Category Archives: Israeli Wine
This is the 5th annual wine event for the Jewish New Year being put on by the Kosher Wine Society (KWS)! The KWS is run and managed by Aron Ritter (AKA newly married and insanely lucky man), and as always he has many tricks up his sleeve!
The Kosher Wine Society (KWS for those in the know) was started in 2005 when Aron Ritter could not find real events to attend that centered on one of his true passions, kosher wine! Remember, this was a point in time, when Lance Armstrong could still wear a yellow jersey! Further, the only kosher wine event, at that time, in the United States, was the Gotham Wine Extravaganza! So, the KWS was born, and slowly but surely it has grown into a membership that spans a large cross-section of the New York social scene.
The wine event will be a cross-section of many kosher wine providers much like the Gotham Wine Extravaganza! The KFWE is always awesome, like it was this past year, but you get only Royal’s wines. At the KWS event you get some Royal wines and other wines as well.
Last year’s event was wonderful and shall I say interesting as it occurred on “Fashion Week”, in NY, and the hotel where the event took place was hosting a party for the models – nuff said! Not sure if that will be the case this year as well!
Like last year the wine list evolves over time, check this web page to buy your tickets and to follow the wines that will be available for tasting. For now the wines to taste are the Vignobles David Chateauneuf du Pape (crazy expensive but great wine according to Costas), the Recanti wines (Single Varietal wines for sure), and the Dalton wines as well! So many options and the list is barely 1/5 to 1/6th the way there! As the wine list grows – I am sure many more cannot miss wines will be added!!!
Also, last year the cheese guy was there and he was craving some mad cheese – not sure if he is on the agenda for for this year – but be sure to get some of his higher end cheeses for your festive meals!
The event’s location is still TBD, but the date and time are locked down: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 7PM (early tasting or 7:30 for later tasting. Get the early bird special pricing now, and get the early 7 PM tasting price for what you will pay later for the 7:30 pricing. Finally, go with a game plan! Once you sign up, keep watching the page, as Aaron is very good at updating the wines that will be presented at the event. Then look at the list and see which wines you have not yet tasted and which you will be interested in. Attend early, taste them and be sure to buy the wines you like for the Jewish New Year and especially for the Sukkot celebrations that follow!
I am sure the event will be a smash like it was last year – so, get your tickets early before the prices go up and get there early, as last year, some of the best wines got poured out quickly (think 2009 Gvaot Pinot – SICK!!!!!)
Mazel Tov again Aaron and hopefully you and KWS will have many more happy married years ahead of you!
P.S. Make sure to wish Aaron and Zahava your best wishes – they looked great last week in NY!!!
Once again the Herzog Winery is showing off their beautiful facility with a once a year wine and food event – the Oxnard Private IFWF! Last year the IFWF in Oxnard was a massive success!!! The wines were awesome, but even better was the food – from the world renowned kosher Tierra Sur – attached to the Herzog Winery!
For all the images, wine notes, and revelry from last year check out my post here. Well, once again, the private and intimate affair returns to the Herzog Winery, echoing the past IFWF that used to be hosted in the beautiful and intimate Oxnard winery (2008, 2009, 2010 part 1 and 2010 part 2, and the 2011 and final Oxnard IFWF)! Once again, the rooms at the Herzog Winery will be opened and you will have room to roam and peruse the many wine tasting options that will be on display for your discriminating palate! Those will include an amazing lineup of wines from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Israel, Argentina and beyond!
Truly this is an event not to miss whether you are a wine lover, foodie – or hopefully BOTH! The Tierra Sur Restaurant will be pulling out all the stops and serving up many of their favorite treats!
Save the date! The event will take place at the Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, CA on Thursday, August 22, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
As an added bonus, I was able to procure a 10% coupon for all the attendees. Use the coupon code: MUSINGS or just click on this link. Buy the tickets and mark your calendar – I am sure it will be a lovely soirée filled with food and wine in an all so familiar, comfortable and intimate setting.
I am sure you are as excited as I am, so here is the information, I was able to get from the winery…
We are bringing the Private International Food & Wine Festival back to Oxnard for an intimate, one day engagement August 22nd at Herzog Wine Cellars. The event will feature more than 200 different wines gathered from nearly every wine producing region of the world. In addition to an amazing lineup of wines from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Israel, Argentina and beyond – a wide array of gourmet delicacies will be prepared and served by the chefs of Tierra Sur throughout the entire three hour event!
This is an exclusive opportunity to choose from literally hundreds of wines, while enjoying exquisite cuisine from one of Southern California’s highest rated restaurants. Tickets are limited, as we would like this event to focus on enjoying incredible wines from across the globe together with our close fans. Only the first 200 ticket buyers will be allowed into the event, and Herzog Wine Cellars will be closed to the public for the evening. This event will have all of the rare selections and unbelievable flavor that our Los Angeles event has, only in a completely private setting.
This past weekend our good friends invited us and having gotten back from New York a few days earlier, which is another story for another blog posting – I happily accepted the invitation! To thank them sufficiently, I brought over two wines, one was a solid double and one was a single that was caught in a run down – sad!
The last time I wrote about Bravdo Winery (AKA Karmei Yosef Winery), it was about the 2010 red vintages, but this was the 2009 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. To be fair, the 2009 vintage is cursed – with overly ripe fruit characteristics, that show themselves later on. When we tasted them in 2011 – they were still nice. Unfortunately, the Cab is now showing more of the date and raisin issue that haunts the 2009 vintage in Israel. Thankfully, the 2009 Merlot is still showing nicely, a wine that has successfully circumvented the issues and has the muscle to keep it where right it is for a few more years!
Many thanks to Mrs. L, EL, and LS for hosting us and making the shabbos dinner such a treat! Sorry again for no pictures.
The wine notes follow below:
2008 B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon – Score: A-
I last enjoyed this wine some two+ years ago, and then it was closed and not really showing its best. It was labeled “elegant” then, but this time, it was far from elegant. It was not a sledgehammer, but a highly fruit forward wine, that if I did not know better I would think it was a very different wine. At least that is what I thought, but then I read the notes – and WOW the wine is absolutely the same wine – but with a bit more attitude and clearly no aspect of closed nose or mouth.
Like I said enough times, this wine is no longer a wallflower, in its place is a forceful and forward thinking 90s woman styled wine. The nose is immediately accessible with ripe and almost liquored raspberry, black plum, eucalyptus, cranberry, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is less elegant and more assertive, but still not one to rely upon shock and awe, rather a wine that attacks with ripe blackberry, dark plum, along with cherry liquor, lovely soft mouth coating tannins, and a mouth feel that is still luscious and attention grabbing. The finish is well-balanced with acid, tobacco, chocolate, cedar, and eucalyptus. This finish lingers long with dark chocolate covered tobacco leaves, licorice, and vanilla. Drink within a year at most!
2009 Karmei Yosef Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Bravdo – Score: B+ to A-
I hoped and prayed that Bravdo would be clean of the cursed 2009 year, unfortunately, it was not to be. In the past two years since I tasted this wine in Israel and here, the wine has turned to become a pure date bomb with serious attitude. To be truthful, it is less that it turned into something else, and more that the wine’s overripe fruit persona has taken up center stage and there is little else that shines. The spotlight is on the date component and the other characteristics have a hard time shining from the shadows – it is a shame.
The nose on this dark purple to black colored wine is rich with tar, deep herb notes, crazy ripe blackberry, massive date, cassis, and earth. The mouth on the rich, layered, and super extracted full bodied wine is filled with overripe black fruit, along with hints of red fruit that hides behind lovely mouth coating tannin that coat your mouth, cedar, and bramble. The finish is long with good acid, tobacco, vanilla, rich blackberry, vanilla, along with hints of salt and mineral – such a shame.
This past weekend I was hanging with EL and MT, those same two of Napa wine adventure fame. It was a true insane blast, and the wine intake was so intense that I had to name this post appropriately. The blueberry reference is an ode to the sheer number of wines we had that were seriously showing blue fruit.
When I think of hospitality so many names come to mind including ER, Mrs. L, Shaindy and Chaim, and now I am happy to add EL and MT to the wonderful list of people who think of others above themselves. I came this shabbos to NY to hang with family and go to two wine events. The two wine events sandwiched a Shabbos so I asked EL if he could handle a madman like me for a weekend! He graciously accepted and now the Shabbos is in the history books and may well go down in annals of mankind as one of the craziest Shabbos that I have had the opportunity to enjoy (though my first Benyo Shabbaton is up there too with the Shirah Boys).
The Friday started with me opening the bottle of Tavel, which while deeply aromatic was a slight letdown with a light and almost lifeless mouth. Still, it had the acid to keep up; this was all while we learned some Yoshua before heading to minyan. El lives in a large Jewish community and the number of synagogues within a square mile of his house, rival the number of museums in all of NY City! Still, we were blessedly spared the walks to those hallowed halls. Why? Think August in Las Vegas and add 90% humidity and you get the picture – AKA felt like walking through swap land – without the swamp!
So, where did we go, well that is the funny thing, if there are tons of options for free standing synagogues in this section of New York, there may well be more options of home bound synagogues! Indeed, people have synagogues in their basements, living rooms, and just about any section of their home that their wives can tolerate (more on that in a bit).
Friday night started in the library room of a beautiful home, 5 doors down from EL’s house. Mincha started at 8 PM and we were done with Mincha and Maariv at 8:45 PM. Heck, where I live, we could still be davening Mincha in 45 minutes! We went home, and even walking the length of 5 homes made you feel like you wanted to jump into a shower ASAP! What heat! Anyway, dinner started with a bottle of 2012 Lueria Gewurztraminer. A lovely wine that was cold and bracing, with enough residual sugar in it to make both EL and his wife happy! From there we moved to two Roses that accompanied a plethora of sushi! Awesome idea, really, clean tasting sushi is a great idea on a hot summer day! The sushi was solid as was CL’s SICK challah that was greatly enjoyed with dips and soup. The Tavel was OK, as said above but the Agur rocked it for me and it was mostly drunk by me as well.
After that we moved to the main course, which was roasted chicken and some incredible Rib Roast! EL begged me to taste some before Shabbos and I knew at that point that this chunk of meat was going to slay it on Shabbos! The roast has something for everyone, it was rare inside and medium rare on the edges. It was herbed to perfection and was so juicy that it screamed to be eaten some more – WOW what a real treat!
At this point I must point out that we had already decanted two wines for the dinner, the newly released 2011 Vignobles David Reserve GS wine and the 2012 Hajdu Cabernet Franc (will probably be blended – but a distinct barrel sample for now). It was at this point that the family bailed and left EL and I to slowly enjoy the two bottles/carafes of wine. That was until Mark came over with two more wines in tow. The wines were the famous 2007 Brobdignagian/Brobdingnagian Syrah – a blockbuster wine we have enjoyed twice, and a 1999 Hagafen Syrah! The wine is a richly layered, concentrated beast that has zero desire to calm down or back-off its no holds barred structure that makes one truly stand up and take notice. Some find it too much, but for me it is a wine created by an unbridled mad genius, with eyes wide open – what a wine! When I saw the hagafen Syrah at Mark’s house before Shabbos I thought there was no way that the wine was drinkable. It turns out that the Syrah was Hagafen’s first and a wine that has truly stood the test of time. Read the rest of this entry
This past weekend we enjoyed two wonderful wines, one from Israel and one from Napa Valley, CA. The Dalton Shiraz was nice but lacked complexity, and was a bit sweet. The Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc was lovely with bracing acidity, with just a touch of sweetness and great tart citrus flavors.
The wine notes follow below:
2009 Dalton Shiraz Reserve – Score: B++
The nose on this purple colored wine shows little to no effect from the 2% of Viognier that was blended in. The nose starts with a classic Shiraz style; dark ripe black fruit, licorice, rich black pepper, date, loamy dirt, and mineral.
The mouth on this full bodied wine is still searing with its up front tannin attack, followed by a rich and opulent body that is layered but not very complex, crazy sweet cedar that is integrated perfectly, followed by blackberry, black plum, dark currant and nice spice. The finish is long and spicy with great chocolate covering nutmeg, cinnamon, all atop a mound of leafy tobacco, that has a dollop of vanilla on top and a side of root beer and ginger. Not an overly complex wine but a fun one whose date ripeness is not too over the top.
2011 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, CA – Score: B++
The nose is rich with fresh-cut grass, ripe peach, apricot, guava, and melon. The mouth is ripe and fresh, with great acid, only a hint of residual sugar, crazy ripe and fresh mouth with nice grass, awesome lemon fresche, more bright fruit, pineapple and ripe pink grapefruit. The finish is long and ripe with green notes a bit of pith, hints of blood orange, and crazy lingering tart citrus fruit flavors. This is a lovely wine but lacking complexity to take it to the next level. Second time I tasted this wine, and it tastes a bit sweeter this time, though without actual residual sugar flavors. What a joy – but man does it pop when the wine is super cold. Great acidity, with nice citrus fruit like mad!
This past weekend I tasted the 2007 Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon, +624, Altitude Series, and the last time we had it I loved it! This time the wine had flattened out and became more uni-dimensional than before. Still, it is a nice wine, but the dates are taking over and the wine, though it had dates before, has lost a bit of its complexity.
The wine not follows below:
2007 Barkan Cabernet Sauvignon, +624, Altitude Series – Score: B++
The wine is ready upon opening, though a quick hit with the vinturi takes a bit of the sweet edge off. The nose starts off with deep black fruit aromas, followed by black plum, licorice, dark cherry, along with sweet herb, and spice. The mouth is overly sweet with clear date, and raisin notes, followed by intense blackberry, cassis, along with layers of rich cedar and integrated tannins. The finish is long and sweet with hints of bell pepper, vanilla, bakers chocolate, and mounds of fresh leafy tobacco. The acid balances out the wine nicely and allows for the date to not totally overpower the wine. Drink within the year.
This past weekend friends from the kosher wine forum were coming over for the Sabbath and it was time to do my long-awaited blind tasting of the only 6 wines from California’s 2009 Syrah vintage (there may be another out there but it is not yet available). I wanted it to be blind, as all our favorites were in this one and I wanted all the table to vote without any prejudices.
Another friend from the shul brought two wines from Italy of which his brother is the kosher supervisor. We had the first one for kiddush and the second one later on, more on those in a minute. Finally, we my last – which was awesome!
For the fun we threw in another non- Cali Syrah (really an SMV) from Dalton – pre Shabbos meals, which was lovely – but not up to the caliber of the top wines we had later that evening.
Food wise, same old same old – which is great to me! We started the meal with some lovely Herb encrusted gefilte fish and then moved on to some sausage stew. For dessert, ER or HK made a crazy good blueberry topped crisp – which was served alongside some non-dairy vanilla ice cream. All in all a great meal, made better by the friends that were there – and of course by the lovely wines we had to enjoy with them all.
To start the evening we enjoyed a nice bottle of Dalton Alma, a lovely wine though not as complex as the rest of the big wines we had that night. Blue and lovely – a very nice wine. Read the rest of this entry
The River Wine, a kosher wine distributor of Israeli, French, and California wines is holding a lovely event on July 21st for all of you wine lovers in the New York area. The event is a two-part affair – the VIP tasting is at 5 PM and the main event is at 6 PM. The wines being poured at the event includes wines from their entire portfolio, including new ones from the Rose Camille Family, Shirah Wines, and Beit El Winery! Of course there will be fine food as well, and attire in red, white or Champagne colors are suggested (Short, t-shirt, and red flip-flops will probably not fly).
I will post as I hear more about the particular wines being poured – but for now the event sounds and the price for General Admission (non-VIP session) is on sale for 35 dollars, till July 1st, after that it goes to 45 dollars.
The event link can be found here and make sure to press the get tickets link before July 1st to lock in the lower price, or better yet, get the VIP session and get in an hour earlier and have the chance to taste a whole bunch of special wines (which I hope to get more information on soon). The event is being held in the Brownstone on 224 east 12th street in New York City.
Those that attend the VIP Session will be poured the following wines:
|Brut||Blessed Valley Red|
|Jonathan Tishbi||Blessed Valley White|
|brandy 12yr and 16yr|
|2011 one two punch||beit el Cabernet|
|2011 Coalition||beit el Carignan|
|2010 Thompson Syrah|
|2011 Thompson Syrah||Camille de roses|
|2011 Alder Springs Syrah|
|2012 Grenache Rose|
So, as promised there is more information on the dishes that will be served. The food courses so far are:
- Sesame Chicken With Dips
- Julianne Chicken Platters With Dipping Sauces
- Lamb Meatballs
- Roast Beef, Corned Beef, Pastrami, Turkey Breast And Grilled Vegetable Wraps
- Tossed Mesclun With Caesars Salad And Italian And Honey Mustard Dressing
- Pasta Pesto
- Guacamole And Salsa Tarts, Veggie Pate` Tarts, Curry Chicken Tarts
- Grilled Vegetable Platters
- Baby Roast Potatoes
Watch here for more information as I receive it! The party sounds like a totally awesome way to get back into the swing of summer, after the 3 weeks.
The flyer is attached below:
This past weekend we went with a lovely dish of slow alcohol braised short ribs, along with some nice simple rice pilaf. The recipe came out really well. Since the ribs are slow cooked you must remember that it renders a TON of fat and so you need to separate the fat from the brown sugar and whiskey sauce – which is really nice as well. So, one approach is to get a fat separator or you could do what I do, which is to take the meat from the sauce and then cool the sauce quickly. I put the sauce into the coldest part of the fridge and then it turns the fat into a solid discus that separates quickly and painlessly!
The wine started off lovely with rich blue and black notes. With time the wine turned black and date with blue in the background. Over more time the wine balances out and the blue and date round out and make for a nice wine.
The wine note follows below:
2009 Recanati Petite Sirah Zinfandel (PSZ) – Score: A-
6/14/2013 This wine is a blend of 80% Petite Sirah and 20% Zinfandel and was aged eight months in American oak. The nose starts off with a mineral core, followed by rich bakers chocolate, boysenberry, currant, black plum, licorice, hints of animal, and heavy spice and sweet herb. The mouth starts with layers of concentrated fruit, blackberry, more plum, blue fruit, red berries, searing tannin, and lovely cedar and spice. The finish is long and spicy with crazy lingering tobacco, cedar, chocolate, vanilla, black fruit, bramble, and dried tanned leather. With time the wine turns date and raisin driven, but with more time the wine mellows and rounds out nicely.
This past weekend we enjoyed one of my favorite dishes – risotto, but to be fair it is a complex problem when it comes to Shabbos. In the past I used to cook the risotto Thursday night and then I would throw in liquid on Friday and throw them into the oven with the chicken or meat or whatever protein I want to enjoy it with.
This time I wanted to try a more delicate approach – where I cooked the risotto right up until Shabbos started – which is far easier in the summer, and then threw the risotto and EXTRA broth into the oven, which was set to warm.
When I took the risotto out Friday night, it was a bit dried, but once I threw the extra broth into the pot and mixed it around a bit – the dish was looking much better, and it came out really nicely!
To pair with the mushroom risotto, I opened a bottled of the much-heralded 2010 Midbar Viognier! I wrote about the Midbar Winery (AKA Asif Winery), and my love for their product has not waned in the least! A few weeks ago I opened a SICK bottle of the White 44 and this week I opened my only bottle of the Midbar Viognier.
To say that Viognier works well with Risotto is like saying; the sun comes up each morning and that true port wine works well with blue or Stinson cheese – Duh! The viscous white, spicy, and honeyed liquid matches perfectly with the earthy and rich risotto flavors – a match made in heaven!
Thanks so much to Ya’acov Oryah and Midbar Winery for selling me the wines – money well spent!
2010 Midbar Viognier, Midbar Collection – Score: A- to A
We tasted this wine at the winery and having it again at the house brought back many of the great memories and remined me of the flavors we had there. The nose explodes with varietal true aromas of jasmine, rose, violet, pear, guava, honeysuckle, and green notes. The mouth is viscous like oil and textured with it as well, with ripe nectarine, peach, green and yellow apple, a body that goes forever and honey on top. The finish is long and spicy with great mineral, lemon/lime curd and tart notes on the long and green finish – BRAVO and WOW!