How to drink clouds and other wine advice
JAY BUCHSBAUM, director of wine education at Royal Wines Corporation, chooses his favourite wines from eight wineries who will be offering tastings at KFWE 2016.
MATAR BY PELTER ISRAEL
Gaining a rare five-star rating from the late Daniel Rogov, the leading food and wine critic in Israel, the Matar label was the first to offer this highly rated wine under kosher certification.
I spent three years following its journey to kosher certification. The winery was meticulous about everything and everyone involved with the wine — and it shows. Each of its wines is named after a type of cloud — CB stands for cumulonimbus and is a super-reserve with very limited availability. I would also suggest the Strata — a wonderful blend that is at once full flavoured and very accessible.
Covenant’s Jeff Morgan began his career as a wine critic and has brought that critical perspective to every wine he produces. Hence his wines are at once rich, big, beautiful and highly rated.
Morgan is always on a journey, he had his first barmitzvah when he was in his 50s and he now keeps a completely kosher home. This is simply a demonstration of his quest to always grow and do better and he applies this to his life as he does to his wines
His flagship wine is his Napa Cabernet made with wild indigenous yeast — it is the richest wine California has to offer. I personally gravitate to his Chardonnay, which is classic Napa with bold vanilla and oak but excellent fruit to balance it out.
In 1986 Baron Philippe de Rothschild and his wife Nadine made the first kosher Medoc the family has ever produced, at the famed Chateau Clarke.
Their new Champagne is a classic blend of Champagne grapes with minimal dosage (the sugar added to the wine just before corking) to make this wine elegant, crisp and a real treat.
This is the first time in Rothschild family history that all parts of the family have come together to make wine. While each has first-growth properties, bringing them together to make a Champagne at this quality level is amazing.
Elvi wines are made from some of the oldest vines in Spain and are all estate bottled. The owner and chief winemaker Dr Cohen is an expert in the techniques of balance and structure and the wines show this.
Dr Cohen’s ambition to make wine in the same place and in the same tradition as the Jews of ancient Spain did before the Inquisition, has been accomplished. Today, Jewish communities throughout the world are enjoying some of Spain’s best wines.
Clos Mesorah is the reserve wine, also somewhat limited availability but worth seeking out for the way it so perfectly displays the signature characteristics of this region and for the gorgeous flavour in the mouth.
Herzog i s the overwhelming leader in the production of the finest Californian wines that happen to be kosher. Its pioneeringwine-making techniques are evident in the wine produced.
The Herzog family has been making wines for eight generations and its history includes being exclusive providers of wine to royalty in Czechoslovakia in the mid-19th century; the survival of the Herzog family during the Second World War and their eventual renaissance in winemaking in America in the mid-20th century.
It is hard to choose from its portfolio, since so many of this winery’s wines are top-flight but I’ll name three — the classic Chalk Hill Limited Cabernet, the Reserve Alexander Cabernet and a real favourite, the Reserve Russian River Chardonnay.
Yoram Shallom of Alexander is an artist first and foremost and he is fond of saying that he was drawn to winemaking out of a need to express his artistic talent, “not merely to the visual eye but to the physical body as well”.
Visiting his new winery will demonstrate this well — every corner offers artistic expression.
Every one of Yoram’s wines is especially intense — his winemaking philosophy is to pick the grapes at their optimum ripeness and produce the very richest wine that can be achieved in Israel, while retaining balance and structure.
If you want to be blown away by a wine, you must try his Amarolo.
Made in the same way as the great Amarones from Italy, this wine is the most intense wine Israel produces.
Castel is considered the Chateau Margaux of Israel and is perhaps Israel’s finest boutique winery, with great wines and balance in everything it makes.
The wines are consistently rated the highest year after year — in the 90s and above.
While all will speak of Eli Ben Zaken’s classic Grand Vin, I suggest you try his Castel C — 100 per cent Chardonnay — close your eyes and you will swear it is a classic French white Burgundy of comparable quality to Montrachet.
GOOSE BAY NEW ZEALAND
While Goose Bay started as a non-kosher winery, Phil Jones has turned nearly all his production to kosher, yet much of this certified kosher production is consumed by mainstream wine drinkers, as it’s just so good. Jones’ wines are consistently rated best in class and often best in value
Try the Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc and, if it’s available this year, his Fumé — an oak-aged version of the original, with some smokiness and softer, rounder tannins.
From top: Matar, Covenant and Clos Mesorah; below: Rothschild