The first one you MUST jump on is the 2015 Kosher Food and Wine Festival (KFWE) at Metropolitan Pavilion 125 W 18th St., NY, NY 10011 on February 9th, 2015. It literally sells out each and every year, and all the procrastinators complain to me bitterly, about how they cannot get in – well BUY YOUR TICKETS and they are 18 dollars off still. My coupon code this year is MUSINGS18, put it on the second page, after you checkout button, before the buy button.
New wines this year at both the KFWE NY and the KFWE-LA, some making their debut at the show include:
- Herzog Variations – showcasing the unique qualities that different regions of California’s famed wine country bring to their wines.
- Ovadia by Ovadia Bartenura Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
- Flam Noble, the new flagship offering from Flam
- Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre – a new young approachable Bordeaux from a top 2ndgrowth chateau in Bourdeaux
- Montefiore Kerem Moshe – Recently released flagship wine from the Montefiore winery
- Herzog Single Vineyard Dry Creek – Herzog Wine Cellar’s Annual single vineyard release which showcases a wine made from grapes sourced from a distinguished vineyard in California.
- Titora Winery, located in Modi’in, Israel, is the newest boutique winery whose products are imported and distributed by Royal Wine Corp.
Guests will enjoy tastings from more than 20 kosher restaurants, caterers and gourmet specialty food companies from the greater NYC area including sushi, BBQ, Asian, Continental, French, and traditional kosher with some modern twists! For those guests with a sweet tooth, not to worry, to complete the experience there will be desserts galore including cookies, pastries, ice cream (parve of course) and other specialty desserts.
The next one to get on is the KFWE LA, which has also moved from the Hyatt to the W in Hollywood on February 11, 2015 – check my blog posting for more on that.
The next wine event is the Grapevine Wines Grand Tasting for Sunday February 15th, 2015 at the Grapevine Wines shop in Monsey, NY. The tasting is from 5:30 – 8:30 PM, it is the 15th Year anniversary of the Kosher Wine store. The wine event will take place at 455 Route 306 Wesley Hills, NY 10952, 845-364-9463. Ask for Yehoshua Werth.
The next one is the return of the Gotham Wine Extravaganza, that was a blast last year! The date is not yet set, but look here for updates. As I have reported for the past many years, Gotham throws a crazy wine tasting with an array of wines unmatched by any other kosher wine tasting event, as there are wines from all of the kosher wine importers. I hope that anyone in the New York City can make it.
The next wine kosher event is the City Winery event, that is another kosher wine event that includes many wine importers and it is also does not yet have a date, but look here for updates. Last year the event was quite impressive, and I am sure it will be equally impressive this year.
Once again Herzog is putting on its massive food and wine festival on February 11th, 2015 starting at 6PM. The festival is a great place to get to taste some of those wines that are either beyond your price budget, or hard to find wines, or ones that you pass by on the shelves because you just have no idea how good they are. They will be pouring more than 200 bottles of wines, so be sure to get there early, before the crowds show up. There will be a few new faces this year, with a couple of new wine makers showing up, and a few surprises (think new kosher wineries), from what I hear.For instance the new Titora Winery, located in Modi’in, Israel. It is the newest boutique winery whose products are imported and distributed by Royal Wine Corp.
Of course, there is also the food TO DIE for, from Chef Gabriel Garcia of Tierra Sur Restaurant, Zagat’s highest rated restaurant in a 40 mile radius, and his staff of insanely competent chefs! So please be sure to BUY your tickets here (coupon code is on the link). The wineries pouring will include; Flam Winery (newly Kosher), Tulip (also newly kosher), many wonderful French brands, Alfasi, Barkan, Baron Rothschild, Bartenura, Binyamina, Bokobsa, Capçanes, Carmel, Chateau Leoville Poyferré, Chateau Pontet Canet, Chateau Malartic La Graviere, Elvi Wines, Domaine du Castel, Domaine Netofa, Drappier, Flechas de los Andes, Gamla, Goose Bay, Harkham, Herzog Selection, Herzog Wine Cellars, Louis Royer, Morad, Pacifica, Psagot, Shiloh, Tomintoul, Walders, Weinstock Cellars & MORE! OVER 200+ WINES WILL BE POURED!
Also, there will be all the new 2011 and 2012 French wines, many of which are absolutely amazing!
Please note that the event is returning to Los Angeles again! The event this year will returning to Los Angeles for its fourth year!! You can once again drink and eat to your heart’s content, and then crash at one of the many rooms in the lovely Hollywood W Hollywood 6250 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028.
So, by now you have realized a few things. One there is a new name to the event, KFWE LA. It carries over the KFWE family name from London and NY and removes the older name of IFWF. The second important fact is that the event has moved from the beautiful and iconic Hyatt Regency hotel to the W in Hollywood. Finally, there are now two levels of tickets, the VIP and the general admission. This is all new, and sounds fantastic.
VIP ticket holders enjoy a private lounge featuring fine spirits from Scotland, Russia, Israel, United Kingdom and Mexico. Also in the VIP Lounge, the chefs of Tierra Sur offer gourmet delicacies exclusive to VIP attendees; as well as hand rolled specialty cigars.
These ideas carry unique theme event dinners that happen at the Herzog Winery in association with Tierra Sur Restaurant. The events can range from beer night, to whiskey tasting, to cigar night, and many others, check them out here. General admission gets you in at 6PM but does not include the whiskies, special food, private lounge area, or cigars.
Last year the event was a smash in the lovely Plaza Pavilion, whose name does not even begin to give the unique 9,000+ square foot space its due. The massive permanent tent is well-appointed, warm, and lovely to behold. Last year the event was a hit because the space was great and the smoke aromas from the chef’s smoker was outside of the event hall. This year the hall in the W is even larger, and when you throw in the private lounge – you get lots of space, great food and wine, and then cigars and whiskey! Again, do not worry about missing out of the wonderful Tierra Sur Restaurant fare! Chef Garcia will be there with the rest of the crew and they will be serving up much of what they make and serve at the restaurant.
Yes Yes, I left the best for last. Herzog is giving out a coupon out for 20% off the ticket price – use the coupon winemusings.
Every year we go and every year we are so excited because it gives us a chance to taste the wines and to see what to buy for the upcoming holidays. So grab you mouse and start clicking and we look forward to seeing you all the 2015 Herzog KFWE LA.
Well, 2014 has come and gone and my top wines of the past year were too many to limit to 10. Now these wines comprise a list of wines I enjoyed over the year. Some were released in 2014 and many were released a long time ago. Either way these are wines that made an impression upon me and that is the only characteristic that I used to define this list.
Some of these wines may not score a solid A, but they deserve to be here because of their trail blazing characteristics Take for instance – the 2012 Recanati Marselan. It is the only kosher Marselan and it is very good. The 2013 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc, one of the best whites to come out of Israel along with the 2012 Tzora Shoresh White, a wine that I believe is better than the 2013 Shoresh white, were both on my list last year, so they are not on it this year. The 2013 Tzora Shoresh is on this year’s list and if you have not gotten any – you are making a huge mistake. I had both in 2014, and even though I liked the 2012 a bit more, the 2013 is an epic white wine, in its own right. The best rose, hands down, was the 2013 Hajdu Pinot Gris rose. It is tied for best ever kosher rose with the 2012 Shirah rose, but that was already enjoyed in 2013. The next white wine was the epic 2013 Dalton Viognier, a wine that is worthy, once again, of the Dalton reserve label. It beats the 2012 hands down, and reclaims the title as the best kosher Viognier that is available in the US or Israel. There may be a French Viognier that is available there, but I do not know of them. The final non red wine was the 1996 Four Gates Chardonnay, which while never released officially, it was an awesome wine indeed! I tasted while tasting an entire vertical of all of Benyamin’s Chardonnay wines and this was the best of the bunch. Many others were solid A- and maybe a bit more wines, but the 1996 was a A- to A wine that was truly epic.
The rest of the wines are red, and there are many special wines there including the fantastic 2012 Recanati wild Carignan and Syrah/Viognier wines. BRAVO! There were many more French wines, but they will have to fall till next year, when I get a chance to sit down and enjoy them over a long meal. The 2012 Chateau Giscours, the 2012 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferré, and the 2012 Roches de Yon Figeac are lovely wines and may well get on the list next year. In the end, California, France, and Spain continue to be my sweet spot. There are a few exceptional wines from Israel, like the epic and insane 2000 Yarden Katzrin and others. Along with current releases from Tzora Winery, Recanati Winery, and Yatir Winery. In the end, Israel will improve by having 2009, 2010, and 2011 in their rear view mirror, all the while enjoying the new 2012, 2013, and from what I hear 2014 vintages.
The wine notes follow below:
Wines of Spain
2012 Capcanes Peraj Habib (Crazy QPR) – Score: A- to A
Before I talk about this epic wine, I must sadly say that one of the wines that was on my list last year – the 2012 Capcanes Carignan – never made it into its own bottle. Sadly, it was not deemed worthy of a leading role. Thankfully, it found its place here, in this fantastic 2012 Peraj Habib! The wine blend for 2012 is not far off from 2011, consisting of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from very old vines.
The nose on this dark and impenetrable purple colored wine is redolent with roasted animal, intense black fruit, and mounds of dirt and mineral. The mouth on this full bodied wine hits you with an intensely inky structure, filled with layers of of rich concentrated fruit, ripe freshly squeezed black berries, cassis, plum, along with tart fruit, spice, and mouth coating tannins that may well make some people think that this is the best Capcanes Peraj Habib ever made. The finish is long and purely mineral based to start, like sucking on a salt and graphite stick, as it recedes, you sense the incredible balancing acid, which is then immediately replaced with richly roasted coffee, sweet and herbal spices, more black fruit, a sense of animal fats, leather, hints of tobacco, and finally followed by bitter notes on the long finish. BRAVO!!!! Read the rest of this entry
First of all let me start by wishing everyone a happy and healthy Chanukah. I always love how the Jewish tradition finds our past fused with our present and future. The Jewish faith is based on the thesis that we do not live on a linear timeline, but rather a spiral one. The time of year has meaning, it has a place, the same place and importance that happened last year, 100 years ago, 1000 years ago or 100 years from now. It makes the other Jewish concept, that there is no time or concept of space for God almost logical to us. Of course we believe that the Lord is Omnipotent, and perfect to us, but that is impossible for us to relate to, even for your crazy boss who thinks he is God. But when you talk about time and space, and how that relates to us, well it starts to make sense. If we live on a spiral timeline, then we can have a bit of what God must perceive, we can feel how with the coming and going of certain times of the year, that we ebb and flow with it. I hope no one has had a Passover and not felt the kinship of family and friends a little bit sharper or more brighter than in other times of the year. I pray that no one has had a Yom Kippur where they never felt somewhat closer to our creator.
With the coming of Chanukah – the time and place where Judea fought for the soul of the Jewish people, it is natural that we feel a bit more Jewish pride and sense of self. I hope we feel a tug on our souls asking the ultimate question – why are we here and what are we meant to be doing on this planet? Well, for me that is a quest that I have yet to finish.
Still, while I cannot believe that my time on Earth during this phase of humanity is solely to enjoy food and wine with people, I am sure it has a part of it, only because I love it so, and God would not have given us abilities if they were not part of the ultimate plan for each of us. So, with that in mind, I hope we can agree that the food and wine that you do share with your family and friends should help us all feel a closer bond with our Jewish past and hopefully find a way to fuse it with our future.
To me, for now, food and wine is what I want to share with all of you – my virtual friends and family, around the social internet table called the Blogosphere. If there was a way to channel the past – while fusing it with the future it would have to be around a table of latkes and jelly filled doughnuts. If you had to choose the food of Chanukah, those would be it for me. That perfect crispy potato/leek/parsnip/root vegetable Latke – whichever of those that fit your personal and diet profile – is about commemorating the lighting of the Menorah with the single flask of pure olive oil. It is that oil that miraculously powered the Temple’s 7 branched menorah for 8 days and nights – which is why we get presents for 8 days! No really, it was because we felt and saw, first hand, the presence of God – our reason for being on Earth – in our midst at that time. It was his clear message to us to be proud and true to who we are that we commemorate his aura and miracle with food! Really? Yup, us Jews get it! We understand and are ready to inculcate the past – or maybe the present – within ourselves, but we also want to enjoy that commemoration. We wish to find a way to incorporate it both spiritually and physically, so that it becomes more than just a spectacle, but rather a way of life. I hope we all get more out of this holiday than a few more pounds on our frame’s. I hope we get the chance to see what is here now, what our forefathers saw now, what their parents and the parents before them and after them saw each and every Chanukah – the joy of our Heritage, our religion, our spiritual connection with God, and yes the joy of how we share all of that around food and wine with our friends and family! Read the rest of this entry
A few weeks ago, for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we found ourselves in New York City with friends and family. We were there for the wedding of our nephew, and we stayed for Shabbos at the parent’s home of friends of ours. For the meals we ate Friday night at YC and EC, who rolled out a spread that was insane and beyond the imagination of myself and my family. For the following lunch and wedding – I will post separately.
Friday evening started by us taking an Uber, right before sundown to the home of YC and EC. As I am always wont to do, I came with a box of wine in arms, part for the hosts, part for me to taste at the hosts’ home – right before sundown, and part for other friends who wanted some very special wines, of which I will touch on in a bit.
As we entered the home, the aromas in the air were very specifically redolent with the smells of roasted animal, to be exact, roast rib. To attempt to relate the smell is beyond what I can describe on a virtual piece of paper, but I will of course give it a try! The aromas are seared into my mind, simply because I find those aromas heavenly when done correctly. The smell of searing meat, truly must tickle something in my frontal lobe, something prehistoric, something almost caveman, because when I smell it, the aroma makes me break out in smile for no other reason then just absolute joy. The smell that night was beyond cerebral, it was almost emotional, evoking deep seated feelings of joy and awe all wrapped in a cocoon of realization of what was soon to be served. All of this was happening, with the backdrop of an orange sky outside that I could not help but smile and feel so much thanks to our hosts for going so far out of their way to entertain us. After sipping on some 2011 Savia del Sol Rioja, one of the bottles I brought to taste, we made our way to synagogue for an hour or so, and then made our way back to our hosts’ home.
While we relaxed on their plush and comfortable couches, we watched our hosts play chef and sous chef, as they put the finishing touches on the dishes I will attempt to describe. Then we made our way to the beautifully set table, laden with plates and the requisite three glasses a person, to make the Friday night Kiddish. YC chose to share a bottle of 2011 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon. I am very appreciative of this fact, because I am happy to say that the 2011 is clearly still ripe, and almost overripe, but a far better wine than Yarden has been creating for a few years now. Since 2008, I have found little from Yarden that I really like. Why? Well, it is clear they have made a conscious decision to make their wines a bit more ripe then they had in the past. That, coupled with overall horrible vintages for Northern Israel, Yarden has been creating wines that I have passed over for the past few years. The 2011 Cab is OK, and one that I could drink, but not one that I look forward to buying. I will try to get some 2011 Galil Yiron and see if that is also back, or is it still dead since 2009 as well. After Kiddish, we washed our hands, and were rewarded with some lovely sugar free bread that was one of those examples of perfect balance between freshly baked with a lovely crust outside, while being light and fluffy inside, while also being slightly dense and gooey as well – impressive and highly addictive! Read the rest of this entry
Until now, the KFWE from Royal has been relegated to New York city, and the last one I attended was really lovely indeed. Sure we have had the IFWF on the other coast, but other than Los Angeles, New York, and London, KFWE has been essentially contained to the mid coast cities. Well that is about to change given the efforts of a non-profit organization, Women’s International Zionist Organization of Florida (WIZO) in partnership with Israeli Wine Producers Association (IWPA). That changed last year with the debut of the KFWE to Miami and it is coming back again this year to the same location.
The wine and food event will be held on December 10th, 2014 from 7PM to 10:30 PM at the Gulfstream Park’s Sport of Kings Theater (901 South Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, FL). This open-to-the-public event is ticketed at $150 per person (excluding tax) and includes full access to the event. Guests looking to enhance their experience can purchase VIP tickets at $200 per person (excluding tax) and will include early access to the event as they enjoy a VIP reception from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online by clicking on this link! All proceeds will benefit WIZO.
There is a limited time 20 dollar off coupon for you! Use the KMIAMI promo code to get 20 dollars off either the VIP or General admission prices. The code is good ONLY till November 22 – so PLEASE BOOK NOW!!!
The event will offer guests the opportunity to sample hundreds of wines paired with delicious gourmet foods presented by top kosher restaurants and caterers in South Florida. The event will feature chef Moshe Segev
Last year the event was lovely with lots of food and drinks to enjoy. Please support this wonderful cause and buy your discounted tickets today!
Keep checking back as I update the post with more information as it becomes available.
This past weekend we had a few friends over for a lovely Friday night dinner, and I decided it was time to drink some great kosher Merlot wines. To be honest, to me Merlot is one of those wines that rarely find the sweet spot, it either boring, nondescript, or overly green. However, there are still many great Merlot wines out there. Of course this was Miles point in the now famous, but to me disgusting movie called Sideways. I felt that the subject matter was so poorly projected that I always feel sick when I think of that movie. Still, the debased yet highly quoted cult movie had a huge impact on the Merlot and Pinot Noir sales in the US. It was the average Merlot’s nondescript attributes that so viscerally turned the protagonist off of the grape variety. Clearly, as I have described many times, here most recently, and more in depth here, that his prized Cheval Blanc was made up of the very varieties he so deeply despised and dissed in the movie, being 66% Cab Franc, 33% Merlot, and 1% Malbec! We do hope that the irony is not lost on you, as it was certainly not lost on the producers!
A fair amount of the problem starts in the vineyard, as always wine is 90% vineyard management, 5% winemaker, and 5% science/luck (those number can be moved around a bit but not much). Some of the very best Merlot wines out there are French. For instance one of the famous kosher French Merlot wines out there are the 2005 and 2006 DRC – Domain Roses Camille. They hail from the Merlot dominated Pomerol wine region of Bordeaux. The DRC is mostly Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc thrown in, while the non kosher and world-famous Petrus – is mostly all Merlot with a bit of Franc thrown in some years.
There are two other French Pomerol kosher wines, the Chateau Montviel and the Chateau Royaumont. I recently tasted the two of them, and I loved the 2003 Chateau Montviel, while the 2011 Chateau Royaumont was nice enough, but at that price, a B+ wine is not worth the effort for me.
France has cool summers and some years are great while some are not so much. However, in other regions where heat is the not the issue, it is about elevation and the land that makes the grapes sing. For instance, to me, the best dollar for dollar kosher Merlot wine out there has to be Four Gates Merlot. The DRC is fantastic as is the Montviel, but the DRC is vastly more expensive and the Montiel is harder to find. That said, outside of Santa Cruz County, the next best option is Israel, and that is like saying the best place to play golf in the world would be in the middle of the Sahara Dessert!
With the high temperatures that Israel has, one legitimately has to ask – what were they thinking of planting Merlot there? The answer “Location, Location, Location” does not only apply to real estate prices, it matters in the world on vineyards as well. When it comes to grapes, it is all about the vineyard, its location, its soil, and most importantly; its elevation. Read the rest of this entry
With the polls going into action next week, I thought I would take a very unofficial poll of favorite wine types among my friends and wine posts in general. The outcome, ignoring a few people, myself in that smaller group, most kosher wine drinkers do not care for white wines! Why? Simple enough, they want to be beaten over the head, AKA overripe wines are easier to appreciate. Yes yes, I know I just posted about this in my Dear John letter post, but really – give it a try! Ask your friends what they prefer and then ask them why???
What you will find is a sad fact that even in warm climates, red wine rules. This post is not meant to take the place of my previous white, rose, and bubble posts of the past, but it is meant to augment the list with a few more current ones.
I truly feel that people have yet to appreciate whites, for the most part, because they do not see the genius and layers in white wines, like they do in red wines. To me this dichotomy is very much akin to the French versus the Bold in your face DJL wines.
If I had one wish this year it would be – please try some really good white wines! Please! Why? Because they are very good? Kosher white and rose wines are really improving, IMHO, far faster than their red alternatives. In Israel, this revolution is improving by leaps and bounds! California continues to be king for me when it comes to easy to find and unique white and rose wines. Look at the success by Covenant Winery, Hajdu Winery, Shirah Winery, and Four Gates Winery! Where else will you find a kosher white grenache? Covenant continues to hit homeruns with their Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay wines. Shirah’s whites and roses wines continue to impress. Hajdu’s blanc is awesome! Four gates Chardonnay is some of the best out there in the kosher wine world.
With all that aid, Israel is really doing itself proud in the world of white and rose wines! Truly impressive! From Ella Valley’s FANTASTIC 2013 wines to Tabor Winery’s impressive whites.
One of the safest bets out there right now is a white wine from the 2012 or 2013 vintages from Israel. WOW! That statement alone is a shocking fact! A few years ago I would not drink much white wine from Israel, other then a few sparing Chardonnays. Now? Flam, Ella Valley, Yatir, Tabor, Teperberg, Dalton, Netofa, and on and on goes the list! The wineries are just coming out with home run, double, triple, home run after home run! Sure, there are a few bad apples in the bunch, but a safe bet is a safe bet – and that is an awesome thing to know!
To be fair, the best rose and the best white wines (other than Chard), I have had this year come from Shirah Winery and Hajdu Winery. Why? The 2012 Shirah Rose and the 2013 Hajdu Gris Rose are the best of the best. Sure, the Ella Valley, Netofa, Lueria, Flam Roses are nice, but those two are on a separate level. Same goes with the 2012 Grenache Blanc. The 2013 is nice, but not on the same playing field. There are so many home run whites from Israel though, including Tzora, Flam, Ella Valley, Teperberg, Tabor, Yarden, Dalton and others. Still, the 2012 Makom is one of those wines that will stay with me for a long time BRAVO Jon!!!
A shout out must be made to a wonderful sweet Hungarian wine I picked up in NY – 1998 Langer Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos! The wine is sweet but has still balancing acid and wonderful enveloping lush and full mouthfeel and funk – BRAVO!!! Read the rest of this entry
With the Jewish Holidays at their end, I must say that I really did enjoy them, but spiritually and wine wise! I have been slowly but surely changing over my collection from wines that I thought I liked to wines I actually do like. Sure, I have a few duds here and there, but for the most part, I think I have thinned the ranks of the unwanted.
Years ago – I blindly bought whatever red reserve Yarden wines the late Daniel Rogov scored a 92 or higher, and to his credit it was a grand time for a bit. But sadly before he passed, his golden touch, in terms of picking the perfect Yarden Reserve red was losing its aura. To be fair it is not a detriment to the man I truly respected. It is simply that my palate and interest have moved so starkly from the overripe notes of old, that I have finally broken down and written my Dear John letter to many Israeli wines.
As I stated 9 months ago in my year in review and ahead, I stated that I would start to track wines that I find overly ripe in style, whether it comes from Israel or anywhere else. I have been doing that in my wine notes, but I and finding less and less of them, simply because I am turning over my library in the direction of wines like Tzora, Yatir, and so on.
To be fair, wineries are making wines like this because that is what the public wishes, or so they say. I understand that a palate is a hard thing to come by, and that it may well be an evolutionary road for many. Still, there is a thing called nuance and then there is a thing called a 2×4. To create wines that are so obtusely in your face – one has to stop and wonder if the winemaker is actually unwilling to trust his wines to you. Maybe it his/her way of saying – here I dare you not to taste something in this wine! Mocking you as the winery takes your money and you are left with that aching feeling that is more akin to a used car lot than a culinary experience.
So, I thought it was time to publicly publish my Dear John letter to wines from Israel or elsewhere that continue to cater to the LCD (least common denominator) – and make wines that only a dead person could miss notes in.
Dear overly ripe wines,
I have to be honest, for the longest time you were a wonderful accompaniment to my weekend dinners. However, in these past 5 years, I cannot help but think that we have drifted apart. Oh come on, do not flutter those sweet and cloying tannins at me, you know how I hate that so. I wish I could say it is me and not you, but I would be lying. This is all on you!
This is not about you or about me “winning or losing”, you know I have lost so much over the years when I happily gave away bottles of the 2004 Ortal Merlot and so much more. There is no denying that we have changed so much, you continue to be so sweet, of course, but what I finally realized is that you are also so empty. Sure you have those wonderful structural qualities, that we all look for in a companion, but the rest is hollow, no stuffing, no meaning, just a flat and empty being.
I tried so hard to make it work, to ignore my wine friends, telling them that it was just a bad night or a really bad weekend, like that bender in December. Sadly, it always turns out the same way when I wake from another night of debauchery, I am thankfully a bit lighter of you and you are always the same – big, bold, loud, and empty!
So, I am happy to say I think I am rid of you from my cellar. I have worked hard to empty it of your kind and thankfully, I can now say that you are in my past. I waited too long to write this letter, for that I am sorry to you and my guests. However, going forward I know that I have made the correct decision and wish you and those wineries all the best. I even have a lovely new moniker for you DJL – if you see that on a note I write, you will know that you have found a wine you will truly come to love. For me, it will be a badge of shame.
Thanks for all the great times, and I am also happy to say good riddance and bon voyage! Read the rest of this entry
On a shabbos, a few weeks ago, we enjoyed a lovely evening of Pinot Noir and grenache wines. It is funny how the media can change people’s perspectives, and in some cases twist it in a way that we would not expect. Say Pinot Noir and most wine drinkers will think of the enigmatic anti-hero Miles Raymond, and his explanation on his love for Pinot Noir; “…It’s, uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. You know?…“. Pinot is a complicated grape – but not to its own detriment. Listen to Miles throughout Sideways and you may come to think that Pinot is fleeting, flinty, thin, and complicated. In the end, as you watch that horrible movie, you quickly realize that Miles was simply projecting in a fire fueled rambling and using Pinot Noir as his conduit.
To the French, Pinot Noir is called Burgundy – following the tradition of French wineries to name their wines after the region where the grapes are grown. Americans have had success with Pinot – in California, Oregon, and Washington State. New Zealand, has really taken the lead in bringing the grape into the 21st century. The French Burgundy has its terroir (earthy dirt flavors, sometimes barnyard flavors as well). The New Zealand and American Pinots show characteristics that are more akin to Syrah then Burgundy – fruit forward, meaty wines with soft caressing tannins. The rest of the world is choosing sides. Though true terroir flavors are hard to replicate outside of Burgundy, many countries have been successful at bringing out the true fruit characteristics that the land is willing to share and are creating wonderful Pinot Noirs. Israel is one of those countries that is starting to really come into its own with Pinot Noir. Israel may still trail France in the number of kosher Pinot Noir wines produced, but in sheer quality it may have it beat.
Say to many that Israel can create Pinot Noir and you will get many people, including wine makers in Israel itself, that rankle at the thought. The temperature is so darn hot there, that in one day the Pinot can go from a lovely grape with a bit more time needed, to a raisin. There is so little leeway with Pinot Noir, that making it in Israel is a nightmare. Still, many have succeeded, and maybe no one more than the INCREDIBLE 2008 Yarden PN! I was shocked! Just shocked. I would NEVER have said it was an Israeli PN.
Sadly, Pinot Noir to me is one of those wines that is so badly mangled in the kosher wine world, that it is no shock that most kosher oenophiles, turn face when u say Pinot Noir. Not heaven forbid on account of the Pinot Noir grapes themselves, but rather on account of the pathetic state of kosher Pinot Noir wine on the market.
Say, Pinot Noir to me, and sadly I can only think of:
- Four Gates Winery
- Ella Valley Winery
- Gvaot Winery
- 2004 Domaine Chateau De La Tour Clos Vougeot
- 2008 Yarden Pinot Noir
- 2002 Aloxe Corton
- Landsman Pinot Noir (some have been hits – some have been misses – hoping for more hits)
- 2010 and 2007 Eagle’s Landing Pinot Noir – long gone – sad one of the best I have tasted
- Hajdu Makom Pinot Noir