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Kosher Food & Wine Experience 2012 – Part 1

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon and well into the evening at Pier 60, in Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers for the Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2012. We taped interviews with wine makers, wine executives, restaurants, etc., for tomorrow evening’s two hour show special at at 7:30pm (Eastern Time). We started by interviewing our long time friend, Jay Buchsbaum (the walking wine encyclopedia I consult on all my wine and spirits’ questions). As Vice President of the Royal Wine Corporation, and after a few decades with the company, no one is better qualified than Jay to introduce us to this event.

We followed that intro with Asaf Paz and Sasson Ben Aharon, winemakers at Israel’s Binyamina Winery

The owner/founder/winemaker of Elvi Wines in Spain, Dr. Moises Cohen came next, not only did he describe his wines, he shared some fascinating vignettes from his life. It was interesting to hear how his vineyards helped him discover some aspects of Jewish history, in the region, predating the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews in the 15th century. It also gave some great insights into his passions and personality.

Phillip Jones, the colorful owner/winemaker at New Zealand’s Goose Bay and Oregon State’s Pacifica was next…

Jürgen Wagner, winemaker at Capçanes in Spain, spoke to us next…

Domaine Netofa‘s owner, consultant to the Royal Wine Corporation and to some of France’s greatest wine making châteauxPierre Miodownik spoke to us next…

Wine writer, seven times published cookbook author (together with his wife), owner/winemaker of Napa Valley’s Covenant – Jeff Morgan – joined us next. His writing on wine led him to some unintended, but fascinating places in his life’s journey…

Mordy Herzog, Royal Wine Corporation Vice President and Spokesman talked with my co-host, Geila Hocherman (author of Kosher Revolution)  and I, about the history of eight generations of winemakers in his family…

Next, Geila and I spoke to my dear friend Jeff Ingber, a trained Chef who graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI – where he still resides – and volunteers as manager for the wine shop at the Providence Hebrew Day School. The wine shop is a fundraising tool to help defray the cost of tuition for frum parents who don’t have the means. Jeff told us about his favorite wines on the show and how he would pair them with various dishes in Geila’s cookbook.

Finally we spoke with the charming, young owner of Guilty PleasuresMaureen Sussanah. She left a successful real estate career to pursue her dream of creating shapes, colors and incredibly delicious chocolate treats.

Please listen in to our upcoming two hour broadcast special, tomorrow evening at 7:30pm to 9:30pm (Eastern Time) on We’ll be waiting for you!

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, listen to our archived Bitayavon – A Talk with Shifra Klein. Shifra is Editor-in-Chief of Bitayavon, an award winning kosher foodie magazine.



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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