Archive for February, 2010

26
Feb
10

Purim Thoughts – Realities and Hopes


I wrote the following on February 27th, 2007, most of it still applies:

Starting this coming Saturday night and Sunday until nightfall, Jews around the world will celebrate the festival of Purim. What is Purim and what is its significance today other than the commemoration of a long, long past event? As in those days again the foe is Persia, Iran as it’s currently called. The King’s Vizier wanted to annihilate all the Jews on the day of Purim, instead he was hung and his henchmen killed… The descendant of pigs and apes, that putrid little maggot Mahmoud Ahmedinajad also obsesses about wiping Israel off the map, like Haman of yore he too is a Persian. Like Haman of yore, he is too blinded by his arrogance and hatred to do what is best for his country (whose economy is going down hill, fast), rather than follow his destructive whims…

But, gentle reader, he is unfortunately not alone as an evil creature these days. The list of those who want to build their careers by destroying Israel and eventually vanquish the West is unfortunately, much larger than just this Iranian wannabe world Satrap. You might recall Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah who wants to destroy the fragile democracy in Lebanon and turn it from a secular country into yet another repressive Muslim theocracy. Among the members of this infamous club you will find murderers such as Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniye who seem to totally ignore their constituents’ welfare in favor of their personal hatred for the Jews. And then, of course… the Dean of them all, Osama bin Laden (who may still be here on this earth or perhaps already “there” wondering why he didn’t get his 72 virgins and his beautiful valley, filled with fragrant flowers) and his next in line Ayman al-Zawahri, who actually runs the day by day operations of Al-Quaida… and the list goes on and on…

Haman, the vicious Vizier, was ultimately hung and so were his ten sons. They were hung on the very same tall gallows Haman had prepared for his hated foe, the Jew Mordechay. Then it took only one woman, to bring down the mighty Vizier and his minions, today one very brave person could still do a very good terminal job within each organization or country… Do miracles still happen in our day and age, are they as overtly open as they were then? Would it not be nice if they all did the World a favor and these scurges of mankind were eliminated one by one whether on Purim day (Sunday) or Shushan Purim (Monday)… or any other day?

In the days of King Xerxes or Artaxerxes, we are told: Layehudim hayta orah vesimcha, sason viykar – For the Jews there was light and joy, gladness and honor (Book of Esther 8:16). Would today’s world at large (not just dem Jooz!) not rejoice if these murderous terrorists were all given a final taste of their own medicine? Oh, I can just see the joyous headlines, but then I imagine there would be quite a few American bashers who’d bemoan the deaths (whether violent or otherwise) of these creeps. Why would anyone cry at the demise of such poor specimens of mankind, at the destruction of such malodorous pieces of devil’s dung? Why, folks, because it is fashionable to be anti-American, to be anti-West! These marked men are the heroes of the far left! What a tupsy-turvy world we live in where right is wrong, where truth is a lie. And yet, all this could be straightened out if there would be another Purim miracle… even if just one on this long list of vermin would loose his life in the exact way he wishes it on us… the free world might yet feel light and joy, gladness and honor… One can dream, can’t one? Sometimes dreams become reality, don’t they? Oyyy, what a banquet we will have!

There is so much in the above that hasn’t changed three years later… will the West ever wake up or has it given up?!?!?

A freilachen Purim!
Chag Purim same’ach!

CS

26
Feb
10

Olympic Pita in Manhattan


Olympic Pita(58 West 38th Street; New York, NY 10018; Telephone: 212.869.7482), provides proof positive that a restaurant in Manhattan can provide good, wholesome, food without being expensive.

Olympic Pita, at its Manhattan location

I was there on a recent Sunday and the presentation was simple, the taste very good, the atmosphere warm and inviting.

I started the meal with a very unusual sushi roll, Sabich… It consists of hard boiled egg, pickled cucumbers and eggplant. No fish of any kind! Very tasty and imaginative adaptation of a traditional Iraqi dish.

I also had their 5 Sampler Mezze, it included israeli salad, fried eggplant, tabouli, Moroccan carrot and matbuha. Each of these was excellent.

I followed with a Beef Eye Steak.

Beef Eye Steak

It was tender, juicy, somewhat smoky and absolutely delectable. I also had their Shawarma, which comes wrapped in rice and paper to look like a pair of exotic flowers. These two were succulent.

I also had an Iraqi Style Beef skewer.

Iraqi Style Beef skewer

A very aromatic ground spiced beef, nice tasting, tender and juicy.

I also had the in-house Lafa (an oversized, thin pita) which I managed to photograph while baking.

My Lafa being baked

There, on the left side wall is mine. I got it piping hot! Those middle easterners know what’s good! I washed it all down with a glass of very good red house wine.

Though it is located in midtown Manhattan, the prices are very Brooklyn. The food was unpretentious, but the quality, the taste, went far above their price range. No fancy French or Italian names here, merely standard Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare. I will most definitely be back.

CS

26
Feb
10

Purim Special and Beyond


*$35 Three Course Plus Tax & Gratuity*
*Expires March 25th 2010*
*Not Valid With Other Discounts*

*******************

NEW PRESTIGE MENU

(Please select one of each course)

Starter

House Salad
Mixed greens, tomatoes, Julienne cucumber, carrots, onions topped with balsamic vinaigrette.

Minestrone Soup
Clear chicken broth with fresh garden vegetables, chicken, and homemade pasta

Chicken Lollipops
Corn flake crumb crusted chicken drumsticks served with sweet & sour sauce

Entrée

Roasted Boneless Prime Rib
Boneless prime rib cut, oven roasted with steak seasoning served with whipped Yukon12oz. Steak; 16oz Steak (+$7)

Mushroom Chicken
Boneless chicken breast, mushroom gravy sauce, homemade fries

Pan Seared Salmon
Served with fresh lemon & homemade yellow rice

Spaghetti Bolognese
Served with a classic beef marinara sauce

Dessert

Chocolate Soufflé
Freshly baked in premises, served with ice cream

Banana Cream Pie
Homemade Sliced banana crumb pie, vanilla-cream topping

Sorbet
Mango/ Rainbow

*Valid ONLY for the following times:*Sunday through Thursday 5-7pm & Sat. All night*
*Parties Up to 6 Guests*

T Fusion Steakhouse (3223 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, NY 11234 — Telephone 718 998 0002)

****UPDATE****

This menu has now been superseded by the new and cheaper “Dine in Brooklyn Menu

26
Feb
10

Hamentashen!!!


I had always made Hungarian Lekvár filled hamentashen, but for this upcoming Purim I wanted something different. So here is my variation on an old theme. These hamentaschen look great and truly taste great.

Peanut Butter Crunch Hamentashen

(Makes about 20 Hamentashen)

Dough Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 large egg
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup sugar
8 TABLESPOONS melted margarine (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3 tbsp. parve milk
1 tbsp. orange zest

Dipping chocolate

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, 3 tablespoons parve cream
2 tbs.p oil or margarine

Filling

Semisweet chocolate chips
8 tbsp. Chunky Peanut Butter
1 tsp. Confectioners’ sugar

Dough prep

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add in melted margarine, orange zest, parve milk, egg, vanilla. Mix at medium speed in electric mixer for about 1 minute.

Roll out dough to ¼ “ thickness on well-floured surface. Cut into circles with cookie cutter or glass mouth. ( around 3” circumference) Place about 4-5 chocolate chips in center of circle. Pinch three sides, and place on oil sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for approximately 15 minutes, till golden. Cool.

When hamentashen have cooled, squeeze peanut butter filling into center.

Microwave semisweet chocolate for 30 seconds, then stir, then heat for another 30 seconds and stir till smooth and of dipping consistency. Dip each of the three corners of the hamentashen into chocolate dip. For added color and décor, sprinkle dipped edges with topping of your choice. I used butter crunch, and colored mini chocolate chips. but get a little crazy and creative. Invite the kids to bake with you inventing fun alternative fillings and toppings… Hey it’s Purim. Turn up the music and let your creative and simcha energies flow into the foods you make for family and friends.

A freilachen Purim, chag Purim same’ach!!!

SYR

25
Feb
10

Naturally Kosher


I’ve spoken before of my predilection for cheese, so I was delighted to find a nice selection of cholov Yisroel cheeses from Natural & Kosher.

Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Muenster, Mozzarella and Pizza Cheese

I picked up their Mozzarella (slices), Pizza Cheese (slices), Cheddar (slices), Muenster (slices), Processed Pepper Jack (round slices),

Pizza Cheese (shredded), Mozarella Sticks, Chef's Blend (shredded)

Mozarella Cheese Sticks (for the grandkids), Pizza Cheese (shredded) and the Chef’s Blend (natural Cheddar & Pizza Style Cheese).

I found all of them very good (so did my grandkids!). I used the shredded Pizza Cheese to make myself a 7” personal pizza

'Twas delicious!

It was so good and easy I had to keep on making it for lunch for the next 4 days. Here’s my simple recipe:

CS’ Personal Pizza

2 Natural & Kosher Shredded Pizza Cheese
1 Package Roland Oven Roasted Tomatoes
1
Can of tomato sauce
2 packages (3 in each package) of 7” pizza crusts
Spices: oregano, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper

Cover each Personal Pizza with tomato sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese and spices; add the oven roasted tomatoes and sprinkle again, very liberally, with shredded cheese and spices. Preheat oven to 450F degrees, when ready to put it the pizza lower heat to 425F and cook for 8 to ten minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is all melted.

As I took the pizzas out of the oven, the aroma was strong and made our mouths water. I used to think I was the fast eating mouth in the west, but these set of 2 grandkids left me in the dust! The Mozarella Sticks didn’t last very long either. I guess they really must have like the pizza and the sticks.

It was fast and easy to prepare. Once upon a time I used to make my own pizza dough as well, I no longer find it necessary these days.

The dish used in the photo of the pizza is part of a set I picked up at Happy Home Housewares (1407 Coney Island Avenue,, Brooklyn, NY 11230; Telephone: 718. 692.2442). It is part of a set I use for milchig dishes, Attractively priced, it’s melamine, easy to clean and with a design based on Gianni Versace’s similar themes.

I’ve been using these cheeses for other recipes, like pasta sauces, omelettes, salads and so on. In each case the results were delectable. Naturally kosher, naturally delicious!!!

CS

25
Feb
10

Purim Recipes


Although today is a Ta’anit Esther – The Fast of Esther and observant Jews around the world are fasting, we also prepare for Sunday’s Purim feast. While looking for inspiration around the web, I came across the following (superb!) holy day recipes on famed Chef Laura Frankel‘s  blog:

I like hamantashen and certainly have eaten my fill of the tender cakey treats. Don’t get me wrong. They are delicious and fun to make. But, they are safe and not at all sexy. So, this year-I want some excitement on Purim. I think I am just tired of winter, the economy and bad news. Time for FUN! Get out your martini shakers, groggers and whatever else you need to put on a splashy and delicious Purim Feast. For dessert-I recommend you pull out those nice hamantashen or do like the Persians and serve dried fruit, nuts and fresh citrus.

All of the recipes can be prepped ahead of time, leaving you lots of time to get your Esther or Mordechai on. Have a Freylich Purim!

Blood Orange Martini

It is scary how tasty these martinis are-like you could easily get into trouble with a pitcher of these scary! Oh well, Haman-Mordechai…whatever! just have fun

1 ½ ounces vodka
2 ounces blood orange juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
1. Shake together and serve. Garnish with blood oranges slices and pomegranate seeds

Persian Meatballs (Kufteh)

This is a great dish for the end of winter. Serve this for Purim as a first course or as part of a Purim feast! Traditionally, the meatballs would not be browned before being poached. As a chef, I think the caramelized crust on the meatballs is essential and gives a great texture and more pronounced flavor. You can opt to do it either way.

2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup cooked yellow split peas
1 pound ground chicken, turkey or beef
½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic-chopped
2 large red onions-peeled and chopped
2 eggs-lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until well combined. Do not over mix as the mixture will be too tight and tough. Salt and pepper the mixture (I like to take a small amount and fry it to taste if the seasoning is correct).
2. Lightly, shape the meat balls with your hands.(I find that wetting my hands with cold water and using a rolling motion keeps them from getting too packed and tight.) You can store the meatballs at this point covered in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze them for 1 month.
3. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches. Remove form the pan and drain on paper towels.

For the poaching liquid

1 16-oz can of canned tomatoes with their juices
2 cups of chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice and zest 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Bring the poaching liquid ingredients to simmer in a large saucepan. Place the meatballs in the pan. Gently poach them until cooked through. Do not stir the pan as the meatballs will break apart.

Basmati Rice
This is a show stopper for any buffet or dinner. The crispy crust on the rice tastes a little bit like popcorn. It is easy to make ahead and can be reheated in the pan in a low oven.

2 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a large saucepan bring water with salt to a boil. Add rice and boil 10 minutes. In a colander drain rice and rinse under warm water.
2. Place a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Coat the bottom with olive oil. Spoon rice into the pan, cover pan with a kitchen towel and a heavy lid. Fold edges of towel up over lid and cook rice over moderately low heat until a golden brown crust forms, about 30 to 35 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving platter. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and blood orange sections.

According to The Jew And The Carrot website, Chef Laura is currently Executive Chef and head of food services at the Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and café at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the former chef and founder of the Shallots restaurants. Mrs. Frankel has training and extensive experience in both savory and pastry kitchens. Before committing herself to her culinary passion, she played both alto and baritone saxophones. She taught and played professionally. She is the author of Jewish Cooking For All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.

Chef Laura will be giving a Kosher Food Demo at De Gustibus (on the 8th floor of Macy’s) on the upcoming 16th of March.

I’ve eaten many times at Shallots when it used to be located in Manhattan at the atrium of the SONY building’s where Solo is now situated. I definitely can vouch for her succulent creations!!!

CS

23
Feb
10

Abigael’s on Broadway


Abigael’s (1407 Broadway – at 39th Street, New York, NY; Tel: 212.575.1407) calls to mind the posh elegance of the bygone era where films like My Man Godfrey, with William Powell and Carole Lombard, were set. It is a classy, sedate and uniquely appointed restaurant. Yet… the simple but rich atmosphere and decor, are not all that attract the eye and whet the palate at Abigael’s… The dishes are inspired and delicious!

Partial view of Abigael's main dining room

I met Chef Jeff Nathan in the small private library (one of various party rooms at Abigael’s). There, amidst the Soncino Talmud and the Encyclopedia Britannica we discussed what precipitated his becoming a Chef. As a member of a generation where every Jewish parent dreamed of “my son the doctor” or “my son the lawyer,” Jeff Nathan journeyed against the grain and, after a stint in the US Navy, attended the Culinary Institute of America. Driven to transcend and surpass, as in all else he ever attempted, chef Nathan dominated the competition and graduated at the top of his class in 1980.

Since 1998 he has been the chef/host of PBS’ “New Jewish Cuisine, the only international gourmet Kosher cooking series, which is seen in four countries and translated into three languages.” He is also a kosher and restaurant consultant to various food and wine producers.

I started the meal with with Abigael’s Ultimate Sushi Platter which consisted of three sushi rolls.

Ultimate Sushi Platter presented with a soothing, drip fountain

The three rolls are: Tempura Trio (salmon, tuna, and fluke, tempura fried, with avocado, masago and scallions), Broadway (seaweed roll with tuna, yellow-tail and salmon, cucumber, avocado, Japanese dressing and masago), and Green Tea (yellowtail and avocado, topped with salmon, spicy tuna tartar and sweet wasabi soy sauce). Though fish and sushi are but a recently acquired tastes of mine, I did find the platter beautifully presented and deliciously toothsome to eat.

I then tried their Smoked Brisket Eggroll (Texas style, with barbecue vinaigrette and a chipotle potato salad). This dish fully demonstrates the creativity of Jeff Nathan as he metamorphoses the quintessentially traditional Brisket with a saucy bold new flavor and crispy exterior. Flavorful, as my mother used to say, ta’am fun ganeiden!

I followed that full flavored brisket with the Crispy Asian Chicken (crisp fried and tossed with spicy chile sauce, served with sweet and sour sesame-cucumber slaw).

Crispy Asian Chicken

Presentation was again an eyeful and the taste was quite savory.

A Latin American bred carnivore to the core, I loved the Argentine Smoked Short Ribs (house smoked rib tossed tossed with BBQ vinaigrette and chimi churri with scallion whipped potatoes).

Argentine Smoked Short Ribs

The ribs were succulent, heavenly smoked and spiced, cooked to tender perfection. The scallion whipped potatoes… just right!

Great dinner, in a great atmosphere, though missing Carole Lombard or Myrna Loy by my side, but life… isn’t perfect, could I really ask for more?

CS

Abigael's on Broadway on Urbanspoon

22
Feb
10

A Private Wine Tasting


I recently had a private wine tasting with Costas Mouzouras, the Wine Director at Gotham Wines & Liquors (2517 Broadway; New York, NY 10025; Telephone: 212.932.0990). Costas, who’s been in the business for 22 years, selected four outstanding wines for me to try. To keep everything strictly kosher, I opened and poured the bottles for both of us.

The choices were: 2007 Lambouri Ya’in Kafrisin, 2006 Shiloh Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Dalton Reserve Wild Yeast Fermentation Viognier and a 2007 Yatir Sauvignon Blanc.

We started with the 2007 Lambouri Ya’in Kafrisin. This wine comes from Limassol, Cyprus. It’s made from a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mavro and Grenache Noir grapes. These grapes are grown in Europe’s highest vineyards. The color is a dark garnet with orange and purple reflections. The Mavro grape is indigenous to Cyprus, and unlike any grape grown in the rest of Europe, it is still grown on ancient rootstock. Most mainland Europe’s vineyards have been attacked by the Philoxera Epidemic during the 19th century, as a result most European vineyards were devastated and their grapes had to be grafted on American rootstock. You can, therefore, surmise that while most European grapes may have, however subtly, changed their taste, the Mavro grape remains untainted and has tasted the same (with fair consistency) for thousands of years.  One will detect a nice fruitiness, with emphasis on blackcurrant, blackberry, purple plum fruits and notes of bitter orange peel, those on a background of white pepper and oriental spices, with the tannins and fruits rising on the finish. It leaves the drinker with an unusual but delightful after taste. Goes superbly well with juicy meats. Definitely one of my new favorites!

We followed it with the 2006 Shiloh Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a very good Israeli wine, grown in the Judean Hills. Aged aged in French oak casks, it is very fruity with blackcurrant and plum undercurrents and vanilla (due to the French oak casks). It goes well with drier meats.

We then went on to the whites. 2007 Dalton Reserve Wild Yeast Fermentation Viognier was our next selection. It started with a certain smokiness, showing intense, vibrant and complex spicy, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. This wine was, by far, much better than its price range would suggest!

We ended the tasting with a 2007 Yatir Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and lively, with elegance and subtlety. It is light golden in color with orange and green reflections, showing citrus, passion fruit, green apple and grapefruit aromas and flavors on a grassy and stony-mineral background.

All in all, these four selection running in price range from $15.99 to $37.99 were excellent! Costas Mouzouras started working at Gotham Wines & Liquors in 1988, where he soon became the kosher wine buyer, at a time when most of the few available kosher wines were of the extra sweet variety. In his 22 years at Gotham he has seen an explosion of kosher wines with award winning selections from all over the globe including many dry wines (which would have been unthinkable to our older generation), as well as semi dry, semi sweet, and sweet ones.

I liked the wines enough that I had to bring each one home, this is their aftermath...

Currently, they are offering 10% off on any bottles and 15% off on solid cases. (solid meaning a case of the same product.)

On Sunday, March 7th, Gotham Wines & Liquors will present its 7th annual Wine Tasting. It will take place in the afternoon at the Lincoln Square Synagogue (200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY; between 69th and 70th). They will present over 300 bottles from all over the world, starting at 2:00pm and going until 5:00pm. Pay $30 per person at the entrance or $25 on line at Gotham Wines & Liquors‘ own site. At 1:15 going on until 2:00 there will be a guided VIP tasting for $45 which is only available at the door.

CS

22
Feb
10

Interesting Products


Being a foodie I’m always on the lookout for new or interesting products. I recently came across a company with over 1400 products many, many of which have good, globally accepted, hechsherim. That company is Roland Foods.

I tried four of their products in various dishes and liked them!

Mandarin Oranges, Fire Roasted red Peppers, Capers, Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I found quite a few uses for the Oven Roasted Tomatoes Marinated in Oil with Garlic and Oregano and here is a very simple, delicious recipe by SYR:

Penne Rigate con Pomodoro Arrestito

Penne Rigate con Pomodoro Arrestito

3 cups penne rigate (you can substitute your favorite pasta)
4 cloves chopped garlic
8 ozs. shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
1/2 lb Roland oven roasted tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the chopped garlic, until golden brown, in olive oil.

Bring water to a boiling point, add a half teaspoon of salt, (it keeps the pasta from becoming bland), add just under a capful of oil (will keep the pasta from sticking to each other, if you use more than a capful it will make the pasta soggy), add the pasta and cookal dente stirring frequently. How do you know that the pasta is ready? Look at the pasta box’ recommended cooking time and start testing about 30 seconds before the lowest recommended cooking time. If you gently toss the pasta against the wall and it sticks… it’s ready!

A couple of minutes before the pasta is ready, warm the oven roasted tomatoes with some of their own oil.

Drain it, put on a serving dish, while hot about half of the shredded mozzarella, the sauteed garlic, the chopped oregano, chopped basil, the tomatoes and the rest of the shredded cheese. Add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish according to your own taste, we used cheery tomatoes Serves 4.

You’ll find the oven roasted tomatoes give this simple dish a delightfully delicious, rich taste.

Next SYR made a salad with the can of Whole Mandarin Oranges.

Mandarin Orange and Cubed Mango Salad

Mandarin Orange and cubed Mango Salad

One can of Mandarin Orange, one cubed mango, fresh red lettuce, fresh romaine, radicchio, arugula, craisins, cherry tomatoes and diced fresh cucumber. Colorful, refreshing, delicious!

Next we tried a variation on the traditional bagel with lox and cream cheese.

Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel

Every day I pick up a dozen dozen bagels, still hot, with that just baked aroma at: Bagels & Cheese (1304 Avenue M; Brooklyn, NY; Telephone: 718.998.8778), this morning I did so as well but I added lox and cream cheese. For the photo above we added Capers to the lox a bit of tangy, lemony, flavor. We added a Fire Roasted Red Pepper to the cream cheese. The pepper was surprisingly sweet. The whole combination made an incredibly succulent bagel sandwich.

We liked these four products tremendously and we will be using them in a variety of old and new recipes.

CS

17
Feb
10

Enjoying your Wines – Part 4 – Grape Varieties


There are literally thousands of grape varieties in existence. Most wine grapes are made from the European species, which is considered to be superior to the American vine species. The reason for the numerous varieties is that grape vines have a tendency to mutate and cross breed with ease. Advances in genetic technology have allowed scientists to determine the origins of many well-known grape varieties. The following will give you an introduction to the world of most common grape varieties.

Red Varieties

Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon requires care and attention in the vineyard, with fruit exposure and yield directly related to fruit quality. However its thick skin makes it incredibly resilient to adverse climatic conditions. In the winery, winemakers often age Cabernet Sauvignon in a mixture of French and American oak.

Climate has a significant impact on the sensory characteristics of the variety. In cooler climates, minty and leafy characters are intermingled with blackcurrant and red berries. In warmer climates, chocolate and tobacco characters express themselves.

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc
is a component of Bordeaux blends and Loire Valley reds. It has leafy red-berry characters.

Malbec
Malbec is a successful varietal in Argentina. Also used in Bordeaux blends.

Merlot
For Merlot to be good, it must be picked at optimum ripeness, to avoid the presence of herbal characters. Flavors of plums, red currant, mint, pimento, game, earth and leather can be found. Its tannins are invariably soft, making Merlot a good early drinking style, but this does limit its aging potential.

Merlot is most famous in its homeland of Bordeaux in France, where it is used to make some of the world’s greatest and most expensive wines. Over the last ten years, plantings have rapidly expanded across the globe, most notably into California, South America, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot is a red grape variety that is traditionally used in Cabernet Sauvignon based blends. It is known for its intense color, vibrant flavors and firm tannin structure making it a good choice for true red wine drinkers.

Petit Verdot has an interesting flavor profile. It can be incredibly perfumed, having aromas of blueberry and violet. Sometimes it has an attractive herbaceous and spice element, giving the variety complexity. The acidity is often prominent and due to the thick skins of the grape, the color is very dense and the tannins are firm. Structural wines with intense flavors can age well in the mid term. Due to its strength of character, Petit Verdot can have a significant impact on a blend, even when used in small proportions.

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir originated in the French region of Burgundy, where it is most renowned and revered. The true character of Pinot Noir is expressed when it is grown in a cool climate. In fact, its early ripening nature makes it able to withstand some of the cooler areas.

Wines made from Pinot Noir are typically lightly colored, with cherry-to-plum red hues. The aroma, which is often highly fragrant, can be composed of cherries, red berries, violets and spice when young, transforming into gamey, leathery, mushroomy characters with age. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with fine silky tannins.

As complexity is a vital attribute of good Pinot Noir, the winemaking process is very detailed. Some winemakers choose to include whole berries in the fermentation to increase the fragrance of the wine. Others allow crushed grapes to macerate prior to fermentation to increase the depth of color and flavor. Some choose to do this after fermentation. Oak is used as an important element in both the sensory and structural aspects of the wine, however due to the delicacy of the variety, care must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t dominate the wine. It is not unusual for a single batch of grapes to be processed in different ways to give a range of blending options for the final wine.

Syrah
The beauty of Syrah is that it can flourish in a range of climates. Syrah can be made into a range of styles, defined by the terroir of the region and the winemakers’ artistry. With its soft ripe tannins, black cherry, pepper and spice characters, it can be crafted into wines suitable for immediate consumption.

Zinfandel
Substantial plantings in both California as well as Italy. In Italy it is known as Primitivo. It produces full-bodied and richly flavored wines.

White Varieties

Chardonnay
The popularity of Chardonnay quickly rose, due to its generous flavors and its ease to grow and make into wine. In fact, it is often called a viticulturalist’s dream, as it is early ripening, naturally vigorous and is relatively resistant to disease. Most importantly, it can be grown in a wide range of climatic conditions, leading to a vast array of styles.

The base flavor of Chardonnay is generous, but relatively neutral thus the winemakers’ individuality can be expressed through the winemaking techniques used. Oak usage, yeast lees contact and malolactic fermentation are just some of the ways a winemaker can influence the style of Chardonnay.

Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a classic French variety. The basis of some of the world’s greatest and long-living sweet wines.

Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer is a spicy, aromatic variety. Its style ranges from the flavorsome and fruity, to fine and delicate.

Pinot Gris
There are many synonyms for Pinot Gris. In Alsace, it is known at Tokay Pinot Gris. In Italy, it is commonly referred to as Pinot Grigio and in Germany it is known as Ruländer or Grauburgunder.

Gris, meaning grey in French, refers to the color of the Pinot Gris grapes. As a result, wines made from Pinot Gris often have a slight coppery hue. They have a delicately perfumed aroma with flavors stretching from fresh pear through to tropical fruits. Pinot Gris is similar to Chardonnay in that it has good palate weight and flavor.

Riesling
Riesling is an aromatic variety that produces intensely fragrant and flavored wines of exceptional character. Notes of citrus, honeysuckle, blossoms, green apple and mineral are commonly seen. With concurrent high acidity and comparable low alcohol, the wines retain an enviable freshness which many other varieties lack. Oak is not used and the wines are very pure and clean.

Riesling is a variety that is much loved by winemakers and wine connoisseurs due to its intense flavors and its defined palate structure. Riesling is delightful when it is consumed young and fresh. However it is one of the few white wines that has the ability to age.

Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
is a variety with increasing popularity in Australia. Although its plantings are quite small, they are expected to significantly increase over the next ten years. Sauvignon Blanc is used to make fresh, vibrant wine styles with none of the heaviness of Chardonnay or the floral tones of Riesling. Its flavor profile is in harmony with Semillon and consequently these varieties are often blended together.

The flavor spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc is quite diverse. Upon a backbone of herbaceousness lie tropical fruit, passion fruit and gooseberry. Look a little closer and you may see tomato leaf, spice and flint. The stronger styles have elements of asparagus, capsicum and gun smoke. And winemaking can add tones of oak, butter and yeast. They are a feast for the senses, especially during the heat of summer where their defined acidity adds freshness to the palate.

Semillon
Semillon is a unique minerally, lemony style, which is crisp and lean when young and is made without the influence of oak or malolactic fermentation. However the wine undergoes a transformation with age, evolving into a complex, nutty, honeyed wine of great depth and complexity.

Semillon is often seen blended with Chardonnay, particularly in mass-market wine styles. The freshness of Semillon provides a necessary balance to the often overly rich Chardonnay. It is a blend that has been very successful.

Viognier
The most distinctive attribute of Viognier is its stone fruit character, most notably that of apricot. It can also show considerable floral and spice tones. In cooler climates you can see citrus whilst in warmer areas there is more honeysuckle. It has good viscosity due to generous alcohol levels and is similar to Chardonnay in that it has a weighty mid-palate and generous flavour, making it a good alternative to this ubiquitous variety.

Aaron Zimmerman

[Mr Zimmerman owns and operates Liquors Galore, 1418 Avenue J (between 12th and 13th Streets); Brooklyn, NY 11230-3702; Telephone: 718.338.4166. The above post is the lastof a multi-part series we have been posting once a week on these pages]

RELATED POSTS

Enjoying your Wines – Part 3 – Storing

Enjoying your Wines – Part 2 – Tasting

Enjoying your Wines Part 1 Buying




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,651 other followers

Calendar of Posts

February 2010
S M T W T F S
« Jan   Mar »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28  

Archives

Visit our friends at the Kosher Wine Society

Noach: Stranded and Branded

Buy the book…

Category Cloud

18 Restaurant baking baking recipe baking recipes BlogTalkRadio cheese Chef David Kolotkin Chef Jeff Nathan Chef Lévana Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum chicken chicken recipes cookbook authors cookbooks dairy cuisine dairy recipes Esti Berkowitz fine dining fine kosher dining fine kosher dining in Manhattan fine kosher restaurants fine restaurants fish fish recipes Geila Hocherman Gotham Wines & Liquors Internet Radio Irving Schild Jack's Gourmet Jewish history kosher kosher baking kosher baking recipe kosher baking recipes kosher beef kosher beef recipes kosher cheese kosher chefs kosher chicken dishes kosher chicken recipes kosher cookbook authors kosher cookbooks kosher cookery Kosher cooking kosher cooking classes kosher cooking demos kosher cuisine kosher dairy kosher dairy cuisine kosher dairy recipes kosher desserts kosher dining kosher dining in Brooklyn kosher dining in Manhattan kosher dining in NY kosher fine dining kosher fine wines kosher fish kosher fish recipes Kosher food kosher Israeli wine kosher Italian cuisine kosher meat dishes kosher meat recipes kosher meat restaurants kosher meat restaurants in Manhattan kosher Mediterranean cuisine kosher parve recipes kosher poultry dishes kosher poultry recipes kosher recipes kosher restaurant review Kosher restaurants kosher restaurants in Brooklyn kosher restaurants in Manhattan kosher restaurants in New York City kosher restaurants in NY Kosher Revolution Kosher Scene kosher soup recipes kosher wine kosher wines Lévana Lévana Kirschenbaum meat recipes parve recipes Passover Pomegranate Supermarket poultry poultry recipes Prime Grill Royal Wine Corporation Shavuos Shavuos recipes Susie Fishbein The Kosher Scene The Kosher Scene Radio Show Uncategorized Wine

BlogTopSites


<a href="//www.blogtopsites.com/food-drink/" title="Food & Drink Blogs" target="_blank"><img style="border:none" src="//www.blogtopsites.com/v_158881.gif" alt="Food & Drink Blogs" />
<a target="_blank" href="//www.blogtopsites.com" style="font-size:10px;">blog sites


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,651 other followers

%d bloggers like this: