By Lenn Thompson, Editor and Publisher
Today is Wine Blogging Wednesday #56. I know I say it almost every month, but it is still fascinating to me that the virtual wine tasting I founded 56 months ago is still going strong.
This month, we're hosted by John, who is better known as The Corkdork. The theme is Fine Kosher Wines, something that I knew little about (and still probably don't, given the small sampling that I did.)
Before this edition of WBW, I actually had never knowingly tasted a Kosher wine. I guess it's possible that I had some Manischewitz in college or something, but I don't think so. In that sense, I was going into this without any of the negative bias that some seem to have for the category.
Nena and I tasted through six different Kosher wines (5 were "Kosher for Passover" which is a different sub-category). Rather than offer full reviews on everything, I'll give you a basic rundown.
The two chardonnays showed way more oak than I like. The 2006 Yarden was remarkable only in how utterly unremarkable it was. Any cheap chardonnay on the market could stand it -- except for that Kosher angle. The 2006 Recanati was also overoaked for my tastes, but had great acidity and seemed to have more elegance and better fruit. I'd be curious to taste a version with the oak turned down a few notches.
Most of the reds were mediocre to good. If you like California petite sirah, you'd enjoy the Recananti Reserve Petite Sirah-Zin. It has all that big, dark fruit and a little spice. With burgers, it'd be great I think.
But, my favorite of the lot was the Tzora Vineayrds 2006 Givat Hachalukim Cabernet Sauvignon ($23 at Israeli Wine Direct), perhaps because its a bit more cool climate in style than the others. The nose has nice dark berry fruit with is peppery and thyme-basil notes as well.
The flavors closely match the nose, with the pepper-herbs stepping forward maybe a bit more. With medium body and softly gripping tannins that are well integrated rather than angular or abusive to the palate, this is the sort of balanced cabernet that I prefer to the hefty left coast renditions. The finish isn't long, but it's long enough at the price point.
So thanks, Corkdork for forcing me to try some of these wines. I don't really have much reason to explore Kosher wines otherwise or further, but the Tzora has me curious about Israeli wines for sure.