Thursday, April 14, 2016

Greece Is The Word: Domaine Katsaros Wines

I’m a big fan of Greek wines. There is something about the taste of the wine that hits the palate in the most delightful way. I always wonder why I’m not drinking more wines from Greece every time I experience a new wine from the region.

I recently had dinner with winemaker Evripidis Katsaros of Domaine Katsaros at Marta, NYC. The organic winery is located in Mount Olympus on a 20 acre estate. Katsaros is second generation winemaker who took over as principal winemaker in 2008. The goal of the winery is not to make a lot of wine, but to make great wine. The vineyard makes around 4,000 cases of wine per year.

The varietals that Domaine Katsaros produces are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Xinomavro, and Chardonnay. I have the opportunity to sip these wines paired with crackly crusted pizza.

The Domaine Katsaros Chardonnay, 2014 is a wonderful light wine that would be great to drink during the summer. It’s is organic and has floral notes. If you are a fan of white wine, this one is definitely for you.

For the red wine lovers, the Domaine Katsaros Valos is a winner. It’s made with the Xinomavro grape, the go to grape for red wine in northern Greece. I love the way the aroma of the wine hits the nose with notes of berries, cherries, and rose petals. The wine is perfect to pair with cheese, meat, or any other hearty meals.

I also enjoyed the Domaine Katsaros Merlot. This deep ruby colored wine is good for when you are eating steak or gamey meat. The aromas of tobacco, mocha, berries, and roasted almonds would be ideal in bringing out flavors in meals centered around well seasoned meat.

When you want a taste of Greece without getting on a plane, open up a bottle of Domaine Katsaros. If you can’t find their wines in a store near you, check online to have it arrive at your door.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Move Over Manischewitz: Kosher For Passover Wines

There was a time when someone mentioned kosher wine and I would die a little inside. Flashbacks of me at the JCC sipping bad Israeli wine would pop through my mind. Kosher wine use to be so undrinkable that there have been running jokes about how bad it is. Sip a little bit of Manischewitz Wine sometime, then you will understand.

What exactly is a kosher wine? It's not about a rabbi simply blessing the wine, which is what some people think. A wine that is kosher is produced according to Jewish dietary laws. An observant Jew must be a part of the wine's whole process from start to finish. All ingredients in the wine must be kosher. A kosher for Passover wine must not have had any contact with grain or bread.

I no longer cringe when I see the kosher section in the wine store. The game has drastically changed for kosher wine. There has been a big movement to make wines more organic and sustainable. This makes it easier for winemakers to add kosher wines to their production. The wine is not just coming from Israel, but from around the world.

Since Passover is approaching, Jews and those who love us are on the search for the perfect wine to bring to the seder table. If you are doing the long version of the haggadah, you are going to need a good wine. It will be a very long night.

Move over Manischewitz, here are some wines to be on the lookout for:

Nexus One Tempranillo 2013, $21.95
Nothing like a good Spanish wine from Ribera del Duero. Wines that come from Spain are quite food-friendly so that can easily go with anything that you are cooking up. This kosher for passover tempranillo would kick up the taste in your beef and hearty dishes. The aromas in this wine are blackberries, licorice, and herbs.

Domaine Netofa Chenin Blanc, $23.00
This chenin blanc from Galilee has a nice crisp taste. It has a swirl of floral, fruity, and mineral aromas. It would be great with your fish or chicken dishes. It's also not so bad with matzah. It's a good wine to drink for the whole holiday.

Covenant Solmon Lot 70 2013, $150
Now if you really love the people coming to your seder, go with Covenant Solomon Lot 70. This wine will set you back over $150 bucks. Coming from California, this wine is packed with plum and spicy notes sure to go with all of the flavors on your table. Since it is such an important holiday, a luxury wine is perfect to celebrate freedom. That will show old Pharaoh!

NV Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut, $90 and up
Let's not forget Passover is a celebration. Have a nice sparkling wine as a the libation for the Jew's liberation. The NV Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut is one of the few rosé bruts that you can have during this time. The champagne is made with pinot-grapes and is full bodied making it perfect for the first night.

Freixenet Excelencia Cava Brut, $17.00
Have champagne dreams, but on a budget?  You can still have good bubbly during Passover if you select Freixenet Excelencia Cava Brut. It's made in the champagne method and aged for 15 months. The fruit and floral notes pair well with pretty much anything on the seder table.