Archive for the 'Avi Ashman' Category

07
Oct
10

An upcoming wine tasting


Avi Ashman, president and founder of  Israeli Wine of the Month Club has announced its next wine tasting:

What: French Styled Wine from King David’s Valley — Ella Valley Vineyards

When: Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:00 PM

Price: $36.00 per person

Where: Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) 6th Floor
New York, NY 10018

The beautiful Ella Valley, the site of the first TKO (David vs. Goliath) is now the home of a young and efficient winery nested among quality vineyards. The French trained winemaker Doron Rav Han continues the ancient wine making tradition in the Valley — biblical wine making facility was discovered near the winery recently — and produces some of Israel’s better wines.

Sit back, relax and join other wine lovers at the Israeli Wine of the Month Club’s interactive wine tasting experience.

What is interactive wine tasting?

* Several wonderful Israeli wines will be explored. Cheese, crackers and fruit also served.
* A panel of our Sommeliers/Wine Critics will describe each wine and guide you in exercising your palate tasting them
* You will be encouraged to voice your opinion about each wine and write elaborate notes — be Robert Parker, Tom Stevenson or Daniel Rogov for a night… Every opinion counts !
* We will collect everyone’s tasting notes and distribute them via a newsletter. The newsletter will also include professional tasting notes as well as detailed descriptions of the wineries, and more…

When? October 28, 2010 at 7PM
Where? Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.)
6th Floor
The buzzer on the ground floor (on the right side of entrance door), # 6

How much? $36 at door
RSVP by October 27, 2010 (space is limited)

RSVP to this Meetup:
http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/15030400/

I’ve been to some of these tastings and I always found (here, here, here and here) the wine selection superlative; the cheeses and fruits specially chosen by Chef Eran Elhalal have invariably been a perfect complement to the potables. I’ll be there, gentle reader, will you? Just come over and say hello!

When you sign up, why not let them know that you first saw it on this blog?

CS

24
Jun
10

Cool White Night


Last evening, the Israel Wine Lovers Club hosted an evening of white wines. The wines were made from three types of grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

From left to right: Avi Ashman, Rafi Sutton, Eran Elhalal

It’s been said that if Chardonnay didn’t exist it would have to be invented. No other grape, red or white, ever achieved international recognition as effectively as this grape. It possess chameleon like adaptability to almost any climate and terroir. Compared to the rest of its sisters, this grape is a cinch to grow and thrives at both climate extremes of the viticultural spectrum (and in-between!), but unlike so many other grapes it is also very easy to work with at the winery. It’s harvested in almost every wine producing country. If unoaked its taste will remind you of a tart apple, lemon and even pears. When lightly oaked, it brings out the tastes of melting butter, baked apple, nutmeg, oatmeal. When heavily oaked one can taste vanilla, lemon curd, chocolate or woodsmoke.

After Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s most popular white grape.  Unlike Chardonnay, which barely has any aroma, Sauvignon Blanc has a very distinctive strong aroma. It’s wine is paler and somewhat light but acidic. One can detect almost any fruit in this wine’s flavors, from sour greens to melon, passion fruit or mango. It often has a very definite black currant hint. It also can bring to the fore vegetable flavors like green peas, asparagus and – occasionally – sweet red peppers. Other times it brings out far more earthy flavors. At times it even shows a faint smokiness.

Viognier is a relatively new grape in the international market, the average consumer may never have heard of it before the early 1990s. It’s often been blended with Chardonnay, but more and more are we starting to see it stand out on its own. It is a great alternative to Chardonnay, with a nice pleasant aroma. Its most obvious flavor is apricot in all its range, you may also detect faint notes of cinnamon, cardamon and ginger. At times it may resemble a honey-lemon lozenger.

Raffi Sutton who used to write for Globes (Israel’s equivalent of our Wall Street Journal) on Israeli wines and later was the editor of an Israeli food and wine magazine, before becoming an investment banker in the US, did the wine presentations. He was ably aided by Avi Ashman – the Club’s President and founder – and Eran Elhalal, a graduate of the presitigious Culinary Institute of America, chef and consultant whose recipes and wine pairings have already graced our pages.

Some of the evenings selections...

The tasting started with a 2009 Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay. This wine was fermented without any barrel influence and aged over the deposits of dead yeast that forms after fermentation. This Unoaked Chardonnay is fruity wine with well-balanced acidity, bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavours. This particular aging process is known as “sur lie,” greatly enhances the complexity and flavor of the wine.

We continued with a 2007 Binyamina Unoaked Chardonnay. Light golden straw in color, a simple wine showing some citrus and tropical fruits but lacks the crisp minerality one hopes for in an unoaked Chardonnay. Unfortunately I found it past its prime.

The third wine of the evening was the 2007 Domaine du Castel C (Chardonnay) Blanc du Castel. Full-bodied, elegant Burgundy style white, showing citrus, pineapple, green apple, toasted bread and fig aromas. While quite promising this wine was certainly “before its time.” It hasn’t fully matured and the chardonnay flavors were still battling with the alcohol which hadn’t fully blended in. Yet, this white wine was robust enough to be consumed with almost any red meat, thus destroying the myth that white wines should only be paired with fish or delicate white meats.

Next came the 2006 Tishbi Special Reserve Chardonnay. Very fruity, lighter, citrus. it’s a full bodied dry white wine is made grapes grown in the Gush Etzyon vineyards and harvested by hand. This chardonnay carries the exotic aromas of apricot, melon and peaches. Though considerably cheaper than its predecessor I liked it far better!

That fourth selection was followed by 2007 Yarden Odem Chardonnay. Made entirely from Chardonnay grapes grown on the Golan Heights Odem organic vineyads. Barrel fermentation and sur lie for seven months, produced a complex wine balancing fruit and floral notes with hints of butter and vanilla. Chef Eran suggested an unusual pairing for it… Café Brulé!

The sixth selection was the 2008 Recanati Sauvignon Blanc. With Fresh hay and bell pepper notes, typical of fine Sauvignon Blanc, develop and linger in the bouquet. It had an initial bite almost like a sparkling wine. Outstanding when paired with fish, sushi, risotto and grilled vegetables.

Next came a 2009 Tabor Chalk Sauvignon Blanc. Citrusy, pleasant and light, with a bitter aftertaste. It wotld make a great selection for a hot summer day.

The eighth selection was the 2007 Galil Mountain Viognier. It displayed a clear lemon yellow color. The wine is extremely aromatic with flavors of ripe apricot and nectarine set against hint of oak and honey. Well balanced with delicate acidity, medium body and a long, velvety finish.

The last wine was the 2008 Dalton Reserve Viognier. It starts with a certain smokiness, showing intense, vibrant and complex with spice, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. Chef Eran suggested pairing it with desserts that are not too sweet. This wine is by far much better than its price range would suggest!

The participants, enjoyed an evening of Chef Eran’s selections of sharp kosher cheeses by Danablue, Gilboa, Shahat, marmalades and grapes. The conversation was great, well worth many a repeat visit.

CS

RELATED POSTS

Tasting Tabor Wines

Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting


23
Jun
10

Israeli Wine Tasting Tonight


Photo by: Easy Destinations Blog

Announcing a new Meetup for Israeli Wine Lovers!

What: Cool White Night (Israeli Wine That Is)

When: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 7:00 PM

Price: $36.00 per person

Where:
Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) 6th Floor
New York, NY 10001

All our tastings started with white wines and generally ended with reds. Now its time to give Kosher Israeli white wines ALL the attention they deserve…. Come and explore crisp Chardonnays, lively Sauvignon Blancs, refreshing Viogniers as well as other wonderful blends….

Sit back and relax and join other wine lovers at the Israeli Wine of the Month Club’s interactive wine tasting experience.

What is interactive wine tasting?

* Nine wonderful Israeli wine will be explored. Artisan cheeses and breads, crackers and fruit are also served.
* A panel of our Sommelier/Wine Critics will describe each wine and guide you in exercising your palate tasting them. Also, the panel will offer wine and food pairing suggestions
* You will be encouraged to voice your opinion about each wine and write elaborate notes — be Robert Parker, Tom Stevenson or Daniel Rogov for a night…
* We will collect everyone’s tasting notes and distribute them via a newsletter. The newsletter will also include professional tasting notes as well as detailed descriptions of the wineries, and more…

When? June 23, 2010 at 7PM
Where? Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.)
6th Floor
The buzzer on the ground floor, # 6

How much? $36 at door
RSVP (space is limited)

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/13756812/

These tastings are fun and informative, you get to meet new and interesting people. Why not bring your spouse or a date?  Please, register at: http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/13756812/

We’d love it if you mentioned The Kosher Scene as the blog where you first heard about it.

Tonight’s selection includes:

Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay
Binyamina Unoaked Chardonnay
Tishbi Reserve Chardonnay
Yarden Odem Chardonnay
Domaine du Castel C Chardonnay

Recanati Sauvignon Blanc
Tabor Chalk Sauvignon Blanc

Galil Mountain Viognier
Dalton Viognier

CS

23
Apr
10

Tasting Tabor Wines


Last evening the Israeli Wine Lovers Club met to taste 8 wines produced by Israel’s Tabor Winery.

Kfar Tabor was founded over 100 in the heart of Galilee by Baron de Rothschild. As most communities of the times it too was an agricultural settlement but primarily dedicated to its vineyards. Soon they became grape suppliers to Israel’s leading wineries. In 1997, four local families decided to start their own winery using Kfar Tabor’s fruit, by 2005 they were producing 300,000 bottles a year, with 40,000 going to markets around the world.

Last night's selection

Tabor produces three wine series:
Galil – The youngest series of Tabor Winery. This series is based on 100% of each variety, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay.
Adama – This series takes you on a sensual journey to the slopes of Mount Tabor. The vineyard takes advantage of its close proximity to chalk, volcanic and Terra Rosa soils and bubbling natural springs that supply its water.
Mes’ha – This is the crown jewel of Tabor’s wine series. produced from carefully chosen hand-harvested clusters of grapes grown in our top-quality vineyards. Due to the selective harvesting, only a small quantity of wine is produced each time and not every year does the wine get released, giving expression only to the cream of the crop, thanks to winemaker Arye Nesher’s “terroir” approach to winemaking. In the search for perfection, the wines in this series are produced only under maximum conditions.

Tal Cohen speaking on Tabor Wines

Tal Cohen, had a 12 year career in the Marketing Department of Coca Cola-Israel (Tabor Winery‘s current owners), prior to coming to the US. Last evening she introduced each wine at the tasting. I found her charming, witty and very knowledgeable thus ensuring everyone had a great time while enjoying good wines.

The wines selected for this tasting were:

Galil Chardonnay 2009 – Light, fruity.

Galil Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – Flavorful and pleasing

Adama Sauvignon Blank 2009Chalk Soil – Pleasant and light, well balanced, far more complex than the preceding selections. It would make a great wine for a warm summer day.

Galil Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Oaked for four months, it shows shows soft tannins integrating nicely with a light cedar note, opening with an appealing note of mint on the nose, then yielding to red currant, red berry and citrus peel notes.

Adama Chalk Soil Merlot 2008 – Intensely dark garnet in color, opens with a rich mineral and black fruit nose, with gentle tannins on a medium- to full-bodied frame. It opens in the glass to reveal currant, plum and licorice notes and finishes with a generous hint of espresso.

Adama Volcanic Soil Merlot 2006 – Aged for 12 months in French oak it has a dark garnet color, medium to full-bodied, with a sweet, almost jammy raspberry nose that goes on to show spicy plums, cherries and blackberries, complemented nicely by spicy cedar note, with fruits and tannins rising on the finish.

Adama Volcanic Soil Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – Deep garnet, medium to full-bodied with hints of white pepper and vanilla from the oak in which it aged. On the nose and palate traditional currant and blackberry fruits, those matched by notes of citrus peel, flinty minerals and, on the generous finish, hints of licorice and espresso. The Wine Spectator awarded it an 89 rating.

Adama Terra Rosa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins, hints of spicy wood and vanilla and mouth-coating tannins settling down nicely. Showing currant, blackberry and generous earthy minerals along with Mediterranean herbs. Round and generous.

Mes’ha Shiraz/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – Aged for 18 months in oak, this wine – Tabor’s pride – deep-garnet, medium to full-bodied wine with tannins and spicy wood integrating and opening to reveal black currant, berry and plum fruits on a background of spicy wood and Mediterranean herbs. Generous, well balanced and long. Daniel Rogov and Robert Parker each awarded it a 90 rating.

The evening ended with a Tabor Wine, not currently available in the US, Tabor Pninim Lavan – From the gewürztraminer grape, it differs greatly from other products of the same grape in that is far more robust. It isn’t merely a dessert wine like other gewürztraminer based wines. It is a sparkling wine, delightfully fruity but it ends in a dry note. For me it is a perfect wine, a perfect refreshment drink, for a hot lazy Sunday afternoon.

I found Tal Cohen charming, witty and very knowledgeable as she directed the evening, ensuring everyone had a great time while enjoying good wines. Once again, Avi Ashman – founder and President of the Israeli Wine Lovers Club – has put together another superb evening of wine, cheese and fruit.

CS

RELATED POSTS

Sweet Wines Tasting
Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting

18
Mar
10

Sweet Wines Tasting


This past Wednesday evening, Avi Ashman’s Israeli Wine Lovers Club held a tasting with the theme “How Sweet it ISrael”. We tasted and discussed 6 selections.

The wine selection

Jay Buchsbaum, Director of Wine Education at the Royal Wine Corporation, started the evening by talking about wines in general, methods of manufacture and sweet wines specifically. He then took questions from the audience

Jay Buchsbaum sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of wines in all their nuances.

The tasting started with Carmel Moscato di Carmel 2009, a very nice fruity light wine. It’s sweet with hints of peach and citrus. It is meant to be consumed within the first 2 years of production as it doesn’t age well.

Next we had a Carmel Vineyards Selected EmeralRiesling and Chenin Blanc 2009. Drier than the first, most of us agreed that it would have more fair to this bottle had we tasted it before the Moscato. Even so it exhibited some interesting qualities. I would not have classed it among dessert wines, however.

We then tasted a Gamla White Riesling 2007 from the Golan Heights Winery. It tasted better than the previous one, exhibited some floral notes and tropical fruits. It can be enjoyed as an aperitif, would likely do very well in conjunction with spicy food.

Then we turned our attention to Zion Dolev Muscat Hamburg 2009. Made from Musct Hamburg grapes grown in Galilee, it was was pleasantly sweet and silky. A very nice dessert wine, a perfect complement to any pastry.

Carmel Sha’al Gewurztaminer 2006, very flavorful it evoked some exotic fruits bringing to mind the Chinese litchee among others. Produced from gewurtztraminer grape grown in the Sha’al Vineyards, this wine has a lively flower aroma. Sweet with just the right touch of tartness. This wine will taste better as it’s allowed to age.

The last selection was a very unusual wine, Zion Dolev Cabernet Sauvignon Semi-Sweet 2009. Cabernet Sauvignon, is the prime grape used for dry wines. None of us expected the subtle sweetness of this bottle. A superb wine that would go well with more than just a sweet dessert.

Eran's delicacies...

As usual Eran Elhalal, the group’ resident chef, prepared a great selection of cheeses, grapes, and walnuts. This time he also added some very nice desserts to help us pair the wines. Not only were they delicious but they made the wines taste better!

CS

16
Mar
10

Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting


On the evening of  Thursday, January the 21st, I attended a wine tasting of Benyamina wines given by Avi Ashman’s Israeli Wine Lovers Club. Asaf Paz, one of the two wine-makers at the Benyamina winery, presented a selection of wines in all price ranges.

Some of the wines we would taste...

Eran Elhalal, the club’s chef, prepared a nice assortment of cheeses (sharp and mild), fruits and sweets. Raphael Sutton, who edited Israel Food and Wine magazine and wrote on wines for Globes (Israel’s premier financial publication) was the resident expert together with Eran and Avi.

Asaf started the presentation with a Chardonnay 2007, we tasted it first at room temperature. It was pleasantly tart, with hints of citrus, grapefruit and apricot. When chilled it became fruitier with peach and floral notes. It’s made in the Champagne style since the Chardonnay grape together with its red grape cousins, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is part of the triumvirate of grapes used for Champagne. This grape which easily adapts to every climate, no matter how extreme, is also used in large proportions in the production of classic sparklers around the world.

We followed with Yogev 2007, that combined Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. With Cherry and berry notes, the Shiraz gave it a smoky spiciness. Made from classical warm weather grapes, it won’t age as well as other higher end wines.

We continued with another Yogev 2007 selection, also a dry red. This wine combines 20% Petit Verdot (grown in the Negev Mountains, it has high acidity and produces fruity tannins) and 80% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s aroma brought out mint and black currant tones. Ages well and has a very unique strong personality.

Next we had a Reserve Merlot 2005, with hints of cherry and sweet spices. it goes well with lamb shanks and strong flavored meats. Next we had a delightful Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.

Some of the higher end selections

Sapir 2004 followed this wines is aged for 16 months in the cask and 4 years in the bottle before it leaves the winery. It has 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Shiraz, and 25% Merlot, fruity with floral accents and sweet spices.

Odem 2005 was next, this wine has 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier it has a nice smoky taste and goes well with charcouterie meats.

Finally we got to taste Benyamina’s top of the line, The Cave – Hama’arah 2006, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. A superior wine that is aged not in the main winery but in a 300 year old cave in the heart of the Carmel Mountains, hence its name. This top quality wine, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, the grapes were harvested in  the Upper Galilee. The wine was aged over 24 months in new French oak barrels and will continue to age well. Truly a superb wine.

Tomorrow, March 17, the Israeli Wine Lovers Club will be meeting again in Manhattan, at:
Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) NYC
6th Floor
The buzzer, on the ground floor, is # 6.

As Avi’s email advised: “Earlier today I got the wines for the “How Sweet It ISrael” tasting from the Royal Wine Company (the largest Kosher wines importer/distributor). The list is great — Carmel Shaal, Gamla White Riesling, Carmel Moscato, and more. Eran (our Club’s Chef) promised to make special treats for the tasting…. So, are you ready for a sweet feast as I am? We’d like to see you at the event.

You can RSVP at their web site: http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/12765713/ The cost for this tasting is $36 at the door. Hope to see you there.

CS




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