Kosher Wine & Spirits

 

Summer White Wines For a Picnic

 

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I Went on a Picnic and I Brought a Bottle of…

I had my first summer picnic the other day at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.  Caramoor is a former estate near Katonah, New York about 50 miles north of New York City.  Presently, it’s a venue for classical music performances and an art museum.  It is a beautiful area of Westchester, where you see about as many horses as people when driving down the winding roads between Bedford and Katonah.  In predictable New York summertime weather, our planned picnic day was hot and humid.  Not exactly the kind of weather that has you thinking about a glass of wine.  More like mojitos and margaritas.


 

The Story of the Golan Heights Winery

 

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In 1983 the world of kosher wine and the wine industry in Israel underwent a monumental change. That was the year Golan Heights Winery opened its’ doors in the ancient city of Katzrin.

From its’ initial days, the Winery and its’ staff led by chief wine maker, Victor Schoenfeld, have focused their mission to be Israel’s premium winery, creating wines that would rival the best of California, Italy and France.


 

Make Kosher Gin Cocktails A Part Of Your Summer

 

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Summertime is upon us! For many, the name of the game is BBQs and parties. With the revival of the cocktail culture a la the 1920s, American consumers are increasingly making cocktails a centerpiece of their soirees.

But what about those of us in the kosher world? Many of the classic cocktail ingredients have at best dubious kashrut or are downright non-kosher. However, this is changing; many companies are producing alternative ingredients that are good approximations of their classic counterparts, along with the requisite kashrut certification! I wanted to look at three classic cocktails surrounding gin (a year-round mainstay for me, but especially during the warmer months!), and provide kosher alternative ingredients.


 

Uncork The White Wine

 

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In the middle of summer, when the height of harvest season is still a couple months away, the green grapes used in white wines are collected from the vines. Unlike reds, which are fermented with their skins to achieve a deep, burgundy color, white wine grapes are quickly pressed and only the remaining juice undergoes fermentation, without any skins or seeds.

The fermentation process is quicker, and white wines aren’t aged in oak—they go quickly to market so you can enjoy them when they’re young and fresh. The result is a tart, crisp, and refreshing wine that can be enjoyed with light foods or on its own. Always check the year of your bottle of white—if it’s more than two or three years old, pass. Because a shorter fermentation process results in less labor, you can typically enjoy high quality white wines at a lower price point than their red counterparts.


 

Kosher Wine for Passover – Start The Night Off...

 

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I’d like to make a pre-Passover confession and get it out of the way right now.  Somewhere between the third and fourth cup of wine, I switch to grape juice.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love wine, but the stress of seder night, a roomful of guests, a sinkful of dishes and a hallway full of kids is not how I like to enjoy the fruit of the vine.  I also don’t like to drink wine leaning in any direction at all.

But I do take time to carefully select the right bottle to kick off the seder so I hope my first glass of kosher wine for Passover will be the best wine of the night.  It’s the wine we use to celebrate our Kiddush and a milestone to the hard work and blessings that brought our family together around the seder table yet again.


 

The Best Kosher Wine Picks For Every Price

 

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You know they’re in there. Amongst the row of bottles that you can only see but not taste, in every price category there are the best of the bunch—the corked favorite you’re waiting to discover. This is the unadulterated, objective list of the best wine picks for every budget. I’ve tasted all of these wines and I’m only recommending the picks I’d drink myself.

Under $10


 

How and Why To Reduce Wine

 

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When cooking with wine, don’t use that bottle of cooking wine you’ve grabbed from the supermarket shelf. Use a wine you would drink, not the most expensive wines, but an enjoyable cheaper one.  And don’t worry about serving wine-infused desserts to non-drinking guests. The alcohol content disappears when wine is cooked, leaving only the concentrated flavor.

To use wine as a sauce, make a wine reduction, turning a glass into a delicious, thick syrup. Use a frying pan instead of a saucepan when reducing wine—it will go quicker if there is more surface area. And be patient!


 

Drinks and Desserts with Liquor

 

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Red and white wine, and even vodka and beer, make it to the ingredient list often when we’re cooking. But now we’re serving wine and liqueurs as the last course for Purim desserts that are in the spirit.

Purim Cocktails for Non-Drinkers

These cocktails can double as dessert


 

Days of Kosher (Sparkling) Wine

 

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Should old acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind?  Not if that old acquaintance is kosher champagne.  This time of year we have many opportunities to raise a glass and celebrate, whether at the office holiday party or ushering in the New Year or avoiding the fiscal cliff.  While a rich red may keep you warm by the fire at night, an errant drop can ruin a party dress faster than you can say stain stick.  So stick to Champagne or sparkling wine, it’s affordable, light, festive and remarkably drinkable most anytime.  Here are a few of our seasonal favorites:

Drappier Carte Blanche Brut (France); $45.  Fine, fresh, elegant and fruity with apple, yeast and floral notes – a true French Champagne from a prestigious domaine.


 

Kosher Wines for Hanukkah

 

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During Hanukkah, the wine you experience most often around my house is the “whine” from my kids asking when we will be exchanging presents each night.  Is it any wonder why I might want to try a different wine during the Festival of Lights?  Luckily, there are a number of excellent wines that can hold their own with latkes or any of the delicious dairy treats you may be serving this week.

Here are a few suggestions that will help light up your night – red and white…


 

Another Kosher Wine Grows in Napa

 

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Wearing a soiled baseball cap, dark-rimmed glasses and a long black beard, 34-year old Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum might appear to be a most unlikely winemaker.  And Napa Valley might be an unlikely place for an Orthodox Rabbi, his wife and their five young children to call home.  There are no kosher restaurants, no Jewish days schools and you have to schlep to San Francisco to get your kosher groceries.


 

Winecation

 

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This winter, enjoy wine country and the wonder of California’s coastline—kosher style


 

Wine Harvest Season

 

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Right now, in vineyards everywhere, grapes are being harvested for the wine that will land on your table next year—and beyond.


 

New Kosher Wines for the Jewish New Year

 

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This year we will be hosting 21 people for Rosh Hashanah.  When you’re having enough Yom Tov guests to field two baseball teams and still have a few people in the stands to watch, you may want to start drinking early.  Luckily, I am well-stocked this year with some wonderful kosher wines that taste great in the glass and are available at a range of prices for most every budget.

Here are a few of our favorite kosher wines for Rosh Hashanah:


 

Kosher Wine for Summertime

 

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As I write this kosher wine article, it’s over 90 degrees outside – at 8 o’clock at night.  In the midst of an interminable heat wave, it is hard to get motivated to think about wine.  A frozen margarita or strawberry daiquiri?  No problem!  But wine?  Now this is going to be tough.

But over the past few weeks, I’ve been giving reds a rest and Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay a test.