Sunday, August 14, 2011

RASHI JOYVIN - A Taste of Nostalgia

Do you remember your first wine?  I don’t mean Manischewitz or Kedem basic wines, but the step up.  For me it was Italian Rashi Joyvin White and Red.  Now I am Russian and Jewish so obviously it was perfectly acceptable to drink at family events before I was 21 and these wines were perfect for all the family and holiday celebrations.  The wines are low in alcohol, (only 6%) and are sweet.  I remember the first time I drank the Joyvin Red at Passover, it made me feel like such a grown up. 

Recently when deciding which wine to do a tasting of I caught sight of the Joyvin bottles and as nostalgia settled over me I decided to taste them.  Since my tasted changed in the last 15 years these wines are not typically what I drink anymore, but they were still very pleasant to taste.  For anyone who likes Moscato but gets tired of the bubbles the white one is perfect.  It has a very pleasant, light, fruity flavor.  The red is also very light with citrus and melon flavors.  I also love how the bottles look, they are skinny, extended with frosted glass.  These wines are perfect as starters, with dessert, ice cold on a hot summer day or when you don’t want to drink a high alcohol wine.    

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Danue Passion Fruit Wine - My First Taste of a Fruit Wine

Recently I noticed that there is a new trend in wines, fruit wines.  I’ve seen apple wines, blackberry wines, peach, raspberry and pear wines.  I never tried any of them until last week when I did a tasting of a passion fruit wine.  Morad Winery Danue Passion Fruit Wine is an Israeli wine that is part of the fruit wine craze.  I’ve had passion fruit drinks before and they always tasted sweet, but this wine tasted more like a grapefruit.  That is good if you like grapefruit, unfortunately I don’t.  However, the store’s customers loved the taste of the wine and were buying it.  Passion fruit is rich in vitamin, especially vitamin A, so drinking this wine is probably good for your health.  Danue Passion Fruit Wine has aromatic floral scents and exotic taste. This wine is best enjoyed with salads, desserts, ice cream and enriches the taste of cocktails.  This is a perfect summer wine if you want to try something different.  

So although I was not crazy about this wine (only because I don’t like grapefruit) it did make me curious about other fruit wines.  Now I am on a mission to find and try more fruit wines.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rum Jumbie Splash Flavored Rums - Perfect Summer Rums

I haven’t written anything in here lately because I haven’t tried any new wines or liquors that really inspired me.  Well that all changed last week when I did tastings of Rum Jumbie Splash Flavored Rums and fell in love with them.  These rums are a perfect for hot summer days, whenever you are laying around by a pool or relaxing in your backyard.  The rum comes in 4 delicious flavors, Mango, Coconut, Pineapple and Vanilla.  All four are sweet and do not taste like any other rum I have ever tasted before.  They should be drank really cold on ice.  They are also very good in a blender with crushed ice or as mixers for drinks.  The bottles have the company’s website on the back which has drink recipes. 

My favorite is the Mango.  It is full of fruity flavor, when I drank it my mouth exploded with flavor.  I also really liked the Coconut one, it tastes like a Pina Colada.  The Vanilla tastes like a French-vanilla ice cream and would be great on top of any ice cream.  I don’t like pineapples so I pleasantly surprised when I also enjoyed the Pineapple flavor. 

I can’t wait to try these rums this summer as mixers with different drinks.  So watch for Part II where I will review the drinks that are on the company’s website and anything else I decide to use them in.

Here’s a short description of the rums from the company’s website.
"Many years ago, hidden in the caves of a remote Caribbean Island was a well sought after Rum Recipe. It was safe there as the inhabitants feared entering the mysterious alcoves in belief that "Jumbies" or spirits were trapped inside. It was believed Jumbies would possess anyone who consumed Rum and would dance to the beat of congas all night long. Rum Jumbie Liqueur is made from that rediscovered recipe. By drinking this well sought after rum liqueur you may awaken the "Rum Jumbies" from years gone by. Rum Jumbie Splash is the ultimate blend of the finest Caribbean Rum infused with natural fruit flavors. Nurtured by the warmth of the Caribbean sun, only the best sugar cane rum is selected to create this harmonious tropical spirit."

The Wine Scoop: Herzog Chenin Blanc Late Harvest – A Sweet Wine fo...

The Wine Scoop: Herzog Chenin Blanc Late Harvest – A Sweet Wine fo...: "I was going to let my husband write this post since it’s about him, but well he’s not a writer. For as long as I have known him he ..."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Herzog Chenin Blanc Late Harvest – A Sweet Wine for a Dry Wine Lover?

I was going to let my husband write this post since it’s about him, but well he’s not a writer.  
For as long as I have known him he has always preferred to drink dry wines.  When I was still drinking White Zinfandel he introduced me to Pinot Grigio.  His favorite wine now is a Pinot Noir.  So imagine my surprise when I brought home a bottle of Herzog Chenin Blanc Late Harvest from a tasting and he actually liked it.  Every time I come home from a tasting he asks me if I have anything new and interesting for him.  I told him no, just a sweet wine which I wasn’t a fan of.  He decided to try it anyway and then said that it was actually really good.  I was really surprised that he liked a sweet wine that I did not.  For those of you that like Chenin Blancs and white wines that are on the sweet side this is a good wine to try.

 The grapes for this California wine were harvested from the Ehrhardt block of the Herzog Vineyard. This two acre block of Chenin Blanc grapes are unique for three reasons. First, it receives the utmost care and maintenance throughout the year, especially during harvest. Second, the grapes in this block were allowed to ripen to the fullest extent, thereby maximizing sweetness. And third, these grapes were harvested very late in the season to provide a uniquely luscious Late Harvest wine characteristic.

The wine is light gold with orange tints, full-bodied and generously sweet with good acidity to keep it lively. A fine effort, rich and generous with dried apricot and yellow peaches on first attack, those yielding to notes of mango and ginger, all overlaid with light hints of ginger and blanched almonds. Since the wine is naturally sweet it is best enjoyed with full flavored desserts, fresh fruit or as an aperitif.    

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Binyamina Liqueurs Make Sex and the City 2 Better

A few days ago my mom and I had a girl day.  We watched Sex and the City 2 while drinking fun cocktails.  The movie was really bad but the drinks were really good because I found some fun cocktail mixers in my mom’s house.   She had Binyamina Liqueurs which come in a few different flavors.  Since we were watching Sex and the City I started us of with Cosmopolitans using the Triple Sec liqueur.  Then we moved on to an Apple Martini using the Sour Apple liqueur, my mom really liked it but it was too sour for me.  We finished off with the Chocolate Martini using the Chocolate liqueur. 

Benyamina has some other flavors Banana, Lemoncello, Amaretto and Wishniak.  I really want to try the Wishniak, which is a cherry flavored liquor.

Here are the cocktail recopies I used that night.

• 1 shot vodka
• 1/2 shot triple sec
• 1/2 shot cranberry juice
• 1/2 shot lime juice
Add ingredients to cocktail mixer, shake, then strain into a chilled martini glass.

Apple Martini
• 1 part vodka
• 1 part Sour Apple 
• 1 part apple juice

Chocolate Martini 
• 1.5 shots Vodka 
• 1.5 shots Chocolate Liqueur

Thanks to these drinks the end of the movie was great

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tacos with Wine

As this blog is ever evolving I’m going to write not just about drinking wines, but other uses for wine and about fun liquors and interesting mixed drinks.

Tonight for dinner I made tacos.  The recipe called for beer but I decided to mix things up and add red wine instead.  My husband who is a really good cook always tells me to use a wine that I drink when I cook, so I used Jeunesse.  The mix of the spicy hot sauce and the sweetness of the wine were a great combination.  My husband loved the tacos and said that I should make pasta with this sauce, just use less hot sauce.  He’s a big foodie and loves to experiment when he cooks so a compliment from him is big for me.  Next time I make tacos I’m going to experiment some more and use a drier wine.

For anyone interested here is my taco recipe, but if you have your own it’s fine just add wine to it.  I didn’t use measurements, just eyed everything.

1 Package of ground beef
3Garlic cloves
1 Onion
Chili Powder
Hot Sauce
Tomato Sauce

Heat a large nonstick skillet and add the beef to it, breaking it up.  Season meat with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin.  Add chopped onion and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes, then add wine.  Add hot sauce and tomato sauce.  Throughout the whole time stir the meat with a spatula or a wooden spoon.  Cover the skillet and let it cook for 5 minutes over low heat.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sometimes If You Don't Like a Wine Try It Again and Again and Maybe...

Have you ever have anything grow on you.  I mean you start our not liking something and then end up liking it a lot.  Well I’ve had that recently with a certain wine.  For the last few months I’ve been doing tastings of a new wine from Israel, Zmora Cabernet Sauvignon.  This semi-sweet wine is made from young grapes so it does not taste like a regular Cabernet.  It is more sweet than most Cabs, which makes it somewhat unique.

Here is the quote from the bottle label about the wine, “Among the enchanting secrets that often escape aficionados of Cabernet Sauvignon are the youthful nuances of character displayed during the wine's infancy. These characteristics include a vibrant purple color, a soft texture, and a perceived sweetness on ones palate, with fresh berry, cherry and floral aromas. In an effort to produce Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that exhibits this exceptional character, we cold fermented ripe grapes in exclusively stainless steel tanks.

The first time I tasted the wine I was not a fan of it, it was too sweet.  However with each time I started liking it more and more.  When I do tastings of it people love it, unless they only drink dry wines.  Some store owners are amazed at how much I’m actually able to sell the wine.  I remember one store owner who’s customers mostly buy high end dry wines, told me that he doubts that anyone will buy it because it’s too sweet was shocked that I sold over 20 bottles in just 3 hours.   At my daughter’s birthday party I had it and two other wines.  I made everyone try all the wines and asked which one was their favorite.  I was somewhat surprised that Zmora was the favorite for everyone.  Tonight I actually brought a bottle of it to my parents house and together with my aunt the 4 of us drank the whole bottle.  No there wasn’t a reason for us drinking tonight, we just like to drink wine.
So lesson learned, sometimes a wine can grow on you.  If you don’t like it the first time, try it again and again and you might end up loving it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Celebrating Birthday with a Moscato

Yesterday was my daughter’s 3rd birthday.  She’s going to have a big party on Sunday so we had a small dinner for her at my mom’s house with just the immediate family.  At my mom’s house every occasion is celebrated with wine.  Since this was a weekday and she is so young I felt like having something different, something we don’t’ usually drink.   I found a perfect bottle of wine for that, Bartenura Moscato Rose sparkling.  This is the new wine from the makers of the regular Bartenura Moscato, or as some people call it, the pretty blue bottle Moscato.

In general I don’t like Moscato wines.  They are too sweet and too little in alcohol level.  Their alcohol level is anywhere from 5%-7.5%, which in some cases is less than beer.  The taste is very fruity and sweet, and it also has carbonation to it (or bubbles as some people say).  Some people say it tastes like fruit punch, others say it reminds them of ginger ale.  It is also known as “the lady’s wine.”  I guess who ever thinks that doesn’t know my friends who can drink as hard as any man.  One of the most famous Moscato wines on the market right now is the Bartenura Moscato.  People love it’s taste and how the bottle looks.

Now this Moscato that I drank was different.  First it’s not regular wine, it’s sparkling, which means it’s like champagne but since it’s not from France it can’t be called that.  Second it’s rose and not white.  Here is a description in wine connoisseur lingo, “Harvested at the peak of ripeness, the grapes are pressed and the juice is then filtered in specially designed centrifuges. This liquid is stored in thermally insulated containers at extremely low temperatures. The secondary fermentation takes place in pressure tanks following the charmat method. Moscato wines go great with fruit, cheese and desserts. The sparkling element makes this a perfect festive wine to complete your meal.”  

I liked that fact that the wine was very light, fruity and refreshing.  It went down very easily, in fact I drank more than half the bottle.  The only disclaimer is that since it’s sparkling it does make you drunk more easily, even though it’s so low in alcohol level.  I definitely had a nice buzz going on, and then got very sleepy.  All in all it was a perfect wine to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Is a Kosher Wine?

A few days ago someone asked me what kosher wines were.  I guess my first post should have been explained what that is.

A kosher wine begins like every other – as grapes on a vine. These grapes may be grown and picked by any one (kosher or non-kosher). But once grapes reach the winery for crushing, the process is under strict rabbinal supervision.
-       From crushing through bottling, the wine must be handled and processed by Sabbath-observing Jews.
-        Barrels and tanks must be deemed kosher for use.
-       The rabbi or Kashrut trained supervisor must observe all of the winemaking process.
-       No work can be done on the Sabbath. 
-       During the production of kosher wine, no animal products may be used. Gelatin or egg whites are sometimes used by non-kosher wine makers, to clarify the wine, while kosher wine makers use a clay material, called bentonite, which pulls suspended particles to the bottom of the barrel.

Wines produced in Israel also have other requirements.
For a wine to be kosher, strict regulations must be followed. It really all begins in the fields.
-       Grapes from new vines may not be used for making wine, until after the fourth year.
-       Every seventh year the fields must be left fallow and there is a prohibition on growing other fruits and vegetables between the vines.
-       For wine to be kosher one percent of the wine must be discarded, a symbolic remnant of the 10% tithe, paid to the Temple in Jerusalem in days gone by.
-       Additionally, barrels must be cleaned three times.

There are two levels of kosher wine. The first includes the restrictions outlined above, while the second, known as “mevushal” utilizes an additional process. This is important since Kashrut law stipulates that in order for a wine to retain its ‘kosherness’ once opened and poured by a non-Jew or Jew who does not observe Sabbath, (such as a waiter, for instance) the wine must be "mevushal."

Bringing the liquid to a boiling point makes this type of wine, causing air bubbles to be brought to the surface and the loss of some wine, due to evaporation. A wine that is produced in this manner retains its religious purity, regardless of who opens or pours it. A study at the University of California at Davis, has proven that it is not possible to consistently taste the difference between non- mevushal and mevushal wine.”

For many years kosher wines in the US had a bad reputation because most of them were made in New York using concord grapes, which are not good for making wine because it’s very acid.  In order to balance out the acid sugar was added to the wine.   However, in the recent years great kosher wines have emerged from all over the world, not only in Israel but also in California, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, among others.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Purim

This week has been so busy for me with all the pre-Purim tastings, I’ve been working every night past 10pm.  Purim is time to celebrate with friends and family and to drink lots and lots of alcohol.  Customers who come into wine stores are usually in a good mood, but this week everyone has been extra happy.  People are buying wines by the cases, so I guess it’s a good week to be an owner of liquor store.  I love watching the women come into the liquor store trying to match the little bottles with their theme.  One was dressing her daughter in a panda costume, giving out black & white cookies and needed black and white bottles.  Another had a red/strawberry or raspberry theme.  Another was putting bottles into a rubber ducky and needed orange bottles.    

I guess I should explain Purim to those who don’t really know about it.  The short explanation is that it’s the Jewish Halloween.  The historical explanation is that an evil man named Haman who was the advisor to the King of Persia hated the Jewish people and conspired to kill them all.  The king’s wife, Esther was secretly Jewish and came to him to safe him.  The king loved her and ended up killing Haman instead.  It is now the Jewish tradition on Purim to dress up in costumes, hold carnivals, eat, drink and be merry. According to the Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai(Esther’s uncle)," and send out gifts of food or drink.  Here is a link with a longer explanation,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Favorite Kosher Wine

My first post should be about one of my favorite wines, which is Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon "Jeunesse".  This is a Californian wine.  The funny thing is that I’m not really a red wine drinker, but I really love this wine.  Jeunesse is French for youthful, vibrant, flavorful and fun.  This wine is made out of young grapes, which gives it a taste of sweetness.  This Cabernet has a hint of fresh berry, cherry, and floral aromas.  When I do tastings in stores this is one of the most popular wines, it’s very easy to sell.  One of my friends tried it once in my house and said it was the first red wine she was able to drink that didn’t burn going down.