A fabulous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. We tasted this at the Psagot winery two weeks ago, and all I can say is simply divine! Pairs well with chicken, meat, pasta, and even fish. Balanced, rich, flavorful and from Israel. We ordered a case of this and of the 2009 Cabernet. Don’t miss this wine at the KFWE next week and get some while they last!
Available at onlinekosherwine.com for $32.99
Festive Hanukah parties require festive wine options. Many readers ask what to drink with latkes and doughnuts at a party as they possess characteristics that make them slightly difficult for wine pairings. Although people these days are learning that they should drink what they like, food & wine pairings exist because there is some rhyme to the reason.
Latkes are often fried and can be a bit oily. Oily dishes tend to be heavy, and the best solution here is a wine that provides some contrast. We recommend a chilled refreshing wine. High acid Sauvignon Blanc wines work well, as do sparkling wines.
Dougnuts on the other hand are generally sweet, and sweet foods can make dry wines taste bitter and unpleasant. So any wine with at least a little bit of sweetness (such as a Moscato or the Jeunesse wines) will work great with dougnuts.
If you are having an intimate affair, and don’t want more than 1 bottle, a wine worth checking out is the new Bartenura Moscato Rose sparkling wine. It is a sparkling wine with some sweetness and will definitely be a crowd pleaser.
Hanukah is not only a great time for wine drinking with family and friends but also a great time for wine as corporate or hostess gifts. GKC spoke to our best experts for their WINE GIFT SELECTIONS for 2011.
The first selection is a magnum (double sized bottle) of Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib. Some critics have called the Peraj Ha’abib the best kosher wine on the market and the magnum comes in a handsome wooden case perfect for gift giving (GKC votes this as our favorite wine this year).
Second, two special occasion wines from Israel are fantastic to drink and come in a gorgeous package are the Yatir Winery “Forest” and the Psagot Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. The Yatir bottle is adorned with a red wax seal while the Psagot has a replica ancient coin on its bottle.
A final suggestion is to ask your retailer for wines that come wrapped in tissue paper. One such wine is Herzog Winery’s “Special Edition” Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvginon (remember this great suggestion and tasting at the KFWE?! We loved it then and would love to receive this as a gift.) which comes wrapped in an off-white tissue paper and sealed with a gold sticker.
For many people Thanksgiving is all about family, turkey & football. But as we have learned from Yom tov meals – adding wine, especially wine that pairs well with the food, can enhance the overall pleasure and experience of that meal. So with Thanksgiving right around the corner we consulted our wine experts and asked what wines they would be drinking this Thanksgiving. It turns out there are 3 types of wine (grapes) that are said to be traditional Thanksgiving wines. These are Pinot Noir, Zinfandel & Chardonnay.
3 Thanksgiving wines:
• Pinot Noir – a classic Turkey pairing as this fruity red will not overwhelm the flavor of turkey and has characteristics found at Thanksgiving such as Cranberry. Try the Goose Bay Pinot Noir.
• Zinfandel – A robust red wine commonly found on Thanksgiving tables as it is said to be a true “American” wine. With features such as spice and jam, Zinfandel can go well with a roast and satisfy the big-red-wine lover at your Thanksgiving meal. Try the Baron Herzog Old Vine Zinfandel
• Chardonnay – A rich and creamy Chardonnay is the perfect white wine for your white meat. The richness of Chardonnay also pairs nicely with Turkey gravy as well as mashed potatoes. Segal’s Special Reserve Chardonnay is a must try. In fact, the entire Segal line are wines to look out for. In their price point, they make many wines that are outstanding in taste and an incredible value.
GKC congratulates Herzog Wine Cellars on the top award at a prestigious competition for the Special Edition Chalk Hill !!!!!
The Chalk Hill Kosher wine beat non-kosher competitors from California and France to win the top prize.
In a surprising development for wines around the world, a California wine has once again beaten competitors from France’s most prestigious and historic wine regions.
Israel’s leading business newspaper, “Calcalist”, assembled a panel of expert wine tasters on the 35th anniversary of the famous (some might say infamous) “Judgment of Paris”. The Judgment of Paris was a tasting held in 1976 that pitted top California wines against their more well-known (and much more expensive) French counterparts. To the shock & awe of all involved, the top wine selected was a California Cabernet Sauvignon, the results of which altered the wine landscape forever.
In honor of this 35th anniversary, Calcalist’s expert panel conducted a blind tasting (where wine labels are covered and experts do not know what wines they taste) of 20 wines, 10 from California and 10 from France, some kosher, some not. Once again, this time with less of a shock effect, the California wine was selected as best of tasting.
What was a surprise to many however is that a KOSHER WINE, the Herzog Wine Cellars 2005 Special Edition Chalk Hill, was selected as best wine of the competition. These blind tastings allow for people to truly taste wines without biases or preconceived notions. The fact that Herzog came out on top is a huge badge of honor for Herzog and for the entire California wine region and for the kosher wine industry.
With this recent award, it will be hard to find in a short time. Find it at Onlinekosherwine.com for $73.99
Succos is a time for joy, and to GKC that means lots of great meals with family and friends in the Succah and of course great wine too. The perfect meal always includes a great wine. Here are our wine suggestions, one for every meal. Many thanks to our friends at Royal Wines for all the terrific suggestions and expertise and for making sure that our wines are as fine as our food.
1st night Succos– Psagot Merlot as this is a rich Merlot that pairs beautifully with various foods. If you live somewhere warm, try a chilled Segal’s Reserve Chardonnay – a complex and oaky chardonnay that goes great with poultry.
1st day Succos– Capcanes Peraj Petite is a fruity but not oaky red wine that can be slightly chilled and enjoyed with a variety of foods.
2nd night Succos– A Herzog Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as it is a clean, fruit driven red wine that will enhance the simcha of Yom Tov and your meal. (budget bottle – try the Weinstock Cellar Select Cabernet Sauvignon as it too is a fruity California cab at about half the price of the Herzog Reserve).
2nd day Succos– There are few wines more refreshing than a Sauvignon Blanc and the newly screwcap closed Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc has unbelievably refreshing grapefruit characteristics and will go great on a (hopefully) warm Yom Tov day.
Shabbos night – Castel Grand Vin is a special wine that has a bit of unique Judean Hills character while being frequently compared to world renowned Bordeaux wines from France.
Shabbos day – Having spent enough on wine for the past 3 days of Yom Tov grab 2 bottles of budget wine – the W wines, red & white. They can be chilled, are easy drinking wines, and meet anyone’s budget.
Recently, on a recommendation from GKC friends at Royal Wine Corp, I had the good fortune to try the new Cab Reserve from the 1848 Winery. This wine is just wonderful and the entire table asked me about this new winery. The wine is all the rage, being discussed online at all the wine sites and you must try it.
A brand new winery, “1848 Winery” is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Winemaker, Yossie Shorr, is an Eighth Generation winemaker from the famous Yitzchak Shorr family that founded the first modern Israeli winery in 1848. This wine is sourced from grapes near Mount Tabor in the Lower Galilee. The 1848 Cab Reserve has aromas and flavors of raspberries, red currants and cherries that finishes off with a hint of roasted herbs (I think its this flavor that makes it special). As we start out the New Year with a special Kiddush, what better way than using this Cabernet Sauvignon, as the famous phrase goes“Cab is King”… Le’Chaim!
It’s a bit of a special occasion wine at about $35 but well worth it for a special Yom Tov meal.
You can get it online at Onlinekosherwine.com.
Need to pair a wine with your meal? See the GKC Wine Chart for the best wine pairings and suggestions
GKC gets numerous questions about what wine to pair with various dishes. So we asked our friends and wine experts at Royal Wines to help us. Here it is in full chart format, the GKC wine pairing list. Use it as a gift guide or in choosing your own wines. And don’t forget to tell us what you like.
Royal Wine Corp., the largest importer & distributor of kosher wines in North America and Champagne Drappier, the highly regarded Champagne house, are proud to announce a joint venture whereby Royal Wine Corp. will import & distribute the first ever kosher cuvees from the famed Champagne Domaine.
Royal Wine Corp.’s traveling winemaker Pierre Miodownick participated in the vinification of the two kosher cuvee’s, a project several years in the making. The release is set to take place towards the end of the summer, in time for the upcoming Jewish New Year.
The two Champagnes to be released are the “Carte-D’Or Brut” and “Carte Blanche”.
The Carte-D’Or Brut is blended with the traditional Champagne grapes; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The delicious sparkling wine possesses aromas of white peaches and cherries, providing aromatics typical of a Rose’ Champagne though the appearance of a blanc. The Carte Blanche is a blend made exclusively from the first pressing, a fresh and fruity approach to Champagne, leading to a final product considered to be a great “party wine” by the Domaine.
Champagne Drappier is a family owned house based in the fashionable appellation Côte des Bar in the Aube region of Champagne. Conducted by Michel Drappier, the seventh generation Drappier to run this property since 1808, Champagne Drappier is the largest champagne house in the Aube and produces approximately 1.6 million bottles a year. Champagne Drappier has consistently garnered positive reviews and high praise. Most recently, the NY Times’ Eric Asimov said that Drappier is “the best known producer in the Aube” and produces “a complete range of full bodied, refreshing, well-made wines”.
Michel Drappier proudly stated “We are thrilled to be able to expose our hand crafted Champagnes to a new kosher audience. And just as we strive for perfection when producing our regular cuvees, here too for the kosher cuvees we used our generations of experience and meticulous care to produce Champagnes worthy of carrying the Drappier name.” Added Nathan Herzog, Executive Vice President of Royal Wine Corp., “As the industry leader in kosher wine, we take pride in producing and distributing the finest kosher wines. We are excited to include a champagne house of Drappier’s stature to our select portfolio.”
By Gary Landesman
I received an email today from a new friend asking whether or not I thought he should purchase a wine fridge. My emphatic response was YES!
Mistakes such as storing wine upright or keeping it in the kitchen or some other hot place (I did that once – and learned a lesson) can really damage that expensive bottle you have been saving for a special occasion.
Since most of us do not live in Chateaus in France with wine caves, or have enough money to build custom wine cellars in our home, the best we can do is a wine fridge. There are many different types on the market today. They range in price from about $100 for a simply 8-bottle fridge to $1,000 to $5,000 for elaborately decorated, wooden-encased refrigerators that can hold several hundred bottles.
Assuming you do not have the means, space or desire to buy a fridge I would still encourage you to follow a few guidelines. First, only buy wine you intend to consume within a few days or weeks at most. If you do buy an expensive bottle you wish to save, let a good friend with proper storage facilities hold onto it for you – just make sure it is a good friend so that they don’t drink it!
If you do plan on storing a bottle for a few weeks or more without a fridge, keep it away from extreme heat and any place that may have large temperature fluctuations. The kitchen, near a radiator, in the sun – all of these places can lead to a cooked and, consequently, ruined bottle of wine.
Other things which are said to be bad for wine storage are light and vibrations. These too are less than ideal conditions and can lead to a wine that does not age properly and can become damaged.
The best thing you can do is to store wine on its side (important to keep the cork moist which maintains a seal and keeps oxygen out) at the bottom of a closet – preferably one away from the kitchen or any other source of heat.
If you do decide to get a wine fridge you should be aware that in addition to temperature, humidity is also something to keep in mind. The better wine fridges will maintain a humidity level between 60-65% as needed, while maintaining a temperature that you can often set, but should keep right around 55-56 degrees.
As to size, YES size matters! Kidding! Actually, it is said that no matter what size fridge you purchase you will find a way to outgrow it. I would recommend buying a fridge that can hold as many bottles as you would feel comfortable having in your collection – as your collection WILL SWELL to that number – and likely exceed it once you have caught the wine-buying bug.
Finally, remember to have the appropriate location and sufficient space for your fridge. An inability to open the fridge door, or a spot for your fridge where the garage door opener is going to rattle it every time you come home is not recommended.
Gary Landsman makes, sells, writes about and, of course, tastes wine. Presently doing PR/Marketing work for Royal Wines, you can contact Gary with any wine related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Hagafen Cuvee de Noir Sparkling: This effervescent offering from Hagafen has aromas of peach, light red fruits and with just a hint of fresh bread. On the palate is an even more complex combination of lingering flavors, including strawberry, framboise, white chocolate, and tea.
2. Carmel “Kayoumi” White Riesling: The wine comes from the celebrated Kayoumi vineyard in the foothills of Mount Meron, in the Upper Galilee. The grapes were night harvested, and the must was fermented at cold temperatures in stainless steel tanks to preserve the delicate fruit and flavors. Then the wine was left to age in bottle for 6 to 7 months before release, to allow the complexity of the wine to develop. This wine is part of the newly launched Carmel Single Vineyard series and on the “new wines to try list” for most wine aficionados.
3. Covenant Red C Sauvignon Blanc: The second white wine from the Covenant winery has a light golden straw color, with generous citrus and tropical fruit aromatics, matched nicely by fresh herbs and a hint of freshly mown grass on the elegant finish. I would try anything from Covenant, they have only produced excellent wines thus far.
4. Baron Herzog Pinot Noir: This extremely rare and value driven wine has delicious aromatic notes of blueberries and cherries. The Pinot Noir is soft and very easy drinking, with hints of gamy stew and more berry fruits on the palate.
5. 1848 Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: The inaugural release from this promising winery; this Cabernet Sauvignon has a wonderful dark garnet color, with aromas and flavors of raspberries, red currants and cherries that linger nicely through the long and generous finish.
In the summer I still prefer drinking red wines, especially the well-balanced Merlots like this Gamla Merlot Reserve Galilee 2009. It’s a bit fruity, with raspberry, and cherry flavors, but still retains a slight note of cedar wood and even cinnamon. It’s medium bodied so it can go with anything from barbeque to lighter pasta and chicken dishes. And it has a generous 14.5% alcohol content so it’s perfect for sitting with a great glass over wine on a warm night watching the fireflies. Satisfying to the palate and the purse, this Merlot, at about $16 a bottle is a steal. The grapes are grown in the Galilee in Israel so no wonder those fruit flavors emerge. Get some and let us know what you think.
What to serve on Father’s day? Of course you can go for the traditional cold beer (and by the way there are some terrific beers coming from so many different countries – but we will save that for another post) or chilled white wine or sangria. But more and more we hear that dads prefer red wine, which poses a problem in terms of temperature outdoors. Let’s face it; no matter how terrific a wine is, the over-heated bottle just is not worth drinking. Our friends at Royal Wine Corp. gave us a few suggestions for wines to serve on Father’s day that are actually terrific with ½ hour to 1 hour chilling time. Yes, in this case these red wines are delicious slightly chilled and kept in a cool box. All lighter reds below compliment BBQ foods with hints of darker fruit flavors, while still so refreshing to drink. Each wine is in a modest price range of $12 – $14. GKC loves variety so here are the selections, one from Spain, one from Israel and one from Italy. Enjoy!
Roman Cardova Rioja- Spanish wines are all the rage. Produced from 100% Tempranillo grapes, which are carefully selected from old vines surrounding the town of Haro, La Rioja. With its bright ruby red color, a nose of ripe wild berries and balsamic aromas, Ramon Cardova is ideal with red meat, fish, or pasta.
Barkan Classic Pinot Noir – Made in their winery in Israel and is produced from grapes from the high desert vineyard at Mitzpeh-Ramon.
Bartenura Ovadia Chianti – This supple, medium-bodied Chianti is grown entirely on the Poppiano Estate southwest of Florence. It is at its best as an accompaniment to pasta dishes and broiled or grilled meat.
Congratulations Capcanes on the highest scores ever awarded to any kosher wine by a major wine publication!
Capcanes wines have been a favorite of GKC since we tried it last year at the Kosher Food and Wine show. In fact one of the best kosher wines we have tasted. Apparently, the highest regarded wine critics at the Wine Advocate and Spanish wine critics agreed. We must share the unbelievable results and our congratulations to Capcanes winery.
Excellent scores in the 90+ range have become commonplace for Capcanes wines, but elite scores of 94 (2007 Capcanes La Flor del Flor) and 95 (2009 Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib) are worth sharing.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the most widely respected wine reviewer in the US recently sent Spanish wine critic Jay Miller to review the wines of Capcanes. Using words like “elegance, power and outstanding grip” Miller awarded the new Capcanes 2007 La Flor del Flor a score of 94, while calling the winery’s flagship “Peraj Ha’abib” “Powerful, impeccably balanced and lengthy” and awarding it 95 points.
Such scores carry extra importance as they are the highest scores ever awarded to any kosher wine by a major wine publication, let alone the prestigious Wine Advocate. Said winemaker Jurgen Wagner, “We are very proud of the scores Mr. Miller awarded and hope we can continue to produce wines held in such high regard. We are fortunate to have a very loyal following and are excited by the prospect of new consumers learning about and enjoying our wines”.
Our go-to wine for those Shabbos meals when our guests don’t bring any (!) is the Ramon Cardova Rioja. A product of Spain, this rich red wine is produced solely from Tempranillo grapes. I confess that I have never heard of or tasted those grapes but they seem to make a good wine! It’s rich and robust and seems to suit almost all palates. We highly recommend it; you won’t be disappointed.
How often do you have a sophisticated evening with other adults where you get to drink cocktails? Never, right?! There doesn’t seem to be a “right” moment between homework and dishes, between laundry and work projects. But Purim is the perfect time to dress in your “Thin Man” costumes and pour some adult drinks – just for the adults, of course! Here are a few fun ones to try. You could also dress as a bartender…
This recipe is for 4 servings but you can adjust according to the size of your crowd.
4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 cup vodka
2 ounces chocolate liqueur
2 ounces crème de cacao
4 maraschino cherries
Drizzle chocolate syrup into 4 martini glasses; set aside. Fill cocktail shaker 2/3 full with ice and add vodka, chocolate liqueur and crème de cacao. Cover and shake. Strain into martini glasses. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Invite me over!
Serves 4 but can be doubled or tripled or…
4 cups ice cubes
6 ounces vodka
1 cup cranberry juice
½ cup grapefruit juice
Fill highball glasses with ice cubes. Combine vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice in a pitcher. Pour into glasses. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime.
Serves 4 but I recommend adjusting for a larger crowd. Even the small crowd will want seconds!
1 (6-ounce) can frozen limeade
¾ cup tequila
¼ cup triple sec
Fill blender with crushed ice (or crush it in blender first). Pour in limeade, tequila and triple sec. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
If you don’t want to make your own flavored vodka, the stores are full of options. A few new ones from me oko were recently sent our way. They are definitely unusual and sparked interest and conversation among our guests. We sampled the ginger-infused, the strawberry-infused and the jalapeno-infused. I liked the jalapeno one the best; it has a real kick! We tried them straight – ice cold from the freezer but the company also suggests some cocktail options. These are not for the faint of heart!
1 part me oko ginger vodka
½ part Amaretto
Combine with ice and serve in a shot glass.
Hot and Sour Martini
1-1/2 parts me oko jalapeno vodka
3 parts grapefruit juice
Blend over ice and serve in a chilled glass.
(Make a big pitcher!)
2 parts jalapeno vodka
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 dash fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon horseradish
4 parts tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix
Shake over ice and strain into a tall glass of ice. Garnish with sprig of celery and wedge of lime.
Flavored vodkas are flying off liquor-store shelves but making your own can be a lot tastier and much more fun. Use the colorful glass bottles we featured in our Great Products section or for smaller portions, make them in jam jars. The ingredients are so pretty in the vodka that they look nice in any glass jar. The basic concept is to marry a variety of choice flavors into a base liquor to create a custom-flavored spirit.
Choose your flavors: Herbs, spices and fruits are most commonly used for infusions. The most popular infusions are fruit-based; however you can use your imagination to create some wonderful combinations.
Process: Choose a clean, air-tight jar. Wash the ingredients, place them inside the jar and fill it with vodka. Shake a few times and cover tightly with a lid.
Infusion Time: You will want to store your infusion in a cool, dark place and shake it 3-5 times a day for the duration of the infusion. On average the ingredients should stay in the liquor for 3-5 days. Some of the more intense flavors will only need 3 days (like peppers or star anise), less intense flavors (like citrus), should stay in the jar for a full week or more.
The Finish: Strain and start sipping. Store in an airtight jar, as you would any other liquor.
Coffee Bean and Hazelnut Vodka
4 coffee beans
2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts
1-½ cups Vodka
Place coffee beans and hazelnuts in a jar. Cover with vodka and seal the jar.
Infuse for 3 days. Strain if you like, and place in an attractive container.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 whole nutmeg, cracked
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, cracked
- 1/2 a whole vanilla bean
- ½ stick cinnamon, cracked
- 6 whole allspice berries, cracked
- 1 (750 ml) bottle vodka
Place cranberries and spices in an infusion jar and top with vodka. Let infuse for 2 – 3 days, then strain and place infused Vodka in an attractive container.
- 2 small ruby grapefruits
- 3 tangerines or oranges
- 3 lemons
- 3 (750 ml) bottles of vodka
Rinse fruit well. Use a large container and 3 large 750 ml bottles of vodka. Make this in a large container and then pour into smaller jars as gifts. Poke each piece of fruit 30 – 40 times with a skewer. Place fruit in an infusion jar and top with vodka. Let infuse for 3 – 4 days, then strain and place infused vodka in an attractive container. Alternatively, slice the fruit and divide amongst small jars, cover with vodka and infuse for 3 -4 days.
Dried Chili and Star Anise
1 star anise
1 dried chili
2 cardamom pods
1-½ cups vodka
Place star anise, chile and cardamom in jar. Cover with vodka and seal. Infuse for 1 day. This is spicy so strain, and place in an attractive container.
Spicy Jalapeno and Lemon
1 jalapeno pepper
Zest from 1 lemon
3 cups vodka
Place pepper and zest in jar. Cover with vodka and seal jar. Infuse for 3 day. Strain, and place in an attractive container.
½ small watermelon, cubed
3 cups vodka
Place watermelon in jar. Cover with vodka and seal jar. Infuse for 5 days. Remove watermelon cubes. Place in an attractive container
Here are some more wines to try at KFWE – or anywhere else you can get your hands on them! The extravagantly labeled Alexander the Great is a high-end wine made from a new kosher Israeli winery and aged for 36 months in oak barrels.
Or you can try the Herzog Reserve Oak Knoll Cabernet, a new single vineyard wine from Herzog Wine cellars. Actually, don’t make it an either/or; try them both!
Here are two wines that you must taste at The Kosher Food and Wine Experience on February 22 in NYC.
First, the Capcanes La Flor del Flor
Why? Because it is made from 100+ year old vines and said to be one of the most elegant wines ever made. Everyone is talking about this wine and you will know why once you try it.
Second, the Covenant Cabernet. It has a cool label and cost more than my budget allows me to spend on wine. Come to the event and enjoy it with me. Also, Josh from the Covenant winery will be there and he is a wealth of information about wine making and specifically extraordinary kosher wine.
For tickets go to www.kfwe.com and use code GKC10 for $10 off each ticket.
In the last few years good wines have popped up from Chili and Argentina but lately it seems that everyone is talking about Rioja wines. These are usually dry red wines from the Rioja region of Northern Spain. Honestly, this wine was new to me so I was excited to try it, especially since the non-kosher world sees it as a big wine trend for 2011. The Elvi Matiz Rioja 2008 is the best kosher Rioja to try. You can taste the spicy black cherry and savory flavors and smell the earthy aroma. Rioja loses flavor if served from a decanter according to Rioja experts so best to serve it from the bottle. It’s a perfect Friday night wine and pairs well with Shabbos food like Savory Lamb Stew or London Broil with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts.
True confessions: I actually prefer liquor to wine – although my husband feels differently. I like a good scotch, a good tequila and a good vodka. I usually prefer them straight – no ice and no mixers – although I do like the vodka to be stored in the freezer. At Purim time, I plan to sample some of the newer flavored vodkas but for now the tastemakers in our home are torn between our traditional family favorite, Vox, and our guests’ gift of choice: Belvedere. Have a blind taste test in your home. Let us know which you prefer.