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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Pinot Noir’

Bubbles For The Good Life

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

      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.

 

      In 1688, when the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon was placed in charge of the wine cellars of the Abbey of Hautvillers near Epernay, his odd ideas about making wine had his colleagues wondering whether he was a clairvoyant, a saint, or something of a madman. If one accepts the popular mythology, this untutored chemist had the brilliant idea of adding small amounts of yeast and sugar to bottles of wine. This led to a secondary fermentation that in turn released gas under pressure into the wine. Dom Perignon had discovered a way to make wine sparkle, and since then sparkling Champagne has become the source for an entire mythology. It goes without saying that only wines that come from the Champagne region of France are entitled to be called “Champagne.” All other wines, even those made by what has come to be known as the methode Champenoise, are properly referred to as “sparkling wines.”

 

      Making Champagne is a lengthy process. Fermented grape juices, the produce of many different vineyards, are blended and then bottled with a mixture of sugar and yeast to induce a second fermentation. This produces carbon dioxide that, since it is sealed in, dissolves in the wine and creates the fizz. Since the yeast forms an ugly deposit, the bottles are stored with their heads down and are turned occasionally, thereby forcing this deposit to flow downwards toward the corks. This process is known as riddling. Toward the end of the process, which takes anywhere from six months to two years, the necks of the bottles are placed in an icy-cold brine solution. This freezes the sediment, which can then be expelled.

 

      Because the fermentation process has eaten up all of the sugar, the wine is now completely dry and verging on sourness, and therefore it is next given a dose of a bit more sugar. Finally it is corked with special corks that seal it hermetically. The neck of the bottle is then encircled with wire mesh so that the pressure from the gas in the bottle does not blow the cork out. The tops of the bottles are wrapped in gold or silver foil, and the wine is finally ready to start working its magic.

 

      There are four major levels of sweetness for Champagne and sparkling wines – brut, which is very dry; sec, which is dry; demi-sec, which is really quite sweet; and the sweet riche, which is essentially a dessert wine. The letters “n.v.” indicate a wine that is a blend of wines from more than one vintage year. Those who keep kashrut will be glad to know that in addition to their regular releases, several of the very best Champagne houses also produce kosher editions. That the wines are kosher will be noted on either the front or rear label of the bottle. Prices in the reviews that follow are an average from three stores in the greater metropolitan New York area:

 

      Heidsieck Monopole, Brut Champagne, Blue Top, Kosher Edition, n.v.: Categorized as brut but with hints of sweetness. Light- to medium-bodied, with apple, strawberry and yeasty notes. Pleasant but not exceptional, and with bubbles that seem unfocused and not quite intense enough. $50. Score: 86.

 

      Jean-Marie Etienne, Brut Champagne, Cumieres, Kosher Edition, n.v.: An appealing little Champagne made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes. Medium-bodied, with a short mousse but sharp and focused bubbles, and aromas and flavors of berries, citrus and a hint of toasty white bread. Pleasant but without complexities. $30. Score: 84.

 

      Louis de Sacy, Brut Champagne, Grand Cru, Kosher Edition, n.v.: A traditional Champagne, a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier (60 percent, 35 percent and 5 percent, respectively). With a good mousse and sharp, long-lasting bubbles, the wine shows deep golden with an orange tint, opening with a rather generous whiff of yeasts. But that settles down quickly to reveal appealing aromas and flavors of red berries, peaches and citrus peel, those complemented by notes of sourdough bread and minerals. $65. Score: 90.

 

      Nicolas Feuillatte, Brut Champagne, Kosher Edition, n.v.: Crisply dry, with generous minerals on the background, and citrus and citrus-flower aromas and flavors. Long, complex and delicious, with well-focused bubbles and a long-lasting mousse. $50. Score: 91.

 

      Laurent Perrier, Brut Champagne, Kosher Edition, n.v.: Rose-petal-pink with orange tints. Medium-bodied, with a long mousse and sharp, well-focused bubbles that go on and on, and showing toasty white bread, strawberry, citrus and citrus peel, those backed up by generous hints of spring flowers and minerals. $70. Score: 90.

 

      Laurent Perrier, Brut Rose Champagne, Kosher Edition, n.v.: Depending on how the light hits, pink toward orange or salmon pink in color, a medium-bodied Champagne, made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes. Light notes of yeast and oak highlight a fascinating array of cherry, red berry, apple and orange-peel notes. Fine, sharp bubbles, a long mousse and a hint of yeasty white bread that rises on the finish. $110. Score: 91.

 

      Pommery, Brut Royale, Champagne, Kosher Edition, n.v.: Light gold in color, medium- to full-bodied, showing tantalizing hints of toasted bread and hazelnuts, those highlighting distinct notes of berries and black cherries. Fine acidity, a long mousse, sharp bubbles, and a lovely mineral-rich finish. $60. Score: 90.

 

      Pommery, Brut Champagne, Kosher Edition, n.v.: A traditional blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (55 percent and 45 percent, respectively). Medium-bodied, with light hints of yeast running through, and a long-lasting mousse. On the nose and palate citrus, apple and floral aromas, those with a light overlay of spiciness. Firm, crisp and long. $65. Score: 90.

 

      Pommery, Brut Ros?, Champagne, Kosher Edition, n.v.: Pink toward salmon colored, medium- to full-bodied, with a long mousse and sharp, well-focused bubbles. On the nose and palate a delightful array of cherry, wild berry, currant and cherry fruits, those well complemented by notes of cloves, cinnamon and espresso coffee. A wine that floats on the palate – and then lingers very nicely indeed. $75. Score: 92.

 

Four Sparkling Wines From Israel

 

      Yarden, Blanc de Blancs, 2005: It’s delicious, it’s delightful, it’s “delovely.” With a long mousse, sharp, well-focused and long-lasting bubbles, as brut dry as one could hope for, opens to notes of yeasty white bread, goes on to show tropical and citrus fruits all on a lightly floral background. Long, generous and elegant. Drink now – 2018. $30. Score: 91.

 

      Yarden, Blanc de Blancs, 2001: The best Blanc de Blancs to date from the winery. Made from Chardonnay grapes by the traditional methode Champenoise, this medium-bodied sparkling wine shows just the right balance between yeasty sourdough bread, peaches, citrus and minerals. With a generous mousse and sharp, well-focused bubbles that go on and on, this crisp and sophisticated wine goes on to a long, mouth-filling finish. Drink now-2012. $30. Score: 92.

 

      Gamla, Brut, 2007: Light gold in color, drier, and more tempting than the earlier n.v. release of this wine, with a gently yeasty hint on the nose and palate, and opening to show fine citrus and apple fruits. A good mousse, long-lingering and sharp bubbles, and a note of toasted brioche on the finish. Drink now – 2014. $30. Score: 89.

 

      Carmel, Brut, Private Collection, n.v.: Made by the Charmat method (with the second fermentation accomplished in pressurized stainless steel tanks), a blend of French Colombard, Chardonnay and Viognier grapes (50 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent, respectively), with a portion of the Chardonnay oak-aged. Shows simple but appealing aromas and flavors of apples, pears and citrus. A short mousse and sharp but not well-focused bubbles here make one think more of Spanish Cava than of French Champagne. $15. Score: 86.

 

      Daniel Rogov is a prominent kosher wine critic and the author of two annual books, “Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines” and “Rogov’s Guide to Kosher Wines.” He can be reached at drogov@cheerful.com.

Top Ten Wines For The New Year

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

   Rosh Hashanah is all about new beginnings and self-improvement and kosher wineries all over the world are making a commitment to producing great wines at affordable prices. Here are 10 suggestions for a fresh start on kosher wines.

 

   Baron Herzog Zinfandel, which has wonderful aromas of blackberry and raspberries balanced with vanilla and spice, has just been issued the seal of the Lodi Rules Certified Green Sustainability Program. The Lodi Rules program uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a long-term solution for both the environment and economy. IPM reduces the amount of harmful pesticides introduced into the grapes as well as the environment. When you enjoy the delicious Baron Herzog Zinfandel, you know you are doing the right thing for the environment and for yourself.

 

   For the first time in almost 10 years, the Herzog family presents the Late Harvest Riesling in a 375ML size. The Riesling has intense, late harvest aromas of dried apricot, pineapple and baked apple, a rich and luscious full mouth feel and sweet forward impression with a very well balanced finish. The flavor of apricot and honey will linger for a long time.

 

   Pinot Noir is a very elegant wine varietal. While usually dismissed as too soft or light for a red, the complexity of aromas on the palate of Pinot Noir more than makes up for it. The Herzog Reserve Pinot Noir is an exquisite wine, with silky texture and fine-tuned layers of cherry, raspberry, anise and spice flavors.

 

   The year 2006 in California was an excellent harvest for red wine varietals from the Herzog Winery. One of the best examples is the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which recently was given a phenomenal rating of 92 points by a well-respected wine publication. The Herzog Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine exhibiting berry, cherry and licorice aromas and flavors of mocha and vanilla. This wine is the perfect example of affordable luxury.

 

   Sparkling wines are superb for toasts and celebrations. Rosh Hashanah is the start of a new year and the Elvi Brut Cava Sparkling Wine is an ideal fit. Cava is a Sparkling Wine made in the French champagne method and, similarly to champagne, can only be called Cava if grown in the specific regions in Spain for cava. The Elvi Adar Brut is bubbly, and dry, with notes of flowers, citrus and strawberries.

 

   Finding fun, fresh and enjoyable wines that are capable of being paired with food or enjoyed on their own is an arduous task. The Red, Pink, and White by W Wines have just made that task a lot easier. The Red has flavors of grenadine and fresh berries followed by a crisp finish. The White is lively with aromas of grapefruit, elegant floral notes and white peach flavors on the palate. The Pink is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Muscat Canelli. It’s aromatic and refreshing, with hints of wild strawberry and cherry, and a soft, well-balanced finish. The W Wines are also affordable as they are all under $10 so even the most budget conscience consumer will be satisfied.

 

   New Zealand wines other than Sauvignon Blanc are now moving into the spotlight as top tier high quality wines. Goose Bay Chardonnay is a rich, big wine with tropical fruit flavors of citrus and pineapple as well as green apples, fine oak and a touch of vanilla. Chardonnays are great for Rosh Hashanah because one of the flavor traits for chardonnay is apple.

 

   The next few wines highlight some of the hot, up and coming new wineries in Israel from the Judean Hills Region. The Judean Hills Region is well known as a winemaking region going as far back to when the Roman Legions supplied their soldier’s rations with wine from the Judean Hills.

 

   The Shiloh winery, founded in Shiloh in the Shomron Region in Israel, has just the right wine for the New Year. The Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon’s grapes are harvested from a simple vineyard nestled on a small slope in the Judean Hills. The Cabernet grapes are then crushed and barreled for 14 months in new French oak barrels after which most are bottled for the regular Cabernet Sauvignon. The best barrels are selected to be aged an additional two months before bottling and named the Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The Secret Reserve has notes of rich cassis, toasted oak and spice, with a long concentrated finish.

 

   The Tzuba Estate Winery is located in an area historically recognized as a major wine-producing region since biblical times. The local topography of the Tzuba hillside vineyard has an altitude of 700 meters and a climate that provides ideal conditions for staff to cultivate the vineyards and produce a variety of prize-winning boutique wines. The inaugural 2005 Tzuba Metsuda wine is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 24 months, and is medium dark in color and full-bodied. It has a complex aroma of spices, mineral soil, licorice, tobacco leaves and coffee beans. This velvety, harmonious, quality wine has abundant tastes of red ripe fruits, chocolate and roasted oak, with a long finish.

 

   For the tenth wine it’s appropriate the winery’s name is Psagot, which in Hebrew means apex. Psagot wineries flagship wine, Edom, meaning red in Hebrew, is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot. The Edom has rich spicy vanilla notes with berries, black currants and oriental spice flavors.

 

 

   Shlomo S. Blashka is wine communications director for Royal Wine Corp.

Top Ten Wines For The New Year

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


   Rosh Hashanah is all about new beginnings and self-improvement and kosher wineries all over the world are making a commitment to producing great wines at affordable prices. Here are 10 suggestions for a fresh start on kosher wines.

 

   Baron Herzog Zinfandel, which has wonderful aromas of blackberry and raspberries balanced with vanilla and spice, has just been issued the seal of the Lodi Rules Certified Green Sustainability Program. The Lodi Rules program uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a long-term solution for both the environment and economy. IPM reduces the amount of harmful pesticides introduced into the grapes as well as the environment. When you enjoy the delicious Baron Herzog Zinfandel, you know you are doing the right thing for the environment and for yourself.

 

   For the first time in almost 10 years, the Herzog family presents the Late Harvest Riesling in a 375ML size. The Riesling has intense, late harvest aromas of dried apricot, pineapple and baked apple, a rich and luscious full mouth feel and sweet forward impression with a very well balanced finish. The flavor of apricot and honey will linger for a long time.

 

   Pinot Noir is a very elegant wine varietal. While usually dismissed as too soft or light for a red, the complexity of aromas on the palate of Pinot Noir more than makes up for it. The Herzog Reserve Pinot Noir is an exquisite wine, with silky texture and fine-tuned layers of cherry, raspberry, anise and spice flavors.

 

   The year 2006 in California was an excellent harvest for red wine varietals from the Herzog Winery. One of the best examples is the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which recently was given a phenomenal rating of 92 points by a well-respected wine publication. The Herzog Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine exhibiting berry, cherry and licorice aromas and flavors of mocha and vanilla. This wine is the perfect example of affordable luxury.

 

   Sparkling wines are superb for toasts and celebrations. Rosh Hashanah is the start of a new year and the Elvi Brut Cava Sparkling Wine is an ideal fit. Cava is a Sparkling Wine made in the French champagne method and, similarly to champagne, can only be called Cava if grown in the specific regions in Spain for cava. The Elvi Adar Brut is bubbly, and dry, with notes of flowers, citrus and strawberries.

 

   Finding fun, fresh and enjoyable wines that are capable of being paired with food or enjoyed on their own is an arduous task. The Red, Pink, and White by W Wines have just made that task a lot easier. The Red has flavors of grenadine and fresh berries followed by a crisp finish. The White is lively with aromas of grapefruit, elegant floral notes and white peach flavors on the palate. The Pink is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Muscat Canelli. It’s aromatic and refreshing, with hints of wild strawberry and cherry, and a soft, well-balanced finish. The W Wines are also affordable as they are all under $10 so even the most budget conscience consumer will be satisfied.

 

   New Zealand wines other than Sauvignon Blanc are now moving into the spotlight as top tier high quality wines. Goose Bay Chardonnay is a rich, big wine with tropical fruit flavors of citrus and pineapple as well as green apples, fine oak and a touch of vanilla. Chardonnays are great for Rosh Hashanah because one of the flavor traits for chardonnay is apple.

 

   The next few wines highlight some of the hot, up and coming new wineries in Israel from the Judean Hills Region. The Judean Hills Region is well known as a winemaking region going as far back to when the Roman Legions supplied their soldier’s rations with wine from the Judean Hills.

 

   The Shiloh winery, founded in Shiloh in the Shomron Region in Israel, has just the right wine for the New Year. The Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon’s grapes are harvested from a simple vineyard nestled on a small slope in the Judean Hills. The Cabernet grapes are then crushed and barreled for 14 months in new French oak barrels after which most are bottled for the regular Cabernet Sauvignon. The best barrels are selected to be aged an additional two months before bottling and named the Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The Secret Reserve has notes of rich cassis, toasted oak and spice, with a long concentrated finish.

 

   The Tzuba Estate Winery is located in an area historically recognized as a major wine-producing region since biblical times. The local topography of the Tzuba hillside vineyard has an altitude of 700 meters and a climate that provides ideal conditions for staff to cultivate the vineyards and produce a variety of prize-winning boutique wines. The inaugural 2005 Tzuba Metsuda wine is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 24 months, and is medium dark in color and full-bodied. It has a complex aroma of spices, mineral soil, licorice, tobacco leaves and coffee beans. This velvety, harmonious, quality wine has abundant tastes of red ripe fruits, chocolate and roasted oak, with a long finish.

 

   For the tenth wine it’s appropriate the winery’s name is Psagot, which in Hebrew means apex. Psagot wineries flagship wine, Edom, meaning red in Hebrew, is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot. The Edom has rich spicy vanilla notes with berries, black currants and oriental spice flavors.


 


 


   Shlomo S. Blashka is wine communications director for Royal Wine Corp.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/top-ten-wines-for-the-new-year/2009/08/26/

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