A review of the Teperberg 1870 Terra Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and the Russell’s Reserve 10 year old Bourbon.
By Joshua E. London and Louis Marmon
Washington Jewish Week June 8, 2011
A lovely kosher summer white wine is the Teperberg 1870 Terra Sauvignon Blanc 2010($16). Orange and tropical fruit aromas predominate in this medium-bodied effort that has slightly herbal accents to the grapefruit and lime flavors. It is a perfect accompaniment to light summer fare such as salads, pasta and grilled fish.
Israel’s oldest privately-owned winery was established in 1870 by the Teperberg family within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. In 1964, they renamed themselves “Efrat” and relocated outside the city, but continued to focus primarily on wines for the Orthodox community. During the 1990s, Teperberg switched from producing mostly sacramental wines to table wines, hiring California-trained winemaker Shiki Rauchberger in 2002 to create wines crafted for broader appeal. They have recently moved again, this time to the Samson Valley in the Jerusalem Hills where they are constructing a new, ultra-modern winery and visitors center with a goal of producing 7 million bottles annually. French-trained winemaker Olivier Fratty has joined Rauchberger and the wines have steadily continued to improve and remain excellent values. Currently, Teperberg 1870 makes wines under the Reserve, Terra, and Silver labels with the main difference being the time the wines spend in oak.
Spirits-wise, our thoughts were directed toward Russell’s Reserve 10-Year-Old Bourbon ($35), a “small batch” Bourbon whiskey from the Austin, Nichols Distilling Company, the same group that produces Wild Turkey (all of which is now owned by Italian drinks conglomerate Gruppo Campari). “Small batch” is just an American whiskey marketing term that is meant to suggest a whiskey produced by mixing the contents of a relatively small number of selected barrels and is usually employed to justify an upper-premium market pricetag.
Marketing aside, Russell’s Reserve Bourbon is a wonderfully sweet and soothing, elegant whiskey. With tantalizing aromas and rich flavors of honey, caramel, pecans, cotton candy, light maple syrup, orange zest, coconut, stewed pineapple and creamy vanilla. Think of it as a more tame yet balanced and refined expression of Wild Turkey, minus a little of the alcoholic strength.
Originally introduced as a limited edition Bourbon by Wild Turkey in 2000, it was officially released as a regular part of the portfolio under a different label in 2005, and has since been repackaged as well as improved. It began as a joint project between master distiller Jimmy Russell and his son, Eddie, former director of barrel maturation and warehousing, and current associate distiller.
Jimmy Russell has been the master distiller since 1954, and is only the fourth master distiller of Wild Turkey since the brand was born in 1855. Eddie, with about 30 years of experience under his belt so far, is likely to take over whenever Jimmy feels the need to retire. What actually brought Russell’s Reserve to our attention this week, however, was marketing. In honor of Father’s Day, Russell’s Reserve will be partnering with Operation Once in a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization “that makes the dreams of military service members come true and helps to raise money to provide free flights home to U.S. Soldiers stationed around the world.” Throughout June, Russell’s Reserve will donate a portion of its sales to OOIAL. “I feel blessed to spend every day working with my son at the Russell’s Reserve distillery; it is time I cherish,” explains Jimmy. “We want to make sure military families get to share those same family moments together, which is why we have teamed with Operation Once in a Lifetime. Eddie and I always thought of Russell’s Reserve as a catalyst for bringing people together, so I am pleased it will also stand as a way for us to honor the brave men and women who make such sacrifices for our great country.”
“Russell’s Reserve is a great American brand,” said Sgt. Patrick Powers of OOIAL. “Our mission is to provide financial and moral support to U.S. service members and to make the lives of soldiers easier, and as a soldier myself, I can tell you the hardest thing about serving in the military is being away from your loved ones. Russell’s Reserve’s willingness to help is something that will have a real impact.”
With this in mind, we encourage everyone to consider buying and enjoying a bottle of Russell’s Reserve Bourbon with friends and family. Not only is Russell’s Reserve great Bourbon, but via this unusually rewarding marketing campaign, one can actually do some good while drinking well. L’chaim, indeed.