cream, a touch of yeast, and an inviting smidge of brioche; there is also a generous hint of sweet syrup, finishing in a long citrus and green almond finish.

Elvi Herenza Rioja Reserva 2009 ($67): A seriously elegant wine with expressive earthy aromas and flavors intermingled with dark plum, red cherry, licorice and herb notes with firm tannins and a vanilla accented finish.

Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Gravelière 2012 ($34): Opens with opulent floral and grapefruit aromas that lead into vibrantly rich flavors including tart green apple, peach, and passion fruit with a lively, long citrus infused finish featuring hints of grassy herbs and stone.

Spirits-wise, in the remaining space allotted to us this week, we thought we’d doff our cap to one of our great favorite whiskies which is being discontinued. Beam Suntory announced that supplies of the Laphroaig 18-year-old have run dry and that the product is no longer being offered. No replacement is expected next year, the company said. We love all things Laphroaig and are sad to see this expression go. There are still plenty of bottles out there, but not for very much longer, so seek, find, save, and savor. We bid it a fond adieu, while savoring a dram of:

Laphroaig 18 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (48%; $90 – $140 – so shop around): An awesome, simply brilliant whisky!  Laphroaig’s signature flavor profile—an untamed yet complex beast of smoke, peat and iodine thrashing at its cage—is here domesticated, mellowed and even refined, with wonderful, big and complex aromas and flavors of peat smoke, charcoal, tar, iodine, honey, creamy vanilla, toffee, sweet malt, grain-bread toast, citrus, fruit compote, dark chocolate, orange marmalade, subtle brine, anise, ginger, and citrus. Time in the glass unleashes even greater depth and subtlety. A most rewarding, delicious, rich, flavorful, creamy and absorbing whisky! Not to be missed. L’Chaim!

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