Posts Tagged ‘mevushal’

Flash Pasteurization is NOT harmful (when done right)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Kosher wine has a ton of stigmas attached to it.  It is all sweet, thick, flabby.  It is only made from the Concord grape.  And of course, it is BOILED.

It a very brief nutshell, NO, not all kosher wine is BOILED – actually I don’t think ANY kosher wine is boiled.

So where does this mis-information come from?  It comes from the fact that SOME kosher wines are further classified as “mevushal” – FLASH PASTEURIZED.

Flash pasteurization is a process used by NON-KOSHER wines too, including Louis Latour (“The wine is passed through a heat exchanger that raises the temperature to 72°C for 2-3 seconds”) & Beaucastel (“The skins of the grapes are heated briefly to 80 °C / 176 °F and then cooled to 20 °C /6O °F”) to name two.  This pasteurization is sometimes done to bring out aromatics, and other times to remove potentially harmful bacteria & “stabilize” a wine much like fining or filtering does.

Kosher wine that has gone through flash pasteurization does so to enable all people (regardless of religion & level of observance) to handle a wine.  (According to Orthodox Jews non-”mevushal” kosher wine may only be handled by Jews to maintain its classification as “kosher”.)

I want to break another stigma.

“MEVUSHAL” (flash pasteurized) wines DO NOT AGE.

HA!

I had the good fortune of drinking a 1996 Herzog Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wine the other day thanks to a new wine friend.

This wine was gorgeous!  At a very mature 14 years old, this mevushal wine was soft & velvety with fresh fruit & berries.  An elegant wine that has aged quite gracefully and had a long luxurious finish.

What can I say…don’t believe everything you hear or read (just because you read it on the internet… ;)…).

Yes, some mevushal wines that go through flash pasteurization prematurely age due to poor pasteurization methods.  But when done right, this process seems to have no negative effects on the wine.  On the contrary, maybe it does in fact rid wine of bad bacteria and make it MORE age worthy…???…I know the mevushal Cab from California’s Herzog Winery sure aged well!!

Happy Mevushal wine tasting!

WTG

Road to recovery

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

It has been 10 days since surgery and all seems to be going well.  Pain is subsiding, I’m not in a cast & I get my stiches out in 2 days.  Is it possible I may be able to bath like a human being again soon??  I understand that if I commit to babying the wrist and remaining in my wrist gaurd that the doc may not require a new cast.  WOOHOO!!!  Two handed showers, here I come!

wrist gaurd

So wrist stuff is going well Wine Tasting Guy, but what up with the wine????

Plenty of wine stuff to discuss.  And staying close to the heart, it is all Israeli wine related.

This past Friday night I opened up a couple of Bordeaux style blends from Israel.  Both were from the 2003 vintage and both considered to be top notch wines from value wineries.  I’m excited to report that both were showing complex secondary characteristics and were drinking quite beautifully.

Though the two have nothing to do with each other (Israeli wine & mevuhal), I just heard about some new MEVUSHAL Israeli wines hitting the market.   Anyone who has followed my posts over time knows that I take issue with mevushal (flash pasteurization) wines (why would anyone want to heat up a wine?).  That said, for caterers & restaurants, places where ONLY mevushal wines are allowed, new quality Israeli offerings are welcome news.  I’ll report more as soon as I’ve had the chance to try them.

Finally I want to let you know about a wine tasting event TOMORROW night.  Some information about the event can be found here.  In a nutshell I’ll be leading a tasting of high end, small batch Israeli wine.  Hard to find wines from Saslove, Sea Horse & La Terra Promessa wineries will be tasted.  And as an incredible bonus,  Chef Eran will be pairing these Mediterranean beauties with his exquisite cuisine.  The tasting has only 5 spots left (as of this writing) so please RSVP ASAP if you’d like to join us.

Happy two-handed Israeli wine (dare I say even mevushal) tasting!

WTG

Wrist update & long lasting “mevushal” wine

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

I saw my hand specialist today.

FUN NEWS…I got a new cast.

black cast1

BAD NEWS.

My wrist is NOT healing on its own.  I broke my scaphoid bone.  This is a bone in the wrist, and the location within the scaphoid where I broke it receives very little blood flow – no healing power.  So sadly, after almost 6 weeks in a cast, the break appears to be just as big as it was 6 weeks ago.

It appears that surgery IS in fact in my future.  I am off to Israel tomorrow so surgery will not commence until I return.  This gives me a glimmer of hope that MAYBE it will show signs of healing over the next 2 weeks and we can avoid surgery.  But if not, then it will be 8+ weeks in cast, maybe 9 before surgery.  Then surgery (screws put into my broken bone), re-cast, rehab…arghhh :(

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/figures/A00012F04.jpg

But did I mention I am going to ISRAEL!!!   WoooHooo!!!!

OK, wine.

I have blogged before about “mevushal” or flash pasteurized wine.  And in general, though the technology is improved, and I believe that the harm done to mevushal wines intended for early consumption is minimal, I must admit that I am not an advocate.  I guess I just figure that if I can have a non-boiled wine or a boiled one I will choose the “fresher” version every time.

Now the biggest knock that people have against mevushal wine is that the flash pasteurization process expedites the aging process, deeming mevushal wines unworthy of long term cellaring.

This past weekend I celebrated a momentous time in my life and while celebrating with new family members imagine my surprise to find a bottle of 1997 mevushal wine, in a closet, standing upright.  The wine, Herzog’s Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  A very fine wine in its youth.  But this one was standing upright (prime cork drying conditions), in a closet without any climate control, and did I mention; the wine is MEVUSHAL – FLASH PASTEURIZED.  These wines are not age worthy.  They are boiled.  Come on Wine Tasting Guy, don’t even bother opening up the bottle – it is SURE to be a goner.

Well, my hand is now hurting, and I took no formal tasting note, but…

…the wine was BEAUTIFUL!  Alive, soft, complex & DE-LIC-IOUS!

Dare I say my biases against mevushal wines are fading???

Happy (and healthy) mevushal wine tasting!

WTG

“Mevushal” or Flash pasteurized wine

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Working with Israeli wines, most of them kosher certified, I often hear the question; “what makes a wine kosher?”.

Without getting into too many of the details, I explain that it can not contain an ingredient (gelatin or isinglass) sometimes used in the fining (removing particles) of wine.  And it must be made (actually handled) by a sabbath observant Jew.

Another question that inevitably arises relates to a process known as “mevushal” or flash pasteurized.  This is a process whereby the wine (or often the juice pre- fermentation) is quickly brought up in temperature to around 180 degrees F and then (usually) quickly cooled.

http://wine.appellationamerica.com/images/appellations/features/boiling-wine-170.jpg

Wines that have gone through this process can be handled by Jew & Gentile alike and still maintain their kosher status, whereas non-mevushal wines can not be handled by non-Jews lest they risk losing their status as kosher.  I find this practice to be highly offensive and will refrain from further comment.  Amongst the reasons for said practice dates back to pagan rituals/libations done over wine, but only wine that had NOT been boiled.  As such the rabbi’s decreed that all kosher wine be boiled so that Jews would not use pagan wine for their own sacramental purposes.

Many of the better kosher wines today do NOT undergo this flash pasteurization for fear of damaging the wine.  And many wine critics believe that the heating of the wine leads to cooked fruit flavors (rather than fresh fruit flavors) and also prevents the wine from aging gracefully as many “mevushal” wines tend to deteriorate within a few years of their vintage date.

I bring this up as I learned something new about flash pasteurized wine today.  I found an article written by Bill Zacharkiw in The Montreal Gazette whereby Zacharkiw states “The first time I came across the technique of “flash pasteurization” was when I talked with Tomas Perrin of Château Beaucastel, whose Châteauneuf-du-Pape … (is) considered by many … as … the world’s best.

Beaucastel wines undergo a heating process similar to mevushal wines.

Perrin…believes that by quickly heating and then cooling the grapes, the delicate flavors and aromas are more easily extracted from the grape skins, without all the astringent tannins. Also, this type of pasteurization helps protect the wine from premature oxidation, which means fewer sulphites need to be used.”

Interesting huh?

Happy (dare I say) mevushal wine tasting!

WTG

kosher restaurant & kosherfest

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

I went out with some colleagues tonight to an upscale kosher restaurant.  This restaurant is very well regarded.  Sadly, kosher restaurants (whose certifying organization holds to the highest standards) in the US only allow kosher “mevushal” wines.  Without getting into the whats, whys, and hows of “mevushal”, simply put – mevushal wines are those that are put through a flash pasteurization process which then allows them to be handled by everyone (rather than just observant jews).

(A quick aside, most Israeli wines, considered by some [myself included] to be the best kosher wines in the world, are NOT put through this process.)

In any event, this fancy restaurant and its kosher certification meant that if we were to order wine it would have to be a mevushal wine.  Although I would never choose a mevushal wine over wine that had not gone through the flash pasteurization, when not given a choice I’d rather have wine with my dinner.  Especially since this restaurant is known for their steaks and I wanted to order a steak.  Can you imagine, a steak without some nice red wine.  Seemed sacrilege to me, but that is exactly what happened.  My colleagues felt strongly about not ordering a wine that was mevushal.  And not wanting to be the only one at the table with wine, I too had my steak with…a glass of water.

water

“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine”.  It was a dark dreary day today.

I’m off to kosherfest for the next two days.  I’ll be working in the wine area, but i will do my best to walk around a bit and see if there are some standout items worth reporting back about.

Happy steak and WINE tasting!

WTG

Peanut butter without the jelly???

Monday, May 26th, 2008

OK, a strange title considering where I am going with this brief post. I attended a wedding last night. The bride is a girl I have known virtually my whole life as our mothers have been close since their high school days. The bride was beautiful, the guests were all jolly, enjoying the holiday weekend & the fabulous weather we’ve suddenly been hit with here in the NY Metro area. The Long Island country club that hosted the event was marvelous, with lush greenery & abundant flowers in bloom. (more…)