Kosher Wine Q & A

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Jamie Geller
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Jay Buchsbaum of Royal Wines is back to answer a bunch of wine questions for us.

Q: True or false. Can you serve food cooked with wine to children or adults who cannot take alcohol?

A: Yes. When you cook, the alcohol evaporates because it boils at a much lower temperature than water. The flavor remains, not the alcohol.

Q: When serving dinner, is it ok to put out both white wine and red wine?

A: Of course. It depends on your menu.

Q: What if guests bring a bottle of a wine you don’t like?

A: Unless they tell you to save it for another time, you should open it. They bought it because they like it, so pour it for them.

Q: If your guests are each bringing something for a party, should you ask them to bring wine?

A: I pick the guy who knows wine to bring it. Better yet, I let everybody bring something else, and I’ll bring the wine.

Q: Is it okay to leave the wine choice to the waiter in an upscale restaurant (especially if you have no notion of what to choose)?

A: Yes it’s ok. The waiter knows what most diners like and how the wines pair with your food choice. But watch the price if that's an issue for you – it is ok to ask for an alternative at a lower price.

Q: Why do people sniff the cork of a wine bottle when it is served in a restaurant?

A: One should not smell the cork but squeeze it to see if it 'sweats' at the bottom, then you know that it was stored right.

Q: Can a bottle of wine with a screw-top bottle be any good?

A: There are great screw caps - the inexpensive wines from Altoona Hills, the reserve Chardonnay from BINYAMINA and many more are coming. Usually a screw top means the wines are not meant for aging.

Q: What is ice wine?

A:Ice wine is wine that is made from frozen grapes. The grapes are crushed and the water is separated from the thicker sweeter juice which is made into a luscious dessert wine.

Q: What is the most popular wine served at weddings?

A: The most popular are Baron Herzog. And Herzog Reserves if you can spend a little more. Also Barkans are very popular. And the Segals or the new Mevushal Reserves from BINYAMINA if there is more room in the budget.

Q: When did sweet Kiddush wine go out of style?

A: It's still popular - I even have it once or twice a year. There's just something warm and fuzzy that makes it feel right and now there are so many that at are lower in alcohol.

Q: What is meant by the term varietal?

A: Varietal refers to the type of grape that is used , for example cabernet, chardonnay, merlot etc.

Q: What does full-bodied mean? How can you tell?

A: This means the wine is higher in viscosity and richer tasting in the mouth. Think of the range between water and oil. The closer to water the lighter it is, the closer to oil the more full-bodied.

Q: Does swirling the wine in your glass tell you about the quality of the wine?

A: Yes it exposes the wine to more air thereby releasing more aromatics and making the wine 'experience' better.

Q: Is it cheating to match the wine I serve to the color of my party dress?

A: Matching your dress sounds actually like a lot of fun and there's lots of different shades of red, white and rosés but remember the key is the proper pairing first. The question for your vintner is perhaps 'which pink wine goes with .....'

Do you have any Kosher Wine questions for Jay, our wine expert? He would love to answer them. Please leave your questions and comments in the comment section below. L'Chaim!