Author Archives: winemusings

KFWE LA – a star is born in Hollywood

W_entranceIt was early on a beautiful winter day in LA when I made my way to the hall at the W Hotel in Hollywood, CA – where the IFWF was being held this year. OOPS! I meant KFWE LA! Yes, the IFWF changed its name to the KFWE and it turned really Hollywood hip as it made its way down the sunset strip to the W Hotel, home to stars and socialites alike, and now I hope home to the newest kosher wine event star – the KFWELA!

If it seems like I have unbridled praise for this event, you would be correct. Recently, someone told me that my style of writing did not work for them; as they state it – your combination of unbridled pull-no-punches enthusiasm, surety of mind, and lapidary form of expression can be grating to me. Though he says it is on him – who knows.

If this or other posts are grating, I totally understand and thankfully no one is forced to read my articles – as I have said in the past, I write them mostly for myself – kind of like my own wine diary.

Anyway, this post will be filled with “unbridled pull-no-punches enthusiasm and surety of mind“. By the way, if one is not sure of what they think – why write it? I write the way I speak – with assurance and knowledge, if I do not know an answer – I am happy to say I have no idea.

Anyway, this event will be engraved in my mind with lapidary precision because it was epic. Still, I am getting ahead of myself – so let us rewind here for a second.

This “year” there were 6 shows in the KFWE portfolio. It all started last year late 2014 in Miami where Royal in combination with WIZO, kicked off the KFWE season with a great warmup event! I say that because while the event went off without a hitch, and there were MANY great wines at the event, the food was a bit underwhelming to say the least. Still, it was here where we first tasted all the new French wines;

  • the new 2012 Pavillon de Léoville Poyferré, a second label for the famous winery, which uses its youngest vines to make this wine.The wine is lovely and well worth the cost, but not at the same level as the epic 11 Moulin Riche
  • the new 2012 Château Le Crock, which was OK.
  • the epic 2011 Chateau Haut Condissas Medoc, a truly lovely wine.
  • the new 2012 Chateau Giscours, the best NEW kosher wine at the tasting.
  • the new 2012 Domaine l’Or de Line Chateauneuf Du Pape, a very nice wine.
  • finally, the second best new wine of the tasting – the 2012 Les Roches De Yon-Figeac Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru. It too is a second label wine, but was quite a winner in my book.

The food not withstanding, the event was solid and the wines showed very well under the warm Miami day/evening.

Pierre and Olivier CuvelierThe next event was in Israel, and if I had to say it was probably the best run event from beginning to end, of the ones I attended. I am talking about the 2015 Zur tasting in Tel Aviv. The event was not crowded at all, the food was very good, and the wines were only the best of what they wanted to show. So, to some extent it was kind of like the all-star show – in the beginning of the season. They did have a limited supply of wines, but of the wines they poured, they were all top performers (excluding a table or two). On top of that, Mr. Olivier Cuvelier – the man that runs the family owned Chateau Léoville Poyferré, was there and talking about his wines. He is a delightful man, one who is passionate about his wines but also mindful of the man who brought him fame in the kosher wine world – Pierre Miodownick. Of course, he has received world wide acclaim for his non kosher wines, which is well deserved, but Pierre was working with him in the 90s – before Léoville Poyferré was all over the wine mags. Read the rest of this entry

2013 Landsman Zinfandel and 2012 Shirah Rose

2013 Landsman Zinfandel, 2012 Shirah Rose, and 2009 Herzog PS2This past weekend I was recuperating from flying around the world to almost every kosher wine event that I could get to. It started in Israel for the 2015 Sommelier, and then a few days later, the 2015 Tzur wine tasting, essentially the Israeli KFWE. Then I went home for two days before flying back to NYC for KFWE NYC and then to LA for the KFWE LA.

So, by the time I was home for good, I was exhausted, and what I needed was some good wine and food. It turns out that I chose a bunch of Cali wines, which may have been an internal reaction to tasting so many date wines from Israel and around the world at Somm and the KFWE. In the end, one of the three I chose was also date juice – Karma is a bitter mistress!

The Friday night dinner was roasted sausages and chicken, paired with a bottle of the 2012 Shirah Rose. The rose is still showing beautifully with ripe fruit and crazy mineral and pith. The other wine we enjoyed was the 2013 Landsman Zinfandel, a nice enough zinfandel with great spice and earth, but with a lithe body, holes in the mouth, and a wine that needs a day to truly open up.

It is a nice enough wine but one that I was really hoping would finally bring me a California Zinfandel that rocked my world. Sadly, since Hagafen Winery stopped producing Zinfandel wines, we have been missing some great wines.

The good news is that there is a 2013 Dalton Zinfandel, that is blended with some Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. It has a nice body, great acid, crazy spices, and good fruit. I cannot wait to buy some soon.

Sadly, the third wine we had that was DOA was the 2009 Herzog PS2. The wine was not corked and the cork was fine, it is simply a case of the early death of Petite Sirah. The body on that wine was crazy rich, with layers and mad tannins, but it was dead. Sad. It reaffirms to me that PS can indeed be a beast of a wine, but its own life is short on its own, making it a far better blending grape than a pure varietal. Now, I love PS, and I think it – like Malbec – can be really nice, but it requires you to not wait long on them. Drink them quickly, when they are ready or even earlier, because they have the annoying habit of just dropping dead and leaving you holding the bag!!!

The wine notes follow below:

2009 Baron Herzog Petite Sirah PS2, Second Edition – DOA
This wine died a horrible death – sadly. It was oak and date juice when I opened it and it went to port in an hour – drink what u have!!!

2012 Shirah Rose – Score: A- to A
WOW What a rose! This wine is 100% rose of Grenache. The nose is bright and tart with crunchy roasted herb, forest floor, garrigue, red fruit, strawberry, black currant, and spice. The mouth is insane on this medium bodied wine, it starts with an attack of red currant, followed by blue fruit, tart blackcurrant, and crazy acid. The finish is long and attacking with mad acidic tart summer fruit, kiwi, candied strawberry, intense slate, mineral, and crazy tart zinberry that lingers forever, long after the wine is gone. The acid is so intense it is awesome and the fruit is ripe and expressive – BRAVO!!!

2013 Covenant Zinfandel Landsman – Score: B+ to A-
The nose on this wine starts off with lovely rich mineral, loamy dirt, roasted animal notes, and more dirt. The mouth is well spiced, and light to medium bodied with sweet fruit that blows off, to show cherry, strawberry, nice zinberry, blue fruit, good tannin, acid, and nutmeg. The finish is long and spicy with watermelon and black pepper. Sadly, this wine lacks the presence to cut through most food, though the rich acid and mineral is nice.

After the wine was open for a day – it really did open and become more complex and less sweet. The blue notes receded and the spices and complexity rose – with more earth, acid, mineral, and spice, nice.

Sommelier 2015 results – White wines ruled along with a few reds

Sommelier 2015Sadly, Sommelier 2015 has come and gone and I can fairly state that I found nothing to be heartened about, in terms of the Israeli kosher wine scene. To be fair, the issue is still the same, wineries are deepening their love for all things over ripe and the excuse of poor vintages is really just that – an excuse. Having tasted almost every viable kosher wine at the event, I can safely say that only a few wineries care to make wines that are not over ripe, and the rest are the usual suspects. Before, anyone says there were many great wines, I can say I totally agree! The clear winners, winery wise were:
1.    Tzora Winery (the 2012 vintage is insane)
2.    Gvaot Winery (the 2012 Masada may well be their best ever)
3.    Recanati Winery (clearly the biggest winery with a desire to build very good wines from the bottom up)
4.    Tabor Winery (they continue to excel at the Adama series, though the Adama II wines have lost a step since 2010). Still, the whites, rose, and reds of Adama were impressive.
5.    Carmel Winery (the whites continue to excel and even the reds are solid, sadly the US labels are date juice)
6.    Yatir (nothing new here they are one of the best of the bunch)
7.    Yarden – SOLELY for the whites and bubbles. The reds were all date juice, the classic example of a winery that has purposely and consciously taken the road of over ripe fruit.
8.    Netofa Winery (the 2013 and 2014 wines will blow your socks off) – not listed here because I will post separately
9.    Mia Luce (Another winery made by a Recanati Associate Winemaker, this one being kosher) – maybe the best wines of the entire event
10.   Tura Winery (continues to push the boundaries and improving mightily. Love the Merlot, blends, and the new Gewurztraminer. Will post their wines on a separate post).

A few to keep track of – if they keep things up:
1.    Kishor Winery (some of their reds were truly impressive, their new whites were a step behind 2013)
2.    Jezreel Winery (Their white blend and the Carignan were nice, they need to tighten up the rest)
3.    Gush Eztion (Their whites were solid though they too need to tighten up on the reds)

Sadly, of the 200+ kosher wines at the event, fewer than 40 reds were anything to write about. It was the whites, even at wineries that I found physically painful to taste at, were quite acceptable. In the end it was the white wines that saved the event for me. White wines are the clear new trend in Israeli wineries and a trend that continues to impress. Sadly, the 2014 whites are step behind the 2013 vintages, as many did not add acid to the wines, but they are very solid none the less. Read the rest of this entry

Must taste wines at kfwe la 2015

So, I will keep this post very short. As stated in the last post, the kfwe in la was for sale still, well they sold out.

If you have a ticket, here is my list of wines that are cannot miss:

Padis table(5):
2012 brilliance padis Napa cab

Pacifica(6):
2012 Oregon pinot noir

Goose bay(6):
Fume blanc
Pinot grigio

Or haganuz(7):
Elima no sulfites

Selection bokobsa (26):

Domaine l’Or de Line Chateauneuf Du Pape 2012

Sancerre 2012

Chablis

Capcanes(19):

Peraj Ha’Abib

La Flor del Flor de Primavera

Carmel(9):

Kayoumi White Riesling

Limited Edition

2011 carmel cab kayoumi

Castel (17):

Rose du Castel

Grand Vin

Petite castel

Elvi Wines (18):

Herenza Rioja Semi

Herenza Rioja Crianza

Herenza Rioja Reserva

Cava Brut

Adar 2007

Flam (15):

Rose

Blanc

Reserve Cab

Reserve Syrah

Flechas (25):

Gran Malbec

French Table (24):

Malartic

Yon Figac

Chateau Giscours

Leoville Poyferre

Leoville Poyferre Pavillon

Chateau Moulin Riche

Fourcas Dupre 10

Herzog(3):

Variation Five and four

Special Edition Chalk Hill

Single Vineyard Dry Creek Cab

Cab/zin/syrah

Rollan de By: (24)

Chateau Haut Candissas Medoc

Shiloh(10):

Shor Barbera

Shor Cab Franc

Tabor(13):

Adama Merlot

Adama Shiraz

Tabor Limited

Tulip(14):

Mostly Franc

Reserve Syrah

Just Cab

White Franc

Weinstock(4):
Cellar Select Petite Sirah

Cellar Select Cab franc

Italian table (22):
Terra di seta classico Chianti

Update on the 2015 kosher wine events

KFWE2015-EH1So, as promised here is a quick update on the state of affairs around the kosher wine events in the USA.

So, the story has not changed much in the past few weeks, since I last posted on the 2015 wine events. The KFWE LA VIP has sold out as has the KFWE NYC. The KFWE LA, non VIP is still open and my discount coupon still works on that.

We still have no official word on the Gotham wine event. However, the The Jewish Week’s Grand Wine Tasting is set, as always at the City Winery. It is on Monday March 16th and it starts at 5:00 PM and ends at 8:30 PM. Tickets are available here.

 

Kosher Wine events for 2015 are set and the KFWE is selling fast

I will keep this short and sweet – the 2015 kosher wine events are all in and will start selling out VERY soon.

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.

2015 KFWE-LA (AKA IFWF) returns to Los Angeles on Feb 11th

KFWE2015-FB2Once 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!

KFWE2015-EH1Please 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.

My top 25 kosher wines of 2014

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

Chanukah foods and the proper wine pairing options in the kosher wine world

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

When a meal with friends and family is so much more than food alone

2014-11-29 22.48.47A 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

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