Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2015

by Naomi Ross, GKC contributor

For the kosher lover of wine and all things gourmet, there was no better treat than the tastings available at the 9th annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE), held this past week. An evening eagerly awaited by kosher foodies in the know, KFWE 2015 certainly lived up to expectations, hosting the sold-out event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC, a larger venue than in previous years, to accommodate the more than 1800 guests in attendance.

With glasses in hand, guests were able to taste the newest and finest in kosher wines and spirits – over 340 wines from around the world, distributed by KFWE sponsor Royal Wine Corporation. Israel, Chile, California, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Washington, Oregon and New York were all represented, exhibiting a broad range of wine varieties and flavors to suit any budget.

That said, Israeli wines dominated the evening, showcasing an impressive array of wines from both small boutique wineries to large scale vineyards. “1848,” a family owned winery out of Maale Adumim had a well-balanced Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of cinnamon and oak.   In high demand were Alexander wines. The Alexander the Great Grand Reserve is a special treat, an intensely bold, full-bodied and rich wine on par with Castel Grand Vin; Alexander the Great Amarolo is a unique blend of spicy and fruity contrasts worth savoring. The Psagot wines were excellent as well– specifically Psagot Single Vineyard (a favorite from last year!), deliciously full-bodied with no traces of bitterness. More moderately priced Psagot Cabernet Franc was refreshingly light, yet satisfying, with a smooth finish. Shiloh winery, newly founded in the Judean Desert in 2005, exhibited some fun blends with their earthy Legend and newly released Legend II, an unusually complex blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Sangiovese (5%) and Carignan (25%), aged for 16 months in French oak.
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I happen to like Spanish wines for their punchy spiciness and aromatic bouquets – Capcanes Peraj Petita and Peraj Ha’Abib are very complimentary to meat meals. Elvi Wines’ Herenza Reserva Rioja is a fruity red table wine with hints of cherry and pepper, using Tempranillo grapes.

On the sweeter end, Morad Winery’s unique line of fruit wines was featured at a mixology bar showcasing Passion fruit and Red Grapefruit wines in super-intense mixed drinks – delightfully delicious…but these wines are great on their own, too! And if you really like sweet, Heavens Nougat Liqueur is nutty with coffee tones and well…pretty much a luxuriously drinkable dessert.

On the other side of the large ballroom were food samplings from the Tri-State area’s finest restaurants and caterers. Though KFWE is primarily about tasting new wines, pushing through throngs of hungry guests might suggest otherwise. A chance to taste and expose our palates to what’s new and innovative in kosher cooking is mutually beneficial to the consumers and establishments represented.

Crown Heights’ Basil presented Crudos – a ginger and beet cured Arctic char with kirby pickle, salmon roe caviar, avocado mousse and jalapeno. Beautiful contrasts to behold and taste.
Chagall Bistro out of Park Slope, Brooklyn is authentically French and Chef Jean-Claude Teulade delivers a mingling of subtle flavors elegantly – excellent Beef Tartare with crispy potato dentelle.

New to the restaurant scene, The Loft (Borough Park) featured a “Polenta Crouton” – a cube of polenta topped with tomato jam and duck cracklings. Simple, yet a perfect bite of textural contrasts brightened by the tartness of sweet tomato.

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Smokey brisket, BBQ braised short ribs and charcuterie reigned on high at KFWE 2015.   Highlights included Wandering Que’s Smoked BBQ Brisket (smoked for18 hours with wood from Herzog Wine Barrels & Cherry wood), Wolf & Lamb’s Cabernet Braised Spare Ribs with creamy polenta and braised raddichio, and a phenomenal spread of flavorful aged charcuterie from Prime Grill – I’m still dreaming about the pepperoni…oh my.   Though understated in presentation, NJ’s Palisadium caterers offered a memorable Arancini : a fried risotto ball with braised short ribs and it’s jus added to the filling. Brilliant.

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When the room was hot, cold desserts were welcome, and Mr. Penguin’s Peanut Butter Ice cream (parve) hit the spot, flecked with crunchy pralines among a sea of other refreshing sorbets.

For more homey options, Susan Sez “Say it with Cake” offered unpretentious baked goods with a homemade feel – chocolate chip biscotti and mini apricot-glazed fruit tarts were a nice way to end a satiating, enjoyable night out. As bottles emptied and the last plate cleared, it was time to head home…and time to move the belt buckle. All in a good night’s work!

Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer. She teaches classes throughout the tri-state area and writes articles connecting good cooking and Jewish inspiration. Visit her website –

KFWE 2015



KFWE 2015, Save $18, Get Tickets Today with code Gourmet18

KFWE 2015, is coming and coming fast. This year, the event is at a new location, The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues on February 9, 2015 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Get your tickets while they last at

Esteemed winemakers from Herzog Vineyards, Tulip, Flam, Castel, Goose Bay, Psagot, Covenant, Capcanes, and so many more, will be pouring and discussing their wines with any and all tasters. I love the opportunity to taste the new wines and discover wines that I am not currently familiar with.

And for foodies, it’s just fantastic. The food tastings are not only delicious but give you an insight into the latest food trends and techniques. I personally love the opportunity to see some of the best kosher chefs at work and taste their unique creations. It’s an explosion of flavors and creativity all in one tasting.

KFWE started as a means towards enabling consumers and retailers to taste different kosher wines, especially new releases, but it has morphed into a premier tasting event, featuring a wide representation of wines from all around the world. Just as significant has been the evolution of food tastings taking a more pronounced role in the event, with top kosher restaurants and caterers from the tri-state area presenting signature samplings.
It’s a food and wine fantasy. I can’t wait! Join me, but get your tickets fast…they sell out and only a few tickets are left.
Tickets available at

Save $18 use code GOURMET18 at checkout, Regular Tickets are $125

Dreidel Rum Punch


Be careful with this one, drink too much and your head will be spinning!
Rum is a wonderfully versatile spirit that can be mixed with just about everything and the Walder’s Creamy Liqueur add a decadent rich layer to this festive punch

What you’ll need:
Large punch bowl
1 Bottle Ron Viejo De Caldas 3 Year Aged Rum
4 Cans Ginger Ale
4 Cups Pineapple Juice
1 Bottle Walder’s Vodka & Vanilla Creamy Liqueur
Plenty of Ice

In a large punch bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the ice and ginger ale. Refrigerate the punch for about an hour before you’re ready to serve. Then, add the ice, ginger ale and stir.

Winter Sangria

Don’t worry about following this recipe exactly, sangria is a very forgiving drink that can be made with nearly limitless variations. Don’t have apples, use pears, have some extra oranges laying around, slice them up and add them in…

What you’ll need:
Large pitcher
1 bottle Jeunesse Cabernet Sauvignon
½ bottle of Morad Pomegranate Wine
½ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup sliced apples
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup of sugar

In a large pitcher, combine fruit, sugar and cinnamon stick, and wine. Stir and refrigerate 3-4 hours (you can prepare the night before to save even more time!) so all the flavors come together. Want to kick it up a notch, add a little sparkling wine or champagne right before serving.

Winter Wines to Keep Your Eye On

Chase away the winter blues…Try some of Jay Buchsbaum’s winter wine suggestions

Ah, the winter.

As much as we keep our layers light and our heat off, there’s no denying the temperature is rapidly dropping. The good news? A change in season means switching up your wine selection.

“When it gets cold and it comes to food, we want comfort food: stuff that’s warm, inviting, easy to eat, richer in flavor,” says Wine Educator Jay Buchsbaum. “Wine is not much different.”

Since we’re always looking to pair what we drink with what we eat, it’s important to seek out wines that complement the comfort food as opposed to overpower it –or vice versa.

“I’m big on white wines,” Jay says. “I tell the community at large, we’re so hyper focused on red wines, and we should be confused more on whites. They’re so versatile and amenable to so many lighter foods, foods we eat during the week. But come the winter season, when dishes get heavier and richer, lighter more nuanced white wines often don’t stand up.”

The alternative? Wines that fill up your stomach and your palate. Jay’s choice? Late harvest reds, big and bold spicy cabernets. Because the sugars in these late harvests are higher, so is the alcohol content. “We look for wines that are as full in body as they are in spirit, if you will.”

And let’s not forget dessert. “The fun part about comfort foods is the sweet stuff you have at the end of the meal, and that goes for wines too! When pairing wines to desserts, you want to match the sweetness. With a heavy rich dark chocolate desserts try ports, sauternes which are sweeter, richer and thicker; but be careful they are very often higher in alcohol too.”

So what does a comforting meal with Jay entail?

Something hot and salty, like a pastrami sandwich. Pair it with Herzog Reserve Napa Cabernet. The flavor is typical Napa, big fruit flavor.

A beef stew or a lamb dish, spiced, but not too peppery. Try Flam Reserve Cabernet from Israel.

And for dessert: a hot chocolate melt down cake, which pairs perfectly with Porto Cordavero, a delicious Portuguese Port.

Yum. Who wouldn’t want to eat a meal with Jay?


What Kind of Wine to Serve for Thanksgiving or Bring to a Turkey Dinner?


A lot of people have been asking us, what kind of wine should I serve on Thanksgiving? It’s a complicated question, because the holiday can give way to a wide range of dishes and personalities alike.

“Thanksgiving is when a great diversity of humanity comes to your table,” says Jay Buchsbaum, Wine Educator. “You have the uninitiated wine taster, the serious business man, your cousin, the attorney.”

And, like the people at your table, the kinds of food you’re serving can be vastly different from each other. For Jay, one Thanksgiving wine isn’t enough. The good news? He has plenty of suggestions.

“A diversity of wines will not only satisfy a large group of people, but will be sure to go with each one of your dishes.”

So what kind of wines go well with the typical Thanksgiving fare?

In terms of taste, the typical Thanksgiving dish is the perfect marriage between savory and sweet, and needs a wine with that same measured flavor.

“For a dish that’s off-dry, like turkey and cranberry sauce, or yams, you need a wine that’s just a bit sweet, with good balance of acidity and fruit.” SUGGESTED WINE: Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc

If you’re looking for a real rarity, try an off-dry red, served chilled. This kind of red can stand up to flavor like mushrooms and shallots, yet still retain enough sweetness to match the food. SUGGESTED WINE: Jeunesse Cabernet. 100% Cabernet based, this wine uses amelioration (adding grape juice) to give it enough sugar while still maintaining character and depth.

Thanksgiving food is also known for being hearty. Let’s just say this meal isn’t for the weak of stomach. Try reaching for a robust Chardonnay. “I’m looking at chardonnays that have a rich sense of vanilla, oak, and body. The foods you have on Thanksgiving are full of texture and flavor, and a rich chardonnay will complement that.”
SUGGESTED WINES: Shiloh Chardonnay, Herzog Russian River Chardonnay

And, because, “It’s a celebration, after all!” you’re going to need something sparkling.
SUGGESTED WINES: For those with a sweet tooth at your table, pour Bartenura Spumante. Those looking for something more dry can taste Drappier Champagne.

Last, but certainly not least (just ask your grandmother), is dessert. A berry based or dark double chocolate dessert is typically great with a
port, while a lighter dessert, like ice cream or apple pie, goes well with a nice white wine.
SUGGESTED WINES: For port, try Psagot Prat. While technically not a port wine (it’s made in Israel, not Portugal) the darkly sweet, rich taste is still there. For the white wine, try lusciously sweet Piada Sauternes.

Whether you’re hosting a table of wine snobs or sipping novices, a colorful array of wines will be sure to please everybody at some point. Getting your whole family happy at the same time? Well, a person can dream.

Wine for a Hot or Cold Sukkos

Choice Wines You Can Enjoy No Matter What the Weather
Jay Buchsbaum

The weather around Sukkos can be very unpredictable, but I have you covered no matter what the weather brings. This year Sukkos comes late, mid-October and depending on which way the winds blow, you could be bundled in layers of sweaters or schvitzing in 80 plus degrees and 80 plus humidity. Deciding what wine to have is usually a function of what food you’re having, but weather, especially when food is eaten outdoors, can play just as important a role.

If the sun is shining and the temps are on the rise, no matter the dish you want something that will keep you cool and certainly not something that will add a degree (pun intended) of uncomfortable heat. On the other hand, if autumn chills are in the air, a rich inviting wine is perfect for warming up with.

Now let’s talk about the temperature we typically serve our wines at. Believe me, there are in fact warm weather reds, that while appropriate for a deep rich roast can be drunk slightly cool and whites on the flip side that are so rich and flavorful they can be served at just below room temperature and need not be ‘iced’ to enjoy. We often drink our reds too warm. Generally when one says a wine should be served at room temperature they mean ‘European’ room temperature or low to mid 60’s at most. While whites frankly are often drunk far too cool and should be drunk at low 40’s to 50 degrees.

Here are five wines for hot weather and the temperature they should be served at and five for cooler temperatures. Most importantly surround yourself with good friend’s family and company and your temperature will always be just right.

Cool weather wines

• Herzog Napa Cabernet; rich big fruit in the mouth flavorful dishes; serve at 67-70 degrees
• Flam Reserve Syrah; It’s rich with spice & cedar, perfect for roasts; serve at 67-70 degrees
• Porto Cordovera; Sweet, luscious. Great way to warm body and soul w desert 70+ degrees
• Shiloh Chardonnay; full bodied and complex w great aroma. Can be served high 50’s
• Capcanes Petita; less expensive than its big brother Ha’Abib but rich, serve at 67-69 degrees

Warm weather wines
• Tzuba Pinot Noir; From an Estate Winery. Elegant, lighter but complex, serve in the low 60’s
• Pacifica Pinot Noir – A typical Pacific Northwestern Pinot Noir, fruity and robust; serve in the low 60’s
• Flam Blanc; A delicious white blend that dances on your tongue; serve cold between 47-49 degrees
• Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc; Crisp and loaded with flavor & aromas of sweet lemons; serve about 47 degrees
• Herzog Reserve Late Harvest Chenin Blanc; Aromatic, sweet and perfect with dessert; Serve ice cold mid to low 40’s, with fruit ice cream or on its own.

Jay’s Expert Holiday Wine Picks


I can’t wait to try some of these! I was lucky enough to taste a few at the Kosher Food and Wine Experience a few months ago, but since there are even more to taste. See this fabulous list and enjoy wine with every Yom Tov meal.

• Baron Herzog Pink Pinot Grigio lively with a touch of sweetness
• Baron Herzog Pinot Noir light elegant red amenable with a wide variety of dishes
• Herzog Basin Vinyards, Limited release, Rich, Complex, for a big flavorful dish

• Chateau Haut Condisass, A classic Medoc form a petit chateau
• Baron Rothschild Haut Medoc, latest vintage. Classic Rothschild best ever
• Chateau Moulin Rich, similar, St Julian quality as its bigger brother Leovile
• Cellar Dauphines Rhone, lovely light and delicious and priced right too
• Chateauneuf Du Pape, a classic of this region and from a great producer

• Barkan Classic, Malbec, traditionally grown in Bordeaux now in Israel very tasty
• Or Haganuz, French Blend very complex and rich in body. Worth the money
• Shiloh, Legend II, if you loved his legend I this will blow you away
• Tabor, Sauvignon Blanc, Don’t let the screw cap scare you a fresh lively wine
• Tulip, Black Tulip, Super premium, get it if you can. Limited quantities were made

• Terra DI Setta, Chianti classico and reserva 100% sangiovese reserve aged in oak longer. Both Classic Chiantis are highly rated. The only all kosher winery in Italy

New Zealand
• Goose Bay, Blanc De Pinot Noir, pink & dry. Perfect with fish to start the meal
• Goose Bay, Reserve Fume, Like its sister S.B. only richer fuller & longer finish

New Kosher Wines for the New Jewish Year


By Jay Buchsbaum

5775 is almost here. And so is a bevy of new wines and wineries from Israel.
New wines from Italy, France, New Zealand and California have arrived as well.

As peoples taste in wine varies, so have the new arrivals. This New Year brings a new array of wines, giving the wine lover an opportunity to taste heretofore undiscovered greats and the latest version of their favorites. But it’s the new wines that are among the most exciting for any wine lover

First a little about each region offering new wines for the New Year

California Wines have always been known for their fruit forward big rich flavors. California gets this reputation because of its unique Terroir. Terroir means all the aspects that go into how the grape comes out. Including soil sunshine humidity etc. California Terroir lends itself to grapes at harvest that are generally higher in sugar and richer in flavor. Perhaps it’s not as complex and layered as other wine growing regions but the full, rich fruit comes through in the final wine.

France is the oldest growing region for fine table wines for nearly five plus centuries. (Did you know that actually the Middle East, especially Israel is where grape growing for wine originated? More about that later). It’s said that Rashi grew grapes in Bordeaux for wine. And vinyards that existed even as long as five hundred years ago are still producing wines today. This allowed France, over the years, to discover the best places to grow the best grapes. Today cabernet merlot and cab franc (amongst others) is grown in around the Bordeaux area. Burgundy and southern France grow primarily Pinot noir and Chardonnay and the Rhone Valley grows Varieties such as Mouvedre, Grenache and other grapes appropriate to its region.

Israel, Because of its generally warmer climate Israel produces grapes that are more ripe at harvest but its varied Terroir, Cooler weather and volcanic soil in the north and generally warmer weather and Terra Rosa, clay and loam soil in the central and south part of the country, Israel can and does make a wide variety of flavors and tastes in wine. Couple this varied Israeli Terroir with the most up to date winemaking techniques in the world and you have some of the finest wine coming from Israel kosher or non.

Italy’s Tradition of winemaking dates back centuries as well, and the influence of Bi Coastal bodies of water to both its east and west allow for the grapes harvested in Italy to produce some of the most delicious wines. The primary grape is Sangiovese in red and, today, Moscato and Pinot Grigio in white. When done right (see my side bar) these can produce wines with class distinction as well as lively and memorable flavors.

New Zealand is in the southern Hemisphere. So when we have winter they have summer while most of the world harvests in late summer and fall they harvest in fall and winter when they experience their summer. This leads the grapes to produce, flavors and resulting wine, that are at once lively and crisp but filled with flavor and aroma.

Jay Buchsbaum is VP and the director of wine education for Royal Wine. He has traveled the world drinking in wine knowledge and the wines themselves and has lectured on wine from Congress to the heart of China. You can contact Jay at

Great Summer Wine Pairings for Your Next Barbeque

As I have mentioned, I’ve been teaching a lot of BBQ classes this summer and have not only enjoyed the people and terrific foods but also the great wines that can accompany great BBQ. I wanted to share what GKC friend Jay Buchsbaum, from Royal Wine Corp. suggested for some of my classes. In addition to the exact pairings and recipes below, I’ve indicated what type of flavors the menu item and wines include so that you can apply the pairings to your meals too. Don’t forget to check out the general wine pairing tips that so many people use as a handy guide for their wine pairing and buying.

Grilled Tandoori chicken with Tzadziki: Lighter grilled chicken, fragrant with lemon, turmeric, mint, and cucumbers

Try the Herzog Russian river chardonnay: Filled with hints of apple, fruits, and toasty oak. Also great with salmon

Grilled Lamb Burgers: Sliders filled with cumin, cinnamon, onion, and coriander.

Jay suggested, Old Vine Zinfandel Baron Herzog Red Zinfandel: Full bodied wine, lots of blackberry, oak, vanilla and spices. Great with lamb, duck and hearty pasta dishes.

Grilled steaks with red wine reduction: Classic steaks with rich wine wine glaze, star anise and a little honey.

Barkan Winemaker’s Choice Cabernet: Medium bodied wine, fruit and earthy flavors, perfect now with BBQ flavors, steaks and chicken.

Grilled Vegetables and Grilled Salads: Crispy greens, crunchy veggies, red peppers, onions, zucchini, bbq flavors.

Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc: Serve chilled, great with salads, lots of fruit flavors, pine, and very crisp taste. Great with complex foods that feature spices and crispy greens.

Coffee Cumin Dry Rubbed Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce: Coffee, chili powder, jalapeno, parsley, lots of robust flavors.

Tulip mostly Cabarnet Franc: Invigorating and robust wine, with tons of aroma that pairs with aromatic foods and spices.

Roasted Garlic Lemon Grilled Chicken: Roasted garlic, lemon, olive oil and chicken.

Shilo Chardonnay : Full bodied Chardonnay, made from specially grown grapes picked before dawn, very crisp, with an elegant texture, making it perfect with chicken, lighter meats, and fish.

As a reminder, all BBQ goes with Sangria, try my recipe for White Sangria too. And Walder’s Vanilla Vodka, mixes well with pineapple or mango juice for a creamy and refreshing BBQ mixer.

Thanks Jay!

How to Order a Great Bottle of Wine Every Time

Ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant and not sure what to choose? We spoke to our friends at Royal Wine Corp., creator and owners of Herzog Cellars  and distributors for so many amazing wine labels, about this problem and got some expert advise and fast tricks for getting a great bottle every time.

– First, remember the basics, when in doubt, order a red wine with meat and white wine with fish.
– Ask the maitre de what they recommend. In fine restaurants the waiters should also be knowledgeable and worth asking.
– When you are asked what type of wine you like, don’t use words like “dry” or “sweet”, because too many wines fall in these categories, i.e. most red wine is dry. Use regions, like Napa Valley, or Spanish wines, or adjectives that are more specific, bold, or fruity, light, or tannic.
– Look at the menu online before arriving. Upscale restaurants will include their wine lists online. Check the reviews and tasting notes before you go.
– Take a photo of wines you like. Share them with the waiter to find a similar bottle to what you already know and love.
Lastly, ask this question, “DO YOU HAVE ANYTING OPEN THAT’S NOT ON YOUR BY THE GLASS LIST?” Sometimes, restaurants open better bottles for special customers and you can be lucky enough to enjoy some of that bottle. Or the restaurant is tasting or testing some new wines and happen to be able to offer it if you ask. I’ve had good luck with this and have tasted some incredible wines with this trick.

And most importantly, order wine with dinner. Make the evening a special night, an experience and wine makes every meal decadent, memorable and more enjoyable…just my two cents ☺

Sensational Wines for Shavuot

Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, is the day, according to tradition, when the Jewish People received the Torah. There are many venerable customs associated with this holiday—staying awake until dawn to study Torah, reciting the ancient liturgical poem “Akdamut,” and, of course, serving dairy [Milchig (fotr th eheomish)] foods at the holiday meals.

While the braised briskets, pot roasts, and roast turkeys that are such staple during most Jewish holidays cry out for rich red wines, the fish, cream sauces, blintzes, and cheesecakes that are typical Shavuot (s) [for hiemish] fare demand good white wines. And nobody makes a better (or more affordable) variety of kosher white wines than the Herzog Wine Cellars.

Joe Hurliman, Herzog’s Head Winemaker, has a special touch with white wines. His whites are all crisp and fruity, with nuanced flavors, and range from light-bodied and bone-dry to full-bodied and super-sweet. No matter what your tastes or menus call for, Herzog Wine Cellars is likely to produce the right whites for you.

If you like your wines dry, start your Shavuot meal with Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a crisp, dry straw colored wine with fruity flavors and aromas of, pears, lemongrass, Meyer lemons, and a hint of spice. It’s a great accompaniment for salads and lighter fish dishes.

If you’d rather start your meal with something a bit sweeter try Baron Herzog’s Chenin Blanc. This frequent award-winner is semi-dry, and has bright, fruity flavors of orange, pineapple, kiwi, and passion fruit, with a lovely touch of honey on the finish. This wine would be perfect to serve with a cold fruit soup.

Try one of Herzog Wine Cellar’s excellent Chardonnay’s to accompany rich main courses, such as poached salmon in cream sauce. Weinstock’s Cellar Select, Chardonnay is a straw colored, medium-to-full-bodied wine, which has flavors and aromas of apples, pears, quince, and toasty oak, with notes of vanilla and cream. Or step it up to Herzog’s Special Reserve Russian River Chardonnay, perhaps the best kosher Chardonnay on the market—aged for fifteen months in a mixture of American and French oak, this medium-to-full-bodied, bright straw colored wine has flavors and aromas of apples, lemons, freshly mowed grass, cream, and toasty oak, with a delightful whiff of wild flowers.

Pair your cheese blintzes or cheesecake with Herzog’s Late Harvest Orange Muscat. It’s a sweet, light-orange-blush colored wine, with a medium body and a grapy flavor with elements of citrus, lichee and apricots.

Then finish your meal with a glass of Herzog’s Late Harvest White Riesling. It a perfect digestif after a rich dairy meal. This super rich, sweet, full bodied white has a nose of lavender, lime, and kumquat, and a nutty, toffee flavor, with elements of pineapple and orange. This is a wine to sip and savor.

As you put together your Shavout shopping list, don’t forget to include some of Joe Hurlimans whites from Herzog wine cellars.

Rosé Wine

Rosé is back in vogue! See what is new and well worth tasting this spring and summer.

Rosés are made from the juice of red grapes, which were allowed only limited contact with the grape skins after the grapes were crushed. The resulting wines can range in color from a faint blush, to a dark rose. While rosé may be the quintessential summer wine, for the past few decades it’s not been a particularly fashionable wine. Wine, like clothing, has its fashions and fads, and until very recently rosé has been like the seersucker suit—a great, but dated, choice for summer weather. Fortunately though, fashions change, and while the seersucker suit may never come back, rosé’s popularity is once again on the rise.

Many wine producers and importers long ago stopped stop releasing new rosés, but a few companies have resisted the pressures, and year after year have continued to produce new vintages of rosé. It was these companies who have made rosé’s re-insurgent popularity possible. In the kosher wine world no company has done more for rosés than the Royal Wine Corp., which consistently produces or imports an impressive line of kosher rosés; and this year’s crop of Royal Wine rosés is better than ever.

Consistently, one of the very best kosher rosés is always Domaine Lafond’s Tavel Rosé. The town of Tavel, located in the southern part of France’s Rhone Valley, has long been known for it dry rosé wines, which were a favorite of King Louis XIV. Made from a Grenache dominated blend, the kosher Tavel rosé from Domaine Lafond is a bone dry, light bodied, dark-peach colored wine. Look for a floral bouquet with elements of peach and strawberry, and flavors of cherries, strawberries and citrus fruits, with a hint of watermelon. It would be the perfect accompaniment for a grilled tuna steak.

In Israel, Pierre Miodownick, Royal Wine’s Chief European Winemaker, makes an excellent Rhone-style rosé that one could almost swear was from Tavel. With a rich-peach color and flavors and aromas of strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe, and watermelon, this new, crisp, dry rosé is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Also excellent is Capçanes’, Peraj Petita Rosat. This dark-rose colored wine is the first kosher Spanish rosé to be exported to the United States, and it is a truly refreshing wine. Made of a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Merlot, this dry rosé has flavors and aromas of cherries, strawberries, and bananas, with a nice spicy note of earthiness. It’s a great choice for a barbeque. I was fortunate enough to taste this wine last week. A guest brought this hard to get Rose as a gift and everyone loved it. It’s a heartier Rose and paired perfectly with light grilled chicken and the roast turkey breast that I served.

Those who prefer their rosés to be a bit sweet should try Baron Herzog’s White Zinfandel—it’s a Californian classic. Light-bodied, and semi-sweet, this peach-colored wine has a captivating flavor of apples, strawberries and cotton candy. It would be a perfect accompaniment for a cold fruit soup.

Finally, for those decadent moments, when nothing less would do, pick up a bottle of Laurent Perrier’s Cuvée Rosé Brut Champagne, which is undoubtedly the best kosher rosé available. Made from Pinot Noir grapes, this dark-peach-colored sparkling wine is slightly sweeter, and much fruiter, than most white brut Champagnes. It has a delightfully yeasty bouquet of heather, citrus and cherries; a rich flavor of raspberries, lemons, gooseberries, Queen Anne cherries, bergamots, heather and yeast; and an abundant supply of tiny bubbles.

This summer, be a trendsetter and pick up some of Royal Wine Corps.’ excellent rosés. They’ll help make your summer sparkle.

Lighter Wines

On the lighter side….

Post holiday lighter meals call for lighter wine but still wines that you can be excited about. Our friends at Royal Wines always have some great ideas for us.
“When I think of lighter wines I think of Italian wines – wines that are made to be enjoyed with food. These wines typically have a bright acidity that keeps them lighter on the palate,” says Gary Landsman, our chief wine go-to guy. Some of the wines from Ovadia Estates come to mind, such as the new Nobile di Montepulciano (local availability soon) or the ever popular Rosso di Motepulciano, each great deals at about $12-$16. The Morellino di Scansano & Dolcetto D’alba are also nice options (at about $20).

As for some nice white options, try the Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc (everything from Goose Bay is great these days) and one of our favorites, the Carmel Kayoumi Riesling.

Thanksgivvukah, What wines are you serving?

The convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukah is definitely a time for celebration of family, friends, and food.  But what to drink can be a bit confusing since traditional wine pairing may not work with both turkey and fried foods. Our friends at Royal Wine, are always on hand to help us make these decisions and make sure our wine is as good as our food.

Most wine experts would say that big and bold red wines such as Cabernet or Shiraz can overpower the delicate flavors of turkey.  But, Gary Landsman, our Royal Wine contributor says, “I think with a rich gravy these big wines pair fine with the food, especially if that is what people like.” I’m excited about this because I always like to have some cabernet with my meal.  Having said that, Zinfandel (such as Baron Herzog OLD VINE Zin) is a big red wine, but it’s frequently available and promoted on Thanksgiving since it is an American wine, synonymous with California.

Two other “traditional”  Thanksgiving wines are Pinot Noir (a light bodied red that won’t overpower turkey that also goes nicely with cranberry sauce because it often has hints of fruit in the wine) and Chardonnay.  Chardonnay is a rich white wine that pairs well with white meat turkey. Gary recommends, Goose Bay Pinot Noir (this is a big favorite in my house) and Herzog Russian River Chardonnay (the grapes grow near the Russian River Valley – thus the name, and add some unique flavors like lime and tropical tastes).  It’s definitely on my need to taste list.

Having said all that, the best pairing for latkes and fried foods or doughnuts is probably a nice bubbly.  This exciting and historical day when Hanukah and Thanksgiving actually match up calls for a toast too.  The Bartenura Prosecco, Elvi Adar Brut Cava or Drappier Champagne would be great ways to celebrate the double simcha.

Champagne Mojito

Serves 4 – 6

Fall is all about the leaves turning, the fires in the fireplace and lots of weddings. What goes with all of these things is some good champagne or sparkling wine. I love it cold and bubbling (splurge for the Drappier Champagne) but also mixed with other flavors.  I often serve it in a champagne flute with a big scoop of grapefruit or lemon sorbet right in the glass. It’s refreshing and super tasty.  Last week, I read that Chef Bobby Flay made it into a mojito (my fav!) and I had to try it.  I love the results!  Use Elvi’s Adar Brut or the Bartenura Brut Prosecco in this recipe. Both are reasonably prices and terrific on their own or in these two sparkling cocktails.

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup rum

1 bottle very cold Prosecco, Cava or Champagne

Put the mint, sugar and lime wedges into a small pitcher and muddle them together (which means really mash them to get the mint flavors combined with the others and allow the mint leaves to release their flavor). Stir in the rum. Strain into chilled champagne glasses  and top off with the champagne. Super delicious!

A Trip to the Alexander Winery

Just recently, GKC friend, Gary Landsman, from Royal Wines took a great trip to Israel and while there, made some time to visit friend and winemaker Yoram Shalom, at Alexander Winery (he also visited Barkan and Segal – are you as jealous as I am? )
The Alexander winery is located just South of Haifa in Beit Yitzhak and is renowned for some very special wines. Gary arrived just in time for a grape delivery, a new variety of grape, which is part of Yoram Shalom’s winning strategy to making great wine, always creating new wines by experimenting with new grapes and blends.  Gary got right to work (hours of it), sorting the grapes on the ramps before they go into crushing, carefully removing stems and unwanted leaves, and checking for imperfections.  Alexander winery was working these grapes for some of their new blends and particularily a new Rose. How amazing will it be when the wine comes out to know that Gary had a real “hand” in creating the wine?! I think that’s one of my bucket list items!

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We asked Gary what else is new at Alexander.  Great news for all of us, Alexander is planning and currently developing a gorgeous tasting and visitors center.  Stay tuned for grand opening dates.  And Yoram has brought in an experienced winemaker to assist him at Alexander.  Avi Feldstein, formerly of Segal Winery, and noted by critics as “forward thinking, bold, and creative” has joined  Alexander Winery and will surely be another great asset.

What to drink by Alexander? Gary responded with “really? I have to pick, I enjoy so many of their wines!” But then he added try the Gaston, named from some Russian ancestry, a blend of Cabernet, shiraz, and merlot and is bold, satiating, and smooth. Then for a special wine, add Alexander the Great, Cabernet to your list.  This wine needs some decanting time or breathing time after opened but Wow! Well worth waiting for (btw, it scored a 90 at the International Wine Review).  The wine breathes and becomes a wonderful experience to savor and enjoy the flavors.  And for a more affordable but delicious option try the Sandro.  It’s a Cabernet and Merlot blend with hints of citrus and apples.  I just know it as one of Yoram’s terrific creations where he demonstrates his ability to blend varietals, grapes and techniques to creative wonderful flavors in his wines.

I can’t wait to visit the new visitor’s center on my next trip to Israel.  For now, I’m going to enjoy another glass of the Alexander the Great Cabernet.

Succot Wines

Succot is early this year and as a result there is a good chance there will be some warm days for those Yom Tov lunches. Although many people prefer red wine, especially at a Yom Tov meal, In invite you to consider a deliciously refreshing white.  The Carmel Kayoumi Riesling is a dry and incredible refreshing version of an old sweet favorite.  It was my summer go to wine and I enjoyed it with so many friends and with readers on  GKC too with recipes that pair well with it, check out the post.

If you insist on red during the warm weather, consider something that does well when slightly chilled.  Big tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon don’t do as well chilled and can taste metallic.  Try a lighter red such as the Tzuba Pinot Noir or Shiloh Legend. Whatever you choose, pick wines you enjoy and that pair well with your menus. Check out our wine pairing tips too if you need some guidance.   Chag Sameach.

Simchat Torah Wines

At this point it feels like the past month has been all about eating, drinking and then eating and drinking some more.  Now is a great time to find those hidden affordable gems – the $20 & under wines that taste like $30-40 wines.  Weinstock Cellar Select Cab, Teal Lake Special Reserve Shiraz, Yogev Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot and Segal’s Cabernet/Merlot Special Reserve all come in at $20 or less and can please even the most discerning wine drinker.  I buy a mixed case of these and use them all year too.

Here’s what I’m drinking for Rosh Hashannah

We all want a sweet year but many of us have graduated past the days of sweet Kiddush wines.  But don’t write off sweet wines altogether.  To wrap up the perfect yom tov meal, consider a lusciously sweet sipping dessert wine such as the Herzog Reserve Late Harvest Orange Muscat.

Working our way backward, if there were ever a time to buy a trophy wine to enjoy with a meal it is at a Rosh Hashana Seudah.  The latest great wine that people don’t know about hails from Spain.  Clos Mesorah is a blend of 3 grapes that is knock-your-socks-off fabulous.  If you like rich, bold red wines to complement the meal this high-end bottle is a great bet.

Carmel Kayoumi Riesling

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Admittedly, I’m partial to red wine.  I just love the smooth richness of a good Cabernet.  But this summer my friend Gary at Royal Wines has opened my eyes and my palate to great white wines that are perfect for this hot summer.

Specifically, my new fav is the Carmel Kayoumi Riesling.  Seriously, this wine pairs with anything. A tad bit “tropical to the nose”, says the experts, which means it smells fresh and flavorful, but tastes a bit dry.  This combination marks a brilliant wine with grilled chicken cutlets, cedar planked salmon, pasta, or grilled steak.  This is what we enjoyed last night, a rosemary grilled steak with Carmel Kayoumi Riesling.  Simply divine.

It’s a bit hard to find, so grab it when you see it!

Available at for $24.99

Wine Pairing Tips


Although we restrain from drinking wine during the nine days, we still have good food and wine on our mind to enjoy for the rest of the summer.

Usually we write about specific wines that work well with specific foods, but we thought demystifying wine pairing is long overdue. So in the spirit of a summer full of great wine accompaniments here are some easy to follow and simple wine pairing guidelines.

Grilled Meats: The tannins in red wine help break down the fat in meat so serve a wine with strong tannins like a Cabernet with thick cuts of meat. Both wine and beer release the fat in meat too and help to tenderize it so always use a wine or a beer in your marinades to get soft and flavorful steaks.

Fish: I like to serve crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc with light fish dishes like sole or flounder, and fuller-bodied richer whites like Chardonnay for salmon or tilapia. Meatier fishes like tuna, halibut or thick cuts of salmon are great with light reds like Pinot Noir. And for sushi, try anything with bubbles, it refreshes the palate with every bite.

Fried Foods: Acidity is important when pairing with fried foods. Try Dry Rose, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, but nothing too sweet. White Riesling has a touch of sweetness and works well too.

Spicy Foods: Avoid high-octane wines. The alcohol and heat of the food will accentuate each other and make for an overly warm experience for the guest. This is where the fruity wines or low-alcohol wines work best.

Chicken: One thing I love about serving chicken is that it’s an easy palate to pair. I serve almost anything with chicken depending on the type. Grilled chicken on the bone or chicken with heavy sauce can hold up to bolder wines like Cabernet or Malbec. Lighter chicken cutlets or boneless chicken is better with somewhat lighter whites like Merlot, or Pinot Noir.

Dessert: Make sure your wine is sweeter than your dessert. Wine and chocolate are perhaps the most perfect pairing.

Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Don’t miss this great wine that I am truly loving for the summer. This Sauvignon Blanc has incredible citrus fruit flavors.  It’s produced from grapes harvested after a long, cool growing season n New Zealand’s South Island.  Serve Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc alongside fish, cheeses, and freshly baked breads, or light chicken dishes.  To me it’s a perfect wine to serve company on a warm summer day.  And stay tuned for the White Sangria video that features Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc coming soon!