Fruit of the Vine

California Grandeur

For your holiday table, go west.

Special To The Jewish Week

Thirty-five years ago, in the spring of 1976, a seminal event happened in Paris that changed the map of wine just as much as the American Revolution, 200 years before, had changed the map of the British Empire.

Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, then living in Paris, decided to use the American Bicentennial to generate some publicity for himself. So he invited some of France’s most distinguished wine experts to a blind tasting of the best French and American wines. The outcome was a foregone conclusion: France, of course, would win.

Herzog’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is full bodied and garnet colored.

Moscato In Israel

The Italian transplant perfect for the season.

Special To The Jewish Week

One of the minor hazards of being a wine writer is the frequency of requests from friends and family for advice on selecting wines for help in selecting wines. A few weeks ago I got a call from an old friend with an interesting wine question: She wanted me to recommend a few good Israeli Moscatos.

Carmel's Moscato di Carmel.

Punch Up Your Purim

Champagne punch will add a bit of sparkle to your holiday table.

Special To The Jewish Week

Purim is unique in the cannon of Jewish holidays in that while wine is a critical component of most Jewish holidays, it is only on Purim that one is actually encouraged to overindulge in drink. While one can fulfill this mitzvah of drinking on Purim with any sort of wine, one of the most delightful ways of doing it is with a punch made from that most delightful of wines — Champagne.

An illustration from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book “How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion.”

Single-Malt Shop

Scotch whisky, a good (kosher) wintertime tipple.

Special To The Jewish Week

Over the past few decades single-malt Scotch whisky has become one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish circles, a fact not lost on whisky producers. According to David Blackmore, the global brand manager for the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg distilleries, “It’s no great secret that the Jewish community in America really loves their single malts.”

The Glenrothes Alba Reserve is a smooth whiskey with hints of heather.

Ten For ’10

Looking back on a very good year for kosher wine.

Special To The Jewish Week

When 2010 drew to a close, it ended what had been a remarkable decade for the kosher wine industry. In the past 10 years the quality and quantity of kosher wines around the world has expanded at a far more rapid pace than anyone would have predicted.

A good year for kosher wine

Making Winter Sparkle On A Budget

As we turn the page on 2010, it’s time for a Champagne cocktail.

Special To The Jewish Week

Got the deep-freeze, wintertime blues as New Year’s approaches? Sun lamps can help you beat back the feeling. So can a weekend trip to a tropical locale. But personally, when the snow and ice has me feeling a bit glum, I find that a nice glass of Champagne always hits the spot.

Time for a Champagne cocktail.

American Independents

Boutique kosher wines are thriving even in a down economy.

Special To The Jewish Week

Not too long ago I found myself sitting on an overheated, crowded train heading to a winery. Whenever possible I like to use public transportation when I visit wineries, to avoid driving after tasting. But what made this ride unusual was that it was on a No. 1 train headed to a winery located in Manhattan’s most perennially hip neighborhood, Soho.

City Winery’s top-rated New York City Cab Cabernet Sauvignon.

Fortified Wine: A Good Fall Bracer

A warming choice for the season.

Special To The Jewish Week

After a warmer than usual September, autumn has started in earnest —making this just the right time of year indulge in a warming glass of fortified wine.

Fortified wines are wines to which distilled alcohol, usually brandy, is added during the wine-making process. Not only is the wine’s alcohol content increased, but the process can have profound effects on the wine’s flavor and mouth feel. Indeed, fortified wines often seem to combine the flavors and heft of wine, with the warming sensations of distilled spirits.

The Tio Pepe Kosher Fino Sherry got high marks in this month’s tasting.

Making It A Rosé Summer

Special To The Jewish Week

When it’s “hot town, summer in the city,” as the iconic song says, few potations are quite as refreshing as a nice, ice cold, glass of rosé.

Don Ernesto’s 2009 Napa Valley Vin Gris

Seeing Red For Summer

The search for kosher Rioja.

Special To The Jewish Week

While the official beginning of summer may still be a few weeks away, summertime heat and humidity have already arrived here. For many wine drinkers hot weather calls only for white wine, and indeed no red wine can be as refreshing on a hot and humid day as a crisp, cool, white. Yet so many favorite summertime foods — cold-cuts, hotdogs and hamburgers — simply scream out for soft, easy drinking, medium-bodied, red wines. These days, one of my favorite summer reds is Rioja.

Ramon Cardova’s 2001 Rioja Reserva Especial is aged in new American oak barrels for 18 months.
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