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In Praise Of Merlot Wine

 

   Gush Etzion, Emek Bracha, Merlot, 2008: Oak-aged for 22 months, a garnet toward royal purple blend of 81 percent Merlot and 19 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a fine array of currant, wild berry and red plums, those complemented nicely by hints of black pepper and dark chocolate. Long and generous. Drink now-2013. Score: 90.

 

   Odem Mountain, Reserve, Merlot, 2008: Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied with soft, gently caressing tannins and a moderate hand with the oak. On the nose and palate currants, wild berries, black cherries and a gentle hint of licorice on the long finish. Drink now-2015. Score: 90.

 

   Tabor, Adama II, Merlot, 2008: Dark cherry red toward garnet, made entirely from Merlot grapes harvested on Kerem Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee on volcanic soil, reflecting its 12 months in oak with full-body, soft tannins and light notes of smoky oak. On the nose and palate currants, red berries and notes of citrus peel all on a light note of white pepper. Round, long and generous. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.

 

   Tzuba,Tel Tzuba, Merlot, 2008: Garnet toward royal purple with orange reflections, full-bodied with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and showing fine concentration and balance. On first attack red currants and raspberries, those yielding to blackberries and an appealing hint of bitter herbs. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.

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Like Cinderella, wines based on the Merlot grape have too often been forced by their older and better- established sisters to sit in a corner, just a bit ashamed to make a public appearance.

Like Cinderella, wines based on the Merlot grape have too often been forced by their older and better- established sisters to sit in a corner, just a bit ashamed to make a public appearance.

If you’re located in the Northern Hemisphere, July signals the time of year when the weather can be hot enough to make you both thirsty and a bit more than uncomfortable. Our minds go to the efficiency of the air-conditioning in our homes, automobiles, and offices, and our palates take us to dishes that are light and not infrequently intentionally served cold. When we think of wine it is most logical for our thoughts to turn to white wines for, in addition to being served well chilled, those indeed tend to be crisper and more refreshing than reds.

There are two popular wine-related beliefs making the rounds these days, both of which deserve to be put to rest because they are nothing more than pure and unadulterated nonsense. The first of these would have us believe that men are better qualified to taste wine than women, and the second that some wines are more appropriate for men and others for women.

No one has ever said that truly fine wines are going to be found at bargain prices. Such wines, like luxury automobiles, designer handbags, custom-made jewelry and first-class international flights can, in fact, be quite dear. While it is true that most of us will rarely, if ever, buy Lamborghini automobiles and will most probably not approach Gucci to custom design a handbag for us, there is no valid reason to avoid, at least from time-to-time, buying the best wines available.

Bruce Cohn, manager of the rock band The Doobie Brothers, purchased his Sonoma County winery in 1974, and since then has been equally well known for his olive oil and his philanthropy as for his wine. Cohn seems to have done a fine job of precisely what a family-owned boutique operation should be doing, namely creating high quality wines with a distinct personality. In 2008 Cohn made his first kosher wine, and that wine is well worth the attention of the most devoted of wine lovers. Released in a limited edition of 400 cases (4,800 bottles), the wine is only available directly from the winery and can be ordered by calling 800-330-4064 or by visiting www.brcohn.com. Here’s my tasting note for the wine:

Twenty years ago only a handful of kosher wines were produced in Italy and, to tell the truth, most of those were pretty mediocre. Starting about five years ago, however, as those who keep kashrut became increasingly aware of quality wines, Italian producers responded and enormous strides have been made. The result: kosher wine, much of which is worthy of our attention, is now made in every wine-producing region in the country. Perhaps the most exciting recent step in kosher Italian wines is the introduction of truly excellent wines from the Falesco winery in the Umbria region.

For hundreds of years, the wine most often associated with the superior way of life has been Champagne. Attributed a soul, temperament and wit, many Frenchmen are convinced that Champagne can do them no harm, no matter how much they consume. Madame de Pompadour declared that, “it is the only wine that makes a woman more beautiful after drinking.” This delightful beverage is so much a cultural phenomenon in France that a person who dislikes Champagne is pitied or regarded as sick, disabled or depraved.

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