Press Coverage for IWPA and Israel Wines

WINE ENTHUSIAST'S - BUYING GUIDE

An ancient press in Yad Hashmona, a moshav nestled in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem, speaks to the history of wine and oil making in the region.

With the approach of the Jewish holiday Passover, the demand for kosher wine significantly rises, as four cups of wine per person are ritually consumed during the holiday dinner, or seder. Most shoppers purchase kosher wines reluctantly, believing that these wines can't compare to their usual nonkosher counterparts. Though kosher wines are haunted by a poor reputation, recent procedural and technological advances have increased the variety and quality in the category, prompting consumers to rethink their positions and opinions.

Generally speaking, kosher wine must be produced according to the Jewish dietary laws, avoiding specific forbidden foods and under strict rabbinical supervision. Commercially available wines must have the hechsher (seal of approval) of a rabbi, supervising agency or organization (such as the "OU" sign of the Orthodox Union). A kosher wine labeled mevushal has undergone an additional heating process, making it possible for non-Jews or nonobservant Jews to touch the finished product while still preserving the wine's kosher certification.

In the past, mevushal practices truly did result in boiled wine-hardly conducive to high quality. But flash-pasteurization-which involves exposing the wine to temperatures of 71-74° C for about 15-30 seconds while moving in a continuous flow-is far less damaging to the wine, maintaining more color and flavor than previous practices allowed.

This month's Buying Guide begins with Israeli wine reviews, which are not necessarily kosher, but the majority of those imported into the United States are. You will also find reviews from Alsace, Australia, Chile, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and the U.S. And as always, be sure to check out our online database at buyingguide.winemag.com, complete with a new kosher wine search function, for even more wonderful reviews from around the world.

L'Chaim! - LAUREN BUZZEO

CHARDONNAY

89

Gamla 2010 The Reserve Chardonnay (Galilee). Fresh and easy, this approachable Chard exhibits bright aromas of fresh red apple, light citrus and dainty yellow owers. The palate is slightly richer and fuller-bodied, with lush flavors of wood-grilled apple skins and toasted brioche that transition into the baking-spice laden nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13% / Price: $21

88

Psagot 2010 Chardonnay (Judean Hills). A powerful yellow oral character dominates the bouquet of this wine, with supporting aromas of peach pit, hard pear and delicate toast rounding it out. The palate is full and creamy, but lifted by citrus-driven acidity and a wood-spice nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.9% / Price: $21

OTHER WHITE WINES

88

Carmel 2010 Kayoumi Vineyard Single Vineyard White Riesling (Galilee). Light and easy but attractive, with aromas of green plum, lime, green apple and a hint of petrol. Lightweight but avorful in the mouth, with lifting acidity to the ripe fruit flavors on the palate. Faint hints of orange rind and clove appear on the nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13% / Price: $26

CABERNETS & BLENDS

91

Psagot 2009 Edom (Judean Hills). A gorgeous Cab-based blend with 17% Cab Franc, 15% Petit Verdot and 7% Merlot, Edom is rich and seductive. Sultry notes of mulled boysenberry and black-berry are infused with cigar tobacco, cedar and roasted cocoa nib accents. A strong structure of rm tannins and moderate acidity carry through to the black-pepper-ecked nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.6% / Price: $35

90

Alexander 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Galilee). Aged for 20 months in French (70%) and American (30%) oak, this dark and brooding Cab is loaded with woody notes of cigar box, tree bark and leathery spice, but they're balanced by concentrated fruit avors of black cherry, black currant and plum guts on the palate. Firmly structured with young, gripping tannins and a long nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13.5% / Price: $36

91

Domaine du Castel 2007 Grand Vin (Haut-Judeé). A delicious vintage of Grand Vin, this wine shows great depth and drinkability now with the promise to age gracefully for at least another ve years thanks to a ripe fruit center, medium acid-ity, structured tannins and superb overall balance. Black fruit and leathery spice dominate, with additional notes of black tea, licorice root, cassis and espresso grinds all eshing out the complex and layered palate. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14% / Price: $70

90

Gamla 2009 The Reserve Cabernet Sau-vignon (Galilee). Scents of vanilla bean and crushed violet add interest to the dark-fruit driven bou-quet. The rmly structured mouth shows the same depth of avor, with concentrated notes of boysenber-ry and cassis that are matched against similarly strong earthy elements of black tea leaves and leathery spice. Royal Wine Corporation. Editors' Choice. -L.B.
abv: 14.5% / Price: $21

90

Shiloh Winery 2009 Legend (Judean Hills). This blend of 45% Shiraz, 40% Petite Sirah, 9% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot exudes complex notes of fresh mint and pressed violet petals against a core of red cherry and plum fruit. Hints of black tea leaves, cocoa nibs and sweet spice linger on the close. It's till young and a bit tight, so decant now or give it some time to mellow. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.2% / Price: $30

90

Shiloh Winery 2009 Secret Reserve Cab-ernet Sauvignon (Judean Hills). Dark and rich, there's a slightly liquorous sensation to the black-berry and cassis core. The medium-weight mouth offers lifting acidity, great balance and depth, with attractive notes of cigar spice, cocoa powder and roasted espresso grinds on the nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.5% / Price: $40

89

Alexander 2007 The Great Amarolo Dry Red Wine (Israel). This is an interesting wine, made from 40% Cab Sauv, 40% Merlot, 7% Petit Ver-dot, 6% Cab Franc and 4% Shiraz and 3% Grenache in the Italian appassimento-style. It's strong and robust, loaded with dark fruit avors of blackberry, cherry and plum along with a streak of black currant liqueur and espresso with anisette. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 15.5% / Price: $75

89

Carmel 2007 Kayoumi Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Upper Galilee). There's a richness to this wine, exhibited through oak-driven, vanilla-infused blackberry aromas, that's lifted by complex accents of anise, leather and cigar box. It's concentrated but approachable with a crushed satin tex-ture to the mouth and a cherry-skin and mocha edge to the avorful nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13.5% / Price: $40

88

Alexander 2009 Gaston-Reserve Caber-net Sauvignon-Merlot-Shiraz (Galilee). Fine but gripping tannins provide a solid structure and crushed velvet texture to this wine, which is otherwise loaded with ripe dark cherry, plum and boysenberry fruit avors. A streak of sweet hickory smoke infuses the nose and mouth, and the nish closes with a light dusting of cocoa powder avor. Royal Wine Corpora-tion. -L.B.
abv: 13.8% / Price: $36

89

Bazelet HaGolan 2009 Cabernet Sauvi-gnon (Galilee). Cocoa powder, tobacco leaves and leathery spice all accent the black fruit soul of this wine. Ripe avors of blackberry, cassis and juicy plum esh ood the medium weight mouth, framed by a solid structure of gripping tannins that stay through the long close. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.9% / Price: $40

MERLOTS

89

Shiloh Winery 2009 Secret Reserve Merlot (Judean Hills). With 20 months spent in new French oak, this is a lush and woody wine, with assertive aromas and avors of sweet spice, vanilla and coffee accenting the black plum and berry fruit core. Round and full in the mouth, with a texture like crushed satin and a long, sweet oak-driven nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.5% / Price: $40

88

Psagot 2009 Merlot (Judean Hills). Decadent berry compote leads the bouquet of this wine, while secondary notes of g and date unfold on ygthe back. The balanced, medium-weight mouth is rich and ripe, with assertive avors of cherry skin, fudgy chocolate and sweet woody spice that ood the pal-ate and linger on the nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.4% / Price: $25

90

Shiloh Winery 2009 Secret Reserve Shiraz (Judean Hills). Nuanced scents of crushed purple ower petals, forest oor and raw co-conut are supported by a fruity backbone of blackberry and raspberry. The lush mouth is ripe and concentrated, with a satiny texture and bold dark-cherry and plum-esh avors framed by hints of cocoa. Drink now-2015. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 14.1% / Price: $40

89

Alexander 2009 Syrah (Galilee). Brimming with ripe boysenberry and blueberry compote aromas and complemented by a fudgy chocolate streak, this Syrah is lush and decadent, with good balance and an approachable yet mouth-lling structure. Flecks of black pepper and coffee grinds linger on the medium-length close. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13.8% / Price: $36

89

Carmel 2007 Kayoumi Single Vineyard Shiraz (Upper Galilee). An assertive cured game and sweet smoke streak permeates the bouquet of this single site Shiraz. It's round but structured in the mouth, with ne yet rm tannins and lifting acid-ity. Fresh black-fruit avors of plum and cherry abound in the mouth, while a fudgy avor stays after swallow. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13.5% / Price: $40

OTHER RED WINES

90

Barkan 2007 Superieur Pinotage (Judean Hills). This is a big and brooding wine, with a lot of aromas and avors going on all at once: black cur-rant liqueur, anise, cured meat, black plum, sweet spice and dark chocolate. The mouth is full and rmly structured, with intensely concentrated dark fruit character that evolves into a chicory-infused nish. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 13.5% / Price: $NA

89

Carmel 2007 Appellation Old Vines Petite Sirah (Judean Hills). Dusty cocoa and tree bark notes lead the nose, with additional supporting characteristics of black licorice, jerky, cigar box and tar. Mulled boysenberry and blackberry fruit forms the cen-ter. Bold and expressive, this fairly intense wine shows excellent concentration and depth of avors. Pair with similarly assertive red-meat entrées. Royal Wine Cor-poration. -L.B.
abv: 13.5% / Price: $30

DESSERT WINES

90

Carmel 2007 Sha'al Single Vineyard Late Harvest Gewürztraminer (Galilee). This late harvest selection boasts ripe apricot, lychee, gold-en raisin, honeydew and baked apple fruit characters alongside glimmers of sweet spice, candied orange rind and raw honeycomb. It's full and deliciously weighty in the mouth, with a stunning ginger-infused lift to the long close. Royal Wine Corporation. -L.B.
abv: 10.5% / Price: $26/375 ml