Archive for the 'Malbec' Category

26
Oct
10

Kosherfest: Day 1


Today was the opening day for Kosherfest at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, in Seacaucus (NJ). Not only was the number of exhibitors bigger than ever, but so was the attendance. There is no question that the kosher consumer is more and more demanding, both in the number of items as well as in their quality. I only stayed for a few hours, as I had prior obligations so I decided to go for some unusual or otherwise interesting items.

First, however, we decided to meet some of the cookbook authors we reviewed recently and had interviewed over the phone and on radio.

Paula Shoyer, Pastry Chef par excellence, cookbook author

Paula Shoyer, recently had her The Kosher Baker published by Brandeis University. It is one of the most beautiful kosher cookbooks both SYR or I have ever seen.

Susie Fishbein, the top kosher cookbook author and whose Kosher by Design series sold globally in numbers comparable to the world’s top cookbook authors was there too…

Susie Fishbein being interviewed, at the Kolatin gelatin booth by TJC TV

We reviewed a pre-publication copy of her newest – Kosher by Design Teens and 20 Somethings (due to hit the stores on October the 27th!) – yesterday.

Quite a few exhibitors used the occasion to launch new lines, among them we were happy to see that Lévana Kirschenbaum finally and officially put her new bakery products on the market. At the beginning of the summer SYR and I were among the exclusive few who got to taste these delicacies…

Lévana demostrating her new products

As I searched for unusual products, I spotted these unusual bottles of Tequila…

Kah Tequila... guaranteed to get your attention!

I then tasted the middle bottle of the Agave 99 line…

Smooth and flavorful

Next I did a tasting of the Secreto line of wines from Argentina.

Secreto - Vinos kasher de Argentina

I first tried their Malbec (80% Malbec – Argentina’s most famous wine grape – and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon); I followed it with their Cabernet Sauvignon (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Malbec); next I tried their Trivarietal (50% Bonarda, 25% Malbec and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon). I found all three to be excellent selections, especially in their price range ($10-$12).

I then saw a line of medicinal teas from Spain, Helps by Pharmadus.

A nice line of special teas for children, women's needs, and a whole lot more.

Next we saw Tammy Polatskek‘s new line of superbly designed dishes under the Carmona label.

Beautiful, unusual, contemporary

Beautiful, contemporary shapes that will greatly enhance the pleasure of any meal, the beauty of any table.

Before we left we passed by the booth of Happy Hearts Wine

Some great wines from some of Israel's smaller wineries...

They distribute Israeli wines from from small boutique wine producers like, Odem Mountain Winery, Or Haganuz Winery, the Mony Estate Vineyards, Dovev Winery, Hameshubach Winery, and the Efrat Winery. Their selections were quite good, I was familiar with some of their labels already.

We didn’t cover as much as we would have liked, especially after some very interesting products we sa, but I’m going back tomorrow and I expect to cover far more ground.

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

24
Jan
10

An Uzbeki Melave Malkah


A good friend, originally from Samarkand in Uzbekistan, – a college professor who teaches in Manhattan –  invited me to a melave malkah last night at his daughter’s house, not far from me. The main features were Uzbeki lamb based delicacies, samsa (round meat pies filled with lamb) and manty.

Samsa

Manty

The lady of the house graciously agreed to share with us this simple, delicious recipe:

SAMSA

Ingredients

2 packages of pastry dough
2 lbs finely chopped lamb
3 lbs finely chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Mix the lamb, the onions, the salt and pepper in a bowl. When well mixed take a small quantity and put it on one of the square pieces of dough, close up the dough in the shape of a ball. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350° F, until a golden brown crust has formed.

There were six of us at the table and there was plenty, including leftovers, for everyone of us.

For taste variations you may use any other meat and your own favorite spices. When you’ve bitten into a round pie sprinkle some vinegar/olive oil on it and enjoy!

The wine that accompanied our meal was a delightful Argentinian non-mevushal 2007 Flechas De Los Andes Gran Malbec. This wine has a lovely floral lift with intense, smooth, chocolatey black fruit. It has plenty of nice mouthfeel and presence, very rich on the finish.

All in all a delightful evening, with great company, great food and lots of good conversation.

CS




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