How to drink clouds and other wine ad­vice

The Jewish Chronicle - - KOSHER -

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 CAL­I­FOR­NIA

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.

ROTH­SCHILD FRANCE

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 SPAIN

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 CAL­I­FOR­NIA

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.

ALEXAN­DER IS­RAEL

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 IS­RAEL

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

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