Kosher Countdown - The 3rd Cup

Tonight's select is another Israeli winery. this time a historical one dating back to 1882. Carmel Winery was founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who owned the famed Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux, so there's pedigree behind this winery. The company owns the two largest winemaking  facilities in Israel, both which blend the historical elements of the cellars with modern winemaking facilities.

The Carmel Winery SelecteD (that's an intentional capital D), Israel, 2013, is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Shomron region, which is Israel's largest wine-growing region. Although the air tends to be warm and humid, the region receives cooling winds from the Mediterranean Sea, allowing air to circulate and the grapes to amply cool down.  The wine itself showcases black cherry, raspberry, and cedar on the nose.  Surprisingly, it's not as full-bodied as expected and the cherry notes linger on the tongue along with some sweet baking spices.  The tannins are present but well-integrated.  I'd give this one a little time to open up before serving and I do think it has aging potential. I'd be interested to revisit it in a year or two. 

Carmel Winery SelecteD Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine. 

Carmel Winery SelecteD Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine. 

Kosher Countdown - The 2nd Cup

Tonight's selection is an Israeli wine for Shiloh vineyards. Established in 2005, this winery is located in the Judean desert.  A desert winery?  Sounds crazy, yes, but the winery is located 800 meters above sea level, where cooler air pervades.  And let's not forget that although deserts are hot during the day, nights are actually cold; therefore the grapes don't overripen and are able to maintain acidity.

The Shiloh Legend II, Israel, 2010, is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carignan and 5% Sangiovese. With a deep garnet color, the wine looks powerful in the glass. On the nose, black fruits and beef jerky connect with smoke and tobacco, although a hint of spearmint soothes at the end of the sniff.  The fruits come across riper on the palate and again, a spiced beef jerky gives the wine a bit of heft.  Tannins prickle the mouth but don't overwhelm.  If brisket is on the menu, this is a great pairing.


Shiloh Legend II.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

Shiloh Legend II.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

Kosher Countdown

Consume as much pizza and pasta as you can; Passover is less than a week away.  Time to clean out your shelves and replace most of your foodstuffs with kosher-for-Passover (KfP) items.  Buh-bye bread, hello matzah.  Many people also change their wine selections during this holiday and only drink Kosher wines.  Luckily, this doesn't mean Manischewitz for a week straight; there are some great Kosher wine options out there.  I was fortunate to receive several bottles for sampling and will review them in this week leading up to the first Seder so you have some solid options for the big dinners and beyond.  Let the Kosher Countdown begin!

First, for a quick refresher on Kosher wines, read my previous post:

To start things off, I selected an intriguing New World option: The Pacifica - Evan's Collection, Pinot Noir, Oregon, 2010.  Oregon's wine industry essentially started in the 1960s when pioneering winemakers started successfully growing European varietals. Over time, many grapes have thrived, but the state's  cool climate has especially been successful for the Pinot Noir grape.  


The winemaker, Phillip Jones, originally hailed from New Zealand, where he created wines for nearly 20 years.  He and his wife noticed an opportunity to create kosher wines in this emerging region and started the Pacifica label.  

On the nose, this wine showcases black fruits and spices with dominant layers of earth and soil.  On the palate, the body leans towards a fuller New World style, as opposed to a light-bodied Burgundy; however, I'd say it was still medium minus. Again, the palate echoes many of the characteristics the nose found, along with moderate acid and tannins. Elegant and structured, the fruits ripened as the wine opened up but still maintained the balance of the savory tones.  It's a rather high 14.5% ABV, which I found somewhat surprising; however, this could come in handy if your seder falls into the "we're taking 5 hours to go through the whole Haggadah" camp.   Overall, it's a delicious option, regardless of its Kosher certification, and a worthwhile wine to seek out. 

Wine Glass Diatribe

What's this?  


I'm sad to tell you that this is considered a glass of wine.

At a recent girls' night, we checked out Bonnie Vee, a new-ish spot on the Lower East Side. Overall, it was everything we wanted for our catch-up; great ambiance, comfortable seating, well-prepared nibbles, good cocktail list and a small but decent selection of wines by the glass.

But why, oh why, if you're going to put some iota of thought into your wines, would you serve them in a water glass?!  The aromatics are muffled, the wine gets warm and ultimately, the pleasure of wine is taken away. I've seen this in way too many places and it's really unacceptable. Obivously the owners of proud their establishment and want to create a great atmosphere for their guests. But why skimp on the essentials? I'm not asking for expensive Zalto glasses but come on, just throw me a stem here.