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The Jewish Week’s Grand Kosher Wine Tasting

Yesterday at the City Winery (155 Varick Street, NYC; Tel: 212.608.0555The Jewish Week held its annual Grand Kosher Wine Tasting. The most prestigious wine distributors and importers were there with hundreds of wines from all over the world.


Partial views of the crowd...

Partial views of the crowd…

As always many old friends and familiar faces were there…

Chaim Hezkel from Liquors Galore

Chaim Hezkel, from Liquors Galore, talking wine to an enrapt audience…

Aron Ritter, from the Kosher Wine Society, trying to taste some wine...

Yeruchum Rosenberg, Aron Ritter (center), from the Kosher Wine Society, and Dani Myers, trying to taste some wine…

Nineteen distributors and stores were showing off their best wines, spirits and cocktails, food was available at eight different tables representing meat restaurants, cheese distributors, sausage distributors and chocolate stores.

It wasn't easy to photograph Brent Delman, His was one of the most popular tables, too many people around pushing and shoving to taste his products.

It wasn’t easy to photograph Brent Delman, His was one of the most popular tables, too many people around waiting to taste his products.

Gershon Bodner of Morad Wines, Estie Wartenberg of Recanati Wines, Shai Germezian of Allied Importers, Zaan Eksteen with Backsberg Wines, Ron Jordan who represents Taanug Wines from Spain, Mayer Jacobovits from Israeli Wines Direct, Michael from Skyview Wines & Spirits were, Shlomo Blashska and Jay Buchsbaum from Royal Wine Corporation were just some of the people manning the tables.

As always it was a pleasure to see Alyson Nathan from Abigael’s, and Yossi Horowitz, Esq., who over the last few weeks served as a judges –  in choosing the 18 Top Wines for each of the nine Jewish Week lists – together Miriam Morgenstern from Wine Spectator, and Aron Ritter from Kosher Wine Society among others.

Though I took copious notes, there were just too many wines to post on all of them, but I will discuss a few new selections I discovered here…

Backsberg Wines from South Africa...

Backsberg Wines from South Africa…

Backsberg Chardonnay Paarl 2013 –  With a very fresh lemon, melon and hazelnut tones combine to a give it a delightful aroma; its natural acidity is balanced by sweet fruit flavors of white peach, providing a medium bodied palate with a long, rewarding finish.

Backsberg Brut Paarl – A strong flavored mix of green apple and pear, with a long refreshing finish.

Backsberg Pinotage 2011 – With strong mulberry and strawberry notes, with hints of herbs, all combining to a very fruity finish.

Taanug Cava – Three grape varieties (Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo), are fermented separately, then blended and fermented again together in the bottle for 12 months. Intensely fruity on the nose, it is smooth on the palate and has a long finish; with a pale straw color and considerable effervescence. featured a selection selection of cheeses including a very creamy brie style from Vermont (my new favorite!!). Sabra presented their hummus variations and Greek yogurt dips. La Brochette Restaurant, as expected, had a nice meat selection but they run out way to early. Grow and Behold served some delicious, juicy sausages. I only wish I hadn’t been too full to taste the rest of the food.

All in all it was a very enjoyable and educational evening, and of course… delicious!



A sneak Preview of Great Wines

Last night, I was privileged to attend a sneak preview of a few choice new and unusual wines to be premiered to the American public today at the Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2012. Fourteen wines were tasted by a select audience of wine lovers, wine writers, and connoisseur wine traders.

The backdrop of Manhattan’s City Winery a functioning winery, with real wine-making equipment, served as the perfect background with tables set with an array of glasses shaped specially to bring out the best of every vintage. Abigael’s provided finger foods consisting of tuna, salmon and salad (some nestled in petits fours salés cups) to neutralize the lingering tastes of wine before each new selection.

Royal Wine Corporation‘s Vice President, Jay Buchsbaum, introduced four winemakers from five wineries in Israel, Spain, New Zealand and the US. White wines were served first, then reds. Each wine maker described the selections as they were poured.

Phillip Jones from New Zealand’s Goose Bay and Oregon’s Pacifica introduced four wines (two from each winery)…

Dr. Moises Cohen, owner and wine maker of Spain’s renowned Elvi Wines introduced three selections…

Gilad Flam, from Israel’s Flam Winery, introduced four wines…

Tamir Arzy, from Israel’s Tulip Winery introduced three wines…

The wine list and the order in which we enjoyed them were:

  • Goose Bay Sauvignion Blanc
  • Elvi In Vita
  • Flam Blanco
  • Tulip White Tulip
  • Flam Rose
  • Goose Bay Pinot Noir
  • Pacifica Pinot Noir
  • Elvi Rioja Herenza
  • Elvi Priorat EL 26
  • Tulip Just Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Tulip Just Merlot
  • Flam Classico
  • Pacifica Meritage
  • Flam Syrah Reserve
All were truly outstanding selections and it was hard to chose favorites. The whites were all delightful and aromatic, the reds interesting and complex. Yet, my palate did seem to favor some…
The second wine we tasted Elvi‘s In Vita was my preferred one among the whites. Made from Spain’s indigenous Pansa Blanca (sometimes known as Xarel-lo) and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, I found this a uniquely elegant wine with rich citrus and tropical notes. It has been rated at 92 by Spain’s Guía Peñin. In Vita sports the body of the Pansa Blanca and the typical aromas of the Sauvignon Blanc. A delightful blend!
Tulip‘s Just Merlot – Dark garnet in color with notes of sweet cedar wood and soft tannins with notes of wild berries and cassis. I found this wine to be not just a Merlot, but the consummate Israeli Merlot.

Elvi‘s Rioja Herenza proved rather interesting, made from 100% Tempranillo grapes with ripe fruit, creamy oak, spices and cocoa. Tasty, with ripe tannins. Elvi also produces a Priorat EL 26, a most unusual wine not to be paired but rather enjoyed just by itself. Full bodied, with strong minerals, wood, pepper, tobacco and showing hints of purple plum and berries. This is a young winery, but its wines have already been rated among Spain’s best.

Pacifica‘s Meritage, proved more than worthy of the Meritage apellation. Meritage is a name given to Bordeaux style wines grown outside of the Bordeaux area, as that name is a legally protected designation of origin. With strong tones of cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate and coffee bean, rich and complex it leads to a silky finish.

A much as I would like to comment on all the fourteen wines we tasted, the fact is that this would then be quite a long post, I’ll just finish by mentioning Flam‘s Syrah Reserve, with it’s deep royal purple, full bodied and heavy concentration of blackberries, black cherries, red plums and wild berries with notes of spring flowers. It is well structured, deep and with a long finish.

I would not have been there, had my good friend Aron Ritter from the Kosher Wine Society (see here, here and here) not alerted me to this superb event on Friday afternoon, shortly before Shabbos. I’m glad he did, I tasted superb wines, met old friends, made new ones and learned quite a bit!


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