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2010 HaSod Carmenere and 2008 Terra di Seta Chianti Classico

On the week of March 21, 2012, we enjoyed some both a simple and a nice wine. The first one was a simple wine from the Ha Sod label. The story behind Ha Sod, is a story of economics in the kosher wine world. There are many wonderful wines in the expensive price class ($30 and higher), and some decent wines in the middle price class ($10 to $30). The real problem has been finding good kosher wines in the cheap wine class.

To meet those needs Welner Wines has really come on strong to own this zip code. However, since then, Herzog Cellars and the Yarden Winery have both moved down into this price range with their own labels and wines. Yarden released the Ha Sod label in 2009 with both a Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. We liked the 2009 Ha Sod Cabernet but were not as enthralled with this Carmenere. According to Wikipedia, Carmenere is a member of the Cabernet family of grapes, the name “Carménère” originates from the French word for crimson (carmine), which refers to the brilliant crimson color of the autumn foliage prior to leaf-fall. It was considered part of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux, France, but since then it is almost impossible to find in Bordeaux. However, the grape did not disappear, as Chile is now the world’s leading grower of this grape. The grape adds deep color but it lacks deep flavor and concentration.

The Terra di Seta was very nice, and just as enjoyable as the last two times we had it. The Chianti started off closed, but over time it opened to a lovely and enjoyable Chianti, and stays one of the best Kosher Chianti wines out there. Also, Terra di Seta is the ONLY completely kosher winery in Tuscany.

The wine notes follow below:

2010 Ha Sod Carmenere – Score: B
This is a new vantage for the HaSod label, which is a wine made in Chile by the Yarden Wine Company. They started this in 2009 because they needed a wine that could compete in the higher quality low priced wine market. Carmenere is a grape that does not make wine that is rich, deep, or powerful, however it makes for perfectly fine average and above average wine. The wine starts off with raspberry, plum, cranberry, and a distinct floral attack. The mouth is soft and medium in body with sour cherry, blackcurrant, integrated tannin, and a round mouth that makes for a very food friendly wine. The finish is long and spicy with nice herb, earth notes, black pepper, and vanilla. Read the rest of this entry

Awesome kosher meatball recipe, lovely sauces, last 2009 HaSod Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2010 Tierra Salvaje Pinot Noir Reserve

This past weekend, I was on a mission from God (in my mind anyway) to make the best possible meatball possible. My wife thinks I have gone crazy, because to her the meatballs we have made in the past were fine to her, and they are. Still, my quest to make the perfect meatball cannot be quenched, though this past iteration was quite possibly my best. There are some more tweaks we will need to do, but more on that soon. Now I wanted to make a single meatball recipe, but two different sauces. Why? Simple, my wife was not interested in a meat based sauce, and I did. Now the only con to frying meatballs is that the sauce you make has no meat flavor in it. Yes, the onions and base can start from the fat that is rendered from the fried meatballs, but that still does not cut it. A true meat sauce requires meat flavors to be fully integrated in the sauce, via cooking and reducing with the meat, thereby concentrating the meat and tomato flavors, in combination. Further, I was NOT going to braise the meatballs after I went to the trouble of frying them and getting them nice and crunchy to only lose that in a pot of sauce!

So, I was left with the trouble of cooking two sauces, one with the rendered fat and one without. To get the rich meat flavor, I further rendered the fat of Nechama’s Smoked Andouille sausages (made from turkey and chicken), and then cooked them in the completed tomato sauce, to enrich the sauce with a lovely bit of heat and meat flavor. While this was successful, the extra sausages did not render well enough for me, and the extra steps were not worth the final outcome.

For the meatball recipe, I used a further modified version of the classic meatball recipe from America’s Test Kitchen:

Wines enjoyed during the past month

To say that life has been hectic would be an understatement, so while wine was enjoyed the real joy of writing about them had to be put on hold. Well, things are still hectic, but we now have enough time to sit down and write these up. Over the past month I have had the opportunity to taste some very experimental wine (not written about here), some really wonderful and standout wines that will be available soon, and some wines that are still not available, but was given the chance to enjoy it early on. Of course, we enjoyed some bottles that really impressed us, while others were just – ok.

So I hope these notes bring you some insight into what wines are coming soon, what wines are out there that are enjoyable, and which ones you should really start drinking up soon.

The wine notes follow below:

2009 Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie Score: B
The 2009 Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio is a nice simple white wine that is clearly a wine built for enjoyment with our without food. The nose on this straw-colored wine is striking with rich peach, intense lemon, apricot, grapefruit, light floral notes, green apple, lemon rind, and mineral. The mouth on this light to medium-bodied wine is nice and bright, with lemon, green apple, and peach. The mid palate is packed with bright acidity, lemon, something that can only be explained as vanilla, lemon rind, and floral notes. The finish is spicy and medium long with more rich lemon, apple, mineral, peach, and lemon rind. Green apple, lemon, floral notes, and mineral linger long.

2006 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon Red C (Kosher) –  Score: A-
I must admit that the last time we had this bottle it was down right DOA, this one differs greatly, and it was a much appreciated surprise.

The nose on this purple to black colored wine is smoky and screams with tobacco, chocolate, tar, alcohol (to start), graphite, rich cedar, blackberry, ripe plum, raspberry, fig, mint, and herbs. The mouth on the medium to full-bodied wine is rich and layered with mouth coating integrated tannins, blackberry, plum, raspberry, fig, mint, and cedar. The mid palate follows the mouth with balanced acidity, chocolate, tobacco, tar, more cedar, and black pepper. The finish is super long and spicy with rich blackberry, plum, vanilla, herbs, chocolate, tar, tobacco, black pepper, and salty celery. The tar, tobacco, plum, black pepper, and salt rise on the finish and linger long.

N.V. Four Gates Pinot Noir Kosher – Score: B++ to A-
The nose on this dark ruby colored wine explodes with cloves, spice, dirt, celery, chicken cherry cola, raspberry, plum, herbs, coffee, and menthol. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and layered nice chicken cherry cola, plum, and raspberry, along with heavy spice, and mouth coating tannin. The mid palate, like all four gates wine is balanced with bracing acidity, more dirt, nice tannin, crushed herbs, eucalyptus, and oak. The finish is long with chicken cherry cola, crushed herbs, dirt, celery, spice, raspberry, oak, coffee, and vanilla. Chicken Cherry Cola, crushed herbs, and vanilla rise on the finish.


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