Posts Tagged ‘Wine Spectator’

The Cali Cab that wasn’t a fruit bomb

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

I’ve had the wine before.  It is a kosher Cabernet Sauvigon from California.  Not Napa Valley, but Alexander Valley fruit.  Having tasted previous vintages of it, I was not surprised to hear that it was awarded 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

2005 Herzog Special Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

For those of you who do not know, The Alexander Valley is in Northern Sonoma County just North, Northwest of the more famous Napa Valley.  Like Napa it is littered with wineries where they produce great wines.   And while the nuances of the wines made in Napa & Sonoma are different, my experience has been that the styles of wine are similar.  Big, extracted, fruity, high (but generally balanced) alcohol, etc.

I’ll make a confession here…I like big fruity wines.  As a matter of fact my favorite meal is a rare steak & big bad cab.  Sure these tooth staining wines will overpower the flavors of most dishes but it goes oh so well with steak and other hearty rich meats, stews & chops.

So the 90 point score was of no surprise to me.  A big Alexander Cab got a high score.  But then I tried it…

WOW.  This wine reminded me immediately of the wines from another California winery;  Edmunds St John.  Steve Edmunds makes leaner, lower alcohol, terroir driven wines.  And his “Rocks & Gravel” GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blend is a favorite of mine – when I’m not eating steak 😉

So tasting this lean, earthy, minerally wine was a real treat.  A Cali cab that I can enjoy with more than just a steak.  At 13.8% alcohol with its nice tight structure, this wine wont overpower some of my other favorite foods like chicken, salmon or pasta.  My wife commented on the pretty floral nose while I enjoyed its clean, tart,  forest berry flavors.

And to top it off this wine is mevushal (flash pasteurized).  But no stewed or cooked fruit.  Just real lean & fresh.  Beautiful.

So if you are looking for Cali Cab that got a 90 from the critics but isn’t a fruit bomb go check out the Herzog Special Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Happy non-fruit bomb Cab tasting!


Good times for Israel wines

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Having followed Israel wines for many years I knew this day would come.  Having worked at Israeli wineries I was sure that others would eventually acknowledge the high quality of up-and-coming Israeli wines.  Having chosen a career in Israeli wines I have PRAYED for universal acceptance of Israeli wines.  Ladies and gentlemen, Israeli wines have arrived!

In all seriousness I know that it will take a while, but the past 12 months have brought a barrage of recognition for Israeli wines.  First it was the extensive tasting of Israeli wines by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (“Israeli wine isn’t an oddity any more, and it is certainly not just for those who keep kosher”).  Then it was Wine Spectator’s Kim Marcus traveling the holy land (“I came away impressed by the leaps in quality, especially of the red wines, and by the dedication of the vintners”).

And more recently Israel earned its own chapter in the latest release (7th Edition) of ” Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide” – a whole NINE pages – as many as New Zealand and more than South Africa!

But I chose to write about my beloved Israeli wines today as there was more news yesterday.

Top 100

Top 100

Wine Spectator’s “annual roundup of the years most exciting wines”, AKA the top 100 wines of the year included an Israeli wine for the first time.  The Golan Heights winery’s Yarden 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon came in at 91.  How cool is that!  Also pretty cool are the messages of congratulations I received from several industry contacts.  Although I had NOTHING to do with the making of this wine I feel like a proud parent.

Now go out and buy some great Israeli wine…you’ll love it!

Happy Israeli wine tasting!


Is Rosé already Passé

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about Rosé of late.  There is a great rosé made by Israeli producer Galil Mountain that I recently poured at a tasting, and while I think the wine is amazing, there were guests there who saw the color and assumed it would be a sweet wine.  For those seeking a sweet wine I suggested a bone dry but beautifully floral Viognier (also a Galil Mountain wine) – that was incredibly received.  But it did get me thinking.  Is there room for rosé to grow in popularity.  I must admit, I too associated rosé with flabby white zinfandel until discovering the special characteristics that a good rosé offers.  But why, even following a feature article last summer in Wine Spectator, was rosé still not being fully embraced?  Is Rose’ already Passé???


A quick tutorial on rosé.  The color in wine is extracted from the grape skins.  The longer the contact with the grape skins, the more color (and other things) are extracted from the skins (basically) and end up in the wine.  So with rosé, the grape skins are given SOME, but not a lot of contact with the juice, thereby allowing a little color, but not a deep, rich red or ruby color that juice that was otherwise left on the skin for an extended period would extract.

OK, back to the question at hand.  When crisp, dry & refreshing rose’ can be so good, why haven’t people fully embraced this style of wine?

I’ve got lots of theories;

1 – Men (OK, some) have issues drinking white wine.  How do you think those men, or those who are teetering feel about a pink drink?

2 – It isn’t red & it isn’t white.  So what is it?

3 – The aforementioned stigma that was attached to rosé (or blush) as a result of the aforementioned white Zin phenomenon.

And countless others, but one that has stood out to me relates to an issue I have complained about in the past.  I take issue with places that serve “a white wine” and “a red wine”.  Or people who order “a glass of white” or “a glass of red”.  I know, I know, it seems like I am perpetuating that same issue of pretension that I supposedly despise.  But this is not pretension.  This is about the exact opposite.  I always tell people to drink what they like.  But if they are simply ordering whatever generic juice someone else is going to pour them they are never going to discover WHAT IT IS THEY LIKE.  Reds, whites AND rosé from different regions made of different varietals taste DIFFERENT.  That is not to say one is good and another isn’t.  Deciding what is good and what is not is UP TO YOU!  But to decide that you don’t like rosé because you had a bad one is silly.

I know it would be weird to order a Pinot Noir rosé, or a sangiovese rosé, etc.  But maybe that is a solution.  And it is actually only one part of it as some Pinot rosé can be excellent while other can SUCK (although once again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder).

Can’t say that I have any definitive solution or that this issue and its corresponding “resolution” will “change the wine world”.  But it is something I have been thinking about recently and I thought I would share some of those thoughts with you.

Happy Rosé Wine Tasting!


Quick reminder, tomorrow, Thursday night is the big (FREE) Israel wine tasting at Le Rendezvous wine bar on the Upper east side (of Manhattan).  I’d love to see YOU there.

 For details click here.

Drink Red Wine and Live Better (but not longer)

Monday, July 28th, 2008

This according to the website of the medical journal Cell Metabolism (as per Wine Spectator online).

Yet another article about resveratrol and its benefits. This one seems to contradict others that suggested that resveratrol extends life expectancy. Here the “researchers said the compound helps keep the bones, eyes, kidneys, heart and other muscles in mice healthier as they age, though without increasing the animals’ overall lifespan”.

wine health - 2 glasses of wine

The study compared the effects of resveratrol to those of another life enhancing therapy – caloric restriction (CR), (more…)

More red wine health benefits

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

I used whatever time I had this (late) evening to peruse some wine blogs and other wine related write ups but sadly came away with nothing of special interest to write about. I considered writing about the wonderful wine tasting I led last night for a group of about thirty 20 & 30 somethings, but the truth is the event was a fund raiser and the guests were more interested in mingling & DRINKING the wine, than hearing some dude talk about wine. There were several guests who did engage me in wine conversation, but in the end the “informal talk” I was going to give became very informal small talk with select guests.

That said, I feel compelled to write about something, so how about a quick plug for wine and its corresponding health benefits. (more…)

Wine Deal – Chateauneuf du Pape

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

 Quick wine deal…

I’ve never had this wine before but the 2004 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape apparently given a 91 by Wine Spectator & priced here at $30 seems to be a good deal for CDP lovers.  It is sold elsewhere online for between $36.50-$45.  So at $30, while I can not recommend it on the basis of having tried it, I can tell you that it is priced right…

Happy wine bargain hunting!


“Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Improve Memory”!!!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Yes, the news we have all been waiting for.  Drinking actually HELPS IMPROVE our memory.  I’ll drink to that.

“Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts may improve the ability to create and maintain memories properly, according to a new study from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.”

The full article, compliments of wine spectator online, can be found here.

Now maybe I’ll remember that wine I drank the other night.

Happy remembering!


Wine – Deal of the day

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Sadly this is yet another wine I have not had the opportunity to try, so I can only recommend it on the basis of it being priced better here than in other places I found it for sale.

The Domaine Terlato Chapoutier Shiraz Pyrenees Malakoff, A 100% Australian Shiraz (although the label makes it look more like a Cote du Rhone), is well priced here at under $30.  It can be found elsewhere online for between $33-$42.  It received a 93 from Wine Spectator (not that that should matter as much as YOUR PALATE) and looks to be an interesting wine.  Not cheap at $30, but seemingly a good deal where others are asking $35, $40 & even $42.

If you go for it let me know what you think.

Happy wine buying!


Drinking Wine Linked to Lower Risk of Lung Cancer

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Just got the news from good ole’ Wine Spectator.  (,1197,4171,00.html)

Of note however is that beer & spirits led to elevated risk.  “Drinking wine is associated with a lower risk of developing lung cancer, according to a meta-analysis published in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiological Markers & Prevention. Those who consume more than one serving of beer or spirits in any amount, however, were found to have an elevated risk.”

Yeah, I know, “THEY come out with a new study every day”…but hey, we believe what we want to believe anyway right?

So drink away friends – it is good for you (in moderation of course)!!!!

Happy Almost New Year!!