Archive for March, 2008

Kosher Wine Extravaganza – Unusual (but gooood) wines

Sunday, March 30th, 2008


(Picture of Aron Ritter – founder of KOSHER WINE SOCIETY)

I attended the “Kosher Wine Extravaganza” today in Manhattan sponsored by Gotham Wines, one of the largest retailers of kosher wine.  This was the 5th year that this event was held and there seem to be more wines each year.  Out of well over 100 wines I managed to taste 81 of them followed by some Cognac (which I was told I was not allowed to spit) to finish things off.

I could write about the fabulous Israeli Cab or the not so fabulous French Bordeaux, the overrated California red, or awful Israel Merlot (it was BAD) but who cares?!?!! Merlot, Cab, Syrah – been there done that. Come on Wine Tasting Guy, give us something unusual.

Well you want unusual, you got it! (more…)

How Long to age your wine?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I received a very good question from a reader yesterday. The question by Wayne W. is as follows:

“One question I still have about red wines is how long to cellar them before drinking. I try to keep them a minimum of three years past the bottling date, unless they are wines designed for drinking young … What is your opinion? ”

Remembering a 1996 Hagafen Cabernet Sauvignon that I bought and saved until 2004 I knew this was a question I needed to address. My story did not end pretty – I stored my wine where food should be – in the kitchen, makes sense right? Well, when I finally opened the bottle I had a cooked and really nasty wine. Boy was I disappointed (Hey Ernie, wanna send me a ’96 from your library?).

So, Rule #1 – NEVER STORE YOUR WINE NEAR HEAT. The kitchen is the WORST place. If & when possible, keep in a cool dark location. Some suggested are closets, basements, etc. And if possible, get a wine fridge. This isn’t necessary if you are to hold onto a bottle for a few days or even a few months. But once you hit the 6 month plateau and move on to years, your wine should really be stored properly to avoid pre-mature aging or even spoiling.

Rule #2 – THERE ARE NO STEADFAST RULES TO HOW LONG A WINE CAN/SHOULD AGE. That is not to say that there are not many guidelines. And these guidelines are what I would like to share with you. (more…)

Best bet (kosher) Israeli wines for Passover – at all price ranges…

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

I have been asked by countless people which wines I would recommend they check out for Passover, so I thought it appropriate to blog for the masses. I am not going to go into ALL kosher wines but I will discuss where my passion lay, Israeli wines. I will present wines in each price level both so that everyone can find a wine in their range and so that some of you can buy different wines for different purposes (some for the 4 cups & others to drink with the meals). (more…)

Skurnik Tasting – my favorites (finally)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I’ve mentioned this event twice and have promised to write a more comprehensive review. I’m happy to say that I’ve been very busy but have not forgotten my promise.

Given that I tasted well in excess of 100 wines that day my notes are obviously not too thorough, but I did note which wines were of most interest to me.

Going simply in order of table number, let’s start with Peay Vineyards. Peay is not a winery I was familiar with before the tasting, but it will be one I’ll be keeping an eye out for, especially as I get deeper into wine bar planning. Sadly, the prices for Peay wines are quite high. Beginning with their ’06 “Sonoma Coast Estate” Chardonnnay, I found very nice subtle oak combined with nice citrus notes and fresh crisp flavors. It had a very nice acidic structure and a pleasant and relatively long finish. I also found their ’06 Estate “Scallop Shelf” Pinot Noir to be one of the more subtle & elegant Pinots will nice minerality and earthiness and a very nice finish. And finally the Peay 2005 “La Bruma” Estate Syrah, which I was told came from a very cool Syrah site, was also not a fruit bomb like some of the other Syrah’s I tried. Rather it had lots of fruit on the nose but was very subtle, elegant and round on the palate. Great stuff. (more…)

States weigh lowering drinking age

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I know, I know, I still have older posts I promised to finish soon, but as a kid who once possessed a fake ID how exciting is this news???

So the news comes from a USA today report that talks about some states (Kentucky, Wisconsin and South Carolina) that want to lower the drinking age for military personnel. On the one hand if they can fight in a war then they should be able to drink, right? On the other hand what are we saying, non-military don’t deserve a drink like those in the military do? Or are those who did not enlist less mature? Seems strange.

Missouri wants to lower it for everyone over 18. At least that makes sense to me.

Then you have South Dakota that says 19 & 20 year olds can buy low alcohol beer.

And the one that makes NO sense is Minnesota where they are pushing to allow 18+ to buy alcohol in bars but not in stores. Yeah, because the bartenders will really keep the kids drinking in control. HELLO – what about DRUNK DRIVING???!!! If they buy it in a liquor store at least they will be drinking at home and shouldn’t have to drive anywhere before passing out.

America…what a country….

Happy drinking all you young-ins…


“Any Time Is a Good Time to Start Drinking Wine…”

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

I still need to complete my “best Israeli wines for Passover” post as well as my Best of the Skurnik tasting entry.  I will get to those ASAP.

But today’s quick post is a SERIOUS post about a study I found via Wine Spectator online. The article, “Any Time is a Good Time to Start Drinking Wine To Help the Heart” basically says that whether you are in your 40’s or 60’s you can always begin moderate wine drinking and take advantage of the benefits wine has on the heart and other cardiovascular benefits.

Check out the article and happy & HEALTHY wine drinking this holiday weekend…


2 Wine tasting events – Part 2

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

The first wine tasting event I attended today was a portfolio tasting for Skurnik wines. I was invited as a perspective customer (as I work on moving forward with the Wine bar project) and was very happy to have been included. What an amazing tasting. I tasted a whopping 139 wines – by far a new record for me. I tasted California wines, Oregon wines, French wines, Italian wines, young wines, sweet wines, old wines (I had an AMAZING 1967 Barolo that was very much alive & a 1993 Chardonnay that sadly tasted oxidized).

I met & re-met winemakers, winery owners and all kinds of great people. I will try to write some specific notes soon, but I want to segue from the warm & amazing people at this tasting to the second tasting I attended.

The second tasting was a formal wine education class led by a woman who holds these educational events in NYC. The woman is very knowledgeable and does many things great. BUT… Wine is supposed to be FUN. Yes people go to wine tastings to learn, but they want to enjoy themselves too. When speaking to many people in the industry, their love of wine and passion for it is very evident. This woman, who MAY have been having an off night, just did not seem to posses that passion or the warmth necessary to really engage those in attendance or get them excited about wine. She even snapped at our table when a whispered side conversation started.

So that is it in a nutshell. One great experience and one less than great. I do hope the woman who led the class was simply having a tough night – something that is entirely possible as it has been a dark dreary day & she is seemingly stressed while studying for various wine related degrees.

I’ll write about some highlights from the Skurnik tasting as soon as I get the chance.

Happy wine studies & tasting!!!


Update – 2 different wine tastings today

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I’m sorry my posts have been both abreviated and infrequent of late.  I’m keeping mighty busy working on my (not so) top secret Israeli wine project.

And as if that did not keep me busy enough, I’ll be attending 2 wine tastings today.  The first is an industry tasting being held by a large & very well regarded NYC distributor.  I hope to post notes from the tasting within the next 24 hours or so.

The second tasting is in the evening where I will be helping out an instructor who provides wine tasting classes.  I have been in touch with this instructor in the past but have yet to meet her.  I look forward to seeing how she does things (I have heard very positive feedback) and will share my thoughts with you.

Until then, happy wine tasting…


Sticky: Wine Tasting – How to do it?? It is all about the “S’s”…

Friday, March 14th, 2008

At the urging of a good friend and confidante, I would like to ATTEMPT to discuss some of the suggested methods for wine tasting.

Wine Spectator has their “S’s”, which are (in order): SEE, SNIFF, SIP & SPIT.

SEE: “Look in the glass” and examine the color, hue, tint & depth. (more…)

Wine Deal – Australian Cab

Friday, March 14th, 2008

It has been a while since I’ve posted/found a wine deal, but this one seems to fit the bill.

The Bleasdale Cabernet Sauvignon Mulberry Tree 2004 was given a 91 by the Wine Advocate. I have not tried it but is being sold at the retailer linked above for $12.84.  Other online retailers advertise it for between $15-$18.  Always nice to save a couple of bucks.

A WA 90+ wine for under $13 – I’d certainly give it a shot…

Have a great weekend…