I didn't think this event could be bigger or better or include more wines, drinks, and food, but KFWE 2014, did all of those. Thousands of people, winemakers sharing their visions, successes, and love for wine, and restaurants and food trends being tasted. KFWE 2014 was a huge success and Royal Wines did an amazing job. One of the best parts of the event is meeting up with readers to get to know you in person, sharing wine favorites with other writers and friends, and catching up with fellow bloggers and chefs. So thank you to all of you and I enjoyed my time with you.
Now on to wine! I felt the entire evening was filled with fragrance. Yes, the food smelled great, but I really mean that the wines have become so aromatic; you can almost taste their depth and flavor just by smelling them. My senses were so profoundly pleased. Second, I am thrilled that some of my favorite Israeli wines, Psagot, Tulip, and Flam (and Napa winery Covenant) have introduced mevushal wines. Although not always popular, I'm excited about it because it's much easier to serve them at simchas, and bring them as gifts.
Here are some of my favorites from the evening. Covenant Winery poured their 2011 Chardonnay, called Lavan. It's perfectly balanced, easily savored and enjoyable. All their wines are on my best pick list and winemaker Jonathan Hadju is always fun to chat with. They released a mevushal wine with nice fruit overtones and a terrific smell. I'm sure it will be a big hit. I loved the Capcanes Rose, which is new for them and a big popular trend in wine. The Peraj Habib Cabernet is a wonderful accompaniment to a meat meal and pairs nicely with ribs or hearty Shabbos chicken.
My favorite Israeli wines included Psagot (welcoming 2 mevushal bottles, both are terrific). It's always wonderful to catch up with wine maker, Jacob. Last year we visited the Psagot winery in Israel and had a fantastic time. In addition to their mevushal wines, try their Cabernet Franc and Edom wines, well balanced, super flavorful and silky and smooth. I love the Tulip winery (I tried their new wine called Black Tulip, yum, divine) for many reasons. First they make great wine (also try their Just Tulip wines, they are priced well and very enjoyable), also, they grow and process their wines in the Valley of Hope in Israel and hire disabled adults to work at the winery. Chesed and winemaking, now that's a combination I'm excited about.
A few others you must check out, Flam, Yatir, and Bazelet. I enjoyed Flam's Rose, it's dry and not too sweet and their Classico, is superb. Yatir's Forest is worth the splurge any day and their Syrah is silky and smooth and pairs with anything from fish and chicken to pasta. I met winemaker Yoav Levi from Bazelet in the Golan. This is a new winery for me and I was totally impressed. Not only were the wines delicious, but also zesty, dry, and well balanced. And what's interesting about the wines is that they have a naturally high alcohol content, just above 15%. Now, that's a Kiddush wine. Both the merlot reserve and cabernet reserve are great wines to try.
I've been reading about Shiloh's chardonnay (they didn't have it L but I loved the Barbera. Also, new for me were the 1848 wines. My favorites were the 2009 Reserve (fabulous!), Cabernet Franc and the Merlot. Although I buy it often, I enjoyed the Goose Bay Pinot Noir. This wine has nice hints of cherry and oak and a little spiciness too.
And of course, the Herzog Wine Cellars shared some wonderful wines. Just released Herzog Cabernet called Basin, where the grapes are grown in a region in Northern Napa called the Basin. It's a rich and warm wine that's full of flavor. Both the Clone 6 and the Alexander Valley Cabernets are always enjoyable and a favorite gift to bring to others. Be sure to check out the Chenin Blanc too, its very well priced and is good for many palates.
Were you wondering if I tried any food? It's me, so of course I did! Ari White, the pit boss from Texas Roadside Smokehouse won rave reviews from all, serving 18 hr. Oak and Apple Smoked Brisket (the bbq sauce was a perfect combination of sweet and smoky and the brisket was soft enough to cut with a fork) and in conjunction with superstar caterers Gemstar catering, veal pancetta and lamb bacon (I'm not kidding!). Both melt in your mouth awesome and memorable. Silverleaf caterers served a crisp and on trend Kale Salad with Roasted Squash and Pomegranate seeds (I definitely trying to recreate this one at home!). Etc. Steakhouse in Teaneck shared a wonderful Pink Peppercorn Crusted Rib-eye. I loved the spicy pepper, with the sweet taste of pomegranate and the hints of citrus. It was a nice surprise from a restaurant I have not yet tried (I'm definitely making a trip to Teaneck to try it out though). Jose Mareilles, the owner and chef from Le Marais is always delightful and a pleasure to see. He sure knows how to make a great hanger steak.
What will they think of and bring for us next year? I love the opportunity to taste and experience wines from around the world all in one place. I love to see the latest and best food trends incorporated into kosher restaurants and chef's repertoire. KFWE 2014 was wonderful. Please join me next year!