Archive for November, 2007

Non-“Kosher” ingredients in Wine

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

This is a very detailed and technical discussion, the kosher aspect of which I touched upon in a friends blog a few weeks ago regarding wines from Israel. That post can be found at The topic was also touched upon by a new cyber friend at

The reason I am re-visiting this topic again here is that I received one of the many emails I get from Wine Spectator today, this one being their “Wine & Healthy Living” email.

Contained in this email is a question from “Jane”, whereby Jane asks about ingredients in wine which Vegans might not want to consume. The exact question and answer should be contained in the following link, but it appears not to have been posted there yet .

Since it has yet to be posted, I’ll include it here: “How could a vegan find out which wineries use egg whites for fining their wines?“.

For the record, wineries also use other products for “fining” which are problematic for both kosher observers as well as vegans.

As someone who observes a KOSHER diet (albeit leniently), this is a question which I have researched and that has led to a tremendous dilemma – one I still grapple with.

To keep things as succinct as possible, the truth is that many wineries use one of a few ingredients in SOME wines to “fine” or “clarify” the wine. While this is most common in whites, it is done with many reds as well. How do you know when one such ingredient was used? Well, as Wine Spectator answered Jane, “Current labeling regulations do not require the producer to list the fining agents on the bottle“.

Without getting into the gory details of what ingredients are at times used as fining agents, I’ll end this post with the url provided by the fabulous people over at Wine Spectator. I am not sure how much of a help it is, but it allows me to sidestep this topic for the time being.

Happy Holiday Season…


My first blog entry – a blind date at a local wine bar…

Monday, November 26th, 2007

It’s late, I have a nice buzz, so I’ll keep this (first) one brief.

I went on a (blind) date with a nice young woman tonight. Another woman who “likes sweet wine” I took her to the local wine bar (yeah, real creative WTG). Although it is a Monday, the deadest night in the food/beverage industry, we waited about 20 minutes for a place to sit. I think that since I know and said hi to the owner, the hostess sat us at a table before another couple who had arrived before us. That other couple glared at us, and were clearly NOT happy.

On to the wine. The lady I was with likes sweet wine. But, she said, if the wine is not sweet, it should be red. Sweet & red??? OK, now I’m confused. There would be no sweet red wine served that night. I still have nightmares of thick, syrupy sweet red wine. NEVER AGAIN! I asked her how she felt about Cabernet. Blank stare. Do you like Merlot? Still nothing. Finally, I asked if she liked a big, chewy red, or a light red without the big mouth feel. Lite she said, although I think after 10 minutes of perusing the menu, she would have said whatever she thought would have gotten me to just order something already.

Lite it was, and we settled on a Pinot Noir. But now, where would the Pinot be from? Price was of course a concern. I would have loved to have splurged on a premier cru Burgundy, but I have yet to make my first million (does that count for anything anymore?). The waitress recommended a California Pinot, but at $80 bottle, kinda steep, especially for someone who is not a big fan of California Pinot Рtoo fruity!  We settled on a New Zealand Pinot Noir priced at $44.

The Pinot, which had a screwcap (not a negative in my mind) and a cheesy label, was actually OK. It had some nice red fruit, but it also had a touch of earthiness, well integrated oak, a nice crisp acidity & a medium finish. My Napa contacts might kill me for saying this, but I think I preferred this wine to some of the high scoring California Pinot’s I have had. The Cali Pinot is SO DAMN FRUIT FORWARD. Even the Cali Pinot’s I was told would be “elegant” or “feminine” have this big artificial fruit taste to them. Bottom line, I had about 3+ glasses, my date had 1+ and we each left happy (I hope).

As to the date, well…..tune in to see if there is a second date.

Happy Monday!

-The Wine Tasting Guy (WTG).